ihe Director of central intelligence.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
The White House
I am returning the report of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board dated February 4th commenting on the intelligence community's actions in connection with the Cuban crisis. ill not attempt to comment on the specifics of the report. It is my understanding that the Board will make recommendations to you for corrective measures which they feel should be taken within the intelligence community. When these recommendations areould hope for an opportunity to comment upon themid on the recommendations contained in their interim report ofh.
ppeared before the Board on November9th, andtated that there wasreluctance or timidity in programmingover Cuba after we had discovered the presencemissile installations. This caution wasnot only because of the extremelyncidents" dating back to the Powers' incident|
ntrusion over Sakhalin in early September.
MClinMSYR TnT^am^Stitude apparently dictated the Secretary of State's action inIA-proposed flight at the Special Group meeting held in Mr. Bundy's office onh. Itelieve, the same attitude that caused the Special Group in considering my request on October 4th for extensive Cuban reconnaissance to ask NRO, JCS, and CIA to study allmeans of conducting aerial reconnaissance and to report back on October 9th. In retrospect, it might be contended that thereailure to exercise sufficient urgency ineconnaissance missions;m inclined to believe that any one reachingonclusion must first carefully weigh the serious considerations that enterecision to overfly denied territory.
I further advised the Boardelt the analysts, both in the intelligence community and elsewhere in Government, including the State Department, were so convinced that the Soviets would not accept the inevitable confrontation resulting fromof offensive missiles in Cuba, that they were inclined to dismiss such evidence as there was to the contrary. ind, is one of the difficulties of dealing with the imponderables of what the other fellow will or will not do. With particular reference to the Cuban situation, it should be noted that for two years the intelligence community had been surfeited with reports of "missiles inll of which proved to be incorrect prior to those which we received on or abouth. Nevertheless, one can now readily conclude that greater emphasis should have been
I continue to feel that the intelligence community performed well. ave examined this performance personally and in depth, and incidentallyritical eye. As you know, my own views differed from those of the community. elieve that thereached from my study made for the Board at your requestore reasonable judgment of the performance of the intelligence community in the six months' period prior to the October crisis. opy of these conclusions is attached.
)hn A. McCone Director
1. Although the intelligence community's inquiry into its actions during the Cuban crisis revealed certain areas where shortcomings existed and where improvements should be made in various areas of intelligence collection andthe intelligence community operated extensively and well in connection with Cuba. Every major weapons systeminto Cuba by the Soviets was detected, identified, and reported (with respect to numbers, location and operational characteristics) before any one of these systems attained an operational capability.
A relatively short period of time ensued between the introduction of strategic weapons into Cuba, particularly strategic missiles, and the commencement of the How, although meager, of tangible reports of their presence; detection of their possible presence and targeting of the suspect areas of their location was accomplishedompressed time frame; and the intelligence cycle did move with extraordinary rapidity through the stages of collection, analysis, targeting forand positive identification.
The very substantial effort directed toward Cuba was originated by an earlier concern with the situation in Cuba and the effort, already well under way, contributed to the detection and analysis of the Soviet build-up.
Information was disseminated and used.
Aerial photography was very effective and our best means of establishing hard intelligence.
The procedures adopted in September delayed photographic Intelligence, but this delay was not critical, because photography obtained prior to aboutctober would not have been sufficient to warrant actionype which would require support from Western Hemisphere NATO allies.
Some restrictions were placed on dissemination of information, but there is no indication that these restrictions necessarily affected analytical work or actions by policy-makers.
Theeptember estimate, while indicating thethat the Soviet Union would place MRBM's and IRBM's in Cuba, did state that "this contingency must be examinedeven though it would run counter to current Soviethe estimators in preparing theeptember estimate gave great weight to the philosophical argument concerning Soviet intentions and thus did not fully weigh the many indicators.
The estimate ofctober on probable Soviet reactions was correct.
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