39. Memorandum From the Special Assistant to the Deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community ([name not declassified]) to the Deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community (Murphy)1


  • SSCI 25 April Draft of “Intelligence Reorganization Act of 1977”2

1. Reference is the latest draft of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence proposed legislation, “Intelligence Reorganization Act of 1977,” copy of which was provided by Bill Miller on 26 April. This is a revision of the 29 March draft earlier provided.3

2. Bill Miller’s note was marked: “For your information. This is the latest draft. More to come.”

3. This memorandum has been prepared for your background use in discussions relating to the bill. At Tab A is a comparison of the roles and duties of the senior U.S. intelligence officer as set out for the “Director of National Intelligence” (DNI) in the SSCI draft bill, and for the DCI in E.O. 11905. The SSCI bill would give the DNI much more authority than the DCI now has. At Tab B is a brief discussion of each section of the SSCI bill, indicating where problems are identified.4

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4. While various aspects of the bill are highly debatable, there is only one aspect that I consider essentially unworkable, and that is the responsibility assigned to the DNI for departmental, tactical and intelligence-related activities as well as national intelligence activities.

a. The DNI is charged, for instance, to review all ongoing and proposed tactical, departmental and intelligence-related activities to “assure” that they are “properly and effectively directed, regulated, coordinated and administered,” that they provide needed information, that they are not illegal or improper, and that they do not “adversely affect the national security, national defense, or foreign relations of the United States.”

b. It can be expected that execution of these responsibilities would pose severe jurisdictional problems with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense and their supporters in Congress.

5. Other provisions of the draft bill that raise the likelihood of overlap or conflict between DNI and JCS/SECDEF authorities or interests are these:

a. The DNI shall review all national, departmental, tactical and intelligence-related activities of the U.S. and make recommendations to the President, the National Security Council and the Congress regarding their “most effective relationships.”

b. The DNI shall provide “guidance and direction” to the head of each IC entity to ensure the activities of each entity are “effectively and efficiently managed” and in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the U.S.

c. The DNI shall not only prepare the annual budget for all national intelligence activities, but also review and approve or disapprove all proposed reprogramming or fund transfer to or from any IC entity.

d. The DNI shall be responsible for security of U.S. communications. (COMSEC has not heretofore been an intelligence responsibility.)

e. The DNI shall have authority to terminate the employment of personnel of NSA and the special offices for reconnaissance, as well as CIA personnel.

6. Comment can be made on the bill without addressing whether or not the DNI also should head the CIA. By inference, the SSCI intends that the DNI be separated from CIA since the draft bill contains no reference to a particular relationship with CIA. If the phrase, “Act as operating head of the CIA” were added to the list of DNI duties in Sec. 106 no other amendment of the draft bill would be required to accommodate this change.

a. If the DNI is not the operating head of the CIA, staffing to execute his responsibilities could cause a partial dismantling of the Agency since the DNI is charged to “receive, correlate, analyze and [Page 162] evaluate all national intelligence and be responsible for the production of all national intelligence” and to “produce” NIEs and SNIEs. As part of his responsibility for national intelligence, a DNI separate from the CIA would require his own current intelligence/indications and warning staff.

7. One aspect of the bill which may pose considerable problem to the Administration is that the legislation would put the legislative branch on virtually a co-equal basis with the Executive branch in terms of the substantive intelligence and reports to be provided by the DNI.

8. The definitions of “national” and “departmental” intelligence continue to be troublesome since the differentiation is made on the basis of “primary use” which fails to recognize that the same information can be important at national, departmental and tactical levels.

9. The SSCI is progressively tightening the criteria for approval of covert actions. The present standard used by the OAG is that proposed CA be “important” to the national security. The 29 March SSCI bill enjoined the President from approving any special activity unless it was “necessary because of a grave threat to the national security.” The 25 April draft would require that a proposed special activity be “essential to the national security.”

10. The 25 April draft to which these comments and Tabs A and B apply is not even a complete Title I of the bill. Section 117, “Prohibitions on Particular Forms of Special Activities,” has not yet been provided. Preliminary drafts of Title II, which will include charters for the various national intelligence agencies, are expected to be made available rather soon.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 80M00165A: Executive Registry Subject Files, Box 6, Folder 15: C–38.2: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). No classification marking.
  2. A summary of the April 25 draft is ibid.
  3. Not found. See footnote 5, Document 38.
  4. Tab A, “Authorities and Duties of the Senior U.S. Intelligence Officer,” is attached but not printed. Tab B, a review of the draft bill, is attached but not printed.