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The Pentagon's Spies

Newly Available Documents Trace Evolution of Spy Units through Obama Administration

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 520

Updated - July 6, 2015

Originally posted – May 23, 2001 (EBB No. 46)

Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson

For more information contact:
Jeffrey T. Richelson 202/994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

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Washington, D.C., July 6, 2015 – On April 20, 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta formally established a new Department of Defense spy organization -- the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). That memo marked yet another in the multiple starts, stops, and reversals in the human intelligence activities of the Department of Defense and the military services. The defense community’s rocky history of involvement with HUMINT includes both war-related and non-war missions, overt and covert programs, conflicts with Congress over the lack of transparency, and inevitable bureaucratic tensions among the uniformed services.  Today, the National Security Archive updates its 2001 Electronic Briefing Book, The Pentagon’s Spies, adding thirty-five new documents that bring the history of military HUMINT activities up to the year 2015.

In addition to the Panetta memo (Document 50), this update contains records concerning:

  • The House Permanent Select Committee’s discovery of the existence of the U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity (Document 8, Document 10)   
  • The role of Admiral Bobby Inman in the disestablishment of Task Force 157 (Document 40)
  • Operations of two Air Force human intelligence organizations – the 1127 Field Activities Group and the Air Force Special Activities Center (Document 3a, Document 14a)
  • Defense HUMINT Service activities in operations other than war (Document 30)
  • The work of the Iraq Survey Group (Document 37)
  • Expansion of Army and Air Force HUMINT operations since 2002 (Document 39, Document 41, Document 46, Document 54)

 


Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington DC (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington DC (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Pentagon’s Spies

By Jeffrey T. Richelson

For almost 70 years, responsibility for conducting human intelligence (HUMINT) has fallen mainly to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Virtually since the agency’s creation in 1947, CIA HUMINT has included the recruitment of foreign nationals to conduct espionage, the use of travelers to gather intelligence, as well as the debriefing of defectors and other individuals with access to information of value. The primary focus of such HUMINT operations was strategic – the collection of information relevant to national policymakers – although subsequent to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks the CIA has devoted considerable energy to supporting efforts to capture or kill terrorist leaders and their followers, and disrupt terrorist activities.

But the CIA has not been operating alone in the sphere of human intelligence. Throughout the Cold War and beyond, the Department of Defense and the military services have also conducted HUMINT operations. They have periodically established and disestablished organizations to recruit spies and debrief individuals of interest, especially in order to gather information about foreign weapons systems, doctrine, and other matters of interest to military officials.

The Army was the service whose HUMINT effort – particularly its clandestine collection program – was for decades the most consistent and extensive. One example of its early activities in the HUMINT area were those conducted during the Korean War (Document 47). By late 1965 (Document1) the Navy was also contemplating establishing a clandestine collection organization – which it did in 1966 in the form of the Naval Field Operations Support Group (NFOSG), which would become better known as Task Force 157. After a decade of operations (Document 4a, Document 4b) that entity was disestablished at the direction of Bobby Ray Inman, the Director of Naval Intelligence, despite a plea (Document 5) from task force chief Donald Nielsen. Many years later, a Director of National Intelligence commented (Document 40) that Inman had “whipped out his trusty pistol and shot HUMINT in the head.”1

By the mid-1960s the Air Force also operated its own HUMINT organization – known as the 1127th Field Activities Group. It was located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and reported to the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. The group’s activities (Document 3a, Document 3b) included debriefings, seeking to recover Soviet space debris, gathering intelligence at the Paris Air Show, and operating both abroad and within the United States. By 1981, as part of an Air Force intelligence reorganization, the Field Activities Group became the Air Force Special Activities Center (Document 14a, Document 14b), subordinate to the Air Force Intelligence Service.2

In 1980, as a result of the November 4, 1979, seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and Iran’s holding of American hostages, the Army established an ad hoc organization known as the Field Operations Group (FOG) to gather intelligence in support of a rescue mission. In the aftermath of the failed mission the Army transformed the FOG into what was intended to be a permanent organization (Document 7, Document 16) – the United States Intelligence Support Activity (USAISA).3

USAISA was established as a “black” or compartmented activity whose existence was not only not disclosed to the public but also not revealed to Congress. However, eventual public disclosure – partially due to media accounts – led the House Permanent Select Committee (HPSCI) to complain in 1982 (Document 8) about its being kept in the dark. Appearances before the HPSCI by Army intelligence chief William Odom and Director of Central Intelligence William Casey followed (Document 10, Document 11).

