69. Memorandum From Paul Henze of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezisnki)1


  • Better Political Intelligence—Memorandum for Stan Turner

As you requested, I have prepared a memorandum from you to Turner (TAB A) incorporating the most important ideas that have emerged from recent discussion of how to improve political intelligence production. His correspondence to you is at TAB B.2

The main thrust of the memorandum is directed at the DDO, but it has important implications for the analytical side of CIA as well. Talk about improving analysis has so far meant much more quantity but not much improvement in quality. Too much of the paper which pours out from the Agency (and from other parts of the Intelligence Community as well) is not much better than average graduate-school seminar material. It is too wordy. The policy makers it is intended to serve can’t possibly find time to read most of it. The Agency has the capacity to do better, but I have the impression that Professor Bowie has not yet really tried to grasp what you have been saying about this problem.

The main problem with the DDO is that the personnel-cutting process has been so mishandled by Turner that the directorate is in danger of losing its sense of drive and creativity. The improvements you want in political reporting can help restore a clear sense of purpose and importance to the DDO, but there also needs to be some mitigation of the vindictive atmosphere which now prevails in the directorate.

There is a danger that the whole subject of improving political intelligence reporting and analysis could get sidetracked. For this reason, I included in the attached memorandum requests for three specific kinds of response from the Agency:

(a) reviews of reporting in 30 key countries,

(b) a list of countries where ambassadorial or other restrictions inhibit or prevent expansion of reporting, and

(c) questions on the “hard target” area.

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In putting this memorandum together I drew on Sam’s report on last Friday’s PRC meeting, too.3

There remains the question of what State is or might be doing to improve reporting performance of embassies. Do you want me to draft a memorandum from you to Vance on this subject?4

  1. Source: National Security Council, Carter Intelligence Files, Political Intelligence and Analysis—Reporting, Nov–Dec 1977. Secret. Outside System. Sent for action.
  2. Tabs A and B are attached but not printed.
  3. Hoskinson’s report on the PRC meeting on Friday, November 25, was not found, but see Document 67.
  4. Beneath the final paragraph, Inderfurth wrote, “A very good suggestion. State should be encouraged (prodded) to improve its political + economic reporting. Rick.” An unknown hand added, “ZB—YES. Hal Saunders needs help.”