18. Memorandum From the President’s Counselor (Marsh) to President Ford1

The matter involving the Agency seems to have gathered momentum with increasing interest arising out of the resignation of Angleton.2

Should results of the current investigation not quiet this sufficiently, you may wish to consider the following which I am sure others have suggested.

1. Selection of a BlueRibbon Panel of individuals of reputation and who have knowledge of the security field. Their task would be to not only look at present complaints but make overall recommendations to improve effectiveness and suggest safeguards if needed.

2. The Panel might draw on detailed personnel from government with background in the fields of intelligence, law, and investigations to assist them in the effort.

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3. Consideration might be given to having certain senior officials of your Administration serve on the Panel.

4. The Panel’s efforts would take the initiative rather than finding ourselves whipsawed by prolonged Congressional hearings.

5. Candidates for Panel might include names such as:

Curtis Tarr Bob Froehlke
John Byrnes General Goodpaster
Arleigh Burke Bill Rogers
Bill Scranton Steve Ailes
Matthew Ridgway

Other possibilities would be eduators and journalists.

6. Phil Areeda suggested to me a Commission approach, and from phone conversation with Buchen, I believe he would also be favorable.

  1. Source: Ford Library, Richard B. Cheney Files, Box 7, General Subject File, Intelligence Subseries, Rockefeller Commission—General. Top Secret; Eyes Only. A handwritten notation at the top of the pages reads “Secret.” Sent through Rumsfeld. Forwarded on December 24 by Cheney to Rumsfeld, who was with the President in Vail.
  2. Angleton announced his resignation on December 23. In newspaper accounts, Angleton was reported to have told associates that “he was not leaving because he did anything wrong” and that his resignation had been decided upon the week before. (Seymour M. Hersh, “President Tells Colby to Speed Report on C.I.A.,” New York Times, December 24, 1974, p. 1) Colby recalled in his memoirs that he had recommended to Schlesinger in early 1973 that “he move Jim Angleton,” but that when he became DCI he decided, initially, against this to avoid further “personnel turbulence” in the clandestine service. Colby was soon convinced, however, that Angleton’s tendency toward “torturous theories” was “hurting good clandestine operational officers.” (Colby, Honorable Men, p. 364) On December 17, he met with Angleton and discussed replacing him as both chief of counterintelligence and head of intelligence liaison with Israel, Angleton’s other portfolio. (Ibid., pp. 387–388)