Studies in Intelligence: New Articles from The CIA’s In-House Journal

4 JUne 2013 — National Security Archive

Unofficial Intelligence Community Views on Assassinations, James Angleton’s ‘Monster Plot,’ Agent Protection, and More

Articles Released via Freedom of Information Act

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 431

Posted — June 4, 2013

Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson

For more information contact:
Jeffrey T. Richelson 202/994-7000 or

Washington, D.C., June 4, 2013 — The Presidential ban against CIA assassinations of foreign leaders, first enacted in 1976, reflected both moral and practical reasons — including concerns about retaliation against U.S. leaders — according to an article in the CIA’s in-house journal posted today by the National Security Archive. However, the U.S. government never spelled out the exact scope of the prohibition — at least by the time the article was written 20 years later — leaving U.S. presidents free to authorize the CIA to encourage foreign coups and engage in other operations “that endanger the lives of others,” according to the article.

First printed in the journal Studies in Intelligence in 1996, the piece was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. It is one of 19 previously unreleased (including secret) journal items posted on the Web today for the first time, providing remarkable new details from insider perspectives, including:

  • A proposal for a far more draconian version of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act – including secret courts for intelligence officers accused of violating that law and criminalizing any revelation or purported revelation of a covert intelligence officer’s identity.
  • A description of how President Kennedy ordered Director of Central Intelligence John McCone to halt his effort to launch a second investigation of the actions of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers — who had been shot down during a May 1, 1960 overflight of the Soviet Union.
  • An account of how CIA and Army intelligence analyses in the late 1970s indicated that the U.S. had significantly underestimated North Korean military strength — and derailed President Carter’s plan to withdraw U.S. ground forces from South Korea.
  • A description of the evolution of the CIA’s role in counterterrorism — with the Directorate of Operations initially being the primary component dealing with terrorist issues, and the Directorate of Intelligence eventually emerging in a leading role.
  • A 2004 interview with current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan.
  • Archive Senior Fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson, who obtained the materials and authored the accompanying essay, commented: “Written by intelligence professionals, these articles are a window through which to glean new information and perspectives on the U.S. Intelligence Community, past and present.”

The CIA began publishing Studies in Intelligence in 1955 to help build an understanding within the agency of the intelligence profession based on the insights and recollections of practitioners. The items in today’s posting fall into a number of categories — legal issues, intelligence analysis, CIA-NSA relations, counterintelligence, interviews, intelligence support and liaison, and odds & ends.

Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive website –

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Unredacted, the Archive blog –
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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