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Full-text: July 25 1973 hearing (pp. 119-186)
CIA/DoD Phoenix Program:
Targeting non-combatants (civilians)
Imprisoning and terrorizing political opponents
CIA and Watergate
Covert action

CIS: 73 S201-27 SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3

Nomination of William E. Colby










July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, and 25, 1973


Printed for the use of the Committee on Armed Services

GPO mark

99-275 WASHINGTON : 1973



John C. Stennis, Mississippi, Chairman

Stuart Symington, MissouriStrom Thurmond, South Carolina
Henry M. Jackson, WashingtonJohn Tower, Texas
Sam J. Ervin, Jr., North CarolinaPeter H. Dominick, Colorado
Howard W. Cannon, NevadaBarry Goldwater, Arizona
Thomas J. McIntyre, New HampshireWilliam Saxbe, Ohio
Harry F. Byrd, Jr., VirginiaWilliam L. Scott, Virginia
Harold E. Hughes, Iowa
Sam Nunn, Georgia

T. Edward Braswell, Jr., Chief Counsel and Staff Director

John T. Ticer, Chief Clerk





William E. Colby, to be Director of Central Intelligence 2, 119
Robert F. Drinan, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 31
Samuel A. Adams 55, 71
Paul Sakwa 84
David Sheridan Harrington 95
Kenneth Barton Osborn 101


{July 25 1973 hearing, pages 119-186}



Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence


Wednesday, July 25, 1973

United States Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Washington, D.C.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:30 p.m. in room 212, Richard B. Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. Stuart Symington (acting chairman).

Present: Senators Symington (presiding), Hughes, Nunn, Thurmond, Dominick, and Goldwater.

Also present: T. Edward Braswell, Jr., chief counsel and staff director; R. James Woolsey, general counsel; John A. Goldsmith and Edward B. Kenney, professional staff members; Nancy J. Bearg, research assistant; and Katherine Nelson, assistant to Senator Symington.

Senator Stuart Symington. The committee resumes its consideration this afternoon in executive session of the nomination of Mr. William E. Colby to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Senator Kennedy has requested to ask Mr. Colby some questions. And it was discussed and agreed to this morning in the committee meeting that the committee will waive the 10-minute rule, and will allow Senator Kennedy to proceed a reasonable additional time.

Following his departure, the committee will proceed in the normal way to examine Mr. Colby.

Mr. Colby, will you raise your right hand, please?

Do you swear the testimony you give this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Testimony of
William Egan Colby, Nominee to be Director of Central Intelligence

Mr. Colby. I do.

Senator Symington. Senator Kennedy, will you proceed.

Senator Edward Kennedy. First of all, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to express my very deep sense of appreciation for permitting me to inquire into two areas of my interest, and hopefully they will be of interest to the members of this committee and also to the Senate.

I want to express a very warm sense of appreciation to Mr. Colby, who has been kind enough to visit with me in my office in response to some of the particular areas that I was concerned with. And I want to again express thanks to the members of the committee for permitting me to ask these questions. {p.120}

I know there is a time problem. There are two principal areas that I would like to develop if I could, Mr. Colby, I then to the extent that the time constraints apply, I would like to ask if we could have some written response to some of these questions. And I understand the committee wants to move ahead. But I hope that we would be able to get some response before at least perhaps this committee considered it, or certainly before the Senate.

I would like to, if I could, at the start, go into the area of the contacts that you had that involved the particular Watergate affair, if we could, and then move to the Phoenix program.

I would like initially if you could just tell us a little bit about your service out in Vietnam in the State Department; is that correct, as a matter of fact?

Mr. Colby. When I was in Vietnam, I was assigned to the State Department. When I came home from Vietnam on the 1st of July 1971, I stayed on the State Department rolls technically until some time in September or October. But I actually went to work at CIA on September 7, the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Senator Symington. What year?

Mr. Colby. 1971.

Senator Kennedy. Did you have any knowledge of Howard Hunt’s visit to the Department of State in September 1971?

Mr. Colby. To the CIA?

Senator Kennedy. I was thinking in regard to the State Department.

Mr. Colby. Hunt’s visit to the State Department?

Senator Kennedy. In 1971. This was involved in the allegation and the charges of the changing or forgery of the various State Department cables. Do you know anything about that whatsoever?

Mr. Colby. No. I did not.

Senator Kennedy. Could you tell us how you got the job as the Executive Director to Mr. Helms?

Mr. Colby. During the spring of 1971, I was on home leave at one point, and Mr. Helms asked me whether I wanted to come back to the Agency after my Vietnam service. He stated that if I came, he would like to have me take the job of Executive Director.

I answered him a few days later and said I would with great pleasure.

Senator Kennedy. Did you talk to anyone in the White House about this assignment?

Mr. Colby. I do not believe so.

Senator Kennedy. Did you talk to Mr. Ehrlichman about it?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. Did you talk to the President about it?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. There are three different documents, or three different occasions which relate to the Watergate affair — and I will direct your attention to these particular dates and expand on the factual situation if you like — in which I understand there has been no record of these various meetings or conversations.

I would like to know if that is because no record was kept, or has been misplaced, or has not been made available. One is the November 16 meeting that you had with Mr. Ehrlichman. {p.121}

Mr. Colby. Mr. Helms suggested that I might go down and have lunch with Mr. Ehrlichman and talk a little bit about Vietnam, and my experience there and what I did there.

I did that, I talked about Vietnam.

The second subject that came up was the problem of crime in the United States, and the need of citizens for protection, and so forth. I commended the example of the participation of the Vietnamese in their own protection, noting that, of course, in America you do not think of arming our people to defend themselves in their homes and streets but, rather, as has been done in some communities, organizing the youth to escort the lady from the bus back to her apartment, and things like that.

The third thing that we discussed was the problem of declassification of various documents, classified documents after they become dated. This was in the light of some consideration being given at that time to accelerating the declassification of a lot of documents in the Government, which eventually ended up in the President’s Executive order.

On this topic, I made a suggestion which was later incorporated in a letter from Mr. Helms to Mr. Ehrlichman. It was that while we have some very sensitive material in the intelligence area, it seemed to me that it might be possible to generalize an account of what actually happened, and declassify that general account, leaving the original documents and the identification of the agents, and things like that still classified. This would respond to the quite proper requirement that the public be informed about some events in the past, but at the same time protect intelligence sources.

That letter I could provide if the committee wishes it.

Senator Kennedy. Was there a record of the meeting at that time, was there ever a record kept of your meeting?

Mr. Colby. I cannot remember whether there was a record or not, or whether it was just written up in a letter. If there is a record, it would be somewhere in my own files, and I would be very happy to provide it. I will certainly look for it. I rather think there was not, and that I just incorporated it into the letter.

Senator Symington. If you have a record, will you supply it to the committee?

(See p. 168.)

And Senator Kennedy, we will see that you get a copy of it immediately.

Mr. Colby. I will.

Senator Kennedy. As I understand, you were charged with the general responsibility by Mr. Helms for the Watergate investigation, were you not?

Mr. Colby. I was sort of the chief of staff, drawing the staff together to produce the papers and take the actions appropriate at the time, after June 1972, in the Watergate affairs.

Senator Kennedy. What happened when the FBI agent tried to talk to CIA employees? Can you tell your reactions about that?

Mr. Colby. I think at that time we received a lot of quite natural questions from the working levels of the FBI, asking about the background of various individuals in the case. A number of these were sent back in written form by our Director of Security to the working levels of the FBI. {p.122}

Shortly after the event itself — and I cannot think of the exact date — it came to my attention and to Mr. Helms’ attention that we had indeed given Mr. Hunt that assistance during 1971. And at that time our feeling was — and Mr. Helms and I shared it — that we were convinced in our investigations that we had nothing to do with the Watergate affair itself, but that it was highly dangerous from a publicity sense to get the idea abroad that CIA was somehow involved in the Watergate affair.

Consequently, we were trying to keep CIA’s name out of the publicity, but to respond to the proper authorities who had responsibility for investigating, and so forth.

With that frame of mind, we drew up a report of the various activities involved in this incident in 1971, the Howard Hunt business, and provided those at the top level to Mr. Gray.

Senator Kennedy. You were aware at that time of the request for cooperation from Mr. Hunt and then Mr. Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. About that time, because about that time we found the transcript, I believe, of a recording that was made of the conversation between Mr. Hunt and General Cushman. In that recording, as I think the record shows, Mr. Hunt said at one point, Mr. Ehrlichman called you, did he not, or some words such as that.

General Cushman replied, yes, he did.

It was on that basis that we believed it was Mr. Ehrlichman that had originated the request. It was not, quite frankly, until about May of this year that we discovered an item in our journal which indicated that that phone call had been made on July 7, 1971.

Senator Kennedy. But again, as far as the cooperation with the FBI, were the CIA employees made available to the FBI?

Mr. Colby. We said to Mr. Gray that we would be very happy to supply anything he needed at that level, but we requested that he call off the probes and contact at the lower level. Our concern was a matter of leakage of a misunderstanding of CIA involvement in the Watergate. And it did so happen that several of the documents that we gave to the working level of the FBI did result — I think result is the word — in a phone call to us from a couple of newsmen later on asking us rather direct questions about some of the remarks made in those reports.

So that our feeling was that this subject, which could so easily be misunderstood, should be handled at the top level, and then called off at the bottom level.

I believe that the FBI asked to interview two of our officers, I have forgotten the names right now, but two of them. And Mr. Helms asked Mr. Gray if we could provide the information that they would have. But there was not a refusal, there was a request to handle them in that fashion.

Senator Kennedy. Now, as I understand it, you were in charge of the investigation, and this was your decision?

Mr. Colby. I think, to be very specific about it, the decision to have the two officers not respond to the FBI request was Mr. Helms’ decision. The basic philosophy of keeping the CIA out of the misunderstanding of being involved and consequently handling the material through the top level of the FBI and the Justice Department was a {p.123} decision in which I shared. It was obviously Mr. Helms’ decision, because he was in charge.

But I certainly would not say that I disagreed with him.

Senator Kennedy. Now, at some time Mr. Silbert asked for the detailed questions on November 27, and a detailed reply was prepared by the CIA on December 13, but it was not sent. I understand that Mr. Helms directed you to meet with Cushman to discuss Cushman’s involvement with Howard Hunt. And as I understand further—

Mr. Colby. I think you have your sequence there a little wrong.

Senator Kennedy. Did you have a conversation with General Cushman that confirmed that Ehrlichman was the man who contacted the CIA about this time, in response to the request of Mr. Silbert?

Mr. Colby. We prepared a similar package to what had been given to the FBI for the Attorney General and the Department of Justice. This was given to him, it passed through Mr. Peterson and Mr. Silbert. Mr. Silbert then had some further questions, and we prepared the answers to these.

In the discussion with Mr. Silbert I had said that Mr. Ehrlichman had been the originator of the request to General Cushman.

Sometime later Mr. Helms and I went to see Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Dean. Mr. Ehrlichman was quite quizzical about how his name could have been used, because he said that he did not remember the phone call.

I told him about the phone call, and that it was General Cushman’s memory that we were operating on as to whether the phone call actually took place. And I have said that really the question was one between him and General Cushman. I suggested that he got together with General Cushman and straighten it out.

He asked if I would call General Cushman and ask him if he could get in touch with him. I did. General Cushman called me and asked me to show him what I knew about it.

I went and first told him this story. Then General Cushman said he remembered a phone call, he was not quite sure who had been at the other end of the phone call, he knew it was from the White House, it was either Ehrlichman or Colson or Dean, at which point I showed him the transcript of the conversation between him and Mr. Hunt.

He said yes, I guess that was Mr. Ehrlichman.

He then used my current secretary, who was his secretary at the time, to type up the memorandum to Mr. Ehrlichman.

That was what I talked to General Cushman about.

Senator Kennedy. I would like to break that apart. Is that the first memorandum — let’s go back—

Mr. Colby. There were two memorandums by General Cushman.

Senator Kennedy. If you could just respond to the precise question, it would be a good deal clearer for me as establishing a series of events.

As I understand, after the Silbert meeting in the Justice Department — you had a meeting with Mr. Silbert in which Mr. Silbert pressed you, I think were the words you used in your own memorandum, for the name of the White House contact. You had supplied the words “White House contact,” or words to that effect, in an earlier memorandum provided to Silbert in describing the contact. {p.124}

Mr. Colby. A memorandum provided to the Attorney General which Mr. Silbert saw.

Senator Kennedy. Which Silbert saw — in which you stated, I think, in a note to Mr. Helms, that you thought this would satisfy the FBI. or words to that effect. I think those words, or words to that effect, are in the materials that have been supplied.

Even at this time you knew, Mr. Colby, that it was Mr. Ehrlichman who was from the White House. So as I understand the sequence, Mr. Silbert asked for the information, and in your response you just indicated that the request had come from an extra-agency official, even though you knew it was Mr. Ehrlichman.

Mr. Colby. I thought it was Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. You thought it was Mr. Ehrlichman.

Now later, sometime later, you had a meeting over in the Justice Department with Mr. Silbert, who continually apprised the CIA in its investigation, as I understand—

Mr. Colby. I saw Mr. Silbert once, yes.

Senator Kennedy. As I would interpret the circumstances at the time, in the preparation of its case and anticipating what defense Mr. Hunt may have. Mr. Silbert pressed ahead.

You at some time had a meeting over in the Justice Department. And as I understand from the materials that have been provided, in your own description of this meeting which you had related to Mr. Ehrlichman, you used the words “I danced around to avoid mentioning Mr. Ehrlichman’s name to Mr. Silbert.”

Are you familiar with that, sir?

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir.

Senator Kennedy. Why did you feel that you had to dance around with Mr. Silbert. who was charged with the responsibility to find this information out?

I believe that you used the words you had to dance around. What was your reluctance when you knew that Ehrlichman had made the contact initially with the CIA about providing the material, and was also the person who obviously Silbert was trying to find out about, what reluctance did you feel and why did you feel that, and why did you feel that you had to use those words to Mr. Ehrlichman, whom you later talked to, about dancing around to avoid bringing up the name?

Would you tell us about that?

Mr. Colby. The reason I went to see Mr. Silbert was that the Justice Department and the Attorney General had said that in the preparation of the case against Howard Hunt and the other Watergate burglars, they were concerned that the defense might raise the issue that somehow CIA was involved, and therefore the prosecution would not be able to go ahead with the case, because CIA would not testify.

Therefore, the prosecution wanted to be informed of the reality of any allegations of CIA involvement. I believe our responsibility was to demonstrate to him at that time the limited nature of the CIA’s involvement with Mr. Hunt, and the fact that whatever activity we had with Mr. Hunt was an authorized activity. And it was for that reason that we told Mr. Silbert and the FBI previously what the assistance had been, and that our giving assistance had been duly authorized. {p.125}

Now, we were concerned at a public misunderstanding of CIA involvement in Watergate, and consequently, there was a reluctance to drop somewhat inflammatory names into the kind of atmosphere that was around us at that time.

For that reason I felt, and I think I was following the general thought of the leaders in CIA at the time, that if we could respond to the legitimate requirements of Mr. Silbert as to the knowledge of CIA activity, and that it was a properly authorized activity, without getting an inflammatory name in it, it would be all right. But if we were asked the direct question, as I was asked within 5 minutes, I, of course, gave it.

Senator Kennedy. You used the words “I danced around the room several times for 10 minutes, and then was pinned by Silbert with a demand for the name.”

Mr. Colby. He asked me the name directly, and I gave it to him.

Senator Kennedy. That was your description, your reluctance?

Mr. Colby. My description, my reluctance, yes. And in the course of it I referred to the fact that we were duly authorized, and he asked me who was actually the authorizing authority in the White House.

Senator Kennedy. What was the name?

Mr. Colby. Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Harold E. Hughes. [presiding]. Senator Kennedy, if it is an appropriate time, we have a vote, and I think we had just as well recess and vote and come back and resume — with your permission, Mr. Colby.

We will recess until we get back.


Mr. Hughes The chairman told me to go ahead, Senator Kennedy. The committee is reconvened.

Senator Kennedy. As I understand the sequence, Mr. Colby, on November 27 you had the meeting with Silbert in the Justice Department, at which time he pressed you, and you revealed the name of Mr. Ehrlichman. And he asked for a memorandum to update the CIA’s involvement as a result of your own investigation.

That memorandum was prepared by, as I understand it, December 18, is that correct?

Mr. Colby. I think so. Approximately.

Senator Kennedy. On December 13, you had a conversation with Mr. Cushman to verify that Ehrlichman really is the extra-agency person that contacted the Agency about Hunt. And you understand from that conversation that you are reaffirmed in your belief that Ehrlichman is the man that may be contacted.

On December 15, you go to the White House; Mr. Helms and you go to the White House. And you have a conversation with Mr. Ehrlichman. Now, who initiated the meeting in the White House?

Did you request that you go to the White House, or did the White House call and ask for it?

Mr. Colby. It is my belief that Mr. Ehrlichman asked for it.

Senator Kennedy. When?

Mr. Colby. I do not know. I got the request to go from Mr. Helms.

Senator Kennedy. And you do not know when Mr. Ehrlichman called Mr. Helms and requested that they have a meeting?

Mr. Colby. It is not in my memory right now. And I am not trying to evade it. {p.126}

Senator Kennedy. Was it some time after the 27th of November?

Mr. Colby. I would guess that it was a day or two before we actually went down.

Senator Kennedy. At any time did you talk to Mr. Ehrlichman during this period of time after the 27th and before December 15?

Mr. Colby. I actually talked to Mr. Ehrlichman three times in my life; once in Vietnam, and once at the lunch that we talked about earlier, and the third time was this occasion that we are talking about.

Senator Kennedy. Did you talk to anyone in the White House after the November 27 meeting when you had indicated to Mr. Silbert that Ehrlichman was the person?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. And the time that you went to the White House on December 15?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. You did not talk to anyone?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. Did you ask anybody to call the White House in your behalf?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. But evidently out of the clear blue, Mr. Ehrlichman called, to the best of your knowledge, Mr. Helms and asked to see you and Mr. Helms?

Mr. Colby. In the context of the meeting — I do not know whether this was in the memorandum, I doubt it, because it was not all that important at the time — the impression I had from the meeting was that Mr. Ehrlichman had heard that his name had been used in my conversation with Mr. Silbert, and I was the source of using his name, and that he asked to be able to talk it out a bit to find out what this was about. And I must say that Mr. Ehrlichman in that meeting appeared genuinely perplexed, because when I pinpointed the date of the Hunt visit at July 22—

Senator Kennedy. If I could just ask you here — how did Mr. Ehrlichman hear that his name had been mentioned?

Mr. Colby. I do not know.

Senator Kennedy. It was not through you?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. To the best of your knowledge, it was not through Mr. Helms?

Mr. Colby. I do not think so.

Senator Kennedy. But the call which originated from Mr. Ehrlichman to the Department was at the request of Mr. Ehrlichman? For the December 15 meeting?

Mr. Colby. The call that originated the meeting with Mr. Ehrlichman that took place in the White House.

Senator Kennedy. Was Mr. Ehrlichman’s call to either Mr. Helms

Mr. Colby. I believe to Mr. Helms.

Senator Kennedy. And so you went to the meeting?

Mr. Colby. I went to that meeting. And I described how his name had been used.

Senator Kennedy. Could you tell us what the conversation was, to the best of your knowledge? {p.127}

Mr. Colby. As I recall, he asked what the circumstances were, how his name had come to be used in this account. And I described the way in which we had proceeded to respond to the FBI’s questions at the working level, and then when we had gotten into the sensitive relationship with Mr. Hunt, that we had gone to the level of Mr. Gray, and that then the question had come up of the involvement of the prosecutor, so that we had gone to the Attorney General, and had been passed to Mr. Peterson and Mr. Silbert. And in the conversation with Mr. Silbert I had described that I had given his name, after initially trying not to reveal it, but that I had given his name. And he seemed perplexed, because the date that I had fixed on was the 22d of July, so that we thought at that time that he might have called a day or two before, we just didn’t know.

He said that he thought that he had been out of town the previous week or so, that he didn’t see how it could have been him.

At which point I said that we really had no independent knowledge of this beyond what General Cushman had said, and that really he could perhaps solve that best by talking to General Cushman.

It wasn’t until much later that we discovered the journal item in our own records that indicated that the phone call had been made on July 7. And we didn’t know that at that time.

Senator Kennedy. So then what happened?

Mr. Colby. So at the end of the meeting we left it that as a convenience I would get in touch with General Cushman—

Senator Kennedy. Why you?

Mr. Colby. Just somebody had to go do it, I don’t know of any particular reason, frankly.

Senator Kennedy. If it is Ehrlichman who is questioning, why couldn’t he have called him; why couldn’t Cushman get it straightened out?

Mr. Colby. I don’t know. I didn’t see any particular reason for the kind of concern that exists today, and he just asked as a favor, “Would you ask him to call me,” and I said, “Sure, I will ask him to call you.”

Senator Kennedy. And so you went and spoke to Cushman?

Mr. Colby. I phoned Cushman and asked him to call Ehrlichman and tell him the circumstances of that meeting.

Senator Kennedy. Can you tell us now what the conversation was that you had with Mr. Cushman?

Mr. Colby. I just said that in that December 15 meeting, I had told Mr. Ehrlichman that our information was that he had originated the phone call, and that he didn’t remember it, and that we had said that that would be a matter best worked out between the two of them, and that we had suggested that he and Cushman get together.

Senator Kennedy. This is 2 days after you had had a conversation with Mr. Cushman when you had reaffirmed that Ehrlichman had actually made the phone call?

Mr. Colby. Remember, I am still working on General Cushman’s recollection, even though we had a record of General Cushman’s recollection, it was still General Cushman’s recollection. And so therefore the question as to who was on the two ends of that phone was something that could only be solved by General Cushman and Mr. Ehrlichman. {p.128}

Senator Kennedy. But he had had some conversation with you on the 13th which had satisfied you that Ehrlichman had been the one that had made the calls, had he not?

You had had the conversation with Cushman on the 15th—

Mr. Colby. No, I don’t think so.

Senator Kennedy. You had a meeting with Cushman before you went to the White House after the preparation of the memoranda, did you not?

Senator Hughes. When we get to an appropriate breaking place, we have another vote.

Senator Kennedy. You had a meeting with General Cushman on December 13 to discuss the White House contacts with Hunt. Silbert had asked the questions on the 27th, and the reply had been prepared of December 13. As I understand, Mr. Helms directed Colby to meet with Cushman to discuss Cushman’s involvement with Howard Hunt. And Mr. Colby and Mr. Cushman confirmed Ehrlichman as the White House official who contacted Hunt, he told Cushman that the CIA was trying to keep Cushman out of it, but the FBI was being compelled to respond to Silbert. So as I understood it you had had this converation {sic: conversation} on the 13th where at least in conversation you had been satisfied that it was Ehrlichman that made the call. Then you went to the White House—

Mr. Colby. I essentially told General Cushman that it was our information that it was Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. From where?

Mr. Colby. I don’t think I showed General Cushman a transcript until later.

Senator Kennedy. But you had independent knowledge that it was Ehrlichman—

Mr. Colby. The only knowledge that I had was the transcript.

Senator Kennedy. But you had independent knowledge that it was Ehrlichman — just the transcript?

Mr. Colby. That is the transcript, that was the only basis of our knowledge at that time.

Since that time we had the journal item.

Senator Kennedy. But the transcript led you to believe that it was Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And then Cushman reaffirmed that it was Ehrlichman.

Of course, Cushman was right ultimately.

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. So you were satisfied.

Now, you go on to the White House, you have a conversation with Ehrlichman, and he said he is fuzzed up about it. And you go back and tell Cushman to give Ehrlichman a ring and try to work it out?