Even before Odom’s June 8, 1982, testimony the deputy under secretary of defense for policy had signed a memo (Document 9) reporting that the results of an investigation into ISA showed it to be out of control and directing either termination of its operations or preparation of a new charter that would provide proper command and control of those operations. That charter would be reviewed by DCI Casey in July 1982 (Document 12) and finalized in 1983 (Document 13). ISA continued to operate (Document 15, Document 16, Document 17a, Document 17b) as an acknowledged organization through 1988. A memo from the ISA commander in March 1989 (Document 20) directed termination of the use of the terms Intelligence Support Activity and its associated codename, GRANTOR SHADOW. That would signal not the end of the organization and its activities but its reestablishment as a compartmented program that would be known by a number of names (e.g. Tactical Coordination Detachment, U.S. Army Security Coordination Detachment, Mission Support Activity, Task Force Orange) and codenames (CENTRA SPIKE, GREY FOX, INTREPID SPEAR) over the ensuing years.4

Defense HUMINT Service( Document 35)

Document 35: Donald Rumsfeld, To: Stephen Cambone, Subject: Defense HUMINT Service, January 27, 2004. Classification Not Available.

In the 1990s, the Department of Defense sought to centralize management of HUMINT operations conducted by DoD and the services. One aspect of that effort was the issuance of a DoD directive (Document 24) in December 1992. Then, in 1993, a review by DCI James Woolsey and Deputy Secretary of Defense William Perry produced the decision to establish a Defense HUMINT Service (DHS) – which would absorb all service clandestine collection activities as well as non-tactical overt collection efforts. Implementation of that decision included production of a plan for consolidating Defense HUMINT (Document 25) and a memo from Perry (Document 26) to the relevant parties.5

DHS operations in the 1990s would include, inter alia, collection activities in support of operations other than war, including Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia (Document 30) and Central Africa (Document 32). But in early 2004, almost ten years after it began operating, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld felt it necessary to ask (Document 35) Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone about steps being taken to make the DHS “a credible career service.” Ultimately, when the CIA’s Directorate of Operations was transformed into the National Clandestine Service in 2007, it absorbed the DHS clandestine case officers.

By that time there had been actions by the Army to enhance its human intelligence activity – at least with regard to overt HUMINT – by the creation of the Army Operations Activity (AOA) in 2002 (Document 33, Document 34) and modification of the AOA charter (Document 38, Document 39). Then, in late 2007, the Air Force took a step to enhance its HUMINT capability by establishing (Document 41, Document 42) “Detachment 6" at Wright-Patterson Air Force, Base – home of a key customer, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. The Navy also had reentered the HUMINT field, an activity conducted by the Office of Naval Intelligence component designated “ONI-36.” Then, in 2009, the Navy transferred (Document 43) the responsibility for HUMINT operations from ONI to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, based on the belief that combining HUMINT and counterintelligence activities in one organization was preferable to their being assigned to separate units.6

In 2010, the Air Force took another step intended to enhance its HUMINT operations, transforming Detachment 6 into the Global Activities Squadron (Document 46). Air Force officials and briefings (Document 49, Document 51) have also emphasized the importance of HUMINT with respect to the service’s overall Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance effort. Air Force HUMINT activities are also discussed in the 2012 annual history (Document 54) of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency (now the 25th Air Force). 

