76. Editorial Note

On January 24, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12036 on United States Intelligence Activities. On that day, Carter wrote in his diary, “I finally signed the executive order for the intelligence community and expressed my confidence in Stan Turner. It was a major step in the right direction. Now we have to con[Page 360]strain the congressional committees from passing an overly restrictive intelligence charter.” (Carter, White House Diary, page 165) The executive order was intended to serve as an interim measure in intelligence reorganization, with the end goal of legislated intelligence reform.

Carter had advocated for intelligence community reform from the beginning of his administration. He wrote in his diary: “One of my early goals was to reorganize completely the confused intelligence community. Responsibilities were fragmented among many agencies, each one jealously guarding its independence and prerogatives. The situation in Congress—which had multiple committees correlating with the agencies—was no better. I used my executive authority to put Stan [Turner] in ultimate control of all the agencies and to merge many of them, but congressional action was needed to consummate the process.” (Ibid., page 32)

For the text of the executive order, see Public Papers: Carter, 1978, Book I, pages 194–214. For the text of the President’s public statement issued the same day summarizing the most important features of the executive order, see ibid., pages 214–216.