Mr. Colby. But Ehrlichman does not seem to recall it, and suggests that he got together with him and refresh his memory.

Senator Kennedy. Which he did?

Mr. Colby. Which he did, yes.

Senator Kennedy. And then in his memorandum, in spite of the fact he had indicated to you earlier that it had been Ehrlichman, he mentioned three names, did he not?

Mr. Colby. Yes. {p.129}


Senator Kennedy. He mentioned Colson’s name, and Dean, and Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And all the time Silbert’s request for the information is outstanding, is it not?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. But still even when Mr. Helms said, “Ehrlichman has called and wants us over to the White House,” did you ever say to him, “Shouldn’t we get this memorandum out to Mr. Silbert?”

Mr. Colby. He knew the situation with respect to the memorandum, and he was kept very closely advised as to that.

Senator Kennedy. But since you were in charge of it, did you ever feel, shouldn’t we — did you tell Mr. Helms afterward that Ehrlichman asked you to talk to Cushman to try—

Mr. Colby. He was there at the meeting.

Senator Kennedy. But he didn’t hear your conversation with Mr. Cushman.

Mr. Colby. No, he did not. But I reported it to him when I got back.

Senator Kennedy. And did Mr. Cushman tell you of his conversation with Mr. Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. He said that he had talked to him and that he had asked him to write a memorandum. So he did.

Senator Kennedy. And what did he say?

Mr. Colby. It is a problem—

Senator Kennedy. Isn’t the point of the problem whether Ehrlichman made the call or not? And didn’t you change that?

Mr. Colby. That was a matter between Cushman and Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. You were in charge of the CIA involvement in the Watergate investigation.

Mr. Colby. The question at that point was really a matter of whether Ehrlichman or someone else had originated the authorization for CIA’s involvement.

Senator Kennedy. It was pretty important, was it not? Does the CIA usually treat facts of this importance this casually?

Mr. Colby. But this was General Cushman deciding whore he got his authority for taking the action he did, and the matter of whether he got it from Mr. Ehrlichman or someone else had best be worked out by General Cushman, so that he could tell us what his final decision on that was.

Senator Kennedy. Even if you believed as the person in charge of the overall investigation that of your own knowledge and understanding, and of your previous conversation, that Ehrlichman was the man, you weren’t either distressed or upset or concerned, or where you, and how much, so that Cushman would mention two other people?

Mr. Colby. I was frankly quite startled at Mr. Ehrlichman’s obvious perplexity, and I thought that there might be some legitimate confusion here between General Cushman and Mr, Ehrlichman, and that that was a problem that could best be worked out between them, because the clear indication was that Mr. Ehrlichman just did not recall the thing, and it seemed to conflict with where he was that particular week.

Senator Kennedy. Did you think that particular question was of importance, sufficient importance that Silbert ought to know about it, {p.130} or be made aware of it, who was charged with the investigation of it?

I mean, this is not an insignificant fact—

Mr. Colby. At this point it was not.

Senator Kennedy. But who set up the whole Hunt operation? And when every American is reading the newspapers, it is not an insignificant and unimportant fact, is it?

Mr. Colby. That is not an unimportant fact. It was not all that important who made the phone call from the White House to General Cushman about this one little assistance for Mr. Hunt.

Senator Hughes. The committee will recess until we have the vote and get back.


Senator Hughes [presiding]. The hearing will come to order.

I have some more questions, but I yield to Senator Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy. Just to bring us back, Mr. Colby — I’m sorry we are all being interrupted here—

Mr. Colby. I might be able to clarify one thing, Senator—

Senator Kennedy. Fine.

Mr. Colby. I refreshed my memory on that December 13 meeting with General Cushman. I must have been asked to go to see Mr. Ehrlichman prior to that time, and decided to go to see General Cushman to make sure that my facts were accurate before I reported them to Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. Do you remember what the circumstances were for your request to go to see Mr. Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. I do not remember that, Mr. Chairman.

I think I was just asked by Mr. Helms to go down and see Mr. Ehrlichman. And I think it came, as I said earlier, from a repetition of the fact that I had mentioned the name to Mr. Silbert.

Senator Kennedy. You had your memorandum completed on December 13, and then at some time, your memory is not clear when, you were requested to go down and see Mr. Ehrlichman in the White House. And that appointment was set for the 15th.

Mr. Colby. Prior to that time I went to see General Cushman. When I went to see General Cushman I said that I had used his reference to the phone call to state that Mr. Ehrlichman had called him. I had come to see what his memory was.

He said, well, I know I got a phone call from downtown, and it was either Ehrlichman or Colson or Dean. He said that on the 13th to me.

At that point I showed him the transcript.

He then said, “Yes, I guess it was Ehrlichman.”

When I then went to see Mr. Ehrlichman, Mr. Ehrlichman had indicated that he did not recall the phone call. In fact I thought there may have been some confusion, because his schedule indicated that he was out of town. I then said, well, I really don’t know, the best way is for the two ends of the phone call to work this out together.

He asked me to ask General Cushman to get in touch with him. And I did.

Senator Kennedy. You did not, as I asked you before, feel that he ought to make the contact himself, Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Cushman?

Mr. Colby. I did not feel that was important. {p.131}

Senator Kennedy. You felt that you could ask it.

The conversation took place between Cushman and Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. It must have, yes.

Senator Kennedy. And the memorandum was prepared which was later supplied to Mr. Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. By General Cushman, yes, a letter to Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. The request of Mr. Silbert is still outstanding, is it not?

Mr. Colby. The request of Mr. Silbert, we took down that request and then went to see Mr. Ehrlichman and Dean on the 15th.

We said that these papers had been prepared for it. We said, we really have to send these. Mr. Dean asked if we could hold them a day or so, so that he could see sort of what was going on.

Senator Kennedy. Where did Dean come into this?

Mr. Colby. He was in the meeting, four people in the meeting, being Mr. Ehrlichman, Helms and myself.

Senator Kennedy. Didn’t that surprise you that Dean was in the meeting?

Mr. Colby. He was counsel to the President.

Senator Kennedy. And what was Dean’s participation in the meeting?

Mr. Colby. Basically, just to listen.

Senator Kennedy. In other words, you talked at that meeting to Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Dean?

Mr. Colby. No, not to Mr. Haldeman.

Senator Kennedy. I mean to Mr. Ehrlichman and to Mr. Dean on matters other than just the reference of Mr. Ehrlichman being mentioned in the November 27 meeting with Mr. Silbert, you talked about other matters?

Mr. Colby. We gave him the full story of how his name had come up, and the places in which we had given it to the FBI and to the Attorney General, and to Mr. Silbert.

Senator Kennedy. And did you bring down your memorandum that had been prepared for Mr. Silbert who was conducting the Watergate investigation and leave that in the White House?

Mr. Colby. We did not leave it, we showed it to him, and we took it back—

Senator Kennedy. You showed it to whom?

Mr. Colby. To Mr. Dean, as I remember. And he read through it.

Senator Kennedy. At this meeting?

Mr. Colby. At that meeting, yes.

Senator Kennedy. Why did he want to see it?

Mr. Colby. He didn’t ask to see it particularly. We had it, and this was the status of our reporting of CIA’s involvement in this activity. And we showed him this material that we were going to send to Mr. Silbert.

Senator Kennedy. This is against a background where Mr. Ehrlichman had tried to get Mr. Helms and General Walters to participate in the coverup?

Were you ever aware of the request that Mr. Ehrlichman had made to the CIA?

Mr. Colby. I was, yes, General Walters had told me about it {p.132}

Senator Kennedy. So you were aware that Mr. Ehrlichman had at least attempted to compromise the integrity of the agency, were you not?

Mr. Colby. We were aware that Mr. Dean particularly had indicated that they did not want the FBI investigation to run across any CIA activity.

Senator Symington. Will the Senator yield at that point?

Mr. Colby, what was your position at that time?

Mr. Colby. Executive Director of the Agency.

Senator Symington. And the Central Intelligence Agency reports directly to the National Security Council, does it not?

Mr. Colby. It does.

Senator Symington. Which is an advisory board to the President?

Mr. Colby. It is.

Senator Symington. And the President is the Chairman of the National Security Council?

Mr. Colby. He is.

Senator Symington. Therefore, in effect the CIA reports directly to the President, is that correct?

Mr. Colby. Right.

Senator Symington. Now, when you went to the White House, did you go there on your own, or were you requested to come?

Mr. Colby. We were requested to come.

Senator Symington. By whom?

Mr. Colby. By Mr. Ehrlichman to Mr. Helms, I believe.

Senator Symington. And Mr. Ehrlichman’s position was what?

Mr. Colby. I am not sure of the title; it is Assistant to the President.

Senator Symington. But he was supposed to be very close to the President, was he not?

Mr. Colby. He was, indeed.

Senator Symington. For whom your boss, the Director of the CIA, was working, is that correct?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Symington. And at that time, what was Mr. Dean’s position?

Mr. Colby. He was Counsel to the President.

Senator Symington. Were you in charge of the CIA response to any questions regarding Watergate, or merely carrying out orders and coordinating the various responses?

Mr. Colby. I was coordinating the various responses under Mr. Helms’ direction.

Senator Symington. Thank you.

Senator Kennedy. As I understand from your testimony earlier, you indicated that the request from Mr. Ehrlichman to come down to the White House on this date was as a result of the fact that Mr. Ehrlichman’s name had been named to Mr. Silbert?

Mr. Colby. That is my surmise.

Senator Kennedy. That is your surmise.

So you were not going down there — you did not at least assume that you were going to go down there to talk about National Security Council matters or CIA matters, did you? {p.133}

Mr. Colby. It was possible there was CIA involvement in having given some assistance to Mr. Hunt.

Senator Kennedy. But you had a good idea, Mr. Colby, why you were going down there, did you not, the fact that you had named Mr. Ehrlichman just a few days before, and then he was asking to have a meeting down there, didn’t he know why — you didn’t really assume you were going down there other than on this matter?

Mr. Colby. I was going down there to ascertain the precise fact as to how CIA had given help to Mr. Hunt.

Senator Kennedy. And you had been aware previously, as I understand, of Mr. Ehrlichman’s and Mr. Dean’s attempt to bring the CIA into the whole Watergate affair, had you not?

Mr. Colby. I had been aware that the suggestions had been made that the FBI investigation might reveal CIA activities in Mexico, and others in the agency had checked whether this would happen or not. And we were satisfied, and had so informed the people who expressed their concern, that there was no likelihood of any CIA involvement becoming revealed.

Senator Kennedy. But you were aware of the attempt by the White House, were you not, in their meeting with Walters and Helms to attempt to speak to Mr. Gray and cool off the investigation?

Mr. Colby. Because of this danger of running into CIA operations, which we then determined could not happen, because there weren’t any such CIA operations.

Senator Kennedy. And were you aware at any time that Mr. Dean had been in touch with the CIA about trying to provide some bail money for the Watergate defendants?

Mr. Colby. I think General Walters had perhaps mentioned that to me.

Senator Kennedy. So your understanding in this—

Mr. Colby. And he also mentioned his immediate rejection of that idea.

Senator Kennedy. And admirably so?

Mr. Colby. And I had said, “Fine.”

Senator Symington. We have a vote coming up, but you can continue.

Senator Kennedy. Maybe we will all go over.


Senator Kennedy. Mr. Colby, we had reviewed the fact that you visited the White House — we have to sort of catch up again, because this is a factual situation — that you had had a conversation with Mr. Cushman at some time at the direction of Mr. Helms. And you agreed that it was Mr. Ehrlichman, at least the initial testimony was of such a description.

Then you went down to the White House, and Ehrlichman indicated some concern that he was named at the Silbert meeting. And you went back and talked to Mr. Cushman, and Mr. Cushman had a conversation with Mr. Ehrlichman, and then three names appeared. And you reviewed with us after the last vote.

I believe that actually Colson’s and Dean’s name had come up with Mr. Cushman. Do you know whether your memorandum of that particular meeting reflects that, because I do not believe that it does? {p.134}

Mr. Colby. It may not. But I do recall it, frankly, myself rather closely, because I went through the exercise of asking him before I showed him the transcript.

Senator Kennedy. But at least, as I understand it, your own memorandum indicates, refers to just the White House, and does not indicate either the three named—

Mr. Colby. No, it does not.

Senator Kennedy. Now, you had the meeting at the White House with Mr. Ehrlichman, and you made available to Mr. Dean the materials that were to be submitted to Silbert, is that right?

Mr. Colby. He casually looked at them, not too carefully.

Senator Kennedy. Tell us about that.

Mr. Colby. He just paged through them and looked at them. Then he asked if we could holdup on delivering them for a couple of days. I think—

Senator Kennedy. Did anybody else comply?

Mr. Colby. I think, in order to try to resolve the accuracy of this use of Mr. Ehrlichman’s name, I think that was the context of it, quite frankly. In any case, within, I believe, 5 days thereafter, I was in touch with Mr. Dean telling him that Mr. Silbert needed his answers, and that I recommended that we send the answers along. And he agreed to let me do so.

Senator Kennedy. At the meeting, you showed the material to Mr. Dean, and then after the meeting you went out and asked Cushman to call Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And a memorandum was prepared that indicated those three names, is that correct?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And then Ehrlichman said he was dissatisfied with that memorandum that named three names, is that correct?

Mr. Colby. That is what General Cushman told me, yes.

Senator Kennedy. And so then they prepared another memorandum that deleted those names, right?

Mr. Colby. Right.

Senator Kennedy. And sent that over to the White House, that was the one that was provided to the White House?

Mr. Colby. Both were provided to the White House.

Senator Kennedy. Both were provided to the White House.

Those were the memorandums intended for Mr. Silbert?

Mr. Colby. No. The papers prepared for Mr. Silbert finally went to Mr. Silbert untouched.

Senator Kennedy. I understand that.

Mr. Colby. Untouched and unchanged.

The two memorandums presented by General Cushman, each of them went to the White House. And those were not sent to Mr. Silbert.

Senator Kennedy. They were not sent to Mr. Silbert?

Mr. Colby. They were addressed to Mr. Ehrlichman and sent to Ehrlichman; it was a communication between General Cushman and Mr. Ehrlichman. And we had a copy.

Senator Kennedy. Have you made available the memorandums that you have actually provided to Silbert to the committee?

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir.

Senator Kennedy. That has been provided? {p.135}

Mr. Colby. It is in the record, yes.

Senator Kennedy. And does that name Mr. Ehrlichman as the source of the conversation?

Mr. Colby. The written memorandum does not name him, although Mr. Silbert knew it. I am not sure that the questions Mr. Silbert requested really asked that question.

Senator Kennedy. He asked you that on November 27, and you responded that it was Ehrlichman, is that right?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And yet that is the memorandum that was actually provided by the CIA?

Mr. Colby. These were additional questions asked by Mr. Silbert during the course of that meeting, and in a followup meeting with one of our other officers, he asked some additional questions based on the material we gave him at the November 27 meeting.

Senator Kennedy. Now, after this—

Mr. Colby. And we prepared the answers for those additional questions, and then sent those answers down to him on the 21st of December.

Senator Kennedy. After the December 15 meeting, did Silbert get in touch with you?

Mr. Colby. No, I do not believe I had any further contact with Mr. Silbert.

Senator Kennedy. You called Dean after this, did you not?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And can you tell us about that conversation?

Mr. Colby. I said that our legal counsel, who were the channel that was giving the material to Mr. Silbert, said that Mr. Silbert was asking for the material, and I thought that we ought to go ahead and give the material to Mr. Silbert.

And Mr. Dean said all right.

Senator Kennedy. Did he not say, give a minimal part, or something of that description?

Mr. Colby. That is my record of what was given. And we sent down the papers that we had prepared.

Senator Symington. We will recess for a vote.


Senator Symington. Senator Kennedy, will you proceed.

I am sorry about these votes, but there is nothing we can do about it.

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Colby, just so that we understand what the situation is, you went down to the White House and had the conversation with Mr. Ehrlichman, who indicated perplexity by the fact that his name had been raised at a meeting with Silbert. And Mr. Dean attended that. You showed Mr. Dean the memorandum that was going to be made available to Silbert, as I understand it.

Do you remember why you brought the memorandum that was going to be made available to Silbert to the White House?

Mr. Colby. Not particularly.

Senator Kennedy. Was there any reason for doing that?

Mr. Colby. Just to show them the present state of the play, I believe.

Senator Kennedy. Did they ask — did you initiate the fact that you had the memorandum prepared? Did they want to examine it?

Mr. Colby. In the course of explaining the conversation with Mr. Silbert, we covered the fact that Mr. Silbert had asked a series of additional questions, and that we had researched the answers to {p.136} those questions, and we were providing these answers that I had prepared at that time.

Senator Kennedy. And did Mr. Ehrlichman examine the document as well?

Mr. Colby. I cannot be sure. I really do not think so, but I am not sure, I think only that Mr. Dean looked at it and he just paged through it like this.

Senator Kennedy. You are aware even at this meeting that took place at the White House with Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Dean that Mr. Ehrlichman had attempted through direct conversations with Mr. Helms and Mr. Walters to try to get the CIA to effectively dampen the FBI investigation of the Watergate affair vis-a-vis the Mexican involvement, were you not?

Mr. Colby. As I interpreted it, they had raised the possibility that the FBI investigation would interfere with CIA operations. We had determined that they would not, and had so advised them.

Senator Kennedy. But it was a little bit more than that, was it not?

You are familiar, I am sure, with the testimony of Mr. Helms and others that, at least as I gather it, they felt that there was a conscious effort on the part of Mr. Ehrlichman to try and get the Agency to put a dampener on the investigation? You must have been aware of those efforts, were you not, by Mr. Ehrlichman?

Mr. Colby. I was aware of those, yes.

Senator Kennedy. Friday after the conversations which took place with Mr. Helms in the White House with Ehrlichman, Mr. Dean called Mr. Cushman, as I understand, and he had meetings with him for 3 days in which the request was made that the CIA provide bail money for the Watergate defendants.

Are you familiar with those conversations?

Mr. Colby. General Walters informed me of his various discussions with Mr. Dean.

Senator Kennedy. What did you think the purpose of the Dean-Walters conversations were?

Mr. Colby. I thought that Dean was asking whether we could provide bail for these prisoners.

Senator Kennedy. Did you think that was proper?

Mr. Colby. No. And General Walters merely informed me that he had turned it down. And I agreed with him 100 percent.

Senator Kennedy. What did this mean to you about Mr. Dean? Did this raise any kind of flags with you thereafter, now that you know that Dean had made this unusual and highly irregular request of the Agency?

Mr. Colby. I certainly was aware that he might make an improper request. And if an improper request was made, it would be turned down.

He was, however, still counsel to the President.

Senator Kennedy. And how would you characterize your assessment of Mr. Ehrlichman’s request of Mr. Helms and Mr. Walters, how do you characterize that? Did you think that was a proper request that was made of Mr. Helms and Mr. Walters to attempt to have the CIA effectively dampening the FBI’s investigation with CIA involvement in Mexico? {p.137}

Mr. Colby. As I interpreted that at the time, a couple of names had come up which had been suggested as possibly involved with the CIA, and also possibly involved with having passed money to Mr. Hunt and the others involved in that operation. When they had raised the possibility of the investigating elements cutting into CIA’s operation, it was a pure question of fact. Were we still involved in operations with these people? And the answer was no.

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Helms’ responses were somewhat more emphatic—

Mr. Colby. He was in direct relationship with the conversation.

Senator Kennedy. And his turn-down, as I understand his admonition to Walters, sort of stiffening his back, made him think that it was not just a routine type of request. And I would certainly gather that he felt that there was an effort really to involve the integrity of the Agency.

Now, maybe that is my own assessment of that. But I am interested in what yours would be. Do you think it was proper, the kind of request Ehrlichman was making of Helms and Walters on that Friday in June?

Mr. Colby. I don’t think I had a judgment as to whether it was a knowing wrong request, or a somewhat innocent confused request about the facts.

And when we found the facts, we acted on the basis of the facts, and that was the end of it.

Senator Kennedy. So at any time did you have a feeling that either Ehrlichman or Dean were involved in the Watergate incident at all?

Mr. Colby. They were certainly concerned about the way it was being handled.

Senator Kennedy. And how did you interpret that concern?

Mr. Colby. As concern about the possible implications and the public understanding of what those actions had been about. And the impact and responsibilities for those actions.

Senator Kennedy. Is that really your answer on it, that they were concerned about the possible impact and the public reaction to this?

Am I to assume, Mr. Colby, that the top figure in the CIA, with these kinds of facts that are presented to you, that this last answer represents your best judgment, given the kind of facts and the involvement of Ehrlichman, and the attempt really to question the whole integrity of the CIA, when you have got a response like Helms’ and Walters’, who felt that these questions and Cushman who felt that these requests were improper and irregular, you are here even in the benefit of hindsight to say that you thought that this kind of involvment {sic: involvement} was only dealing with public policy concerns or issues?

Mr. Colby. Their requests were, it seemed to me, on the edge of propriety, and the CIA responsibility was to hold itself very specifically to the facts and act within its proper authority, and the CIA did that.

These officers were still in their positions in the White House, and consequently they had to be dealt with as White House officials with certain authority.

Senator Kennedy. We found that even Mr. Gray, who was head of the FBI, recognized at once Mr. Ehrlichman’s name, and when he recognized the involvement of Mr. Dean and Mr. Ehrlichman, he took precautions. {p.138}

Mr. Colby. I think the key on this, Senator, is the resolution on our side that we would not do anything improper, and that we would deal with the other authorities of the Government.

Senator Kennedy. And you felt that when Mr. Ehrlichman made a request of you to go back and talk to Cushman, and ask him to delete his name, you though that that was—

Mr. Colby. He did not ask me to delete his name, he asked me to ask General Cushman to phone him.

Senator Kennedy. And you did, in spite of the fact that your own—

Mr. Colby. He asked me to phone him to resolve the difference of report as to who was on the other end of the phone.

I merely called General Cushman and said, “There seems to be some misunderstanding between you two. And I suggest you two resolve it.”

Senator Kennedy. But there wasn’t any misunderstanding, according to your note, in Mr. Cushman’s mind that Mr. Ehrlichman had been the one that had contacted him.

Mr. Colby. But you will recall that when I first asked General Cushman he used three names, when he replied to me orally. I then showed him the transcript, so that I thought it was possible that there might be some confusion, particularly as I did not know the date of the phone call, when Mr. Ehrlichman had said that during that particular week he had been out of town, and there might have been a misunderstanding, and there might not.

Senator Kennedy. Your notes do not reflect that three names were mentioned?

Mr. Colby. No, they do not.

Senator Kennedy. And your notes reflect also that Mr. Cushman refreshed his memory and recalled the incidents clearly.

Mr. Colby. He refreshed his memory with the transcript which I showed him after my initial question to him.

Senator Kennedy. Shall we vote and come back?

Senator Symington. Yes.


Senator Symington. Will you proceed, Senator Kennedy?

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Colby, this memorandum that was being prepared — there are two memorandums that are being prepared, one in response to the Silbert request, is that correct, and another memorandum that was being prepared to transcribe the occasion of the White requests for Hunt — for cooperation with Mr. Hunt — that is the Cushman-Ehrlichman conversation.

Mr. Colby. There were literally hundreds of memoranda prepared, Senator. We prepared a set of answers to Mr. Silbert’s questions.

General Cushman prepared a note to Mr. Ehrlichman from him which describes the circumstances of the initiation of the help for Mr. Hunt.

