223. Central Intelligence Agency Comments on the Report of the Technological Capabilities Panel1

NSC 5522

[Omitted here are a June 8 note from the NSC Executive Secretary to the NSC, a memorandum of July 1 to all holders of NSC 5522, a table of contents, an index to agency comments, a summary of agency comments, and Annexes A and B containing comments by the Department of State and Department of Defense, respectively.]



Technological Capabilities Panel Recommendations on Which the Central Intelligence Agency Has Full Responsibility for Study and Report to the National Security Council

Specific Recommendation C. 4

1. This recommendation reads as follows:

“We need to examine intelligence data more broadly, or to invent some new technique, for the discovery of hoaxes. As a first step, we recommend a National Intelligence Estimate, with adequate safeguards, [Page 695] of our success in keeping secret our most useful techniques of intelligence. This estimate would suggest the extent to which an enemy might be manipulating the information obtained through these sources.”

2. Discussion:

The problem of ascertaining the validity of information concerning the USSR, collected through various sources available to us, is a continuing one in the intelligence process. Thus, while no attempt has been made in the past to prepare a comprehensive estimate concerning Soviet attempts at deception, and the effect of such activity on the validity of National Intelligence Estimates, a considerable amount of research and analytical time has been expended. This effort could fruitfully be brought to bear in the preparation of a study of Soviet success in penetrating our most useful techniques of intelligence. A comprehensive study will be initiated through an appropriate mechanism. Our initial investigations do not reveal any requirements for additional personnel or funds for the accomplishment of this task.

[Omitted here are Specific Recommendation C. 9 and discussion of it.]

Specific Recommendation C. 10

1. This recommendation reads as follows:

“A heavy long-term investment should be made in the preparation of covert agents as eventual sources of high-level intelligence.”

2. Discussion:

This recommendation, as amplified by the pertinent discussion in the report,3 has implicit in it the expansion of clandestine networks in non-communist areas looking to the time, perhaps even twenty years from now, when some of these areas may be critically important. It suggests the slow and careful preparation of agents in the event of a political coup, a threatened coup, or some similar governmental crisis; and finally, the use of such agents in legal travel operations against the communist countries and in the penetration of communist and pro-communist groups outside of the communist-controlled areas.

[Page 696]

It is noted that a recent recapitulation of high-level intelligence efforts with long-term potential shows that the CIA possesses several score agent assets of this type situated in almost every sensitive non-orbit area of the world and in many areas which, though not presently significant, could become so in the years to come. It is this type of agent facility which has contributed to the success of certain political operations which have been reported to the NSC.

The CIA accepts and endorses the emphasis placed in the report on the importance of using individuals of great intelligence, training and experience [1½ lines not declassified]. This type of activity has been a part of our operational program for some time but it clearly deserves an effort above that which we are now putting forth. It is most difficult to locate people who are not too selfish, too insecure, or too naive to produce material of value within such a program. The security precautions erected by the Russians, the Chinese and the Satellites have imposed very rigid requirements in the selection of such individuals. Therefore, an expansion of our present activities is certainly called for, including the availability of additional manpower to make possible slow and careful development of highly intelligent penetration agents.

Laying the groundwork for extensive covert operations in every country available to our agents, to the extent outlined above, would require additional effort through intensification and limited expansion of our U.S. case officer selection and training facilities, an increase in our case officer corps, and a limited broadening of our several support structures (administrative, communications, and technical). A general estimate of the proportion of the required increases in terms of case officer personnel would be approximately 10%.


Recommendations On Which CIA Has Primary Responsibility for Reporting to the NSC, Subject to Coordination With Other Agencies

General Recommendation 6 and Specific Recommendation C 7:

1. These recommendations read as follows:

GR6: The National Security Council establish policies and take actions which will permit the full exploitation of the intelligence and other advantages which can be made available to us through the establishment [1 line not declassified].

[1 paragraph (4 lines) not declassified]

2. Discussion:

The Central Intelligence Agency, in coordination with the Department of Defense, concurs in these recommendations. [4 lines not declassified]

[4 paragraphs (48 lines) not declassified]

[Page 697]

Specific Recommendation C 3

1. This recommendation reads as follows:

We must find ways to increase the number of hard facts upon which our intelligence estimates are based, to provide better strategic warning, to minimize surprise in the kind of attack, and to reduce the danger of gross overestimation or gross under-estimation of the threat. To this end, we recommend adoption of a vigorous program for the extensive use, in many intelligence procedures, of the most advanced knowledge in science and technology.

2. Discussion:

The CIA agrees with these statements and recommendations. The Director of Central Intelligence has developed plans for implementation in the near future which will make possible a further step toward the achievement of the objective underlying the TCP recommendation, namely: to “use the ultimate in science and technology to improve our intelligence take.”

The Agency has created a permanent Scientific Advisory Board, composed largely of former members of the Technological Capabilities Panel, to advise the Director and to supplement existing activities.

The Agency’s plans envisage:

The establishment of a suitable unit, with its supporting laboratory facility, to insure the continual creation, recognition and application of new scientific and technical methods for the acquisition, processing, and production of all forms of foreign intelligence,
The establishment of procedures for developing the concomitant equipment and instrumentation peculiar to the production of intelligence, and
The establishment of close working relationships between the unit mentioned in paragraph a. above, and all correlative developmental divisions within the intelligence community and in particular with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (R&D).


Recommendations Under Which Primary Responsibility Was Assigned to Other Agencies Subject to Coordination With the Central Intelligence Agency

[Omitted here are the CIA comments on General Recommendation 11 and Specific Recommendations A. 9, B. 12c, C. 1, C. 5, and C. 6.]