HUMINT-related activities at the Department of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency level, subsequent to the disestablishment of the DHS, included continued issuance of DoD directives or instructions governing elements of HUMINT operations – including those concerning human source validation (Document 44), creation of the since disestablished Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center within DIA (Document 48), HUMINT activities in cyberspace (Document 52), and cover and cover support activities (Document 55). But the most important DoD issuance was the April 20, 2012, memo (Document 50) signed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta establishing the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). Creation of the DCS was reportedly authorized after a review for the Director of National Intelligence concluded that the Defense HUMINT effort needed a more strategic focus beyond the tactical focus on Iraq and Afghanistan, to include Iran, China, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.7 A secret DoD directive (Document 53), issued in 2013, established a process for the oversight, management, and DCS source operations.

Notes

[1]. On the history of the unit, see Jeffrey T. Richelson, “Task Force 157: The U.S. Navy’s Secret Intelligence Service, 1966-1977,” Intelligence and National Security 11, 1 (January 1996): 106-145.

[2]. Jeffrey T. Richelson, “The Grounded Spies,” Air Force Magazine, December 2014, pp.64-67.

[3]. On the history and origins of the FOG and ISA, see Michael Smith, Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006) and Jeffrey T. Richelson, “‘Truth Conquers All Chain’: The U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity, 1981-1989,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12, 2 (Summer 1999): 168-200. 

[4]. Smith, Killer Elite; Richelson, “‘Truth Conquers All Chains’”; Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady, Deep State: Inside the Secrecy Industry (New York: Wiley, 2013), pp. 153-156.

[5]. Jeffrey T. Richelson, “From MONARCH EAGLE to MODERN AGE: The Consolidation of U.S. Defense HUMINT,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 10, 2 (Summer 1997): 131-164.

[6]. Document 43 was provided by ONI in response to a request for any memos or directives concerning the transfer of ONI HUMINT functions to the NCIS. A request to NCIS for relevant documents on the transfer resulted in a ‘neither confirm nor deny’ response, which was overturned on appeal by the Navy Judge Advocate’s office. NCIS processing of the remanded request has not been completed.

[7]. Greg Miller, “Pentagon Establishes Defense Clandestine Service, New Espionage Unit,” www.washingtonpost.com, April 23, 2012; Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press, “Pentagon Spies Get New Service, Stepped Up Mission,” April 23, 2012; Eric Schmitt, “Defense Department Plans New Intelligence Gathering Service, “ New York Times, April 24, 2012; Adam Entous, “Pentagon Creates New Spy Service in Revamp,” Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2012, p. A5.

 


* * *

Documents

Document 1: Paul H. Nitze, “Instructions for the coordination and control of the Navy’s clandestine collection program,” December 7, 1965. Top Secret.

Source: Navy Freedom of Information Act Release.

The U.S. Navy had conducted clandestine human intelligence operations during the 1930s and World War II. By the mid-1960s the Navy, however, was largely out of the clandestine HUMINT business. Then, in 1965, Admiral Rufus Taylor asked Thomas Duval and Thomas Saunders to set up a Navy HUMINT program. Despite some concern by senior Navy officers about the "flap potential," their proposal was approved - resulting in this memorandum from Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze. The memorandum provides a rationale for the creation of a new HUMINT organzation, relevant definitions, and establishes the responsibilities of senior officials. With regard to security, the memo mandates that very existence of the program be classified Secret. Nitze's memo would lead to the establishment, in 1966, of the Naval Field Operations Support Group (NFOSG) to conduct clandestine HUMINT operations. It would soon be given an alternative designation - Task Force 157 - by which it would become more commonly known.

Document 2: John A. Bross, D/DCI/NIPE Memorandum for: Deputy Director for Plans, Subject: Conversation with [Deleted] Concerning the PFIAB Report and the DIA HUMINT Plan, January 14, 1966. Secret.

Source: CIA Records Search Tool (CREST).

This memo from the deputy DCI for National Intelligence Program Evaluation to the head of the CIA’s Operations Directorate indicates DIA’s involvement in human intelligence activities from as early as 1966.

Document 3a: Anita H. Beasey, 1127 USAF Field Activities Group, 1127 USAF Field Activities Group (AFNIA), 1 January – 30 June 1967. Secret.