Senator Kennedy. Let me tell you what is troubling me, Mr. Colby. It would appear to me that you were aware that Mr. Ehrlichman had made the contact with Mr. Cushman requesting the cooperation for Mr. Hunt, and that you had had a conversation with him that supported that idea in your own mind. And then you had the conversation with Mr. Ehrlichman. And your notes of that conversation with Mr. Cushman reflect that at least when he refreshed his recollection {p.139} he remembered clearly the incident. Now, you go down and you talk to Mr. Ehrlichman, and Mr. Ehrlichman, among other things, shows perplexity, and requests you to have Cushman call back Mr. Ehrlichman about Mr. Ehrlichman’s involvement. And now Mr. Cushman does so, and he prepared the memorandum and indicates three different names. And even you are satisfied in your own mind that Ehrlichman was the man.


Now, Mr. Ehrlichman destroys that memorandum, and requests another memorandum coming from Mr. Cushman which does not indicate any names. And Mr. Cushman sends such a memorandum over to Mr. Ehrlichman. Now, what in the world did you think Mr. Ehrlichman wanted that memorandum for?

Didn’t you realize that it was to be a defense against any kind of Mr. Ehrlichman’s involvement with the CIA?

Mr. Colby. I heard about these memorandums from General Cushman. He used my secretary, who had been his secretary, and he merely gave me a courtesy copy of the memorandums, the two memorandums that he sent.

It was clear to me that there had been a difference between their memories as to that event.

Senator Symington. Between whose memories?

Mr. Colby. Between Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Cushman. They had gotten together, and they were resolving the situation between them.

Senator Kennedy. But your recollection of your conversation with Mr. Cushman—

Mr. Colby. Was that when first asked he gave three names, and then when shown the transcript, he said Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. Your memorandum does not reflect that?

Mr. Colby. That is right.

Senator Kennedy. Your memorandum reflects that when his memory was refreshed he remembered clearly?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. It does not mention the other two names?

Mr. Colby. No, sir.

Senator Kennedy. And you understood from your own information that it was Mr. Ehrlichman as well that was the contact?

Mr. Colby. From the transcript I had, yes.

Senator Kennedy. The transcript you had.

And now we know that even though you were satisfied in your own mind from the transcript you had, and Mr. Cushman, when his memory was refreshed, you knew it was Mr. Ehrlichman, we find you going over talking with Ehrlichman and Ehrlichman requesting that you get Cushman to call him, because there is a confusion about the names, and now Cushman sends three names over in the memorandum, and Ehrlichman indicates that is not satisfactory, he wants a blank memorandum, and Cushman sends a blank memorandum and a copy to you, and you are aware of it.

Now, maybe it is just the benefit of hindsight, but quite clearly the reason that Mr. Ehrlichman was doing that was to clear himself.

Mr. Colby. In hindsight, yes.

Senator Kennedy. In hindsight. But there was no kind of red flag that went up to you at all about what did you think at that time? {p.140}

Mr. Colby. General Cushman told me when he sent the second memorandum, that Mr. Ehrlichman had pointed out that he, General Cushman, could not specify which name, and so he asked that the specific names be left out — the reference made to an authorized — whatever the phrasing was — White House official.

And so he did it. And he sent me a copy of it.

Senator Kennedy. And what was your reaction to it?

Mr. Colby. My reaction was that that was the way they had resolved it.

I still thought that Mr. Ehrlichman had clearly made the phone call.

Senator Kennedy. And here you are as the one that has been selected by Mr. Helms to coordinate all of the CIA information on this particular occasion, and you are aware now of this — you are aware of Mr. Ehrlichman’s attempt to stifle the CIA in the FBI investigation.

You are aware of Mr. Dean’s request of Mr. Walters, and then you are very much aware of the details of Mr. Ehrlichman’s request to eliminate his name in the involvement.

Mr. Colby. And the other two men.

Senator Kennedy. Was Mr. Ehrlichman, when you went over there and talked to him, worrying about the possibility of other names or his name?

Mr. Colby. He was worrying about the fact that I had used his name, the other names had not been mentioned.

Senator Kennedy. And this did not seem — as the person that Mr. Helms had asked to coordinate this and really be the person in the CIA. you were not distressed or upset or felt that you had better get ahold and keep Mr, Silbert aware of this type of request?

Mr. Colby. We had told Mr. Silbert that we thought it was Mr. Ehrlichman, and there was no change in that.

Senator Kennedy. But you had not supplied to Silbert the memorandum yet, had you?

Mr. Colby. The memorandum did go down—

Senator Kennedy. But it had not gone down yet after the 15th, as a matter of fact, it did not go down until you cleared it with Dean to send it down?

Mr. Colby. That is right.

And the memorandum said that General Cushman called the appropriate individual in the White House, and that was the reference used.

Senator Kennedy. You mean—

Mr. Colby. And Mr. Silbert knew that that referred to Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. That has been made available?

Mr. Colby. This is the memorandum of Mr. [deleted] knowledge of CIA assistance.

Senator Kennedy. And this was—

Senator Symington. Has that been made available to this committee?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. But this memorandum was not made available to Silbert until after you had called Dean, isn’t that right?

Mr. Colby. No, it was held between December 15 and 20, and shortly after December 20, it was sent down to Mr. Silbert.

Senator Symington. Will you yield at this point, Senator?

Senator Thurmond asked General Cushman: {p.141}


General Cushman, with regard to the memorandum, when were you requested to write this memorandum and were you able to recall all of the context and what they concerned?

General Cushman. I was asked to write the memorandum, as I recall, on about the 12th or 13th of December when Mr. Colby visited me. I was always able to remember the rather brief conversation itself but I had certain people that I had known over the years in the White House and I was not able to recollect whether at the time, it was Ehrlichman or Haldeman who had called me and rather than make a statement when I wasn’t sure I simply said it was not a stranger but a friend whose name I could recollect at that time. It was true. Since then I have seen the statement where I announced it was Ehrlichman which settled it for me.

Senator Thurmond And you are confident it was Mr. Ehrlichman.

General Cushman. Yes, sir.

Senator Thurmond Who made the request?

Was there any other contact that you remember besides Mr. Ehrlichman?

General Cushman. No, sir, only when I called to say I thought this had gone too far in terms of Mr. Hunt exceeding any kind of reasonable request that I was going to turn that off and, all right, he said I will restrain him, and that ended it and Mr. Hunt never came back.

Senator Thurmond You were requested to write this memorandum, weren’t you?

General Cushman. Yes, sir.

Senator Thurmond And Mr. Ehrlichman requested you to write it?

General Cushman. It seemed to me I wrote it of my own accord at Mr. Colby’s request but I just don’t know whether he was relaying Mr. Ehrlichman’s request that the prosecutor be able to look at all available memoranda in the case or not.

I think it was destined for the prosecutor whom I have never met. I believe his name is Silbert.


Is that as you remember it?

Mr. Colby. The letter was addressed to Mr. Ehrlichman, and it is my impression that Mr. Ehrlichman requested that General Cushman write it to him. That is my impression from the talk with General Cushman at about the time that the memorandum was written. General Cushman feels that perhaps I suggested it be written down. It is possible that I mentioned that to him — I don’t know — just as advice to General Cushman, why don’t you write down what you think.

Senator Kennedy. But could it have come from Ehrlichman requesting that this be written down?

Mr. Colby. No. The context was that I should ask General Cushman to call Mr. Ehrlichman. And I did not have any further contact with Mr. Ehrlichman, so I did not have a way to pass any message from Ehrlichman from then on.

Senator Symington. I see you testified on this, Mr. Colby:


Well, at the time that we first started talking to the Justice Department, we had some impression in the Agency that it was Mr. Ehrlichman who had called and we had used that name with the prosecutor, Mr. Silbert, and with the Attorney General. We didn’t really have direct evidence of that and in mid-December Mr. Helms and I were asked to go see Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Dean, and I recounted the material that had been forwarded to the Justice Department or summarized it and mentioned that we had told them we thought the name was Ehrlichman that had made the original call.

Mr. Ehrlichman said that he didn’t recall that particular phone call, he just didn’t recall, and he seemed perplexed about it, and I said that, well we didn’t have any really good evidence on it, the only fellow on our side who would know anything about it would be General Cushman, and Mr. Ehrlichman asked we to get in touch with General Cushman so that they could refresh their memories directly, and thereafter I did get in touch with General Cushman, showed him what we had, told him about this, and I don’t know who suggested that we actually write a memorandum.

General Cushman. I got that from Mr. Ehrlichman. He called on the phone and said the same thing you just said, that he didn’t think be made the call, {p.142} that the 22d, I think It was, of July, Hunt came to call, that he, Ehrlichman, had not been in town to be able to place a call. Well, this upset my recollection even more because, while I was fairly sure he called, he said he was out of town and I had not come across this other evidence to show when it was, and since I announced it on July 8, therefore, it must have been on the 7th. I can now state on or about July 7, 1971 that it was Ehrlichman who called me, but at the time that I was preparing this memoranda I couldn’t swear to it even though I was quite sure in my own mind.


And it goes on. It seems that General Cushman was not able to recollect, and then he finally did recollect.

Senator Kennedy. Of course in that he had no reference to Colson or Dean.

Do you know where those names came from? Here is Mr. Cushman who does not remember those names being mentioned in conversations with you, nor do your notes reflect them.

Mr. Colby. I remember that when I went to see him, I wanted to make sure that the memory was accurate, and so I did not show him the transcript first but asked him if he remembered who had called him.

Senator Symington. Had you not already given Ehrlichman’s name to the prosecutor when all this happened?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Nunn. I am confused on that point. You used “he” three times.

Mr. Colby. When I went to see General Cushman on December 13 I took along the transcript that we had of General Cushman’s talk with Howard Hunt on July 22, 1971. In that transcript it says that Mr. Hunt said, “Didn’t Mr. Ehrlichman call you?”

And General Cushman said yes, he did.

When I went to see General Cushman on December 13, 1972, I first asked General Cushman if he remembered who had made the phone call to him sometime before Howard Hunt’s visit to him on July 22.

And at that point he said, well, I think it was either Ehrlichman or Dean or Colson or somebody like that.

Then I showed him the transcript, which had his statement yes, Mr. Ehrlichman called me. And he said, well, that is right.

Senator Kennedy. Then after this, in the memorandum that he did for Ehrlichman, I think Cushman just indicated that the request may have come from Ehrlichman, he changes it back again.

Mr. Colby. In the first memorandum he said one of the three, and in the second memorandum he leaves the three names out.

Senator Kennedy. So the development of this memorandum at least according to Cushman, may have come at the request of Ehrlichman for a memorandum on this conversation?

Mr. Colby. It may have.

Senator Kennedy. Cushman may have, and your memory is not—

Mr. Colby. I do not remember particularly recommending it, but I might have said, it might be worth writing down.

Senator Kennedy. Did it ever occur that with the changes from Ehrlichman to these other names, or just the White House, that this might be serving the interest of the possible defense of Ehrlichman at this time, about his involvement?

Mr. Colby. Obviously it was leaving the three names out as distinct from pinpointing the three names. {p.143}

Senator Kennedy. Or his name; you were convinced that it was his name?

Mr. Colby. I was convinced that it was Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. You had a conversation, you called Mr. Dean on the 20th, as I understand it, did you not?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. And you indicated to him that Silbert was pressing?

Mr. Colby. Silbert had asked questions on November 27, and we had prepared them in about a week or 2, and then held them since the 13th when they were prepared. We took them and showed them to Mr. Dean and said that we would be sending them shortly.

He said, would you hold them a couple of days until I do some checking.

In 5 days it seemed to me that we were holding them unduly long with respect to Silbert. So I called Mr. Dean and said that we were being pressed for the answers to these questions which we had promised, and we would like to go ahead and give them.

Senator Kennedy. What did Dean say?

Mr. Colby. He said go ahead and release that amount, that minimal bit, as is stated in the transcript of the telephone call.

Senator Kennedy. Why do you think he said give the minimal bit? What was your reaction?

Mr. Colby. My interpretation to that minimal bit was in the general context of my approach to handling this problem for Mr. Helms, which was that the CIA was not involved in the Watergate, and it was dangerous to get too many stories at large, so let us answer any questions that are asked very directly and very straightforwardly at the appropriate level, but let us not take the chance of confusing, creating misunderstanding that somehow the Watergate was a CIA operation, as it had been very generally alleged to be.

Senator Kennedy. And this is even though you are aware of the background of Dean of trying to bring — you must have realized that Dean was not the person who was interested in keeping the CIA out?

Mr. Colby. That is correct, sure.

Senator Kennedy. You understood this. And then he is talking about the minimum bit, and you are suggesting here that he was interested, as he turned around and changed, being now interested in protecting the Agency? You are aware of what he tried to do with the Agency before?

Mr. Colby. No, but he realized that those responses to Mr. Silbert were responses, but that, as was indicated, we did not use Mr. Ehrlichman’s name in the response in the paper, but actually had given the name Ehrlichman orally, and only the name Ehrlichman orally.

Senator Kennedy. Could you review for us just a bit why you felt that you had to use those words when you were meeting with Mr. Ehrlichman about dancing around his name, why did you feel that that characterization was an appropriate characterization of your conduct of the meeting with Silbert in the Justice Department?

Mr. Colby. Because when I had started in the conversation—

Senator Symington. Let me get this straight.

Dancing around, who did you say that to? {p.144}

Mr. Colby. I said it in the memorandum I wrote to myself of the meeting with Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Dean.

Senator Symington. You wrote it for yourself?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Symington. It was a memorandum for the record?

Mr. Colby. I probably used it in talking to Mr. Dean and Mr. Ehrlichman and Helms.

Senator Symington. And how did it get to be a part of this record?

Mr. Colby. It was submitted by CIA to the committee.

Senator Kennedy. May I clarify it?

This description was in a note, a memorandum that was made by Mr. Colby, after the meeting with Mr. Ehrlichman but it referred to the characterization, as I understand it, of his conduct, or his reluctance to supply the name at the meeting with Mr. Silbert earlier. When Mr. Silbert had requested the name, I think that you indicated—

Mr. Colby. When Mr. Silbert requested the name, he got it. But in explaining the circumstances of Howard Hunt’s assistance from CIA, we first started out saying that Howard Hunt had come in and gotten the assistance, that it had been duly authorized.

Then I said, duly authorized by another agency, and duly authorized by the White House, when asked what agency. And who in the White House: Mr. Ehrlichman.

Senator Symington. I know about this. I remember it.

Was there any effort on your part to cover up anything with respect to the activities of Ehrlichman or any other activities?

You were reporting to the President, and Ehrlichman was with the President, and Silbert was the prosecutor. And this is an internal memorandum.

The more I think about it, the more I do not see anything wrong in your not wanting to volunteer information to the prosecutor so long as you at that time did not know that there had been any dishonesty in the picture. Is that a fair statement?

Mr. Colby. I think my position had always been one of giving the full story to anyone who needed to know the full story, and in any case, always to answer any question truthfully. At the same time I believed, and I think Mr. Helms felt this, that it would be very unfortunate if too much noise were made about the peripheral details of CIA’s activities which in any possible way could be connected with the Watergate.

Senator Symington. I think that was intelligent from the standpoint of the good name of the CIA. But was there any effort on your part to withhold anything that you thought was important in the investigation.

Mr. Colby. Quite to the contrary, I think we brought out things that were sometimes not even asked for, but which we brought out and showed to the top levels of the FBI or to the prosecutor.

Senator Symington. Thank you.

Senator Kennedy. Now, just in terms of your own response to this, and your own description of your conduct, as I understand, when Silbert focused in on the reference to the duly authorized extra-agency request, after Colby had — these are quotes — “danced around the room several times for 10 minutes, and Colby was then pinned by Silbert’s demand for the name.” And you understand Mr. Silbert was the pros- {p.145} ecutor then of the Watergate break-in, and that Mr. Helms had asked you to coordinate at least to the extent possible any knowledge or information, relevant information that had been developed by the CIA.

Now, we are not talking now about making it generally available to the FBI, we are talking about Mr. Silbert making this request.

Mr. Colby. We had gathered this available information, and had sent a copy of the material we had sent to the FBI to Assistant Attorney General Peterson, who showed it to Mr. Silbert. And Mr. Silbert focused on the phrase used in the 7th of July memorandum, which says, a duly authorized extra-agency source, and asked what that was. And I indicated that that was an agency which had the authority to give direction to CIA, and then that, yes, it was the White House. And then, well, who in the White House? And I gave the name Ehrlichman.

Senator Kennedy. Can you tell me, Mr. Colby, when your name was placed in nomination for this — did you ever talk to Mr. Ehrlichman about the nomination for the head of the CIA?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. Who did you talk to?

Mr. Colby. General Haig called me.

Senator Kennedy. And you never had a conversation with Ehrlichman or Mr. Dean?

Mr. Colby. With Ehrlichman, the three I mentioned earlier, once in Vietnam — not about my nomination.

Senator Kennedy. Yes.

Mr. Colby. Haig called me and said that the President had decided to name Mr. Schlesinger to be Secretary of Defense and wanted me to take over as Director of the CIA.

Senator Kennedy. That was the only communication that you had from the White House about the nomination?

Mr. Colby. I went to a Cabinet meeting shortly thereafter when the President announced it and spoke to me at that time. But General Haig phoned me and told me this.

Senator Kennedy. And at no time during any of the conversations or discussions, either on November 16 or otherwise, was this question of the nomination brought up?

Mr. Colby. The November 16—

Senator Kennedy. The November 16 meeting with Ehrlichman, or anyone other than Mr. Haig?

Mr. Colby. No.

Senator Kennedy. I wanted to get into some other questions on the Phoenix, but the hour is late.

I will be glad to do whatever the chairman would like. I could probably put these down and get a response from you.

Senator Symington. What we want to do is either have Mr. Colby confirmed by the Senate, or not, prior to the recess, because this agency is now leaderless in effect.

That being true, what I would suggest, Senator, that any questions you would like to have on any other aspects, including Phoenix, or Watergate, or anything else, if you could get them in writing, we will ask Mr. Colby to reply as soon as possible. It was suggested we vote today, and I said I did not think it was proper until you had interrogated the witness. {p.146}

Senator Kennedy. I have absolutely no intention or desire to hold it up. I would like to have these dates in sequence, I think it is extremely important, and it is difficult generally for individuals or Members of the Senate to tie everything together.

Senator Symington. Supposing we submit the name next week to the Senate?

Mr. Braswell. Then it goes on the Executive Calendar.

Senator Symington. And how long can it be held on the Executive Calendar?

Mr. Braswell. It is up to the leadership then as to when it is motioned up.

Senator Symington. I see.

Senator Kennedy. So it is really up to the leadership about when to take it up. And what I would like to do is, as early as possible I will get these questions — tonight.

Mr. Colby. I can sit here and take them from you if you wish.

Senator Nunn. Mr. Chairman, I have got a whole lot of questions, but I have one or two that I think ought to be part of this particular record relating to General Cushman.

Senator Symington. All right.

Because of my respect for Senator Kennedy and my belief that every Senator has the right to interrogate a witness, I went out and asked Senator Stennis if it would be all right to have him appear in executive session. And he agreed to that. We have waived the 10-minute rule, and with minor exceptions, he has been the only Senator to question the witness except when we were going to vote.

But I have a time problem with respect to the procurement bill. What I think we could do is, tomorrow, based on the fact that it would be up to the leadership, Senator Kennedy can see that Mr. Colby gets these questions on Phoenix, and the answers can be made a part of the record.

Does that suit you. Senator?

Senator Kennedy. Fine.

Senator Symington. And then we will vote on General Ryan, the committee will, and as I see it now, we can discuss it in committee tomorrow morning. And we will vote on Mr. Colby. But then it will not be taken up on the floor until say, Monday or Tuesday, we will leave that up to the leadership.

How does that sound to you?

Senator Kennedy. I don’t expect that there will be any desire to hold it, up. I would like to get responses and have the record complete on it.

I personally find that whole Phoenix program enormously distressing. And I think there have been a great deal of misrepresentations as well as representations on it. And I think it is important that we have a full record on this. And I would have thought that we would at least be a long ways down the road with the number of questions that I was prepared to get into. I think that ought to be a part of the record. Mr. Chairman. But I want to give you assurance, I have absolutely no intention of requesting the leadership for any time, unreasonable time, or to attempt in any way to delay the nomination.

But I would like to get the information on this. And I would like to get some response. And I think there are a number of my colleagues who would want a full record on that point. {p.147}

Senator Symington. May I say, we already have had considerable testimony in the committee on Phoenix. If you have additional questions that you would want to ask, of course, it is very logical and right that you should get the answers to them. And they can be included as part of the record. So what I would suggest to you is that at your earliest convenience you get the questions to Mr. Colby, and then you answer them, if you will, Mr. Colby, as soon as you can.

Mr. Colby. I will answer them tomorrow.

Senator Symington. And then we will make the record. And next week we can discuss when to take up the nomination.

Senator Kennedy. OK.

Senator Symington. Senator Nunn, do you have some questions you would like to ask now?

Senator Sam Nunn I just want to ask him two questions this afternoon, and I can discuss with you later some of these others.

To clarify this, I sat through and heard General Walters’ testimony from his recollection of all the events concerning conversations with Messrs. Ehrlichman and Haldeman and Dean, and so forth, and I heard Mr. Helms’ testimony. And I heard General Cushman’s testimony. And now I have heard your testimony. And I think the main point we have been talking about this afternoon has been the Cushman memorandum and the conversations that you had with the Attorney General. It seems to me that at the first point in time that you were asked the question you did respond to the Attorney General and told them to the best of your knowledge your understanding of the relationship between the phone call from Ehrlichman and General Cushman. It is my understanding further that General Cushman later on sent another memorandum that did not give the names, but implied it was a White House source, or words to that effect. And I just want to ask you a couple of questions. Did you encourage Cushman at any time to change his mind on who made the phone call?

Mr. Colby. I was trying to help him remember accurately who made the phone call by showing him the transcript. And I tried to indicate to him what the thrust of the matter was so that I could help him to testify to that.

Senator Nunn. You actually showed him a memorandum which refreshed his recollection to the effect that it was Ehrlichman that made the phone call?

Mr. Colby. I did, Senator.

Senator Nunn. So in effect you showed him and refreshed his recollection at a point in time when it had become hazy according to him?

Mr. Colby. I believe so, yes — it was hazy when I went in first, his memory was hazy when I walked in.

Senator Nunn. So you never in any way prevented him from getting this information to the Attorney General?

Mr. Colby. No; I did not.

Senator Nunn. And you never in any way encouraged him to have a hazy memory or forget about the event?

Mr. Colby. Quite the contrary.

Senator Nunn. But on the other hand, you did encourage him to recollect by showing him that memorandum?

Mr. Colby. I did, Senator. {p.148}

Senator Nunn. Mr. Chairman, I won’t ask any more questions today. And I can talk with the chairman afterwards about the matter.

Senator Symington. You can ask any questions you want now.

Senator Nunn. If I start on the questions I have it would take considerable time, and I would like to talk to the chairman about it beforehand.

Senator Symington. All right.

Senator Nunn. I might work out something where I submit them for the record.

Senator Symington. We can work out right now any questions that you would like answered.

Senator Nunn. Is this going to be the last opportunity we have with Mr. Colby before we vote?

Senator Symington. I would think so. The members of the committee were anxious to vote today.

You see, we have had Mr. Colby’s name before us for quite a while.

Senator Nunn. Well. I have no further questions at this time. I just wanted to ask those particular questions relating to the sequence that Senator Kennedy has been pursuing.

Senator Symington. I think we have gone now to a point where we will submit a lot of questions for the record.

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman, I also will reply to the questions submitted by Senator Proxmire, I believe.

If I may beg the chairman’s indulgence, one or two of the witnesses against me the other day suggested that I be asked to show what I had done in terms of documentation to improve the Phoenix program. I have a package here which has a number of Vietnamese Government documents.

