Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Press Allegations re: Use of Agency Polygraph

9 May 1973

MEMORANDUM FOR: Deputy Director for Management & Services

1. This memorandum is for your information only and confirms a report I made to you by telephone earlier today.

2. On 22 July 1971, an article was carried on American proposals relative to the SALT talks in The New York Times over the by-line of William Beecher. It was devastatingly accurate and contained direct quotes from a Presidential advisory memorandum the White House had sent to Mr. Gerard Smith, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, a few days earlier. The President was alleged to be furious with this unauthorized disclosure of classified information and directed a sweeping investigation within the United States Government to determine the source of the disclosure. Investigation was conducted under the direction of Mr. Egil Krogh and Mr. David Young, Staff Assistants to Mr. John Ehrlichman, Counsel to the President for Domestic Affairs.

3. On the basis of investigations conducted by State Security and Defense officials, four individuals--one individual in the Department of Defense and three individuals in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency--were tabbed as leading suspects. Mr. Egil Krogh contacted me on 26 July 1971 and requested that we arrange to polygraph the three suspects in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and volunteered the information that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be asked to polygraph the one suspect in the Department of Defense.

4. I informed Mr. Krogh that from time to time in matters involving the national security the Agency had detailed to Mr. G. Marvin Gentile, Director of State Security, a polygraph operator and a polygraph machine for his use in polygraphing State Department employees who were recipients of allegations concerning their loyalty. I emphasized that this procedure had the Director's approval and that State clearly understood that the examination was their total responsibility. I further informed him that this was the only way we could undertake to entertain his request and that even then it would require the specific approval of the Director. Mr. Krogh asked me to obtain such approval and work out such arrangements with Mr. Gentile.

5. Later that same day, Mr. Krogh called Mr. Gentile and inquired as to whether the arrangements had been made. Mr. Gentile indicated they had and suggested that the same polygraph operator be used to examine the Defense suspect. Mr. Krogh informed Mr. Gentile that he considered this an excellent idea and that he would instruct Defense officials to make their man available to Mr. Gentile for a polygraph examination.

6. The four individuals were [...] The polygraph examinations resulted in clearing the four men and the results of the examinations were forwarded over my signature to Mr. Gentile on 29 July 1971. A copy of my covering memorandum is attached.

7. Mr. Murrey Marder, a staff writer for The Washington Post, in an article dated 3 September 1971, stated that a State Department spokesman had acknowledged at a news briefing that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had polygraphed State Department employees suspected of leaking information on the SALT talks in July. Mr. John Edgar Hoover, then Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, denied this allegation in a letter to The Washington Post and said that the polygraph examinations had been conducted by another agency. Speculation centered around the Agency, but after a day or so, press speculation in this regard died away.

8. Mr. Marder apparently has never been satisfied and has been pressing Mr. Charles Bray, State Department spokesman, for confirmation of Agency involvement. Mr. Bray learned today that Mr. Marder plans to use a press conference to be held at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon to press this point further. Mr. Bray has been given guidance by Mr. Gentile to avoid confirmation but if this is impossible he will indicate the examinations were conducted by State Department Security officials utilizing an operator and a machine detailed to the Department for this purpose. I do not know whether or not the fact that the government-wide investigation was directed by Mr. Egil Krogh is known to Mr. Marder but I suspect that it is and that this is the reason why the matter has been raised again. Mr. David Young was instrumental in pushing my office to conduct an internal Agency investigation of this disclosure and the White House was satisfied that no Agency employee was the source.

Howard J. Osborn
Director of Security

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