Document 3b: Air Force, History of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, July-December 1967, n.d. Secret.

Source: Air Force Freedom of Information Act Release.

These two documents provide an account of the activities of the Air Force HUMINT organization in 1967 – the 1127 Field Activities Group. They describe the mission, organization, and personnel strength of the group as well as the number of its collection activities – including those involving the Paris Air Show, the recovery of Soviet space debris, and Soviet MiG aircraft lost during the Six Day War. In addition, they provide data on the location and production of domestic sites and foreign bases.

Document 4a: History of Navy HUMINT Program (Human Source Intelligence) 1973, n.d., Secret.

Document 4b: History of Navy HUMINT Program (Human Source Intelligence) 1974, n.d. Secret.

Source: Navy Freedom of Information Act Release.

These two histories provide some specifics about the intelligence collection activities of Task Force 157. They provide information on the number of intelligence reports produced, creation and disestablishment of field units, the task force's role in maritime surveillance, its production of ground-level photographs of Soviet naval vessels, and its collection of scientific and technical intelligence.

Document 5: Donald Nielsen, Commander, Task Force 157, To: Director of Naval Intelligence, Bobby Ray Inman, December 31, 1975 w/attached memo.

Source: Editor’s Collection.

The memo attached to the letter is a "decision reclama"—an appeal from Donald Nielsen, Task Force 157's commander, to Director of Naval Intelligence Inman that Inman reverse his decision to offer to disestablish the task force as a means of complying with Department of Defense-mandated budget cuts. Explanations for Inman's willingness to abolish the task force have ranged from being denied access to information about TF 157 operations when he served with the Pacific Fleet to an aversion to the scandal potential of HUMINT operations. The reclama both disputed that some of the expected benefits of disestablishing the task force would actually be attained and suggested a number of negative consequences that would follow from disestablishment.

The covering letter represents a personal appeal from Nielsen and a reflection of the belief that when Inman assumed the position of DNI, he intended to close down the task force. Thus, Nielsen writes that, "You came to your job preceded by the information that you would soon see that TF 157 was wiped out. Your initial protestations to the contrary were accepted at face value, but your actions in the intervening year have belied your words."

Document 6: Memorandum for Deputy Director of Defense Ellsworth, Subj: Navy Program for Clandestine Intelligence Collection, disestablishment of, INFORMATION MEMORANNDUM, July 20, 1976, Top Secret.

Source: Navy Freedom of Information Act Release. 

This memo informed Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Ellsworth, that Task Force 157 would cease operations on September 30, 1977 or earlier. It also reveals that attempts to turn a significant portion of the task force's operations over to the CIA failed - ostensibly due to congressionally imposed restrictions, but there was also, according to some CIA officials, agreement in the Directorate of Operations that they should not absorb the task force in any case.

A disestablishment committee distributed task force projects among the CIA, DIA, Army, Air Force, and Task Force 168 - an organization established in 1969 to provide intelligence support to the fleet and conducted overt HUMINT operations. The task force's case officers were told to destroy all records of their employment by the Navy and deny that the task force ever existed.[a]

Document 7: Lt. Gen. Philip C. Gast, Director of Operations, Joint Staff, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Intelligence Capability, December 10, 1980, Top Secret.

Source: Editor’s Collection.

The seizure of the U.S. embassy in Iran in November 1979 established formidable requirements for intelligence to support a rescue mission. This memo notes the need for human intelligence to provide some of the required information as well as the inability of either the services or the Defense Department to provide such information.

An ad hoc organization, the Field Operations Group had been established in 1980 to provide HUMINT support to those planning a possible second rescue attempt. In 1981, it would be transformed into a permanent organization - the Army Intelligence Support Activity (ISA). ISA would conduct both human intelligence operations as well as SIGINT operations, the latter usually from aircraft. 

Document 8: DC/PCS, To: DDO, Subject: HPSCI “Discovery” of the Army’s Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), February 10, 1982. Classification Not Available.

Source: CREST.