Senator Symington. You can submit anything you wish based on the testimony.

Mr. Colby. It was documentation that I had some influence in producing.

Senator Symington. Senator Nunn, will you submit any questions you have to submit for the record, and Senator Kennedy, will you submit any questions you have to submit for the record, and let’s try to get the record together as soon as we can, and let’s have the nomination before the committee for approval.

Senator Kennedy. May I ask for the record for some documents? One was the November 27 meeting with Silbert. As I understand it, there hasn’t been any notice provided to that meeting.

Mr. Colby. I believe there has; yes. I think that has been submitted. There was a memo produced by Mr. Warner which was in this record.

Senator Kennedy. If you could—

Mr. Colby. That has been submitted in volume III, that memorandum.

Senator Kennedy. The meeting with Ehrlichman on November 16, I asked you that before.

Mr. Colby. I will produce whatever I can on that.

Senator Kennedy. And do you have a record of your conversation with Cushman at Ehrlichman’s request after the meeting at the White House? Do you have that? {p.149}


Mr. Colby. I believe there is a record of that; yes. That is the one you referred to.

Senator Kennedy. Could we get those?

I will give you the citations on those three, Mr. Woolsey. Could those three be made available?

Senator Stuart Symington. Can we do that informally now? Whatever you want done you can do.

Mr. Colby, there seems some confusion between the Phoenix program and the overall CORDS organization.

For example, Congressman Drinan described you as “in charge of the Phoenix program or CORDS.” Will you distinguish between the two and describe your role in each of them?

I ask unanimous consent that the question and answer be put after the question and answer of Senator Kennedy.

Will you distinguish between the two and describe your role in each of them?

Mr. Colby. The underlying program was the pacification program of the Government of Vietnam, Mr. Chairman. The advisory responsibility for that pacification program on the American side was in the CORDS organization. CORDS provided assistance to a variety of subprograms of the pacification program to include local security, the self-defense force, local elections, local development, the Chieu Hoi program, the refugee program, and a variety of others.

Phoenix was one of those subprograms, and by no means the most important. The most important was, to my mind, the territorial security and people’s self-defense, although Phoenix was about equal to that in terms of importance.

Senator Symington. Now, we had the testimony from Congressman Drinan that the pacification program under your direction was “making a mockery of the Constitution of South Vietnam.” Would you comment on that?

Mr. Colby. I think that is an erroneous statement. Mr. Chairman.

The pacification program under my direction advised the Government of Vietnam to reactivate the Village governmental structure, for example, which is called for in one of the articles of the Vietnamese Constitution.

We also, in our advisory work, stressed the application of article VII of the Constitution to the extent possible in the confused and dangerous period in which the Government then was existing. So that I think we were endeavoring to carry out the Constitution.

Senator Symington. Mr. Colby. The record shows that more than 20,000 South Vietnamese people were killed in Phoenix during your tenure, And a couple of our witnesses have deplored that large figure. Could you let us know the nature of these people who were killed, and why were they killed?

Mr. Colby. The 20,000 figure was one which I reported in 1971, Mr. Chairman. The figure is a part of the total members of the enemy apparatus who were taken out of service by either rallying to the Government, by being captured, or being killed in the course of the fight.

The vast majority of the people killed were killed in military combat actions by military forces. {p.150}

A small portion of the total were killed by police and similar security forces in the course of resisting arrest and fighting.

There were also some abuses in which, people were wrongfully killed, but I think this was a very small number.

Senator Symington. Thank you.

The suggestion has been made to us that you as head of CORDS were “unable to, unwilling to, guarantee to South Vietnamese citizens the basic provisions or due process.”

What are your comments with respect to that statement?

Mr. Colby. On that statement, Mr. Chairman. I think I was endeavoring to support the Vietnamese citizens and government in the preservation of the constitution and its application against a threat and action against it by enemy military, guerrilla and terrorist forces.

We endeavored to follow the constitution, and in fact the various programs applied were efforts to apply the constitution in the middle of that fight.

Senator Symington. Will you discuss your meeting with the study team of which Congressman Drinan was a member? He has said that you were evasive, that you withheld information and sought to “brush off” the group.

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman, that study team visited my house in Saigon at my invitation. I gave them a briefing. We discussed for about 3 hours or so one afternoon the situation in Vietnam. And I believed I was amply responsive to their questions.

In the final report of that study team. Mr. Chairman, page 12, it says that “Ambassador Colby said that the number of prisoners had gone up and will continue to go up as the pacification program develops.”

Upon his return from South Vietnam, Congressman Drinan wrote an article, in the Washington Post of June 21, 1969, which includes the following phrase:

The American Embassy official most familiar with the problem of political prisoners admitted that the number of this type of prisoner is increasing steadily. This officer was indiscreet or honest enough to admit that the increase in political prisoners will continue as the U.S. pacification program gets further out into the country.

I believe at that time, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Drinan thought I was either indiscreet or honest, rather than evasive.

Senator Symington. Thank you.

One of our witnesses, a Mr. Osborn, testified that under your direction, “inhuman practices have not only continued but increased” in Phoenix and CORDS.

What is your answer to that?

Mr. Colby. As I indicated in the record. Mr. Chairman, the Defense Department investigated the specific allegations of Mr. Osborn, and were unable to find any specific in them. [See p. 116.]

As to the general statement you quoted that Mr. Osborn made, it is my belief that the Phoenix program contributed to a decline in inhuman or improper activities in Vietnam in the course of the fight against the Vietcong.

Senator Symington. I would like to ask one more question. {p.151}

We have just been notified that 81 American servicemen, mainly Green Berets, have been killed on intelligence missions in Laos and Cambodia since 1965, and charged up as casualties inside South Vietnam. Do you know about this?

Mr. Colby. Just what I read in the papers. I do know that the U.S. Special Forces were running cross border operations in Laos and Cambodia at various times in the past few years. But these were not CIA operations, and CIA was not a part of those. [Deleted.]

Senator Symington. One other question. The day before yesterday, Tammy Arbuckle had a story about representatives fanning out, you might say, of Phnom Penh into various parts of Cambodia. I asked whether or not they were Central Intelligence agents, and was told that they were.

Who gave instructions for these people to fan out around Cambodia, inasmuch as we are supposed to be out of that country at this time?

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman, we were concerned about the poor quality of our intelligence coverage in Cambodia, and the fact that it was largely focused in Phnom Penh itself.

As a result, the Washington Special Action Group of the National Security Council directed some weeks ago that officers be sent out into the country.

Senator Symington. What is the Special Action Group?

Mr. Colby. This is a part of the National Security Council structure.

Senator Symington. And who chairs that?

Mr. Colby. Dr. Kissinger chairs that particular group.

Senator Symington. Were these people fanned out on his instructions?

Mr. Colby. His authority, yes.

Senator Symington. Did he approve it?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Symington. Who took it up with him?

Mr. Colby. I believe there were several agencies that mentioned the need for better intelligence in that area.

Senator Symington. Is that the Committee of Forty?

Mr. Colby. No. This was not the Committee of Forty. That was another unit. This was a pure intelligence matter.

Senator Symington. And who chairs the Committee of Forty?

Mr. Colby. Dr. Kissinger. He is the Special Assistant to the President for National Security.

Senator Symington. He needs quite a lot of furniture, doesn’t he?

Mr. Colby. There are a number of committees, Mr, Chairman, that really represent the same people under different names.

Senator Symington. Specifically, did you recommend to Dr. Kissinger, or did he recommend it to you, or who recommended it to whom, to the best of your knowledge?

Mr. Colby. I did not do the action myself that I remember, but I believe the Agency expressed concern at the lack of coverage. And we looked at the ways in which it might be done, and the best way seemed to be the use of personnel to conduct intelligence operations to improve the intelligence coverage in the countryside.

Senator Symington. Especially after the tragedy of the Laos situation, many of us feel that we should have gotten out of Cambodia a {p.152} long time ago. My advise would be to get those people back, if you are confirmed and run the Agency.

The man who runs the Agency now is General Walters.

Mr. Colby. General Walters is the Acting Director.

Senator Symington. And does he direct the Agency?

Mr. Colby. He does. He is responsible for it. And I defer to him. We obviously work together on many things.

Senator Symington. And he was the interpreter for President Nixon?

Mr. Colby. He has interpreted for a number of Presidents.

Senator Symington. Will you tell him that my advise is to get those, agents out of those various outposts in Cambodia.

Mr. Colby. I would be glad to pass that message to him, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Symington. I wish you would.

Mr. Colby. I would say that those are only intelligence operations.

Senator Symington. That is what they said in the beginning in Laos when I was there, that is what they told me in the beginning, that they were intelligence people. And the pattern is quite comparable, if I may say so, I do not say it is similar, I say it is quite comparable. And I do not want to get into any dogfight about it. My advice would be to cut it out.

Mr. Colby. I think our record over the past several years, Mr. Chairman, has been to conduct only intelligence operations in Cambodia. Mr. Helms was quite firm on that.

Senator Symington. It is very clear that they have three different groups opposing the Lon Nol government. Who protects these men when they are out there purely on intelligence?

Mr. Colby. They are protected by the local Cambodian forces.

Senator Symington. But the local Cambodian forces cannot be in control in all places.

Mr. Colby. They are in control where these people are. These people are in different provincial cities.

Senator Symington. If they lost control, these people would be killed, would they not?

Mr. Colby. Possibly, or taken prisoner.

Senator Symington. Do you think it is worth the risk — is it Americans we are talking about?

Mr. Colby. It is Americans.

Senator Symington. Are they volunteers?

Mr. Colby. They are volunteers. If they had any hesitation, they would be relieved. We did not put out a call for volunteers.

Senator Symington. Are there any U.S. airplanes like Air America in there?

Mr. Colby. Air America is working on contract and support providing them the travel back and forth to Phnom Penh, and so forth, and carrying supplies to them.

Senator Symington. You are not in charge of the Agency, but my advice would be to cut this out, because the large majority of Congress was deceived by Laos, and that type of activity hurt the Central Intelligence Agency. Gathering intelligence in a country which we are {p.153} bombing but with which we are not at war, is a lot different from gathering intelligence in Italy or Moscow or Germany.

I think it is one of the reasons that the good name of the CIA has now been somewhat sullied.

Mr. Colby. I think the CIA is designed to acquire intelligence needed by our President and the National Security Council. And some of those are in dangerous places.

Senator Symington. But you do not need intelligence in Cambodia, Mr Colby. In Cambodia, it is clear what is going on, in my opinion. I was in Phnom Penh last year, and I had two staff investigators there 2 months ago, and I do not accept the fact that we need any intelligence to tell us that we are upholding a government that will fall as soon as we get out. That is my opinion; I may be wrong, but I have investigated it.

Mr. Colby. There are a number of open questions on Cambodia.

Senator Symington. There may be; but in my opinion they are not important enough to risk American lives. And I would hope that you would get out of Cambodia except in the Embassy, and very possibly you will be assisted out of the Embassy soon. We now get reports that Americans died in Laos and that we had been lied to, because we were told they died in Vietnam. We are getting pretty sick of being lied to.

Mr. Colby. You are not going to be lied to by me.

Senator Symington. I am not saying we will. But you at this time are not directing this Agency. And I think some of the things that we have been told were just directly contrary to truth, and that is not necessary in order to run this country.

I learned most of my information about Laos from the newspapers, and I only learned about this from a newspaperman in Cambodia.

Mr. Colby. We have had [deleted] of our people killed in Laos over the years, Mr. Chairman — excuse me [deleted] and [deleted] in Vietnam.

Senator Symington. And I did not know about this fanning out of CIA people in Cambodia until I read it in the paper yesterday morning, or the day before yesterday. And if we do it, then it ought to be known, that is what I am getting at.

What is the difference between the [deleted]?

Mr. Colby. The National Security Council structure calls for the Washington Action Group to be a group to handle crisis situations, problems, real substantial problem areas with a time factor.

Senator Symington. Will you give the number of U.S. personnel involved, air personnel, and on the ground?

Mr. Colby. There are [deleted] American CIA personnel in Cambodia. Of those [deleted] are communications personnel, and the others are normal CIA personnel. But in [deleted] there are about [deleted] personnel, as I understand it.

Senator Symington. Will you check these figures for the record?

Mr. Colby. Right.

Senator Symington. Have you any plans for expansion?

Mr. Colby. No, quite the contrary; there are no plans for expansion, Mr. Chairman, and there are no plans for consideration of paramilitary activity. {p.154}

Senator Symington. I just want to say for the record that the CIA is an intelligence agency. I was in on the creation of it. It was not an agency to conduct a war; it was an agency to gather intelligence. But my suspicions were aroused by your fanning out in this country with Air America support based on what happened in Laos. I believe you need an agency of this character based on the way the world is today. But, on the other hand, when you continue to get information about its activities through the newspapers — and I think you know the problems we had with our staff people over at the Department of State a very short time ago about getting information which, to give full credit, Secretary Rogers corrected — we just do not like it. There is no reason for us to be in Cambodia, but I am glad to hear that we are there under the order and with the approval of the White House. Is that correct?

Mr. Colby. That is right.

Senator Symington. Thank you.


Before we adjourn, anything you want to ask, Senator Kennedy, or Senator Nunn, we will submit them for the record.

And, Mr. Colby, will you see that you reply as early as possible?

Mr. Colby. I will.


[Questions submitted by Senator Symington. Answers supplied by Mr. Colby.]

Question. Do you recall an I Corps pacification briefing held for you in Danang in late February or early March of 1969 at which the regional CIA director, Mr. Harry Mustakos, sought to justify the Phoenix program in I Corps? (Harrington testimony)

Answer. No, I presume it was similar to a large number of such meetings, conferences, and briefings I attended during my three and a half years in Vietnam.

Question. What impressions did you take away from that briefing, and what, if anything, did you do as a result?

Answer. While I cannot recall that specific meeting from the many others I attended, by general impression was that the pacification program had a large number of very complicated problems but that our advisers were working hard on them, and that the GVN command levels were committed to as effective an implementation of the pacification program as possible. With specific reference to Mr. Harrington, Mr. Mustakos informed me that he recalled receiving a note from me at some time (whether from that meeting or another meeting neither of us can now recall) stressing the need to emphasize capture rather than kill of VCI in advice to the GVN local representatives. While I do not recall this note, it is consistent with the directions I gave rather generally throughout the CORDS structure on a continual basis.

Question. Speaking more generally, Mr. Colby, just what did you do — what reforms did you initiate — to improve Phoenix and provide appropriate safeguards for Phoenix suspects during tenure as Deputy for CORDS?

Answer. As indicated in previous congressional testimony and previous sessions before this Committee, during the time I was responsible for CORDS and — hence — Phoenix, as one of CORDS’ many programs, I worked continually to improve the program in all its aspects, including the development of needed safeguards. One of my efforts involved stimulating and encouraging both MACV and the GVN to issue proper instructions and directives.

The following documents are submitted for the Committee’s information as they all result, at least in substantial part, from the CORDS’ advisory effort.

(a) The Prime Minister’s Directive of December 20, 1967, on the Neutralization of VCI. {p.155}

(b) Presidential Decree of 1 July 1968 establishing the Phung Hoang program.

(c) Phung Hoang Standard Operating Procedures:

(1) 23 July 1968

(2) 1 November 1968

(3) 1 February 1970

(d) MACV Directive 10-20 of 23 May 1969 outlining the program of American assistance and advice to the GVN Phung Hoang program.

(e) Instructions to U.S. personnel concerning Phung Hoang activities first issued through CORDS channels in 1969 and incorporated as MACV Directive 525-36 on 18 May 1970.

(f) Phung Hoang Current Breakout of VCI Executive and Significant Cadres defining specifically the A and B categories of VCI by job.

(g) Minister of Interior circular dated 21 March 1969 establishing A, B, C categories of VCI and providing graduated detention terms depending upon category.

(h) Minister of Interior circular dated 20 August 1969 establishing standard dossier requirements for the identification of VCI.

(i) Official cable from Central Phoenix Committee to Provincial Committees dated 15 September 1969 calling for village and hamlet officials to be informed on Phoenix operations in their neighborhood.

(j) Prime Minister circular dated 13 April 1970 requiring that village chiefs be informed of Phoenix operations and arrests in their neighborhood.

(k) Prime Minister circular dated 24 April 1970 setting up standard time limitations for the interrogation and investigation of cases of arrested Vietcong suspects, to reduce the numbers held in jail indefinitely without appropriate legal action.

(l) Prime Minister circular dated 5 June 1970 establishing village Screening Committees for the release of arrestees where feasible.

(m) Prime Minister memorandum to Minister of Justice dated 13 May 1970 calling for the involvement of legally trained Public Prosecutors in the work of the Provincial Security Committee.

(n) Chart of provinces which had public prosecutors and to which new public prosecutors were being sent in 1971 pursuant to CORDS’ advice and assistance,

(o) Example of Phoenix wanted poster. Many thousands of similar posters were produced for circulation as wanted lists of VCI at large. The final paragraph of the poster invites individuals cited on them to rally to the government and thereby be relieved of any punishment for their crimes. These posters were part of our effort, in October 1969, to make the Phoenix program public, and thus insure that it not acquire any of the characteristics of a “secret police” operation.

(p) Letter dated 12 October 1970 to the Prime Minister recommending a revision of the An Tri or Emergency Detention Law to incorporate the protections contained in article 7 of the constitution.

(q) The Prime Minister’s circular dated 2 August 1971 which adopted a number of the recommendations made, including the revision of the Provincial Security Committee from largely police and security representation to a three-man body consisting of the Province Chief, the Public Prosecutor, and the elected Chairman of the Province Council.

(r) Letter dated 13 November 1970 to the Prime Minister recommending the establishment of a conditional release system for suspects or individuals who have indicated that they will no longer engage in activities in support of the VCI. This was also included in the August 2, 1971, circular cited above,

(s) Extract from the GVN 1972-1975 Four Year Community Defense and Local Development Plan. Tab 6 provides a handbook of decrees, circulars or directives for the handling of Communist offenders and suspects. This plan recapitulates a number of the items mentioned above and follows the series of improvements applied to the Pacification programs of 1969, 1970, and 1971 in this field.

Note: These are translations of official South Vietnamese government documents which in most cases are still considered classified by the GVN.

Question. Is US support for Phoenix — money or advisors — continuing, despite the US withdrawal, as the F-6 program, or under any other name or cover?

Answer. US support for Phoenix in funds and advisors ceased in December 1972, although CIA maintains a continuing liaison with the Special Police Branch of the Vietnamese National Police to collect intelligence on Communist activi- {p.156} ties in Vietnam. The F-6 campaign was an emergency program in Military Region 4 instituted by the Vietnamese Region Commander in the fall of 1971 because he feared a major Vietnamese communist attack, which in fact came during the spring of 1972. It is our understanding that the F-6 program was terminated in January 1973. There is no US program of direct support to the GVN follow-on action against Communist terrorism and subversion although the GVN elements involved of course benefit in a general sense from overall US economic and military aid.

Question. Speaking generally, do you believe CIA intelligence and research on the Indochina war has been — and I am quoting — “sloppy and often dishonest”?

Answer. No.

Question. Mr. Colby, did you have any role in June, 1971, in killing a 40-page appraisal of the Khmer communist order of battle prepared by Mr. Sam Adams?

Answer. No. In fact, Mr. Adams’ appraisal was given due consideration by our analysts and indeed parts of it were accepted while other parts were not.

Question. Did you order, or have any role in, certain reprisals against Mr. Adams, after he had challenged the accepted CIA estimate for the Khmer communist order of battle, specifically a threat of firing Adams and a seven-day workweek for him?

Answer. I recommended that Mr. Adams not be fired and that he be directed to complete his assigned tasks.

Question. In December, 1972, after Mr. Adams had complained about this Cambodian estimate to the CIA Inspector General, did you comment on his complaint by saying, “Let the chips fall where they may,” and if so, what did you mean?

Answer. Yes, I meant that if an CIA employee raises a complaint to the Inspector General that his complaint should be objectively and thoroughly investigated and reviewed.

Question. Going back now, Mr. Colby, to an earlier period in Vietnam, a CIA employee of that period, Mr. Paul Sakwa, has stated that you “slanted intelligence” and that you “submitted misinformation” a CIA station chief in 1960-61. What is your comment on that?

Answer. Mr. Sakwa cited reports sent in by me as evidence to his case. These reports include reports critical of President Diem’s political manipulations at that time and my overall assessment that his government nonetheless had a substantial degree of real support and was the best alternative available at that particular time. I believe that the function if {sic: of} an Intelligence officer is to submit the facts without suppression and at the same time to submit in a clearly identified fashion his assessment of what these facts and other indicators on the scene add up to.

Question. To support this charge Mr. Sakwa has suggested that we review certain of your intelligence reports in that period. Apparently he believes that your reports were overly optimistic about President Diem’s political strength in the April, 1961 election and so about the strength of the South Vietnamese military in the summer of that year. Have you reviewed this material, and how do you respond to these charges?

Answer. Mr. Sakwa and I obviously disagreed on the question of President Diem’s political strength and potential, and on the strength of the South Vietnamese military. I believe my assessments to be accurate and still do.

Question. Do you feel that you were, in Mr. Sakwa’s words, “an uncontrollable agent”?

Answer. No.

Question. Given the national policies then established back here in Washington, could you have prevented the use of U.S. funds for improper activities designed to swell Mr. Diem’s victory margin — the so-called “rigging” of the election?

Answer. U.S. policy at that time was one of support to President Diem. The limitations on our ability to control the GVN apparatus certainly limited our ability to prevent them from conducting improper activities. {p.157}

Question. Mr. Colby, your previous testimony about domestic activities of CIA has provoked some critical comment in the press. Would you give the Committee examples — hypothetical examples if you like — of the kind of CIA inquiries and interviews which you would view as proper within the United States?

Answer. Provided that CIA’s activities within the U.S. are in the prosecution of foreign intelligence and do not contravene U.S. law, I believe they do not conflict with the statutory restriction against CIA involvement in domestic affairs. Examples of this kind of activity are:

(a) Interviewing American citizens who knowingly and willingly share their information about foreign subjects with their government.

(b) Collect foreign intelligence from foreigners temporarily within the U.S.

(c) Establish support structures within the U.S. to permit CIA operations abroad.

(d) Recruiting, screening and training our own personnel.

(e) Contracting for supplies essential to foreign intelligence operations.

(f) Providing training to foreigners in the U.S.

(g) Passing the results of foreign intelligence operations to appropriate U.S. agencies having a legitimate interest therein, e.g., the FBI.

(h) Under the economy act, providing assistance or service to other U.S. agencies for activities within their statutory authority which do not involve CIA in activities outside its statutory authority.

Question. In the same vein, would you cite instances of CIA assistance to other government agencies which you would view as proper under the 1947 Act?

Answer. (a) Advising the FBI of the imminent arrival in the U.S. of a foreign terrorist.

(b) Training in Communist doctrine and practices to the FBI, Secret Service, etc. Advise other agencies with personnel serving abroad on Communist espionage techniques likely to be practiced against them.

(c) Passage to the Drug Enforcement Administration of results of intelligence operations abroad revealing the details of the drug traffic.

(d) Reporting to appropriate authorities evasion of U.S. export controls as learned by foreign intelligence operations.

Question. Some recent critical press comment has been provoked by the fact that Director Helms approved — or signed off on — the now controversial 1970 domestic intelligence plan. Would that plan, to your knowledge, have involved CIA in activities beyond the authority of the 1947 law, either inside or outside the United States?

