195. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Vance) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Measures for Strengthening the Counterintelligence Posture of the United States

This is in reply to your memorandum of February 8, 1964, subject as above, in which you requested that this Department submit its views and comments on recommendations numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board to your office by March 10, 1964.2 You further requested that the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency report jointly concerning recommendation number 7. In view of the importance of this measure and its ramifications in the Department of Defense it will require further study. Members of my staff are working informally with representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency in the development of this proposal. Our final joint proposal will be submitted to you as soon as possible.

We have adopted recommendation number 1—“That the National Security Agency be given the complete personnel security responsibility for all personnel employed by and assigned to it.”

I have, therefore, approved changes (tab 1)3 to Department of Defense Directive 5100.23 (tab 2) which would specifically authorize the [Page 432] Director of the National Security Agency to conduct counterintelligence and personnel security investigations relating to civilians who are employed in, and members of the armed forces who are assigned to, the National Security Agency. In addition, we have instructed the Director of the National Security Agency to revise the present agreements between the National Security Agency and the Security Cryptologic Agencies to reflect this change in policy.

In recommendation number 2, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board urged that all efforts be made to insure the passage of H.R. 950, a bill to provide for maximum personnel security in the National Security Agency. We are very happy to report that as a result of our efforts, on February 28, 1964, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported the bill favorably and on March 2, 1964, it was passed by the Senate. Because of a minor amendment by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill must again be acted upon by the House. We have every reason to believe that the House will approve the Senate amendment in the very near future. We therefore can anticipate that this measure will become law very shortly.4 There is attached (tab 3) a copy of Senate Report No. 9265 which summarizes the legislation.

Recommendation number 5—Deals with concentrating our investigative effort of questionable security cases, proceeding with “across the board reinvestigation of all personnel as resources then permit.” This recommendation has been fully implemented by the National Security Agency and action has been taken to institute this policy throughout the Department of Defense.

We are in complete accord with the objectives of recommendation number 3. The Secretary of the Army has instituted a series of actions including necessary studies to reach the objectives of this recommendation. As soon as these actions and studies are completed a further report on this recommendation will be submitted to you.

Cyrus Vance
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Volume I [1 of 2], Box 5. For Official Use Only.
  2. Not found.
  3. None of the tabs is printed. The directive is dated August 25, 1959.
  4. By voice vote on March 19 the House agreed to the Senate amendment, which limited the delegation of the powers of the Secretary of Defense summarily to dismiss employees from the National Security Agency. H.R. 950, which specified requirements for both the employment and dismissal of National Security Agency employees, was signed into law on March 26. (Congressional Quarterly Almanac, XX (1964), p. 468)
  5. 88th Congress, Second Session.