105. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Turner to President Carter1


  • Senior Officials’ Reporting Obligation under Executive Order 12036


  • Chairman, IOB, Memorandum to the President, dated 13 March 19802

The IOB’s memorandum sets forth three concerns which are addressed in order:

1. The first centers on a basic issue of whether those intelligence activities for which the President manifests a desire for restricted dissemination in fact apply to the Intelligence Oversight Board.

Since the issuance of Executive Order 12036, the IOB has not been informed of only two activities. While there is no question that it is to the President’s advantage for the IOB to examine the legality and propriety of intelligence activities, at the same time it must be recognized that there may be occasions when the level of operational risk demands that the President keep his own counsel.

Recommendation. While I am prepared to meet with you to remind you of the circumstances involved in the two activities and to make a determination on whether the IOB can now be briefed, it is my strong opinion that both activities remain extremely sensitive and that further disclosure would be inappropriate at this time.

I propose that in the future when you direct restricted access to intelligence activity that a determination be made on IOB access.

2. The second IOB concern centers on unimplemented Executive Order 12036 procedures. It is well-founded and comes as a result of our prodding. Of the eleven procedures, eight have been implemented and the remaining three—electronic surveillance, FI collection in the U.S., and CI in the U.S.—have been awaiting Justice Department approval since December 1979.

3. Finally, the IOB infers that some agencies perceive your support for oversight within the Executive Branch as decreased. This is based upon the Administration’s current effort to remove unwarranted restraints on intelligence activities. The inference is unfounded.

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On the contrary, the Administration’s ability to foster relief and a reduction of reporting constraints is now confidently pursued in large part because of the success of the internal Executive Branch oversight system. Intelligence oversight has not, to the best of my knowledge, nor should be, relaxed if we hope to function effectively.

Stansfield Turner3
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Box 98, Intelligence (IOB & NFIB Issues), 1978–1980. Secret.
  2. See Document 104.
  3. Turner signed “Stan Turner” above this typed signature.