Answer. The history of the 1970 domestic intelligence plan demonstrates that CIA participation was limited to the foreign intelligence contribution to meet the problems of internal security. The only specific option considered for CIA was that CIA coverage of American students (and others) traveling abroad or living aboard should be increased insofar as they are involved with foreign subversive elements which might utilize them against the interests of U.S. internal security. If implemented, this would have been consistent with the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947.

Question. There has been recent press speculation with respect to CIA involvement in a reported 1959 attempt to overthrow Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia. Will you comment, please?

Answer. Prince Sihanouk is under a somewhat understandable misapprehension as to CIA’s involvement in a 1959 attempt to overthrow him. CIA did not support or instigate that attempt. Some of our allies were involved in support and stimulation of that attempt, and Prince Sihanouk inferred U.S. responsibility from their involvement. His belief was reinforced by his discovery of an intelligence operation conducted by CIA which maintained contact with the leadership of the coup group for intelligence purposes only. Since this group carried a radio and other paraphernalia. Prince Sihanouk inferred that this signified active support of the coup effort rather than merely a contact for intelligence purposes.

Question. A press report from Cambodia published yesterday (Washington Star-News) suggests the (development there of a clandestine aid and advisor program similar to that in Laos. Please tell us what role CIA is now playing in Cambodia. Are CIA employees engaged in any activities other than intelligence gathering and analysis? {p.158}

Answer. CIA’s role in Cambodia is limited to intelligence collection and assessment. CIA reports are passed on to various agencies which make use of these reports as appropriate to their responsibilities and authorities. CIA is not engaged in a clandestine aid and advisor program in Cambodia.



[Questions submitted by Senator Nunn. Answers supplied by Mr. Colby.]

Question. Had you known Mr. Hunt before June 17, 1972?

Answer. Not to my recollection.

Question. Had you known, before that date, of his work with the Mullen Company and his employment at the White House?

Answer. With respect to the Mullen Co., no as of June 17. With respect to his employment at the White House, no as of June 17.

Question. Did you have any reason to believe he was involved in any illegal activities.

Answer. No.

Question. When did you first learn that there was to be or had been an attempt to conduct electronic surveillance of the Democratic National Committee?

Answer. I first learned of this incident by reading it in the newspaper after it occurred.

Question. After June 17, 1972, who was in charge of handling the responses to FBI inquiries about this affair?

Answer. Mr. Osborn handled the working level contact with FBI. I was assigned to generally supervise the Agency’s responses.

Question. What role were you assigned immediately after June 17th in investigating, coordinating, or responding to Justice Department or FBI inquiries?

Answer. Coordination of Agency action on this matter as assigned by Mr. Helms.

Question. What was Mr. Osborn’s role immediately after June 17?

Answer. Mr. Osborn was the Director of Security and supervised the working level contacts with the FBI.

Question. Did your role or Mr. Osborn’s role in coordinating or responding to Watergate inquiries change during the course of the summer?

Answer. My role did not change. Mr. Osborn’s role of coordinating at the working level of the FBI did not change, but the provision of information to the FBI on CIA’s support to Mr. Hunt was taken up to the command levels of the Agency.

Question. Why were these changes, if any, made?

Answer. After investigation, the Agency found it had no connection with the Watergate incident. It was concerned that an undue exposure of its activities to the working levels of the FBI would result in leakage to the press and misunderstanding that the Agency might have been involved. The Agency was determined to be responsive to the FBI, but wished to minimize the risk of misunderstanding by providing information on the Agency to the senior level leadership of the FBI only. Incidentally, there were at least two instances of press inquiries which appeared to be leaks of the information provided to the working levels of the FBI, indicating that the concern was justified.

Question. What did your role come to be during the summer and fall of 1972 in coordinating, investigating, or supplying information to the Justice Department?

Answer. My role continued to be one of coordinating the supply of information to the Justice Department as directed by Mr. Helms.

Question. Was a CIA employee assigned to you to work specificially on these Watergate-related matters? When was this done, who was he, what was his role?

Answer. Mr. [deleted] was assigned to work with me on approximately 1 December 1972. He was assigned to help develop the specific answers to Mr. Silbert’s questions asked on 27 November 1972. {p.159}


Question. When did you first know about and first obtain the photographs developed by the CIA for Mr. Hunt in August of 1971? Did you study these when you first received them?

Answer. I believe I first knew that we had assisted Mr. Hunt with the camera and development of film shortly after the Watergate incident. I believe it was somewhat later that I first obtained Xerox copies of the photographs, in any event a week or more before 27 July 1972.

I examined the photographs when I first saw them and was primarily struck by their focus on Xerox shops apparently in the California area. I could not find any significance in the photograph of Dr. Fielding’s parking space and buildings. There was no apparent Watergate connection.

Question. The CIA has provided Xerox copies of these pictures to the committee. Were the pictures in the CIA’s possession prints or only Xerox copies of prints? We all know now, of course, that these picture {sic: pictures} were related to the office of Dr. Fielding, Dr. Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. What do you perceive the pictures to be at the time?

Answer. CIA had only Xerox copies of the prints. My pure speculation was that they were somehow related to an investigation of the manner in which the Pentagon papers were reproduced, since this had been a matter of considerable concern in the summer of 1971. This was primarily based on the appearance of several Xerox shops and I saw no particular significance in the Fielding oriented photographs. I had no idea of who Dr. Fielding was.

Question. Did you inform Mr. Helms in a memorandum of July 27, 1972, that these pictures were “possibly” of the Rand Corporation? What led you to believe that? Did the pictures resemble the Rand Corporation or were you relying on some assumption about Mr. Hunt’s activities? Did you suspect that Mr. Hunt had some association with the Pentagon Papers case?

Answer. Yes. The possibility that these were somehow connected with the Rand Corporation stemmed from the presence of several Xerox establishments among the subjects, and its location in California, leading me to the speculation that it was somehow related to the reproduction of the Pentagon papers.

While I used “possibly Rand Corporation,” what I was suggesting was “possibly related to the Rand Corporation.” For this I was also relying on Mr. Hunt’s statement to General Cushman that he had been charged with a highly sensitive mission by the White House to visit and elicit information which in my mind related somehow to the possibility that he was engaged in an investigation of the Pentagon papers leak.

Question. Did you have any suspicion at all that these might be photographs of Dr. Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office? Did you notice that names and license plates were contained in these photos? Did you have any checks done on the names or license plates in these photographs during the summer of 1972?

Answer. No. Yes. No.

Question. Did you discuss these photos with Mr. Helms?

Answer. I believe I told Mr. Helms shortly after I received the copies that we had copies of photographs whose significance we could not determine. I may have shown him the photographs, but I cannot say for sure.

Question. In your July 27, 1972, memo to Mr. Helms, you stated. “I recommend that you or the DDCI advise Mr. Gray of the above ...” Did you intend by that that Mr. Gray should be informed of the existence of the photos?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Were the copies of the photos forwarded to the Justice Department or the FBI and, if so, when?

Answer. Yes. The photographs were forwarded to the Justice Department on 3 January 1973.

Question. Do you know any reason why they were not forwarded during the summer of 1972? What did you mean by your statement in this July 27, 1972, memorandum that “we hoped that the attached memorandum given by General Walters to Mr. Gray might have calmed the FBI’s interest in this subject but the bureaucratic momentum has apparenty {sic: apparently} continued.”? Did this refer to Mr. {p.160} Hunt’s contacts with the Agency in general? Why did you hope that further information would not have to be provided?

Answer. They were not forwarded because they were of no apparent significance to the Watergate case and because the Agency wanted to avoid possible misunderstanding as to any Agency involvement. By the statement quoted I meant that I hoped that our disclosure of these delicate subjects and the clear indication of their non-relationship to the Watergate case might have reduced the FBI’s desire to inquire into sensitive CIA activities, with the inevitable chance of publicity. This was particularly with respect to additional Agency documentation and interviews with employees, which inevitably broadened beyond the specific question into other matters also not related to Watergate but exposing sensitive Agency activities, identities of Agency personnel, etc. I also thought our revelation of the full details at the top levels of the FBI obviously had produced a sense of confidence in CIA’s non-involvement but it was clear that the investigating efforts of the working levels were continuing.

Question. In July 1972, did you know that psychological profiles had been done on Mr. Ellsberg by the CIA in 1971?

Answer. No.

Question. Did you know that Mr. Hunt was in some of the meetings discussing these psychological profiles?

Answer. No.

Question. During the summer or fall of 1972, did you have any suspicion that Dr. Fielding’s office had been burglarized and, if so, did you have any suspicion that Mr. Hunt had been involved?

Answer. No.

Question. Did you have any intent by mentioning the Rand Corporation to mislead Mr. Helms into thinking Mr. Hunt was working on only legitimate aspects of the investigation of the Pentagon Papers case?

Answer. No.

Question. Sometime shortly after June 17, 1972, did Mr. [deleted] ever discuss with you any knowledge or information that he had regarding Watergate or related matters?

Answer. On 19 June Mr. [deleted] discussed with me his knowledge of Mr. Hunt’s visit to General Cushman and the support provided to Mr. Hunt in the summer of 1971.

Question. Did he ever discuss with you the transcript of the meeting between General Cushman and Mr. Hunt on July 22, 1971?

Answer. Yes, at the 19 June 1972 meeting.

Question. Did he ever ask you whether Mr. Osborn was to be informed about this transcript, about Mr. Ehrlichman, or about any other aspect of the Watergate matter?

Answer. No.

Question. Did you ever tell Mr. [deleted] not to inform Mr. Osborn about any matter related to the Watergate investigation, or did you say anything to Mr. [deleted] which might be so construed?

Answer. No.

Question. Did you draft a memo from General Walters to Mr. Gray dated July 7, 1972, which states that alias documentation had been supplied to Mr. Hunt in 1971 in response to a “duly authorised extra-Agency request”?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Had you seen the transcript of the meeting between General Cushman and Mr. Hunt at the time that memorandum was sent?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Doesn’t that transcript indicate that General Cushman acknowledged during that 1971 meeting that Mr. Ehrlichman had called him about Mr. Hunt?

Answer. Yes. {p.161}

Question. Was there any reason not to inform Mr. Gray of this contact by Mr. Ehrlichman in this memo?

Answer. The fact imparted to Mr. Gray was that the assistance given to Mr. Hunt had been duly authorized. It was not believed necessary to volunteer to Mr. Gray how that authorization came about.

Question. Was Mr. Gray otherwise informed about Mr. Ehrlichman’s call to the best of your information?

Answer. Not by CIA.

Question. Did General Walters know, when he signed the memorandum, of the transcript or of Mr. Ehrlichman’s call to General Cushman?

Answer. General Walters did not know of the transcript. But he had heard that Mr. Ehrlichman had called General Cushman.

Question. Did you and Mr. Helms discuss handling inquiries from the Justice Department or FBI only at the top levels of the CIA?

Answer. Yes, except that the obtaining of the details had to depend upon consultation with sources of information within the Agency.

Question. Are you familiar with Mr. Helms’ memorandum to General Walters of June 28, 1972, which discusses the method of handling inquiries from the FBI? If so, when did you first see it?

Answer. Yes. I believe I first saw it sometime in the late spring of 1973.

Question. Did Mr. Helms discuss the substance of this memorandum with you either before or after writing it?

Answer. Mr. Helms gave the substance of the direction as to how relationships would be handled with the FBI in the morning meeting of 19 June 1972, as indicated by those minutes. In the memorandum dated 6 July developed for General Walters to provide to Mr. Gray, the fact of Mr. Helms’ telephone call to Mr. Gray was mentioned. I became aware of this in the course of passing that memorandum to General Walters to provide to Mr. Gray, as Mr. Helms was out of the country.

Question. Do you know why the decision was made to request to the FBI “that they confine themselves to the personalities already arrested or under suspicion and that they desist from expanding this investigation into other areas which may, eventually, run afoul of our operations”?

Answer. This position was consistent with our concern that investigations might reveal CIA activities and our belief that they were unnecessary since CIA had no involvement with the Watergate incident.

Question. Did you advise Mr. Helms of any operations which the FBI Watergate investigation might run afoul of?

Answer. Our check indicated that the leads in Mexico did not involve any current CIA assets or activities. Having satisfied ourselves that there was no CIA involvement in the Watergate incident, we were concerned that a possible broadening of the investigation which would reveal CIA foreign activities having no bearing on the Watergate incident would take place.

Question. Did this decision to request that the FBI limit its investigation with respect to the CIA have anything to do with restricting the Justice Department’s access to the pictures developed for Mr. Hunt or to the transcript of the Ehrlichman/Cushman meeting?

Answer. No.

Question. Are you familiar with a long, handwritten memorandum from [deleted] to Mr. Helms on about July 14, 1972, contained in the fourth volume of CIA materials which was shown to the Committee staff on Monday of this week?

Answer. Yes.

Question. When did you first see that memorandum?

Answer. I believe Mr. Helms probably passed it to me sometime after he initiated it. {p.162}

Question. Did Mr. Helms ever discuss the substance of the memorandum with you before you saw it?

Answer. Not to my recollection.

Question. Is it correct that in that memorandum [deleted] reports a conversation with [deleted].

Answer. Yes.

Question. Did [deleted] report in that memorandum that [deleted] the mission of the Watergate burglars on June 17 was to repair an existing bug since “they” (not named in the memo) had obtained such good material from the bug previously?

Answer. Yes. This speculation had also circulated in the press at about that time and thus did not appear novel.

Question. Does [deleted] indicate in this memorandum that there were suspicions that high-level persons had been responsible for the bug?

Answer. Yes.

Question. To the best of your knowledge, was this memorandum or important parts of it shared with the FBI or the Justice Department and, if so, when?

Answer. This memorandum was not passed to the FBI or to Justice Department because it reflected a highly sensitive contact with an individual who [deleted] which we did not wish to attract attention to beyond what had already been reported to the FBI about [deleted].

Question. Prior to Mr. Helms’ meeting with Mr. Gray on October 18, 1972, did you know to whom in the Justice Department Mr. Gray was showing material? Did you have any reason to believe Mr. Gray was not showing CIA material to Justice Department officials and prosecutors, but was restricting access to himself and Mr. Mark Felt?

Answer. At some point in time Mr. Gray told us that he was sharing our material with Mr. Mark Felt of the FBI, but that it was not going further.

Question. Did you review the questions which the prosecutors had asked to Mr. Warner of the CIA on October 11?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Did the prosecutors say why they wanted the additional information — was it to present their case in chief or to guard against a claim by the defendants that the CIA was responsible for the Watergate affair?

Answer. Our understanding was that the prosecutors wanted this information since it was their belief that the defense might claim that CIA was responsible for the Watergate break-in.

Question. Did the purpose for which the prosecutors said they wanted the additional information affect the response made by the CIA?

Answer. No.

Question. Did you coordinate or have a significant role in assembling this response?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Prior to Mr. Helms’ meeting with the Attorney General on October 24, 1972, did you consult with him about limiting certain CIA material to the Attorney General alone?

Answer. We certainly consulted about limiting the material as far as possible, although it was clear that more than the Attorney General personally might have to be involved.

Question. Do you know what material Mr. Helms requested be limited to the Attorney General in that matter and, if so, why?

Answer. The entire package Mr. Helms provided at that time. We were still concerned about possible leakage of CIA documentation and of the creation of a misunderstanding that CIA might be involved in the Watergate incident. Also, we were concerned that certain of the materials would uncover sensitive operational activities which we did not wish exposed. {p.163}

Question. Did the CIA receive any indication from the Justice Department at that time not to give certain material to the prosecutors at all? If so, was a reason given?

Answer. Justice Department representatives agreed with our concerns over the sensitivity of the material and indicated they would hold the material but would discuss it with the prosecutors.

Question. Did the CIA receive any indication from the Justice Department not to give certain material to the prosecutors until the time of the trial? If so, was a reason given?

Answer. Again it was agreed that the prosecutors would not he briefed until shortly before the trial to minimize chances for an opportunity of leakage.

Question. If the security of CIA operations were at issue, and the prosecutors should not see it for that reason, wouldn’t this be the case at the time of trial as well as before trial?

Answer. Yes, but the risk of leakage would be lessened and it might not he necessary.

Question. Did you and Mr. Helms discuss at any point that such a request from the Justice Department might imply an inclination to limit the investigation of possible criminal conduct?

Answer. No.

Question. Mr. Colby, I would like to read briefly from two memoranda which relate to your meeting with Mr. Petersen, Mr. Silbert, and Mr. Lawrence Houston of November 27, 1972.

Answer. The meeting was with Mr. Petersen, Mr. Silbert and Mr. Warner, not Mr. Houston, on 27 November 1972.

December 18, 1972.
Memorandum for the record.

Subject: Meeting at the White House on December 15, 1972, re: Watergate Case.

Participants: Richard Helms and William Colby, CIA: John Ehrlichman and John Dean, the White House.

1. After preliminary remarks, Colby gave a summary of CIA’s dealings with the FBI and the Department of Justice with respect to Howard Hunt. He said we first responded at the working level to certain normal questions about Hunt’s and friends’ earlier association with CIA. However, Hunt’s notebook and documents and certain other leads pointed to CIA, and it was determined that an adequate answer to these should be given at the top level of the FBI rather than at the working level. This was done, to Acting Director Gray, and the reply included a response to a follow-up question of the FBI’s as to any other alias or documentation. In this description was referred to the names “Warren” and “Leonard” and certain additional assistance given in July and August 1971 as authorized by an extra-Agency official. Colby pointed out that there was no specification of who this official was. Mr. Gray had allowed one other individual to know of this material, W. Mark Felt, and it was our impression that that information had not gone any further.

2. Colby further explained that Mr. Silbert, in charge of the case, had generated some additional questions, including some about the alias “Warren” and a “Mr. [deleted]” whose name and telephone number appeared in Mr. Hunt’s materials. Again, the Agency had wanted to respond at the highest level only, and the Director and Mr. Houston visited Attorney General Kleindienst with a memo replying to these questions. The Attornel {sic: Attorney} General had directed that the material not go to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, directed Mr. Henry Petersen to handle the matter discreetly and inform Silbert as appropriate. Colby then said that he and John Warner had been asked to visit Messrs. Petersen and Silbert, in which interview Silbert focused in on the reference to a “duly authorized extra-Agency request.” Colby said he had danced around the room several times for ten minutes to try to avoid becoming specific on this, finally naming the White House, and was then pinned by Silbert with a demand for the name, at which point the name of the individual was given. Colby said that we have worked up answers to additional questions given by Silbert at that time but suspended submitting them until after this meeting.

3. Mr. Ehrlichman sought some precision about the alleged phone calls in terms of dates, etc. These were given to him as the first phone call being before 22 July {p.164} 1971 and the terminating phone call being on 27 August 1971. Mr. Ehrlichman said he did not remember the first one at all. Messrs. Helms and Colby said they were merely working on General Cushman’s memory that there had been a phone call requesting some form of general help for Hunt. Mr. Helms pointed out that we would not have been likely to respond to Hunt’s request without some such accreditation, as our rules about issuing false documentation are very strict. Mr. Dean asked a few questions about our procedures and whether we had recovered the false documents, to which the answer was given that we had not, although normally we should have done so. A short summary was given of the type of assistance rendered to Mr. Hunt on 23 July and in August and the fact that the demand for a backstopped telephone had triggered our decision to cut off the assistance. Mr. Helms stated that he was quite ignorant of the specifics, as he believes he was first brought into it when Hunt had asked for a secretary to be assigned to him from our Paris Station, and he had concurred that the answer to this and further assistance should be negative. Mr. Ehrlichman took down the dates of the two alleged phone calls and said he would check up on his schedule, etc., to see whether there was any possibility. He said that Hunt at that time was not working for him but for Colson, and he had not joined Ehrlichman’s staff until later. Ehrlichman said that he thought Hunt had been working on the tracing of document leaks during that period.

4. The point was brought out that it was our understanding this material was all made available to Mr. Silbert as a preparation against possible questions raised by the defense but that he was now talking in somewhat different terms. Mr. Dean said that he probably would want to use this material to prove that Hunt and Liddy operated in alias and that it would be easier to prove it by a CIA testimony than by witnesses. It was agreed all around this would be a mistake, as the entire matter was totally irrelevant to the main trial and would be a red herring.

5. Mr. Dean was shown the material prepared for passage to Mr. Peterson in response to Mr. Silbert’s latest questions. It was agreed that these would be held up. At Mr. Ehrlichman’s request. Colby agreed to ask General Cushman to phone him so they could discuss the details of the alleged telephone calls.

6. As an aside. Mr. Ehrlichman recalled a discussion with Mr. Helms in which the latter had given him some “fatherly advice” that Hunt was [deleted] Mr. Helms said that we had perhaps kept Mr. Hunt on a little longer than we should have but that we had several years ago separated him from more operational tasks. It was worked out that this conversation probably took place after the events discussed above, i.e.. later in the fall of 1971.

7. Mr. Ehrlichman congratulated Mr. Helms on the Marchetti decision and said that he had instructed Mr. Hampton of the Civil Service Commission to look into the possibility of applying this technique more broadly. Mr. Helms agreed and stressed the importance of some control of classification. In this, Mr. Helms said that he had a somewhat critical letter from Mr. Eisenhower, to which Mr. Ehrlichman said that he also had added one of his own asking that Helms be as forthcoming as possible. Mr. Helms said we would be replying to these in good time. He explained that the intelligence business depends upon a fiduciary relationship of continued secrecy and that we cannot develop sources if we acquire the reputation of declassifying their identities and exposing them to difficulties.

W. E. Colby, Executive Director-Comptroller.


Mr. Colby called General Cushman and said that Mr. Ehrlichman did not remember the first phone call and that it had been arranged that General Cushman should call Mr. Ehrlichman to discuss the matter General Cushman said he would do so.



November 27, 1972,
Memorandum for the record.

Subject: Watergate Case.

1. The Executive Director, Mr. W. E. Colby, and the Acting General Counsel, Mr. John S. Warner, met for approximately one hour with Mr. Henry E. Peterson, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Justice, and Mr. Earl J. Silbert, Principal Assistant United States Attorney for the District {p.165} of Columbia, in order for them to address additional questions to the Agency. Mr. Petersen and Mr. Silbert made it very clear that there was no intent on the part of the Government to use any of the information relating to the Agency in its case in chief. They pointed out that they simply wished to know all the facts wherein CIA might be involved in order to avoid surprise moves by the defense.

2. Mr. Silbert made reference to the 7 July 1972 memorandum to the Director of the FBI regarding Howard Hunt, which referred to authorization by another agency. He wished to know which agency. Mr. Colby responded that CIA was the agency that furnished two alias documentations, a recorder (ordinary commercial type), and a disguise. Mr. Silbert wanted to know how this came about. Mr. Colby pointed out that Mr. Hunt had been in touch with the Deputy Director, General Cushman, saying he wanted some assistance and gave the general nature of it. Mr. Hunt stated he wanted to conduct some interviews without giving his identity or being able to be recognized at a later point. Mr. Colby pointed out that Mr. Hunt stated he was involved in an investigation and there was an implication that it had to do with the leak of the Pentagon Papers. Mr. Silbert queried whether this request was checked with anyone in the White House. They asked who was consulted, and Mr. Colby gave them the name and said the individual had indicated that we should help. They wished to know if General Cushman telephoned and if he wrote a memorandum for the record. Further questioning by Mr. Silbert brought out that when Hunt had asked for more from the Agency than he should, i.e., a backstopped telephone number in New York, the Agency cut off all further help. Mr. Silbert wanted to know the individual Mr. Hunt asked for this, and this is to be checked. When Hunt was cut off, Mr. Silbert queried, did we then go back to the White House and so inform them. Mr. Colby answered in the affirmative, saying he would check the details of this.

