Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CIA's Domestic Activities



THROUGH: The Executive Director-Comptroller

SUBJECT: CIA's Domestic Activities

REFERENCE: MAG Memorandum, "CIA's Domestic Activities," March 1971

1. MAG is seriously concerned about possible repercussions which may arise as the result of CIA's covert domestic activities. Public revelation that CIA has become involved in collecting information on U.S. citizens would likely redound to the Agency's discredit and jeopardize overall Agency programs.

2. MAG first expressed its concern about CIA's covert domestic activities in a memo for the DCI, transmitted through the Executive Director-Comptroller in the Spring of 1971 (Attachment A). MAG's concern has increased recently because of such articles as Vic Marchetti's UPI interview (Attachment B) and the 10 October New York Times article concerning rupture of FBI-CIA relations (Attachment C). Both hint at extremely sensitive Agency involvement in domestic activities. Additionally, the DCI addresses to the American Society of Newspaper Editors (Attachment D) and to the CIA Annual Awards ceremony (Attachment E) make rather categorical denials of Agency covert targeting on U.S. citizens. Agency employees aware of the various sensitive operations in question know that there is qualifying language explaining CIA involvement. However, MAG believes that in the event of an expose, such esoteric qualifiers will be lost on the American public and that there is probably nothing the Agency could say to alleviate a negative reaction from Congress and the U.S. public. It is MAG's fear that such a negative reaction could seriously damage our Congressional relations, effect our work against priority foreign targets and have significant impact on the viability of CIA.

3. There are indications that the Agency, in responding to CE/CI requirements, is collecting information on selected U.S. citizens both at home and abroad. In operational areas which are highly sensitive and potentially explosive (e.g., domestic radical or racial groups) this Agency must carefully weigh the needs and pressures for collecting and maintaining this information against the risk and impact of revelation should the operation become compromised or public knowledge. We therefore urge that all domestic collection and action programs be severely reviewed so that only those be continued which are of the highest priority and which absolutely cannot be undertaken by domestic agencies. CIA should not take on requirements of this type by default.

4. Not all of the members of MAG are privy to CIA's direct or indirect involvement in domestic activities. Those who are aware probably know only parts of the whole picture. But our increasing concern and our intense interest in maximizing the Agency's ability to do its proper job, impel us to bring our serious apprehensions to your attention.


No comments: