30. Letter From the Chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Board (Murphy) to President Carter1

Dear Mr. President:

The Intelligence Oversight Board wishes to bring to your attention, and to the attention of the Attorney General, a practice which, the Board believes, raises serious questions of legality and propriety. The practice involves both the dissemination, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the retention, by other intelligence agencies, of information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons.

The FBI, pursuant to guidelines issued by Attorney General Levi on May 28, 1976,2 conducts foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence operations which electronically intercept, within the United States, the telephonic communications of certain governments, organizations and individuals. In the course of conducting electronic surveillance targeted on non-U.S. persons the communications of U.S. persons are, frequently, incidentally acquired. Certain of these incidentally acquired communications are, in turn, disseminated to other agencies of the government.

The Intelligence Oversight Board has reviewed a number of the communications which have been disseminated. The Board believes that at least some of the material can not reasonably be said to constitute foreign intelligence information and, accordingly, it should not be dis[Page 117]seminated by the FBI nor should it be retained by other intelligence agencies.

Enclosed for your consideration is an internal IOB memorandum3 which discusses this matter in greater detail.


Robert D. Murphy
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 29, Intelligence Oversight Board, 3–12/77. Secret. The original is attached to a covering memorandum from Joe Dennin to Brzezinski, February 26.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found attached.