3. Mr. Petersen and Mr. Silbert both indicated they would very much like to talk with the specific people with whom Hunt was involved and asked whether those individuals made memoranda for the record of their actions and discussions with Hunt. Mr. Colby expressed concern at these people appearing as witnesses and suggested that some senior official could speak to the fact that the Agency did not officially authorize the actions later taken by Hunt and others. Mr. Silbert pointed out that if allegations are made as to what Agency people said, they might well want to put on Agency people in rebuttal.

4. Mr. Silbert asked about any contact with Gordon Liddy. Mr. Colby said he knew of only one contact and that was when he was introduced to the disguise man as “Tom” and was given a disguise and pocket litter. It was not known that “Tom” was actually Liddy until recently. Again. Mr. Silbert made the point that he wanted to talk with the individuals who had talked with “Tom.” Mr. Silbert also asked if we had had any other dealings with Liddy while he was in Treasury or the White House. Mr. Colby said he would check this. Mr. Silbert asked us to check if one Robert Thurston Davis was an applicant during 1972. Mr. Silbert also asked for confirmation that James McCord had no other contacts with the Agency after his retirement other than referrals of names and resumes from the retirement placement people. Mr. Colby indicated this was correct and that this could be testified to.

5. Mr. Silbert inquired whether Hunt was involved in dealings [deleted] the Agency. He also asked whether Hunt had had any official dealings with [deleted] Mr. Colby said he would check these matters.

6. Mr. Silbert asked whether Hunt continued his ties with Bernard Barker, referring to the fact that he is mentioned as Barker’s supervisor in September 1961. Mr. Colby explained that Barker left the Agency in 1966 and we would check to see if there is any record of Hunt contacts bewteen {sic: between} 1961 and 1966 or thereafter.

7. Mr. Silbert said he very much wanted to talk to [deleted] and [deleted]. After some discussion, Mr. Petersen suggested that statements be gotten from them first to see if there is any necessity in talking with them.

8. There was some discussion about Hunt’s correspondence with Mr. Houston, and this was clarified.

9. Mr. Silbert asked if we had had any relationships with Manuel Ogarrio Daguerre. It was indicated we doubted it but this would be checked. There was some discussion of [deleted]. It was pointed out that he was the only one on the Agency’s payroll in June and that he has been cut off and has not received {p.166} any funds. Mr. Silbert asked if there was any coincidence in [deleted] retiring on 19 June since he had been in touch with both McCord and Hunt. We said there was no connection but [deleted] simply sent names and resumes in response to rqeuests {sic: requests}.

10. Mr. Colby pointed out that the Agency wanted to cooperate in every way but felt that the sensitivity of the matter required that it be done at the Petersen and Silbert level and not at the normal FBI invesigative {sic: investigative} level. Both Mr. Petersen and Mr. Silbert appeared to fully understand the Agency’s position in this regard.

John S. Warner,
Acting General Counsel.

Question. Are both of these memoranda accurate accounts of your meeting with Mr. Petersen and Mr. Silbert?

Answer. I believe that both of these memoranda were reasonably accurate representations of what occurred at that meeting.

Question. If your own later memorandum is accurate, why would you believe it important to avoid becoming specific with Mr. Silbert and Mr. Petersen concerning Mr. Ehrlichman’s name?

Answer. The question was one of CIA’s assistance to Mr. Howard Hunt. This information was provided. It was pointed out that this assistance was duly authorized. I did not believe it essential to volunteer to the prosecutors the precise authorization under which CIA acted, although I gave that information when asked the direct question.

Question. Did you mention in the November 27 meeting the transcript of the Cushman/Hunt meeting in Ju1y 1971, or that Mr. Ehrlichman had initiated a call to the Agency prior to Mr. Hunt’s visit there?

Answer. I did not mention the transcript but I did indicate that Mr. Ehrlichman had made the call to General Cushman before Mr. Hunt’s visit to General Cushman.

Question. Was this the first time you had ever been asked specifically about the identity of the person who recommended Mr. Hunt to the Agency?

Answer. This was the first time outside the Agency.

Question. So is it fair to say that although you were reluctant at this first meeting you did give the Justice Department this information the first time you were asked?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Did you meet with General Cushman on December 13?

Answer. Yes.

Question. This is apparently prior to the December 15 meeting at the White House with Mr. Helms, Mr. Ehrlichman, and Mr. Dean — how did this meeting with General Cushman come about?

Answer. In preparing the answers to Mr. Silbert’s questions I felt it desirable to check General Cushman’s memory of these events.

Question. Did you ask General Cushman to write a memorandum to Mr. Ehrlichman at that first meeting?

Answer. No.

Question. Did you show General Cushman at that first meeting the transcript of his conversation with Mr. Hunt?

Answer. At the first meeting I stated to General Cushman that we wanted to be sure of the identity of the White House caller who had sponsored Mr. Hunt’s request for assistance in July 1971. I did not at first show General Cushman the transcript. General Cushman replied that he thought it was Mr. Ehrlichman, Mr. Colson, or Mr. Dean or someone such as that whom he knew. I then showed him the transcript and he agreed that it must have been Ehrlichman.

Question. Was he fully aware and did he remember that Mr. Ehrlichman had called him to establish CIA liaison with Mr. Hunt?

Answer. Yes. {p.167}

Question. After this meeting with General Cushman on December 13, did you go to a meeting at the White House on December 15 with Mr. Helms, Mr. Ehrlichman, and Mr. Dean?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Did you call General Cushman as the documents indicate you were requested to do in that meeting?

Answer. Yes.

Question. What was the substance of your conversation with General Cushman?

Answer. I advised General Cushman that I had talked to Mr. Ehrlichman who did not remember the first call. I said that we had left it that I would suggest that General Cushman might call Mr. Ehrlichman and reconstruct the event.

Question. Do you know why General Cushman’s two versions of his memoranda, provided to the Committee staff, are worded as they are — the first memorandum states that “Mr. Ehrlichman, Mr. Colson, or perhaps Mr. Dean” called up General Cushman to request support for Mr. Hunt, while the second version of the Memorandum mentions no names at all? Did you encourage or suggest that the memoranda take this form? Was General Cushman still unsure about who called him after seeing the transcript of his meeting with Mr. Hunt?

Answer. General Cushman wrote his first memorandum using my secretary who had been his secretary at the time. He later called her on 10 January and said that since he did not know what name he was talking about he would simply state that fact. My secretary retyped the memo with the changes and provided it to General Cushman’s aide.

I had no connection with the writing of the memoranda beyond making my secretary available.

I had informed General Cushman that Mr. Ehrlichman had not recalled the call and had been out of town the week prior to 22 July 1971. I left it to General Cushman and Mr. Ehrlichman to resolve whether the call was made. (It was not until May 1973 that research revealed a minute item from the CIA morning meeting which indicated that Mr. Ehrlichman had called General Cushman on 7 July 1971 rather than later in the month.)

Question. CIA has provided to the Committee a partial transcript of your conversation with Mr. John Dean on December 20, 1972. What is meant by the statement about being pushed by people on the other and of the relationship? Are there any more pertinent parts of this conversation which are relevant to the subjects we have been discussing today? What is the subject of the rest of the conversation? What did you mean by “we will go to the Attorney General if necessary.”

Answer. The statement of being pushed referred to several inquiries which were reported to me from Mr. Silbert as to when he would receive the answers to the questions asked on 27 November. There are no other pertinent parts of this conversation with Mr. Dean as this was the only matter discussed.

By my reference to the Attorney General I meant that CIA’s consistent position had been one of objecting to being used in the case in chief rather than as merely background for the prosecutors as this would involve CIA actively in the trial and could create the misunderstanding of our having been involved in the Watergate itself.

Question. One of the documents in volume four of the CIA materials indicates some discussions in which you were involved at the CIA in which it was apparently agreed that [deleted]. Would you describe for the Committee what your role was in this and to whom the denials were to be given?

Answer. The reference to denying association with the Agency referred to [deleted] the maintenance of the cover relationship [deleted].

Question. Did the Department of Justice have the facts in this matter?

Answer. Yes.

Question. There is apparently some further discussion in this memorandum about certain materials having been given to [deleted]. Is this correct and, if so, do you have any reason to believe this material was intentionally false or misleading? {p.168}

Answer. I have no independent knowledge of this matter beyond what is stated in the memorandum.

Question. Was this material part of any plan to indicate that some persons were involved in the Watergate affair who were not actually so involved?

Answer. I know of no such plan.

Question. Was this reported to the Department of Justice?

Answer. Not by CIA prior to its being made available to Mr. Cox’ staff on 24 July 1973.

Question. One of the documents in volume four of the CIA materials, shown to the Committee staff, indicates that CIA had information in April of this year that Mr. [deleted] was contributing funds to the defense of Watergate defendants — is this correct?

Answer. Yes, CIA had such information.

Question. Would you tell the Committee who Mr. [deleted] is and what his contacts with the CIA have been?

Answer. Mr. [deleted] is a Cuban exile leader who worked on Cuban operations with CIA whose official relationship with CIA was terminated on 13 January 1967.

Question. Who is Mr. [deleted] business associate?

Answer. We are advised that Mr. [deleted] is presently engaged in meat importing business from [deleted] in association with [deleted].

Question. Is it correct that this information about his contribution was forwarded to the FBI?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Do you have any further information about Mr. [deleted] activities in this regard?

Answer. No.

Question. Do you know of any contacts between Mr. [deleted] and Mr. Hunt?

Answer. Only the matter referred to in the memorandum date 19 January 1973 incorporated in the material submitted to the Committee. Our [deleted] was specifically advised at that time that it was not to occupy itself with following the activities of Mr. Hunt as his activities had no connection with CIA.

Question. It has been mentioned in the press that Mr. Hunt may have been planning an illegal entry in Nevada to obtain some information from a Nevada newspaper followed by escape to a Central American Republic. Do you know if [deleted] or anyone else had any connection with any plan such as this?

Answer. No.



[Questions submitted by Senator Kennedy. Answers supplied by Mr. Colby.]

Question. Please supply materials with respect to Colby’s meeting with Ehrlichman on or about November 16, 1972.

Answer. A Memorandum of Conversation and a follow-up letter are attached.


17 November 1971.
Memorandum for the Record

Subject: Conversation with Mr. John D. Ehrlichman, Aassistant {sic: Assistant} to the President for Domestic Affairs

1. On 16 November 1971, I lunched with John Ehrlichman at the White House. The bulk of our conversation was devoted to a review of our experience in Vietnam, with special focus on the fall of Diem and the problems of organizing the United States Government to fight the revolutionary war with which it was faced in Vietnam.

2. The main point of the lunch came in our discussion of Mr. Ehrlichman’s charge from the President to examine the problem of declassifying Government {p.169} documents. He reiterated the President’s resolve to do nothing which would cause problems to CIA and its internal documents. At the same time, he pointed out the real problem of how to handle major events, such as the Dominican Republic, the Lebanon landings, the Bay of Pigs, and the fall of Diem, from the point of view of history and the academic insistance {sic: insistence} upon the declassification of raw information. I suggested two possible vehicles for approaching the problem and promised to submit some follow-up material on them:

(a) Development of an internal classified history of the event during its general time frame, with an effort to be as objective as possible. This history would be accompanied by the key documents and could be declassified as a whole in order to place the event in full perspective and not take the chance of individual documents leaking and possibly being considered out of context.

(b) There are different levels of sensitivity of intelligence documents. For instance, finished intelligence is frequently not terribly sensitive after some time has passed. The same can be said of a number of intelligence reports which are disseminated to customers but which conceal the sources, even during this dissemination. In the last extreme, however, there are internal intelligence documents which almost literally cannot be declassified, since they involve cryptonyms and are in enormous volume, the declassification of which would probably be prohibitive from a point of view of manhours.

3. We left it that I shall send him a few thoughts along the above lines which he might use during his further consideration of the basic problem.

W. E. Colby.


Central Intelligence Agency,
Washington, D.C.,
7 December 1971.

Memorandum for: The Honorable John D. Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President (Domestic Affairs)

Subject: Declassification

1. Bill Colby told me of his lunch with you and your discussion of declassification. We have produced the attached outline summary of the problem and a possible solution for your consideration. It obviously would require further detail if it were to be adopted. The important thing, however, is the degree to which it fits your general thinking.

2. If there is anything else we can do to help on this problem, please let us know.

Richard Helms, Director.

Attachment as stated.

Subject: Declassification

1. From the parochial perspective of an intelligence officer, the major problem inherent in declassification relates to the risk of compromising operational sources and methods. A report several years old whose substantive content is no longer politically delicate, for example, could nonetheless compromise a still producing source who, indeed, might now be even better or more strategically placed than he was when he provided the report in question. What an intelligence service needs (and strives) to protect are the techniques it employs in going about its business and the human assets, especially foreign nationals, it uses or has used in the past. From an intelligence officer’s standpoint, therefore, a document’s sensitivity is a direct function of the extent to which that document could compromise sources or methods if it were to fall into unauthorized hands or pass into the public domain.

2. When we address the issue of declassifying the intelligence contribution to major policy decisions or historical events, we are talking about at least three separate types of documents.

(a) Finished Intelligence. This appears in the form of National Intelligence Estimates or special memoranda, drawn from all sources, recounting the facts and assessing a situation. In most cases, declassification of such documents would not jeopardize sources and methods, since the sources of the facts and assessments are usually not stated or are obscured so that they are not apt to be disclosed by declassification of the document. The documents may occasionally refer to the original source of material contained therein, but such references could be edited out or generalized so that the original source remains protected. This would require of course careful review of any such material prior to declassification with this thought in mind.

(b) Disseminated Intelligence. Some disseminated intelligence, such as technical or communications intelligence, reflects its origins in very specific terms so {p.170} that declassification would almost inevitably result in the disclosure of the source. In other cases, such as clandestinely acquired intelligence, generalized source descriptions are used in the disseminations, so that the exact identity of the source remains concealed. In all these categories, the passage of time may to some extent alleviate the damage caused by a disclosure of the source, e.g., the fact that we were reading Japanese codes during World War II is hardly a sensitive matter any more. On the other hand, with respect to some of these sources, the passage of time may not relieve the sensitivity of the matter, particularly on material provided to us by a friendly foreign intelligence service which expects us to keep their relationship with us a permanent secret. Thus in the category of disseminated intelligence, a considerably greater job of editing might be necessary to separate items which could be declassified from those which should not be.

(c) Intelligence Operational Traffic. There is a great deal of this material which in almost all cases should not and can not be declassified without a highly inappropriate disclosure of intelligence sources and methods. The material itself is frequently written with special code names which may be valuable in the future. Also the methodology revealed may show things about our service which could be of advantage to an unfriendly power. The true names of our agents and the precise techniques of our operations should in no event be disclosed even after many years.

3. Cutting across the specific problems of declassifying intelligence material is the way our government does business in these times. Thanks to the enormous improvements in communications technology, the government utilizes a flood of separate papers and documents in the course of doing its business. In order to make these manageable at the key decision levels, these raw documents must be collated, summarized and analyzed in the form of over-all reports. This of course is what happens to raw intelligence material through the National Intelligence Estimates and similar documents. Decision-making on major national events is almost always based on the refined product rather than the raw. As noted above, the refined product raises considerably fewer problems of declassification than the raw. For the few cases in which raw documents are used in decision-making, edited versions might be provided.

4. Another factor to be considered is the inter-agency nature of most such major events today. Thus no single department or agency could give an over-all view of a major national event on the basis only of material available to it. The Pentagon Papers display this weakness.

5. A possible solution to the problem might lie in centralizing the production of official histories of selected major events. An historian might be added to the White House staff or the Archivist of the United States might be assigned this responsibility. This officer could serve as a point of coordination and tasking of the various departments and agencies to contribute to a national account of a major event. Department or agency contributions could thus be consolidated into a single over-all account. From the point of view of the intelligence community, this would permit summarization of material considered significant to the event to protect intelligence sources and methods, rather than declassifying raw material. It would also put the focus of the account on the key documents actually used at the national level rather than seeking the impractical aim of declassifying all raw material. Lastly, it would provide an over-all context in which individual raw documents would find a proper place, rather than causing sensational misunderstanding, if and when they came to public notice.

6. Such studies would not satisfy the history purists, of course, but they could meet the legitimate needs of the general public. Criticism could be made that an administration was writing its own histories. The proof of this pudding would be in the eating, i.e., whether the resulting studies were truly objective. The Pentagon Papers have not been subjected to this accusation nor are the Foreign Relations series produced by the Department of State or the studies produced by the Office of Military History.

Question. Please supply materials with respect to Colby’s meeting with Silbert and Petersen on or about November 27, 1972.

Answer. Attached Memorandum for the Record dated 27 November 1972. Attached Memorandum for the Record dated 18 December 1972. (See p. 163-164.) {p.171}

Question. Please supply materials with respect to Colby’s telephone call or other contact with Cushman, at Ehrlichman’s request, after the meeting at the White House with Ehrlichman, Dean, and Helms on December 15, 1972.

a. Attached as addendum to 18 December 1972 Memorandum referred to in previous answer.

b. Telephone Call Made by Mr. Colby to General Cushman on Friday, 15 December 1972 — time not indicated, but it followed the meeting Mr. Colby and Mr. Helms had with Mr. Ehrlichman at the White House at 3:30.

Mr. Colby. I talked to the gentleman with my boss, and he does not remember the first call. We left it — I would suggest that you might give him a call and reconstruct.

Note. — My recollection is that this was a very short conversation and that I took down only the essential part of the conversation. I presume that General Cushman indicated his agreement to make the call, but that is not recorded in my notes. (blp)

c. Telephone Conversation Between General Cushman and Barbara Pinder on 10 January 1973

General Cushman. I had a call from the White House, and they suggested that, since I do not know what name I am talking about, I simply state that. I will send it back to you, along with my copy. I have written in some changes, and I will send Commander Fisher, USN.

Question. Please supply materials with respect to Colby’s contacts with Department of Justice, Petersen, Silbert, or other investigators after November 27, 1972, indicating that Cushman’s recollection is not clear with respect to the Ehrlichman call.

Answer. I had no such contacts.

Question. Please supply materials with respect to any memos, records, recordings, or other materials, not already provided, relating in any way to the CIA’s in-house investigation of Watergate and/or Colby’s role in such investigation.

Answer. CIA believes it has supplied all records bearing substantively on the Watergate, to include the CIA’s relationship with Mr. Hunt, provision of the psychological profiles, the letters from Mr. McCord, and the contacts of senior officials with Messrs. Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Dean. There is a large volume of incidental interoffice material addition to these, but it makes no substantive contribution to a full exposure of the CIA role.

Question. Please supply materials with respect to any memos, records, recordings or other materials, not already provided, relating in any way to Colby’s relationship to the Watergate investigation and his contacts with persons in the White House, Department of Justice, FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office.

Answer. All such material has been provided.

Question. What is the official CIA policy and procedure on preparing memos for the record on such meetings, calls and contacts?

Answer. Significant material is recorded in memoranda or other form and circulated to other officers needing to know the information. There is no rigid formal procedure for this activity, and it is largely left to the individual officer to select those matters he deems significant enough to record.

Question. Your biography released by the White House indicates you were reassigned, from AID’S CORDS program in Vietnam to the Department of State on June 30, 1971, and remained in the State Department until January 10, 1972. What were your duties in the State Department during this period.

Answer. I returned from Saigon on July 1, 1971, testified before the House Committee on Government Operations and took leave. I began working at CIA immediately after Labor Day 1971 reading in and preparing to become the Executive Director. I was administratively transferred from State Department to CIA roles on October 17, 1971. I became Executive Director on January 10, 1972. I had no duties at the State Department during this period other than preparing my teestimony {sic: testimony} before the House Committee on Government Operations and providing answers to additional questions thereafter. {p.172}

Question. Did you have any knowledge of Hunt’s visit to the State Department in September 1971 to obtain cables dealing with Diem and Vietnam? Did you handle the White House request on this? Who did? As chief of the CIA’s Far East Division in 1963, based in Washington, did you have access to these cables?

Answer. No. I do not know. In most cases I would presume that I did have access at that time.

Question. Would it be correct to say that you still believe, as you testified before the Subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee (July 19, 1971, p. 182-216), that “The Phoenix program is an essential element of Vietnam’s defense against VCI subversion and terrorism ... U.S. support is fully warranted?”

Answer. Yes. I think it important, however, to point out that my belief is related to the actual Phoenix program as I knew, directed and described it, not to the symbol it may represent to those not familiar with it in detail.

Question. What was the extent of U.S. support? Can you provide the actual funding of Phoenix provided by the United States — via either the Department of Defense budget, the CIA, or US AID? According to the General Accounting Office reports, the level of U.S. funding for pacification during your period of service in South Vietnam was at least 78% to 82% of the total budget; was that also true for the Phoenix program?

Answer. This was contained in my opening statement to the House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, on July 19, 1971:


U.S. counterpart
(VN millions)
U.S. dollar
(millions at 118/1)
1968 1791.52
1969 1721.46
1970 45.38
1971 (May) 43.36
Total 4393.72


Note: These figures do not include advisory personnel costs which have not been quantified. (Hearings, p. 184.)

Since the Phoenix Program was only a coordinating mechanism, the above amounts do not include the normal expenses of the participating agencies, the military, police, etc, in carrying out their regular functions which might have been coordinated through the Phoenix program.

The United States provided the above direct funding for the Phoenix establishment and this was a high proportion of its direct expenditures. The United States contribution to the participating agencies was a variable proportion which sometimes was high, as in the Rural Development Cadre, and sometimes low, as in the police.

Question. Would you agree that Phung Hoang/Phoenix program, in origin, in funding, in staffing, and in direction, was as much a United States program as a South Vietnamese government program?

Answer. The Phoenix Program by its basic nature had to be a South Vietnam Government program, assisted by the United States, as its purpose was to develop Vietnamese Government capabilities to fend off the Viet Cong attack. There is no doubt that Americans played a major role in suggesting many of the concepts but their function was advisory and providing assistance.

Question. Please provide the Committee with an accounting of the total number of American military or civilian personnel assigned to Phoenix program activities on an average period of time during your involvement with MACCORDS in Saigon.

Answer. The United States personnel assigned to Phoenix activities grew to approximately 600 military and not more than 40 or 50 civilians during my time in Saigon. (See above cited Hearings page 198.) {p.173}

Question. In testimony before the House Government Operations Subcommittee you provided the following statistics; can you now up-date them through 1972?

1968 11,2882,2292,5591615,776
1969 8,5154,8326,1873119,534
1970 (1)  6,4057,7458,1913622,341
1971 (May) (1)  2,7702,9113,650399,331
Total 28,97817,71720,5873066,982


(1)  Sentenced.

Question. How reliable are these statistics, which you have consistently used in testimony before Congress? In this connection, please comment on the following points raised in the attached documents:

(a) In a memorandum to the ACofS, CORDS on 3 February 1970, you wrote:

“We have begun the process of improving the accuracy of the neutralizations requiring that a certain percentage of the goals be pre-identified VCI.”

This “improvement” began two years after you began your service with CORDS/Saigon, and does it mean that prior to that time Phoenix operations were frequently based on inadequate intelligence so that “targets” were not “pre-identified VCI”? Who, then, were the victims of Phoenix operations if, as your memornadum {sic: memorandum} states:

“There is still an open area which has obviously been exploited in the past of individuals being posthumously promoted to VCI positions when the accuracy of the promotion cannot really be checked.”

(b) Is it correct that an “Inspection Guide” for Province and District Intelligence and Operations Coordinating Centers was developed (see attached document), but never utilized in the field?

(c) Explain this statement in the “Inspection Guide”:

“Neutralization statistics are usually misleading and often inflated.”

