285. Memorandum for the Record1
Washington, January 2, 1969.
- Discussion with Mr. William Sullivan of the FBI re matters raised in his letter of October 24, 19682
- We discussed in rather general terms all of the items mentioned in subject letter.
- Bill Sullivan expressed the view that there is inadequate coordination between the FBI and CIA in matters of counterintelligence operations, both at home and abroad. He expressed the view that it might be worthwhile to establish a small Board for the purpose of over-seeing counterintelligence operations, rendering decisions for cooperation therein or making policy recommendations to higher authorities if and as necessary. I asked him in this connection about the status of the ICC which he declared to be moribund but said that he would look into the possibilities of reviving it in somewhat different form. I suggested that a small group composed perhaps of the DCI, the Director of the FBI and the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency might be worth considering if, organized under it, were suitable regional groups of counterintelligence people from those 3 agencies. The idea would be to supply detailed operational and staff advice for action as appropriate by the [Page 614] above mentioned counterintelligence group. By way of illustration I outlined the idea of the SIG and the IRG’s in the development of foreign policy. I indicated that I thought any initiative in this direction ought to come from the new Attorney General inasmuch as the objective would be the security of the United States, principally at home. I took this occasion to point out that the restrictions imposed on the FBI by the Attorney General are at present a major factor in inhibiting counterintelligence operations within the United States and that they have their reflection in opportunities that might arise abroad but can’t be seized if the FBI is inhibited from following through once the operation gets across U.S. borders. Before leaving this subject I suggested that Bill might wish to talk to Mr. Hoover with the idea of having a three-way chat between Mr. Hoover, the new Attorney General and the DCI at an early stage in the new Administration.
- With regard to positive intelligence matters I outlined to Bill Sullivan some of the difficulties faced by the DCI in coordination of the use of assets, most of which are under the direction and management of the Department of Defense. The discussion ranged over difficulties with the National Security Agency, the inability of the USIB structure to compel compliance or even to follow up effectively on its recommendations. In this connection I said I thought it might be helpful if the position of the DCI as the principal intelligence officer of the President was more generally known and understood than is now the case. The only way I could see to accomplish this would be to have the charges laid on the DCI in the Presidential letters to him issued as a NSAM so that all members of the Community would be well apprised of what the President expects of the DCI. I explained to Bill the workings of the NIRB and our hopes for it as a means of achieving better knowledge of and coordination of one another’s efforts in the positive intelligence field.
- With the exception of paragraphs 8, 10, and 14 we did not touch on the 16 items mentioned in the enclosure to Bill’s letter.3 Even as regards paragraphs 8, 10 and 14 our conversation did not go into specifics except as otherwise outlined elsewhere herein.
- Bill suggested the idea that a careful and thorough look at the entire Intelligence Community and its works might be undertaken by a special group of senior and knowledgeable officers in the Intelligence Community. I said that I did not think that such a procedure would be effective because of the conflicting loyalties and parochial views that would inevitably creep into such an examination, and gave as an example the difficulties which beset the Eaton Study Group. I said that I thought a better way of doing business of this sort would be for a [Page 615] stream-lined Board such as the PFIAB to establish, under a strong and knowledgeable Executive Secretary, a permanent working group of knowledgeable individuals whose function would be to determine by inspection and inquiry whether the DCI’s instructions and recommendations for coordination of the national intelligence effort were being followed by the various members of the Intelligence Community and, if not, why not. Such a group would be in essence a sort of Inspectorate General of the PFIAB, totally supra-agency or department. I said that as far as I could tell, only the Bureau of the Budget conducts such surveys under the present organizational scheme of things and that their point of view, being oriented towards dollar savings, is not helpful in many cases. I expressed further the view that lack of mechanisms of the kind that we were discussing has permitted the Bureau of the Budget to become much more knowledgeable and influential than it ought to be in substantive affairs for which it has no responsibility.
- We ended on the note that if Bill would take the initiative in the Department of Justice for suggestions to emanate from the Attorney General with regard to better coordination of the U.S. counterintelligence effort as it affects domestic tranquility, the DCI would be, and in fact is, addressing himself with the new Administration to those improvements which might effect the accomplishment of the purposes outlined in Bill’s letter.
- All in all, the discussion was rather general and agreeable from the standpoint that we both agreed that there certainly ought to be improvements but neither of us was sure just how to go about achieving them. We agreed that the thoughts expressed above were useful if for no other purpose than to provoke better thoughts.
Vice Admiral U.S. Navy
Vice Admiral U.S. Navy