259. National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 171


Pursuant to Sections 101 and 102, as amended, of the National Security Act of 1947,2 The National Security Council authorizes and directs that:

The following organization and procedures are hereby established in order that Electronics Intelligence, hereinafter called ELINT, may be made most effective.

Definition: The term ELINT is defined as the collection (observation and recording), and the technical processing for later intelligence purposes, of information on foreign, non-communications, electromagnetic radiations emanating from other than atomic detonation sources.
The USCIB, in addition to its authority and responsibility as defined in NSCID #9,3 and operating under the procedures established [Page 809] under paragraph 1-(f) of that Directive, shall be the national policy body for ELINT, including policy in relation to the Technical Processing Center provided by paragraph 4 below, arrangements with foreign governments in the field of ELINT, and recommendations concerning research and development requirements.
Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 above, the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency shall be responsible for their respective ELINT collection activities.
The technical processing of all ELINT shall be accomplished in a center to be organized and administered by the Department of Defense. However, parallel processing in the field may be accomplished for essential immediate operational or tactical purposes. This center shall be jointly staffed by individuals detailed from the Department of Defense and the CIA in a proportion to be determined by the Secretary of Defense and the DCI.
All data collected by the collection agencies shall be made available forthwith to the Technical Processing Center, subject only to minimum delays necessitated by prior exploitation in the field for urgent tactical or operational purposes.
The Technical Processing Center shall effect fullest and most expeditious processing possible and furnish the results thereof to the interested Departments and agencies, and to the extent practicable, in the form desired by them.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC Intelligence Directives. Secret. NSCID No. 17 was approved by the NSC by memorandum action on May 16. All members of the Intelligence Advisory Committee concurred in NSCID No. 17, except the FBI which had “no comment” on the directive. (Ibid.)
  2. 61 Stat. 495–510.
  3. Document 257.