This “speed letter” to the CIA Deputy Director for Operations discusses the reaction of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to its discovery of the existence of the Army Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), which had been established as the Field Operations Group in 1980 to gather intelligence to support the April 1980 attempt to rescue U.S. embassy personnel held in Tehran. It reports that the committee “claims to have learned about ISA from the public and other indiscretions of ‘Bo’ Gritz who identified ISA as his point of contact within the Army.”

Document 9: Frank C. Carlucci, Memorandum to the Deputy Under Secretary for Policy, May 26, 1982. Classification Not Available.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

By spring 1982, the Intelligence Support Activity found itself under attack for support to former Special Forces Lt. Col. Bo Gritz, who had organized a private POW rescue mission, and other activities that some considered questionable. Such concerns led to a very critical review of the organization by the Defense Department's Inspector General.

After reading the report Deputy Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci sent this memo to Richard Stillwell, the Deputy Under Secretary for Policy, in which he characterized ISA as "uncoordinated and uncontrolled." He also ordered the termination of all ISA activities within 30 days, but also offered ISA a possibility of a reprieve if a satisfactory plan for continued operations could be produced. 

Document 10: Prepared Statement To Be Given by MG William E. Odom, Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army Before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on 8 June 1982, Top Secret.

Source: CREST.

After its discovery (Document 8) of the existence of ISA, HPSCI sought to learn essential details of the unit. In his testimony, the Army’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence provided information on its origins; missions; organization, personnel strength, and headquarters; tasking, oversight, and operational approval; and ISA provision of security equipment to the president and vice-president of Sudan.

Document 11: William J. Casey, Director of Central Intelligence Statement Before House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, June 16, 1982. Secret.

Source: CREST.

After hearing from Gen. Odom (Document 10), the HPSCI heard from DCI William Casey, as indicated by this heavily redacted document. Casey’s initial comments indicate that the subject of his testimony was coordination of ISA and military intelligence activities.

Document 12: William J. Casey, Memorandum for: Major General William E. Odom, Subject: Comments on Proposed United States Army Intelligence Activity (USAISA) Charter, July 22, 1982. Secret.

Source: CREST.

This memo from Casey to Odom, in response to an earlier memo from Odom and a review of the proposed ISA charter, makes two key points – that special activities (covert action) should be the sole responsibility of the CIA and that clandestine intelligence activities carried out by military intelligence units need to fully coordinated with the CIA. However, after noting those qualifications, Casey expresses his support for the continued existence of an Army clandestine intelligence organization.

Document 13: Charter of U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity, circa 1983.

Source: Army Freedom of Information Act Release.

One of the eventual results of the DoD Inspector General's critique of ISA was the production of a charter to guide and constrain ISA activities. The charter established ISA as an organization to be employed only when there were no other available resources to carry out a mission, and specified that "USAISA activities, especially those involving U.S. persons, will be pursued in a responsible manner that is consistent with the Constitution and respectful of the principles upon which the United States was founded." The charter establishes authority over ISA operations with regard to HUMINT, SIGINT, and covert action operations.

Document 14a: Diane T. Putney, History of the Air Force Intelligence Service, 1 January – 31 December 1983, Volume I: Narrative and Appendices, n.d. (Extract) Classification Not Available.

Document 14b: Air Force Intelligence Service, AFISR 23-2, Air Force Special Activities Center (AFSAC), December 20, 1984. Classification Not Available.

Source: Air Force Intelligence Service Freedom of Information Act Release.

In 1981, the 1127th Field Activities Group was renamed the Air Force Special Activities Center (AFSAC) and became a component of the Air Force Intelligence Service (AFIS). The extract from the 1983 AFIS history discusses mission, organization, unit strength, and AFSAC participation in HUMINT-related exercises. The 1984 document specifies the organizational structure as well as peacetime and wartime missions of AFSAC and its divisions.

Document 15: 902nd Military Intelligence Group, Subject: After Action Report for Operation CANVAS SHIELD, July 30, 1985. Secret.