If this statement is correct, what implications did it have for your direction of the program, the information you presented to Congress, and your assessment of the program?

Given whatever uncertainties there may be in the precision of the statistics of the Phoenix “neutralizations,” would it be accurate that they show trends? If so, is there any significance in the fact that the percent of VCI killed in 1968, according to the above statistics, was only 16% during the year you assumed control of the CORDS program, and increased to over 30% in 1970 and 1971. If Phoenix was “not a program of assassination” and the emphasis was on captured and rallied, why the high percentage of “Killed” during 1970 and 1971, when the program was being improved, and lower in 1968 when “abuses” were still evident?

Answer. Since I have no further responsibility for the Phoenix Program. I suggest that this request be directed to the Department of Defense or the Department of State.

As with all statistics in Vietnam, there is a margin of error in the statistics. Since these were reported with direct American advisory assistance, however, I believe they were generally accurate in trend and proportion and give as fair a picture of the program as is available.

(a) The purpose of the Phoenix advisory effort was to bring as much accuracy, order and propriety as possible, in as rapid a manner as possible, into a confused and chaotic existing situation. My reference in the cited memorandum referred only to one action to improve accuracy. There were a variety of other actions taken prior to that time and the general advisory effort was a continuous one of seeking such improvements. The particular reference here was our general concern that too many people were credited to the Phoenix program after military actions and did not reflect the kind of careful intelligence and police identification that was the object of the program. As I have reported, something over 85% of VCI listed as killed were killed by regular forces, mostly in purely combat situations. The advisory guidance stressed capture rather than killing of VCI. The victims cited in the question were probably military personnel in combat situations rather than true VCI. (See above-cited Hearings page 206). {p.174}

(b) I do not immediately identify this document, but I am aware that an inspection staff was established in the Central Phung Hoang Office, which had both Vietnamese officers and American advisors. I believe this guide was developed to improve their inspections and those of similar inspectors at the region level. I know the inspections were carried out but I am not now aware of the extent this particular document was used in them.

(c) The quoted statement reflects our effort to focus inspections on the substantive activity expected of the Phoenix operation and was a warning against purely statistical inspections. As noted above we were continually aware of the weaknesses of the figures and continually attempted to make them more reliable. The specific questions suggested in the guide were attempts to carry on this process of improving the accuracy of the statistics used.

The change in percentages is partly a reflection in the change in standards. The 1968 figures included a high number of captured personnel but this included all categories of VCI. The 1969 figures (after May) were restricted to the A&B categories only. In 1970 the requirement was further made rigid by insisting that captured VCI could not be counted until they had actually gone through the sentencing procedure. As can be noted, this brought about a very substantial decline in the number and percentage of captured or sentenced with similar impact on the percentage killed, although the actual number killed both went up in 1970 and would apparently have gone down in 1971 if the full-year experience had followed the rate through May.

Question. What is the current status of the Phoenix (Phung Hoang) Program? Assuming it continues, does the United States have a supportive, advisory or any other kind of role? Are any American or American sponsored personnel, from the CIA or elsewhere, involved in any way? Are any American commodities or funds, directly or indirectly, from the CIA or elsewhere, supporting any aspect of the Phoenix Program?

Answer. Aside from a GVN national level coordinating committee, the Phung Hoang program has been incorporated within the national police of Vietnam and is no longer a separate program. The United States does not have a support, advisory or other role with respect to the Phung Hoang program, although CIA maintains liaison and assists the Special Police Branch of the National Police in its intelligence functions. The United States advisory effort with the Phung Hoang program was terminated in December 1972 and U.S. assistance to the Phung Hoang program through the Department of Defense ended at the same time. Aside from this relationship with CIA, I am not informed about the uses made of other assistance which might be supplied by the United States.

Question. The record indicates that the Phoenix program had extensive United States involvement over a period of years; are there any precedents for this type of involvement or program ?

Answer. Yes. Similar programs have been applied by many governments when faced with a threat to their survival engendered by armed insurrection, particularly when the latter was externally supported.

Question. Does the United States, either through the C.I.A. or Department of Defense, support such programs as Phoenix elsewhere?

a. What about Laos and Cambodia? Does U.S. paramilitary activities in these countries involve Phoenix program functions?

Answer. The United States is not engaged in any such activities in Cambodia. [Deleted.]

Question. Are there plans, anticipations, or personal convictions on your part, that Phoenix programs should be supported by the United States in the Philippines or Thailand or elsewhere?

Answer. Under the Nixon doctrine I do not envisage a large-scale U.S. involvement in internal counter-subversive or counter-terrorist activities on the scale experienced in Vietnam.

Richard M. Nixon (U.S. President, Jan. 20 1969-1974 Aug. 9), “Informal Remarks in Guam With Newsmen” (Top O' The Mar Officers' Club, Guam, July 25 1969, 6:30 p.m.), 1969 PPPUS 544-556 (item 279) {ucsb, 966kb.pdf}, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969 {SuDoc: GS 4.113:969, GPOcat, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050, OCLC: 1198154, WorldCat}CJHjr

Question. In your testimony before the House Government Operations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (in 1971 and 1970, respectively) you acknowledged that there were “abuses” and operational problems with the Phoenix program, and that you and your CORDS staff were working to improve the program. Others have testified that many of these abuses and operational gaps were implicit in the program. To clarify this, please comment on the following: {p.175}

(a) Please review and comment on the specific operational problems identified in the testimony of Mr. Samuel A. Adams, former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. (Statement attached)

(b) Please review and comment on the four operational problems identified in a memorandum prepared for the Committee by Mr. Gary D. Murfin, formerly attached with the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff of MACCORDS, Pacification Studies Group. (Memorandum attached)

Comment specifically on the concluding paragraph of the memorandum:

“The point which should be made is that while some positive steps were taken to correct the deficiencies in the Phung Hoang program, many of those actions were merely administrative solutions to more substantive problems. Solutions were always sought; however, when found, they were often not properly implemented. In fact, this was the main problem endemic to the entire program: excellent conceptualization and planning was frequently followed by poor implementation.”

Answer. (a) Mr. Adams points out a number of the operational problems in the Phoenix Program of which I was fully aware. I believe that over the period from its start in 1968 to my departure in 1971 that a substantial number of those problems were lessened and that the program made a contribution to the strengthening of the Vietnamese people and government against the Communist apparatus. I believe the best example of that was in the absence of any substantial guerrilla or terrorist support to the North Vietnamese military assault in the spring of 1972.

(b) The neutralization of leadership elements was frequently followed by the replacement of individuals removed. However, we received reports in significant numbers of village infrastructure leadership no longer able to operate in their geographic areas but only in protected base areas, of committees reduced in membership to token status, and of major reductions in VCI activity. We certainly did not eliminate the VCI except in certain areas, but I believe there was a reduction in its effectiveness.

The question of goals was the subject of continual discussions and many officers agreed with Mr. Murfin that they should not be utilized. I believed the contrary for the pacification program as a whole as I found goals a useful way to require activity down through the structure to the lowest areas. We made efforts to police the statistics and other reports for accuracy and I believed the use of specific goals essential to the implementation of the program.

Certainly there was a lack of ideal coordination among the variety of agencies, U.S. and GVN, working in all activities in Vietnam. The Phoenix Program was an effort to reduce this lack of coordination by providing a center for it to take place.

Training courses were developed for both Vietnamese and American personnel in the Phoenix Program. There were certainly some failures in motivation, but I also found a large number of Vietnamese and American officers working with full motivation on the program. This is a normal problem with any large operation. Conception and planning are the easiest parts of making a program work. Implementation depended on energetic leadership and an energetic advisory effort. I found the CORDS personnel certainly highly motivated in trying to bring about the best possible implementation. With the Phung Hoang as with all programs in Vietnam, there were continuing problems of short-tour American advisors, Vietnamese sensitivity to being told what to do and cultural and social weaknesses. These were all merely problems to be overcome, not barriers to improvement. With all the difficulties I believe the best indicator of results lies in the countryside where both security and cohesion improved so markedly from 1968 to 1972.

Question. Attached is a copy of MACV Directive #525-36 for U.S. military personnel participating in the Phoenix program, dated May 18, 1970. This Directive raises several questions:

a. If U.S. personnel are “specifically unauthorised to engage in assassinations or other violations of the rules of land warfare,” why then does the Directive state that if an individual finds the program “repugnant” he can be reassigned from the program without prejudice? What is meant by “repayment” {sic: repugnant}? What activities does it refer to?

Answer. This provision was included in order to permit individuals to be relieved from the program on their own application. It was envisaged that individuals might find discomfort in the individual identification of enemy terrorists and apparatus members and the coordination of operations against them, {p.176} a much more individualized and personal form of battle than that of normal combat forces using heavy weapons and supporting fires. There was no implication in this Directive of any condoning of unlawful activities and in fact the purpose of the Directive was to draw the attention of personnel to the necessity of following the normal, legal, and moral constraints applicable to the United States forces in combat. This Directive formalized an earlier instruction to CORDS personnel clarifying their obligation in the aftermath of rather sensational charges in the U.S. press that the Phoenix program was a program of assassination and was designed to make plain that it was no such thing.

Question. Given your testimony that the Phoenix program is not an assassination program, and that those killed were “killed in the course of normal military operations or police actions or while fighting off arrest.” Please define what “ambush” and “normal military operations” mean in the context of Phoenix? Describe what a typical Phoenix “ambush” would involve, in terms of personnel, scenaria, and organization.

Answer. I did not say that all were killed in the course of normal military operations. I stated that the Phoenix program was not an assassination program and that most of those killed were killed in combat situations, normal military operations, or police actions, or while fighting off arrest with the use of armed force.

The “normal military operations” and “ambush” terms referred to the activities of the regular forces, the Regional and Popular Forces and the Peoples Self-Defense Forces, and the various military and paramilitary activities they conducted to protect the Vietnamese community against North Vietnamese and Vietcong military guerrilla and terrorist forces.

A Phoenix “ambush” might involve the disposition of military units along an anticipated route of a Vietcong infrastructure leader with his armed protection forces, often of platoon or company size. In the resulting fire fight he might be killed or he might be captured.

Question. Over the years there have been many allegations in the press and elsewhere over the mistreatment and torture of prisoners in Vietnam prisons.

Generally discuss your understanding of this issue, your knowledge of mistreatment and torture, and your assessment as to whether or not mistreatment and torture was or continues to be a serious problem.

Answer. I believe that the work of the American advisory effort reduced but did not eliminate mistreatment or torture in the course of the Vietnamese war. Any single case is a serious problem but there were a number of indications that the omnipresence of American advisers provided a substantial restraint on behavior of this sort as it was clear to many Vietnamese that the Americans did not condone such behavior and might report the behavior to levels of the U.S. and GVN which would take corrective action. You will note that MACV Directive 525-36 calls for this specifically. On this point any experienced intelligence officer is aware that bad methods of interrogations are apt to produce bad intelligence.

Question. Typical of these allegations is a report of former members of the American Friends Service Committee in Quang Ngai. Comment on their attached allegations.

Answer. I am aware that the American Friends Service Committee in Quang Ngai testified about several specific cases of prison brutality that they had treated. I certainly would not contest that specific testimony. The material attached, however, is so generalized that I am unable to deal with it as specific cases, but I believe that the comments give an inaccurate overall portrayal of procedures in Quang Ngai. On the national scale a variety of activities were undertaken to improve prison conditions. Those accomplished by 11 December 1970 are reported in the attached summary. I believe the CORDS effort in this area substantially improved the facilities and treatment of individuals held in Vietnamese prisons although I do not contend that all abuses were eliminated. In every war or wartime situation, things happen that no one can condone. Quang Ngai was one of the most bitterly contested areas in Vietnam and was an area of continuous struggle for more than two decades. Passions there ran high on both sides and the activities properly condemned by the Quakers occurred in the context of this prolonged bitter struggle. {p.177}


Subject: Correction and Detention Centers.

Purpose: To provide information concerning the programs in progress to ameliorate problem areas of diet, occasional abuse, discipline, and segregation concerning prisoners.


1. Sentenced inmates confined in Correction Centers will receive a daily ration allowance of forty piasters on 1 January 1971. They received 25 piasters in 1968.

2. Suspect offenders confined in National Police detention facilities will receive a daily ration allowance of 24 piasters on 1 January 70. They received 19 piasters in 1968.

3. On 6 October 1970, the Prime Minister approved the assignment of a resident advisor to Con Son Island. Mr. O. Gordon Young was immediately assigned to this task. Direct radio communications were established.

4. The United States Government provided a fishing vessel (LCM-8) for Con Son Island in November 1970.

5. Approximately VN$200,000.00 piasters were provided the GVN to procure spare parts as may be required for the fishing vessel.

6. Approximately VN$2,600,000.00 piasters were provided the GVN to procure fishing equipment as required to provide a fresh fish food supply to all prisoners on Con Son.

7. Approximately VN$2,540,000.00 were provided the GVN to procure POL for the fishing vessel for one year.

8. A Public Safety Marine Police advisor has been assigned to Con Son Island to train an inmate fishing boat crew, advise on advanced fishing techniques and assist in the implementation of papers distributing methods of fresh fish to prisoners.

9. Medical services are held daily at every facility for all inmates. Smallpox and cholera shots are given to all newly admitted offenders and administered on a regular basis thereafter. Very ill patients are housed at provincial hospitals. In 1967, only seven Correction Centers provided such treatment and the National Police reflect that such services were not available at any of their jails.

10. A 1000 man juvenile reformatory has been constructed at Dalat. This center will provide juvenile treatment away from hard core offenders. Operations will commence during the first quarter of CY 71. Approximately VN$16,000,000.00 has been provided the GVN for procurement of vocational, handicraft and educational materials and supplies, clothing, recreational and library items are also programed.

11. A 500 space center at Tan Hiep now provides segregated housing as an adjustment center for aggressive female offenders. This center has enabled the GVN to transfer and segregate females from Con Son Island and other centers.

12. Two hundred isolated cells are under construction on Con Son and the completion date is estimated to be 1 April 70. These cells will house the aggressive inmates and provide their segregation from the mainline population.

13. Classification committee teams have been instituted on Con Son Island. These teams provide individual interviews of each of the 2,400 inmates who are shackled by the Center Warden for participation in a strike. To date, the committees have released 300 persons from shackles. These inmates have returned to work and the interviews continue.

14. U.S. Mobile Medical and Dental Teams have been utilized on Con Son to provide help to the prisoners. The MACV Surgeon General’s Office has indicated that such services will be available nation-wide to Correction and Jail Facilities in CY 71 upon request. All Public Safety advisors have been directed to fully utilize such teams.

15. A work release program has been finalized by U.S. advisors and forwarded to the GVN for adoption. This program will provide that persons who are sentenced for a period of less than one year be remanded back to their home environment and make periodic check-ins with the National Police in lieu of prison confinement.

16. A parole system has been finalized by U.S. advisers and will be forwarded to the GVN for adoption.

17. On November 19, 1970, the Director of Corrections forwarded to the Prime Minister a Manual of Standards resembling the American Correctional Standards. A specific section of this report outlines that staff who exert abuse on inmates will be subject to arrest and conviction. The DOC manual is currently under study by the Prime Minister. {p.178}

18. A MACV Directive has been finalized and specifically tasks the Military Region Deputies for CORDS, Province Senior Advisors and Public Safety Advisors to provide continuous inspection, cross-check and follow-up of all matters pertaining to the subject facilities and their inmates.

Question. Typical of available CORDS records on inspections of prisons and monthly reports of the Correction and Detention Division of the Public Safety Program, are a January 7, 1970 “Memorandum for the Record” on prison facilities in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai Provinces, and a monthly report for May 1970. No comment is made in these attached documents about such items as false arrests, interrogation procedures, possible mistreatment and torture of prisoners, et cetera. Do other reports cover these items? If so, what is the general theme of their contents since 1969? Submit documentation.

Answer. I have no documentation available on these matters beyond the MACV directive developed and reported in the hearings before the House Committee on Government Operations (p. 228-229)). Quarterly reports on correction center inspections were required and submitted. I have none available.

Question. Comment on the so-called “paralyzed” prisoners associated with Con Son and Chi Hoa prisons, and referred to in the attached memorandum of January 26, 1973.

Answer. The memorandum summaries my knowledge of that case prior to my departure from Vietnam. Arrangements were made to have qualified medical examinations of these prisoners and actions taken to improve the circumstances in which they were housed.

Question. What are the annual estimates since 1968 on the number of VCI?

Answer. The total number of VCI was subjected to a variety of definitions which caused rather substantial fluctuation in the figures assigned. As a result the numbers were not in any sense as reliable as one would have preferred and there is considerable debate among intelligence and other analysts on this topic. Various statistics were used as operating tools but I was well aware of their frailty.

Question. What are the annual statistics since 1968 on number of VCI captured (or sentenced) or rallied or killed?

Answer. The statistics available to me on my departure were contained in the House hearings on page 13 {sic: page 183, similar to above}.

Question. Who were these neutralized VCI — in terms of categories A, B and C, or any other relevant categories?

Answer. I do not have these statistics available. However, the neutralized VCI from 1970 on did not include C category. Those captured were only included after sentencing.

Question. What is the significance of the neutralization statistics? How important are these statistics in measuring the Phoenix impact on VCI, and the success of the neutralization program?

Answer. The statistics were used as management tools to determine the trend lines and the quality of performance of the various elements of the Vietnamese in carrying out the neutralization program against the Vietcong terrorists and command structure. The statistics are useful but not conclusive in measuring the impact on the VCI neutralization program. A wide variety of other indicators are required before one can arrive at a useful conclusion on the subject.

Question. Comment on these items and their contents — a. [deleted] 1970 cable [deleted] from CIA Director to Chief of Station in Saigon, which poses a series of questions regarding VCI — (note: in commenting on these questions, an internal CIA memorandum subsequently stated: [deleted]. b. a [deleted] 1970 cable from the CIA Chief of Station in Saigon to the Director, which responds to the questions of [deleted].

Answer. My first comment is one of concern at the apparent leakage of two CIA documents reflecting policy-level considerations and concern in the middle of an armed struggle in Vietnam. On the questions posed, these reflect questions and differences with respect to the struggle against the Vietcong infrastructure which were known to many observers and participants in the struggle. As I have previously stated I have never been totally satisfied with our intelli- {p.179} gence coverage of the Vietcong infrastructure and these questions are ones which I shared and at the same time tried to resolve.


Question. How relevant are the contents of the [deleted] cables to the situation in 1973?

Answer. I think there are a number of intelligence indicators that VCI strength in 1973 is considerably less than it was in 1970, both in terms of numbers and, particularly, in terms of effectiveness and capability. There are several factors present in 1973 which were not present in 1970: Since the January 1973 Paris Agreements, North Vietnam has infiltrated ethnic North Vietnamese administrative and political personnel to perform VCI functions that would certainly be performed by ethnic southerners if the latter were available. Furthermore, the North Vietnamese have had to dispatch northerners to perform these local functions despite the release of substantial numbers of civilian prisoners (former VCI) held by the GVN, who would presumably be available to resume their VCI activities on the other side. In 1973, there is of course a much higher degree of GVN presence, security and effective administrative control in the countryside than there was in 1970. This may well reduce the incentives to participate in the VCI, even for Communist sympathizers. Factors such as these, I believe, make the July 1973 situation appreciably different from that of June 1970.

Question. Paragraph [deleted] of the [deleted] 1970 cable states, in part: [deleted] In light of the developments since 1970, the massive disruptions of 1972, the ceasefire agreement of 1973, and the current situation in South Vietnam, comment on this statement.

Answer. I believe the strength and effectiveness of the VCI has been substantially reduced since 1970. I would prefer not to set a statistical level. The VCI and the North Vietnamese are infiltrating some additional strength, as noted above, but there is no indication at this time that the VCI has gained strength or effectiveness since January 1973.

Question. Define the objectives of the Phoenix Program. With appropriate documentation, what in your understanding of the degree of success or failure in accomplishing these objectives?

Answer. The Phoenix program was designed to bring order and effectiveness to the government, if not the Communist, side of the struggle between the VCI and the people and government of South Vietnam. I believe it made a substantial but not necessarily decisive contribution to the government’s ability to resist the attempt to overthrow it and the massive military assault in 1972.



[Questions submitted by Senator Hughes. Answers supplied by Mr. Colby.]

Question. Can you tell us publicly the budget totals for the CIA and for the rest of the intelligence community? If not, how are we to judge whether these amounts are appropriate in view of the intelligence product and the competing claims for government resources?

Answer. The budget totals for the Central Intelligence Agency and the members of the intelligence community have traditionally been maintained on a classified basis and revealed only in executive session. I defer to the appropriate congressional authorities for any change in this procedure. Budget requests are reviewed in detail in the Agency’s annual budget hearings with the Appropriations Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Question. In order for the responsible committees of Congress to do their work on national security matters in a better informed way, would you accept legislation requiring the CIA to furnish these committees regular and special reports on matters within their purview, subject of course to proper security measures? Would this not be a valuable addition to the infrequent and wide-ranging briefings now given the Committee?

Answer. The Director of Central Intelligence traditionally has given briefings on the world situation and on specific topics to a number of Senate and House committees. I will review the matter and report to the Armed Services Committee on the possibility of supplementing such briefings by appropriate written materials, provided these can be maintained on a classified basis. I think this can be accomplished without legislation. {p.180}

Question. What steps have been taken or will you take to ensure that the CIA never again will be involved in domestic American activities, as it was in the training of police personnel from several U.S. cities and in the assistance to Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy?

Answer. A careful review has been made of all possible Agency involvement in domestic American activities, and instructions are being issued to ensure that no violation of the limitations of CIA’s statutory authority takes place in the future. With respect to the training of local police personnel, I reiterate Dr. Schlesinger’s assurance that, despite the fact that its legality might be defended, any further such action will be taken only in the most exceptional circumstances and with the Director’s personal approval. Regulations are being developed with respect to CIA assistance to other U.S. agencies and personnel to ensure that any such assistance raises no question of CIA involvement in domestic American activities.

Question. Mr. Colby, published reports say that your experience has been in the plans and operations side of the CIA rather than in intelligence or science and technology. Because of the availability of new technical intelligence gathering means, not to mention the backlash and suspicion in many areas of the world regarding agents, do you believe that the time has come to reduce some of our overseas operations in order to put greater stress on intelligence analysis and science and technology?

Answer. Over the past fifteen years great stress has been placed on scientific and technological intelligence gathering, which has made a great contribution to accurate knowledge of important foreign developments. Overseas intelligence operations must only be conducted in circumstances fully justifying the risks involved and in situations which cannot be covered by more normal methods. Analysis has made a substantial contribution to intelligence and is being improved and refined to the greatest degree possible.

Question. Published reports also give you a key policy role in decisions to involve the United States in clandestine operations in Laos in the late 1950s and early 1960s — operations which grew into a secret, CIA-run war.

On reflection, do you believe that it was wise for the Agency to get involved in such military operations?

Answer. The Agency’s activities in Laos were undertaken in direct response to Presidential and National Security Council direction in order to carry out U.S. policy and at the same time avoid the necessity for uniformed U.S. involvement in Laos. These activities grew in size over the years to meet greater North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao pressure. The size to which these operations grew made it difficult to maintain normal intelligence procedures. Despite the difficulties for CIA, I submit that the Agency fulfilled the charge given it efficiently and effectively.

Question. Do you believe that it is proper under our Constitution for such military operations to be conducted without the knowledge or approval of the Congress?

Answer. The appropriate committees of the Congress and a number of individual senators and congressmen were briefed on CIA’s activities in Laos during the period covered. In addition, CIA’s programs were described to the Appropriations Committees in our annual budget hearings.

