106. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1


  • Intelligence Oversight Board (U)

Pursuant to your note,2 I have contacted the DCI with regard to Tom Farmer’s memo of March 13 (Tab A).3 The DCI’s reactions to that memorandum are attached at Tab B. (C)4

I support the DCI’s position on all major issues:

—While the IOB’s concerns are understandable, I believe that the DCI should be able to take directly to you particularly sensitive questions of legality or propriety, and that your decisions on the further disposition of such issues should be final. It is important not to have the IOB stand between you and the DCI on highly sensitive matters and your prerogative to resolve such issues in any way you choose should not be impaired.

—The IOB refers to “incomplete implementation of EO 12036 procedures.” Three procedures, raising some difficult substantive problems, [Page 456] have been awaiting final clearance from the Attorney General’s office for some time. The IOB paper stresses, perhaps overly so, the negative impacts of not having had three procedures formally promulgated. The Attorney General’s office indicates that quick action will be taken on the procedures.5

—I support the DCI’s contention that progress with Congress in modifying reporting procedures for the intelligence community does not imply the need for an intensification of the IOB’s role. Executive Branch Oversight is not directly influenced by anything that may or may not be done by Congress. The IOB apparently wishes to expand its oversight functions. There is no need for this, present executive branch oversight systems, including the IOB, are working well. (S)


1. That you meet with the DCI to review the two cases at issue.


2. That the IOB be briefed or not briefed on these cases, depending on your review.

APPROVE _______7 DISAPPROVE _______

3. That IOB be informed that your decision on such matters is final, but that they have been and will continue to be, fully informed of all but the most exceptional cases which you will adjudicate, often with the aid of the Attorney General.8

4. That the Attorney General be instructed to promulgate the unimplemented procedures immediately.

APPROVE _______ DISAPPROVE _______

5. That you tell the IOB that Executive Branch oversight systems, including the IOB, are working well, and need not be modified in reaction to what Congress may, or may not, do.

APPROVE _______9 DISAPPROVE _______

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Box 98, Intelligence (IOB & NFIB Issues), 1978–1980. Secret. Sent for action. Carter wrote at the top of the memorandum, “Zbig. J.”
  2. See footnote 1, Document 104.
  3. Not attached, but printed as Document 104.
  4. Not attached, but printed as Document 105.
  5. Adjacent to this paragraph, Carter wrote a notation for Brzezinski, “Tell Ben [Civiletti] I want this done this week—by 3/28/80.”
  6. Carter checked the “APPROVE” line. Adjacent to this recommendation, Carter wrote, “at next regular meeting w/ Stan.”
  7. Carter checked the “APPROVE” line.
  8. Carter wrote “ok” under recommendation 3.
  9. Carter checked the “APPROVE” line under recommendations 4 and 5.