from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 55
June 15, 2004


The Director of Central Intelligence was furious.

"I am just about ready to tell the Secretary of Defense and the President they can... shove it," he said.

"I think the thing I should do is call up the President and tell him to get a new Director of Central Intelligence, that the bureaucrats in the Pentagon are trying to screw things so that nobody can run the intelligence business."

Was that George Tenet in 2004? No, it was John McCone, Director of Central Intelligence in 1964. This particular complaint concerned the conflict over control of the National Reconnaissance Office, a Pentagon intelligence agency.

DCI McCone's statements were transcribed and published in a new volume of the State Department's Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series which includes significant new documentation on the organization of the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy in the 1960s.

Among other things, the new documents address the establishment in 1964 of the President's Daily Brief; the challenge of coordinating the intelligence community; the struggle over the NRO; approval of covert action abroad; and the Ramparts magazine exposé of 1967.

Much of the material has a familiar ring that resonates with current controversies. Thus, one document is entitled "Discussion of Adequacy of DCI Authority to Coordinate the US Intelligence Effort." The volume editors note: "McCone vigorously opposed the solution of detaching the DCI from CIA and locating him closer to the President; the DCI could not function, he asserted, if separated from the many CIA specialists with whom he conferred regularly."

Some of the material has been frivolously censored by the CIA, with the acquiescence of the State Department Historian's Office. Thus, one DCI memo from 1964 reads, "I told him our budget was about [deleted] and said we had about [deleted] employees."

Contrary to the preface by State Department Historian Marc Susser, this deletion of 40 year old budget figures cannot plausibly be justified by "the need to protect intelligence sources and methods when disclosure will clearly and demonstrably damage the national interests of the United States."

The full text of the new FRUS volume, "Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations," is available here (the McCone eruption quoted above appears in document 190):


The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has published a newly updated edition of its handbook "How to Use the Federal FOI Act."

The publication offers "step-by-step guidance for requesters along with a short course on the exemptions to the FOI Act will help them to frame their initial requests to agencies and to write appeals of denials. The book offers advice on how to obtain expedited review and suggestions for overcoming other problems." See:


The Chinese government's detention of Dr. Jiang Yanyong, the physician who successfully challenged the official coverup of the scale of the SARS epidemic in China last year, is drawing international attention and concern.

"When a courageous doctor points out the Chinese government's abusive practices, he should be honored," said Sam Zarifi, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division. "Instead, the government has detained Dr. Jiang and held him incommunicado."

See this Human Rights Watch alert:

Dr. Jiang Yanyong was profiled last year in Time Magazine here:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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