Question. Where should the line be drawn between CIA and Defense Department activities involving the use of armed force?

Answer. In general, the line should be drawn between CIA and the Defense Department with respect to armed force at the point in which the United States acknowledges involvement in such activities. As a practical matter, however, the scale of the activity will, in many cases, also affect whether the United States is revealed as engaged in the activity.

Question. Where do you — and should we — draw the line between simply gathering intelligence and manipulating events or interfering in the internal affairs of other countries? In particular, why should the CIA play any role in nations of the underdeveloped world which pose no conceivable threat to us?

Answer. As indicated above, the use of intelligence techniques should be reserved to cases of importance in which no other means will serve. This same {p.181} approach is even more stringently applied to any activity which could be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and such activities are only conducted under the specific direction of the National Security Council. With this approach, it would be unlikely that CIA would play a role of this nature in any nation whose policies pose no conceivable threat to United States interests.



[Questions submitted by Senator Proxmire. Answers supplied by Mr. Colby.]

Question. Given your previous testimony that it is up to Congress to decide to release the intelligence community budget, please indicate the degree to which this information can be prudently broken down. By Directorate? By Office? By function?

Answer. This question is an excellent example of the problem raised by the release of intelligence budget figures. While I believe that disclosure of the total figure of the intelligence community budget would not present a security problem at this time, it is likely to stimulate requests for additional detail. There is a danger to national security in the release or leakage of such detail; there is also a potential danger to national security in the revelation of trends of different details of the budget over several years even though any one year’s figures would not present a major problem. For example, a substantial decline or increase in the funds provided to any one intelligence system would be a clear indicator of a change of emphasis on that system, which could alert possible targets of such a system. Thus, I rely upon Congress to make the determination, but I cannot positively recommend the publication of the total or any subdivision thereof. The information requested is of course fully available on a classified basts to the appropriate subcommittees of the Appropriations and Armed Services Committees upon request.

Question. Is there any national security reason why the manpower statistics for the CIA and other intelligence components cannot be released publicly?

Answer. The same considerations discussed above for the budget figures apply to manpower figures. For example, the allocation of manpower among programs would immediately reveal a high degree of emphasis on one particular collection technique and could only alert other powers to need to protect themselves against that.

Question. Have you provided the committee with an indication where the intelligence budget is hidden in the federal budget? If not, why not?

Answer. The location of the intelligence budget is fully known to the Chairman and members of the Appropriations Subcommittee dealing with intelligence. To the extent desired, it has been and could be made available to members of the subcommittees of the Armed Services Committees on request. The appropriations arrangements are in accordance with the wishes of the Appropriations Committees.

Question. What is the proportional allocation of the CIA budget by directorate?

Answer. By function, the 1974 CIA budget is allocated as follows: [deleted] of the total budget is devoted to collection activities: [deleted] is devoted to production activities; [deleted] is devoted to special operations; and [deleted] is devoted to support, including the operation of the [deleted].

The Agency’s budget is allocated among its four directorates as follows: The Directorate for [deleted]; the Directorate for [deleted]; the Directorate for [deleted] and [deleted]; and the Directorate for [deleted] and [deleted]. The remaining [deleted] is allocated to the DCI Area.

Question. How has this (proportion allocated to each function or directorate) changed in the last ten years?

Answer. In functional terms, collected of intelligence consumed [deleted] of the CIA budget in 1964; today it is [deleted]. Production accounted for [deleted] of the Agency’s total in 1964; today it is [deleted]. Special operations used [deleted] of the Agency’s resources in 1964; today that percentage is [deleted]. Support in 1964 used [deleted]; today it is [deleted]. {p.182}

In organizational terms, the DCI Area [deleted] from [deleted] to [deleted] of the Agency’s total during the period 1964 to 1974; the [deleted] Directorate [deleted] from [deleted] to [deleted]; the [deleted] Directorate [deleted] from [deleted] to [deleted] during the same period; the [deleted] and [deleted] Directorate [deleted] from [deleted] to [deleted]; and the Directorate for [deleted] and [deleted] has [deleted] from [deleted] in 1964 to [deleted] today.

These figures are general because there have been a number of organizational changes within the Agency over this 10-year period which affect the comparability of these figures, especially with respect to the directorates. The above figures are considered quite sensitive for the reasons outlined in the answer to question 1, i.e., the ability to deduce the major thrust of our intelligence effort. For this reason, these are held on a most restricted basis even within the Agency.

Question. Who audits the CIA budget? With what frequency?

Answer. The CIA budget is reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget in detail prior to inclusion in the President’s recommended overall budget to Congress. With resect to auditing CIA expenditures, there is an audit staff within CIA reporting to the Director through the Inspector General, which audits all Agency accounts. In most cases this is done on an annual basis although some of the small accounts are audited on a less frequent basis. In some situations outside audit firms are used or the Defense Contract Audit Agency is used on accounts where this is appropriatae {sic: appropriate}. In addition, there is an industrial contract audit staff to audit many of the Agency’s contracts with industry. In certain larger accounts a resident auditor conducts continuing audits.

Question. What economics have been instituted in the last five years? At what savings?

Answer. By far the most significant economies and savings that have been instituted in the past five years flow from the overall reductions in personnel which have been carried out by the Agency. From a 1967 total of [deleted] positions, the Agency has been reduced to a 1974 budget level of [deleted] positions with still further reductions to [deleted] as a result of decisions made after the budget request was determined in December. The total reduction over the period 1967 to 1974 is [deleted] positions, or [deleted].

Our budget today would be [deleted] higher if these personnel reductions had not been taken. Cumulative savings resulting from these personnel reductions total [deleted] over the period 1967 to 1974.

There have been numerous other reductions and savings the Agency has absorbed significant cost increases overseas and in the U.S. in recent years. Since 1967, the Agency budget has fluctuated between [deleted] and [deleted]. Our pending Congressional resquest {sic: request} is [deleted]. During this same period, the percentage of our budget devoted to personal services has increased from [deleted] even while total personnel levels have been declining. This has meant a significant reduction in funds available for other than personnel, and it indicates the extent to which we have been forced to reduce and consolidate our activities.

Question. Given the fact that many thousands of employees at CIA and other intelligence agencies have been shown the National Security Council Intelligence Directives as part of their indoctrination/familiarization process, why have not these NSCIDs become a part of prior Congressional briefings?

Answer. National Security Council Directive, as are all sensitive intelligence documents, are made available only to employees with a “need to know.” Many employees are aware of NSCIDs and the general nature of them but do not see them directly. While the NSClDs are not Agency documents, I have been authorized to show them to the sub-committees on a classified basis.

Question. What authority does the National Security Council have to interpret and extend the National Security Act of 1947 without the approval of Congress?

Answer. The National Security Act of 1947 provides that the National Security Council shall issue directives pursuant to the Act.

Question. What is the CIA’s official position on the bill S. 1935?

Answer. CIA’s position on this bill will be made available to Congress upon appropriate clearance by the Office of Management and Budget for the President. {p.183}

Question. What reason does the National Security Council give for not making public the secret “Charter” of the CIA, the NSCIDs?

Answer. I respectfully suggest that this matter be raised with the National Security Council.

Question. Could you provide copies of National Security Action Memorandums (NSAM) numbered 55, 56, and 57 to the Committee?

Answer. Since these three documents are Presidential documents, I do not have the authority to release them.

Question. Is it accurate that NSAM 55, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged him with responsibility for all military type operations by the intelligence community? Is this NSAM still in effect? How is it presently interpreted?

Answer. Since the document is a Presidential document. I do not have the authority to release it.

Question. Is it accurate that NSAM 57 expressly set out guidelines for operations being restrained to a small size and only then with adequate deniability? Is this NSAM still in effect? How is it presently interpreted?

Answer. Since the document is a Presidential document, I do not have the authority to release it.

Question. What other NSAMs or other forms of direction from the executive department detail or describe the operations of the CIA or other intelligence components? Are these available to the Committee?

Answer. Operations of the CIA and other intelligence components are conducted under the authority of the NSCIDs and a variety of other executive orders and directives. I have been authorized to brief the Committee on the basic ones, the NSCIDs, on a classified basis.

Question. At the present time, is the CIA or any other intelligence components engaged in training or assistance to any law enforcement agencies or bodies within the U.S. aside from the FBI? Where and under what arrangements?

Answer. Yes. CIA disseminates its foreign intelligence reports to several agencies concerned with the matters covered in these reports such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Armed Services, the Customs Service, the Secret Service and others on a routine basis. With respect to training, we provide limited training to the Drug Enforcement Administration personnel in inter-agency procedures, intelligence coordination practices in overseas missions, to the Secret Service in defensive driving and explosives and demolition devices as related to the Secret Service protective responsibilities against terrorist activities and to representatives of USIB members in counter-audio surveillance measures. Any such training by CIA is undertaken only upon formal request and detailed review and senior approval.

With respect to other intelligence components. I do not have precise information immediately available but will determine that if the Committee so requests.

Question. At the present time, with how many foreign internal security or intelligence agency organizations does the CIA have contact? How many have representatives here in the United States? How are these arrangements formalized?

Answer. [Deleted.]

Question. Has the CIA ever trained or assisted in the creation of foreign intelligence agencies? When and Where? Under what authority? Is any such assistance presently being carried on?

Answer. [Deleted.]

Question. Moving to the question of domestic CIA operations, would you please describe the full extent of CIA operations here in the US including those that relate to overseas programs?

Answer. CIA’s operations in the US can be summarized as follows:

(a) Headquarters and administrative activities, to include procurement, recruitment, security clearances, experimentation, training, etc. {p.184}

(b) Domestic collection, American citizens are interviewed on a knowing voluntary basis for their knowledge of foreign intelligence which they will share with their Government.

(c) Foreigners — operations are conducted to collect foreign intelligence from foreigners temporarily resident in the US.

(d) Mechanisms, relationships and facilities are required within the US to support foreign intelligence operations abroad.

(e) Analysis and research of foreign intelligence matters by CIA staff and contractors, consultants and institutions.

Question. Would you explain the role of the Domestic Contact Service?

Answer. Domestic collection — American citizens are interviewed on a knowing and voluntary basis for their knowledge of foreign intelligence which they will share with their Government.

Question. Is it true that the Domestic Contact Service now has been placed under the organizational authority of the clandestine services? If so, why?

Answer. Yes, in order to improve the coordination of its collection activities with those of the Agency abroad.

Question. Have covert programs or personnel ever been run out of or in cooperation with DCS operations or offices? If so, under what conditions?

Answer. Covert programs are not run out of DCS offices but DCS contributes from time to time to the identification of operational opportunities.

Question. Would you please indicate the relationship between the CIA and the following organizations: Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Air America/CAT, Joint Publications Research Service, Interarmco, Southern Air Transport, Saturn Airlines.

Answer. FBIS is the oldest element of CIA. It was established in 1941 and became an element of CIA upon the organization of the Agency in 1947. Air America [deleted.] JPRS [deleted.] Interarmco [deleted.] Southern Air Transport [deleted.] Saturn Airways Inc., none.

Question. Is it true that the CIA or other intelligence components have secretly helped finance certain political parties in India? In any other countries? Please indicate the specific countries involved and the circumstances surrounding each example.

Answer. [Deleted.]

Question. Has the CIA or the intelligence community ever been involved in commodity manipulation on the world or domestic markets? Please explain.

Answer. [Deleted.]

Question. As Director of Central Intelligence, will you have full responsibility for the budget of the entire intelligence community” {sic: ?} Can you control the defense components as DCI?

Answer. The DCI does not have full responsibility for the budget of the entire intelligence community. His responsibility, stemming primarily from the Presidential Directive of 5 November 1971, is to recommend to the President through the Office of Management and Budget the general level and composition of the budget and the appropriate distribution of resources among the different programs. He does not “control” the defense intelligence community. Through a variety of mechanisms and authorities, however, he can exercise leadership with respect to it in the manner directed by the President.

Question. Do you report directly to the President? How frequently?

Answer. The Director of Central Intelligence does report directly to the President as frequently as required.

Question. Can the 40 committee or its equivalent direct you to carry out programs without your consent?

Answer. No, the DCI can appeal to the President. {p.185}

Question. What is the present voting and non-voting composition of the United States Intelligence Board?

Answer. The United States Intelligence Board is an advisory Board to the Director of Central Intelligence and thus there is no formal voting procedure although dissenting views will normally be reported.

The current membership is: — Chairman, Director of Central Intelligence.

Members: CIA, represented by Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. Director, NSA. AEC, represented by Assistant General Manager for National Security. Director, DIA. Treasury, represented by Special Assistant to the Secretary. State, represented by the Director of Intelligence and Research. FBI, Assistant to the Director.

Observers: Army — Assistant Chief of Staff/Intelligence. Navy — Director of Intelligence. Air Force — Assistant Chief of Staff/Intelligence.

Question. What is the status of PFIAB?

Answer. The Board was established under Executive Order 11460 of 20 March 1969. It advises the President on various activities making up the overall national intelligence effort, and conducts continual reviews and assessments of activities of the intelligence community. It reports to the President with recommendations to achieve increased effectiveness in the foreign intelligence effort.

The Board is active and the membership is: George W. Anderson, Chairman, Former Chief of Naval Operations. William O. Baker, Vice President, Research, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. Leon Cherne, Executive Director, Research Institute of America. John B. Connally, Former Governor of Texas. John S. Foster, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Department of Defense. Robert W. Galvin, Chairman of Board, Motorola, Inc. Gordon Gray, Former Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Edwin H. Land, President, Polaroid Corporation. Clare Booth Luce, Former Congresswoman from Connecticut and Former Ambassador to Italy. Nelson A. Rockefeller, Governor of Now York. Dr. Edward Teller. Wheaton B. Byers, Executive Secretary.

Question. Where are CIA’s logistic warehouses located world-wide?

Answer. Logistics Facilities in U.S. [Deleted.] Logistics Facilities Overseas. [Deleted.]

Question. Could you provide the committee with a list of US companies presently under contract to the CIA or other intelligence components?

Answer. CIA maintains lists of companies with which it has contracts. A careful examination would be required to insure that such a list is completely accurate. With respect to other intelligence components we do not have immediate access to this information which is handled by the Department of Defense and the Department of State.

Question. Does the CIA object to the practice of placing FBI personnel in foreign embassies?

Answer. No.

Question. Is there an unwritten rule that any in-house Director must come from the clandestine services? Is there any reason why a future Director could not come from the DD/I?

Answer. No.

Question. What is the current CIA recruitment program?

Answer. The CIA Recruitment Division consists of 22 Recruitment Officers. Ten of these officers are located throughout the United States. Portland, Oreg., Los Angeles, Calif., Austin, Tex., Denver, Colo., St. Paul, Minn., Chicago, Ill., Kansas City, Kans. (clerical), Pittsburgh, Pa. (clerical), New York City, N.Y., Boston, Mass. (clerical).

The remaining 12 officers consist of two who direct and manage the Division, three who staff the Washington Recruitment Office to interview walk-in’s and job inquiries in the Metropolitan area, and six who are specialized recruiters and are headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia. Approximately 12 of the total of 22 are presently involved in recruitment of professionals.

The Agency’s recruitment effort is year-round and nation-wide. Our Career Trainee, Co-op, and Summer Intern programs are the primary avenues through which our young officers enter the Agency. We employ [deleted] Career Trainees {p.186} per year, [deleted] Summer Interns per year, and average [deleted] Co-op employees in that particular program.

In addition to the above, we employ area specialists, linguists, physical science, engineering, and economics majors. These are but a few of the disciplines we seek.

During the past five years, our average number of new professional employees has been approximately [deleted] per year. This represents about a one to eight ratio for all applications received and individuals interviewed.

Our clerical recruitment is numerically larger than our professional recruitment. Six of the 22 Recruitment Officers specialize in clerical recruitment and the others devote as much of their time as possible to this effort. Our 5-year average employment of clericals amounts to approximately [deleted] per year.

Question. Has the CIA recruitment program been adequate quantitatively and qualitatively?

Answer. During the past five years, the Agency has been reducing in size and tightening its manpower belt each year. At the beginning of fiscal year 1969, we had slightly more than [deleted] employees on duty. Today, we have slightly more than [deleted] on duty.

The combination of our desire to reduce manpower and a generally favorable labor market has enabled us to maintain a continuing supply of new officers for the Agency. We have, in fact, reduced our Recruitment staff from 27 officers to its present 22.

Concurrent with our over-all reduction, we have necessarily become more selective in our recruitment, and with the increase in technology, we find ourselves in competition with engineering, computer, and aerospace industries.

Although pressures to produce are greater and programs must constantly be evaluated for relevance and productivity, the adequacy of our recruitment program is best demonstrated by the fact that we are still able to meet most requirements levied on us, and the fact that for every one professional who enters on duty there were seven or eight who either applied for one of our jobs or whom we sought out and considered for one of our jobs.

Question. What is the attrition rate in CIA?

Answer. For the fiscal year just past, our overall attrition rate was 14.0%. Our professional attrition rate was 11.84% and our clerical attrition rate was 19.58%.

FY 1973 was a year during which the Agency underwent a fairly major reduction in force. Because approximately [deleted] employees were so separated, our overall and professional attrition rates were higher than normal. Total separations for all reasons in FY 1973 were [deleted].

Question. Is there any reason why the excellent analytical skills of the CIA could not be used more publicly?

Answer. Where consideration of classification and propriety permits, we encourage our people to participate in professional meetings, publish in professional journals, and turn out unclassified material.

Question. Would you object to DD/I personnel testifying before Congress on a regular basis much like Department of State experts?

Answer. Because of the peculiar requirements of intelligence, such testimony would have to be coordinated, but I can envisage many situations in which it would be quite appropriate.


Senator Symington. I am glad that Senator Kennedy came, but it is the responsibility of the committee, and therefore this is all still executive session.

Senator Kennedy. And may I express my warm appreciation to the chairman and the members of the committee for extending me this courtesy, and to thank Mr. Colby for responding to the questions and taking the time and being as patient as he has been.

[Whereupon, at 6:15 p.m., the committee adjourned.]




Source: The printed hearings (cited below).

By CJHjr: Photocopied at 141%, scanned, converted to text (OCR: FineReader 6.0), formatted (xhtml/css), links, text {in braces}, text beside a green bar |, text in yellow boxes, bold-face, bold-italics, highlighting, added paragraphing (for ease of reading) marked with this trailing paragraph symbol: ¶ .

This document (the third Phoenix hearings): July 25 1973 hearing, pages 119-186, U.S. Congress, Senate Hearings, Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence (U.S. Congress 93-1, Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearings, July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, 25, 1973, 3+186 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3, CIS: 73 S201-27, OCLC: 800312, LCCN: 73603022 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: William E. Colby, Robert F. Drinan, Samuel A. Adams, Paul Sakwa, David S. Harrington, Kenneth B. Osborn.

See also:

The first Phoenix hearings: Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970 {58.4mb.pdf, source}, “Hearings on Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program” (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970, and Appendix, 7+750 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17, CIS: 71 S381-2, OCLC: 119418, LCCN: 76610214 pf, DL, WorldCat}.

The second Phoenix hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings, U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, Hearings, July 15 {a.m., p.m.}, 16, 19, 21, and August 2 1971, 4+362 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.G 74/7:V 67/4, CIS: 72 H401-3, OCLC: 235387, LCCN: 71616178 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Ensuing report: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272 pf, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}.

Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 70 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991 pf, DL, WorldCat}.

National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes, Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 4238-4271 (U.S. Congress 92-1, March 1 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.4, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., Mike McCusker, Daniel K. Amigone, Greg Motoka, Kenneth Barton Osborn, Norman Kiger, Gail Graham, Steve Noetzel, Edward Murphy, Daniel Alfiero, Louis Paul Font, Robert Master, Peter Norman Martinsen, T. Griffiths Ellison, Ed Melton, Chuck Hamilton, Lee Meyrowitz, Gordon S. Livingston, Greg Turgeon, Richard Altenberger, Bob Connelly, Robert Lifton, Chaim Shatan, Donald Engel, Gary Thamer, Steven Hassett, Kenneth Campbell, Sam Rankin, Phillip Wingenbach, Tod Ensign, Larry Rottmann, Robert Osman.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc., Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.8, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}; 117 Congressional Record E 2825-2936 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6-? 1971, Daily Edition (green bound)) {SuDoc: X/A.92/1:117/???-???, ISSN: 0363-7239, LCCN: 80646573 pf, OCLC: 02437919, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.

American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971 (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Hearings, March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20 {vvaw}, 1971, 9+583 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1, CIS: 71 H381-9, OCLC: 15634210, LCCN: 77612471 pf, WorldCat}, witness: Larry Rottmann (volunteer coordinator, Vietnam Veterans Against the War), April 20 1971 hearing, pages 353-423 {3.2mb.pdf}, at pages 406-423. CIS: “Description of charged mistreatment of prisoners in South Vietnam by American forces; report of receiving Officers Candidate School instruction on the use of torture.”


Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia {44.14mb.pdf, source} “Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-Second Congress, First Session, on S. 376, S. 974, S.J. Res. 82, S.J. Res. 89, S. Con. Res. 17, S. Res. 62, and S. Res. 66” (U.S. Congress 92-1, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, April 20-May 27 1971: “April 20, 21 and 22, 28, May 3, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26 and 27, 1971,” 7+726+12 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:AS 4/13, CIS: 71 S381-18, OCLC: 198272, LCCN: 79614140 pf, DL, WorldCat}, witness: John Kerry (VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), Thursday April 22 1971, 11:05am-1:00pm, pages 179-210 {3.1mb.pdf}.

House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Congressmen Jonathon Bingham and Paul Findley, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 13104-13118 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 3 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.10, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Larry Rottmann, Forest Lindley, Les Johnson, Arthur Egendorf, Kip A. Kypriandes, Phillip Lowley, Vinny Giardina, Michael Paul McCusker, William W. Lemmer, Alex Prim, Robert McLaughlin, Jack Smith, David B. Maize.

Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Senator George McGovern, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, Senate, Room G-103 New Senate Office Building), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 15392-15405 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 17 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Scott Camil, Vinny Giardina, Melville L. Stephens, Basil Paquet, Joe Nielsen, Dale Granata, Everett Carson, Forrest Lindley Jr., Samuel Miller, David A. Lamenzo, Jon Bjornson, Ken Provan.

Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam {copy} (U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, presiding, April 26, 27, 28, 29, 1971, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building), transcript, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia (New York, Vintage Books, 1972, 13+355 pages) {LCCN: 79039897 pf, ISBN: 0394717678, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Five West Point graduates (Fred Laughlin, Gordon Livingston {Iraq, copy}, Robert B. Johnson, Greg Hayward, Ron Bartek, Michael O'Mera), five former military intelligence special agents and PoW interrogators {omitted from the linked source}, ten former Americal Division members (Gary Battles, Charles David Locke, Terry Mullen, Steve Padoris, Daniel S. Notley, John Beitzel, Guadalupe G. Villarreal, Daniel Barnes, Thomas Cole, William Toffling), overview of air war, pacification, and forced urbanization (John Sack, Kenneth Campbell, Randy Floyd, Elliot L Meyrowitz).

Bertrand Russell Tribunal, “International War Crimes Tribunal” (Stockholm Sweden, May 2-10 1967; Roskilde Denmark, November 20 – December 1 1967).

Tiger Force: “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Tiger Force, an elite fighting unit in Vietnam, left a trail of atrocities in that country that have been concealed from the public for three decades.” (The Blade, Toledo Ohio, October 22 2003, February 15, March 28, April 6, May 2, May 12 2004).

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.


Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

Posted August 23 2004. Updated May 17 2009.


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