Specific Recommendation C. 8

1. This recommendation reads as follows:

“Intelligence applications warrant an immediate program leading to very small artificial satellites in orbits around the earth. Construction [Page 698] of large surveillance satellites must wait upon adequate solutions to some extraordinary technical problems in the information gathering and reporting and its power of supply, and should wait upon development of the intercontinental ballistic missile rocket propulsion system. The ultimate objective of research and development on the large satellite should be continuous surveillance that is both extensive and selective and that can give fine scale details sufficient for the identification of objects (airplanes, trains, buildings) on the ground.”

2. Discussion:

The psychological warfare value of launching the first earth satellite makes its prompt development of great interest to the intelligence community and may make it a crucial event in sustaining the international prestige of the United States.

There is an increasing amount of evidence that the Soviet Union is placing more and more emphasis on the successful launching of the satellite. Press and radio statements since September 1954 have indicated a growing scientific effort directed toward the successful launching of the first satellite. Evidently the Soviet Union has concluded that their satellite program can contribute enough prestige of cold war value or knowledge of military value to justify the diversion of the necessary skills, scare material and labor from immediate military production. If the Soviet effort should prove successful before a similar United States effort, there is no doubt but that their propaganda would capitalize on the theme of the scientific and industrial superiority of the communist system.

The successful launching of the first satellite will undoubtedly be an event comparable to the first successful release of nuclear energy to the world’s scientific community, and will undoubtedly receive comparable publicity throughout the world. Public opinion in both neutral and allied states will be centered on the satellite’s development. For centuries scientists and laymen have dreamed of exploring outer space. The first successful penetration of space will probably be the small satellite vehicle recommended by the Technological Capabilities Panel. The nation that first accomplishes this feat will gain incalculable prestige and recognition throughout the world.

The United States’ reputation as the scientific and industrial leader of the world has been of immeasurable value in competing against Soviet aims in both neutral and allied states. Since the war the reputation of the United States’ scientific community has been sharply challenged by Soviet progress and claims. There is little doubt but that the Soviet Union would like to surpass our scientific and industrial reputation in order to further her influence over neutralist states and to shake the confidence of states allied with the United States. If the Soviet Union’s scientists, technicians and industrialists were apparently to surpass the United States and first explore outer space, her [Page 699] propaganda machine would have sensational and convincing evidence of Soviet superiority.

If the United States successfully launches the first satellite, it is most important that this be done with unquestionable peaceful intent. The Soviet Union will undoubtedly attempt to attach hostile motivation to this development in order to cover her own inability to win this race. To maximize our cold war gain in prestige and to minimize the effectiveness of Soviet accusations, the satellite should be launched in an atmosphere of international good will and common scientific interest. For this reason the CIA strongly concurs in the Department of Defense’s suggestion that a civilian agency such as the U.S. National Committee of the IGY supervise its development and that an effort be made to release some of the knowledge to the international scientific community.

The small scientific vehicle is also a necessary step in the development of a larger satellite that could possibly provide early warning information through continuous electronic and photographic surveillance of the USSR. A future satellite that could directly collect intelligence data would be of great interest to the intelligence community.

The Department of Defense has consulted with the Agency, and we are aware of their recommendations, which have our full concurrence and strong support.

[Omitted here are annexes bearing comments by other U.S. departments and agencies on the Technological Capabilities Panel report of February 14, 1955.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Records of White House Staff Secretary, Comments on the Report to the President by the Technological Capabilities Panel. Top Secret. A typed notation at the bottom of the first page reads: “Revised 7/26/55.” On February 14, the Technological Capabilities Panel (the Killian Panel) of the Science Advisory Committee reported to President Eisenhower on “Meeting the Threat of Surprise Attack.” Background on that report and extracts from it are printed in Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XIX, pp. 4156. See also the editorial note, ibid., p. 83. The full report is in National Archives, RG 59, S/S–RD Files: Lot 71 D 171, Top Secret Restricted Data. On June 8, Executive Secretary of the National Security Council Lay circulated to NSC members a paper entitled “Comments on the Report to the President by the Technological Capabilities Panel of the Science Advisory Committee” under NSC Action No. 1355. (Ibid., S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action of the National Security Council) Comments on the February 14 Panel Report were submitted by the Departments of State and Defense, Office of Defense Mobilization, Atomic Energy Commission, Bureau of the Budget, Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference–Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security, the Special Committee established to coordinate the implementation of NSC 5513/1, the NSC Planning Board, and the Central Intelligence Agency. (Eisenhower Library, Records of White House Staff Secretary, Comments on the Report to the President by the Technological Capabilities Panel) Also see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XIX, pp. 95108. The judgment of the report at that time “that the United States had no reliable early warning and the Strategic Air Command was vulnerable, perhaps tempting, the Soviets to attempt a surprise attack” was to have a significant impact on the course of the nascent U–2 program.
  2. The CIA comments in Annex C were sent to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council under cover of a June 6 memorandum from Director of Central Intelligence Dulles. (Ibid.)
  3. ”It has become exceedingly difficult to obtain significant information from covert operations inside Russia. The security zones at the border, the general restrictions in the interior, the thousands of security police, and the innumerable informers among the population are brutally effective in limiting the infiltration, exfiltration, and usefulness of agents. Therefore, we must more and more depend upon science and technology to assist and complement the best efforts of classical intelligence.” (National Archives, RG 59, S/S–RD Files: Lot 71 D 171, The Report to the President of the Technological Capabilities Panel)