Source: Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

CANVAS SHIELD was an operational security assessment of GRAZING LAWN, an aerial intelligence collection operation conducted from Honduras. Participating in the operation were four members of ISA's SIGINT component. The assessment explored the possibility that GRAZING LAWN personnel could be ambushed while traveling to or from the Tegulcigalpa airfield, examined newspapers and reviews of radio and television for mention of ISA activity, and visited bars and restaurants to determine if GRAZING LAWN personnel had been noticed in any significant way. 

Document 16: U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity, Brief History Unit, 1986, Secret.

Source: Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

This document provides key data on the creation and evolution of the Intelligence Support Activity. In particular, it explains how the Field Operations Group was formed to provide intelligence support for a possible second rescue mission in Iran, its transformation into ISA, and the approval of an ISA charter in July 1983.

Document 17a: U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity, United States Intelligence Support Activity, 1986 Historical Report, n.d. Secret.

Document 17b: U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity, United States Intelligence Support Activity, 1987 Historical Report, n.d. Secret.

Source: Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release 

These histories provide information on the organizational evolution, exercises, and operations of ISA for 1986 and 1987. Organizationally ISA consisted of a number of headquarters directorates (including intelligence and operations) and a number of operational squadrons. Exercises, with codenames such as POWERFUL GAZE, QUIZ ICING, and POPULAR FOREST tested ISA's ability to provide intelligence support to counter-terrorist and conventional forces. Operations (requested or approved) included those in Latin America and the Middle East. The 1987 history in particular demonstrates the prolonged approval process for ISA operations. The histories also document ISA's intelligence production in support of its operations.

Document 18: Commander, 500th MI Group, Subj: [deleted]/Guerilla Use of Stinger Missiles and Their Effect on Soviet Tactics in AF, circa 1987.  

Source: Editor’s Collection.

While ISA was responsible for intelligence support to special operations and counter-terrorism, more traditional Army HUMINT operations were conducted by the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Among INSCOM's human intelligence components was the 500th Military Intelligence Group, located at Camp Zama, Japan. 

In 1986, President Reagan approved a proposal to have the CIA supply the Afghan resistance with Stinger missiles. This report describes how the resistance's use of those missiles affected Soviet air operations.

Document 19: Department of the Army, Army Regulation 381-100, Army Human Intelligence Collection Programs, May 15, 1988. Secret.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

This Army regulation covers HUMINT procedures, restrictions, and authorities, Foreign Military Intelligence Collection Activities (Document 56), and two topics which have been redacted. A number of redactions, made in April 2011, are justified on the basis of the (b) (2) exemption whose use was supposed to have been narrowed considerably by the Supreme Court’s March 2011 Milner decision. 

Document 20: Commander, USAISA, Subject: Termination of USAISA and “GRANTOR SHADOW,” March 31, 1989. Secret.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

On several occasions after 1985 the commander of the Intelligence Support Activity requested that the organization be disestablished. At least on one occasion, the request was a result of frustration with the ISA approval and coordination process - that involved several CIA, DoD, and Army officials.

This 1989 memo terminates the use of the terms ISA and "GRANTOR SHADOW" - the later being the current designation of the special access program that protected information about ISA (previously it was known as ROYAL CAPE). The memo does not abolish ISA, however. According to several reports, responsibility for ISA was transferred to the U.S. Special Operations Command, given a new name (which is changed every two years) and new special access program designation (which is changed every six months).

Document 21: Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe, USAFE Regulation 200-6, CREEK GRAB, October 31, 1990. Secret.

Source: USAF Freedom of Information Act Release.

This regulation provides an example of, and specifics about, a military command-directed HUMINT program. It covers “opportunity collection” (including during travel); defectors, walk-ins, and asylum seekers; as well as processing of enemy prisoners of war.

Document 22: Duane P. Andrews, Assistant Secretary of Defense, C3I, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Strengthening Defense Intelligence – DIA HUMINT Plan, August 6, 1991, Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Release.

In the early 1990s, partially under pressure from Congressional oversight committees, the Defense Department sought to streamline military service and DoD intelligence operations - including HUMINT operations. This memo would be the first step in moving toward a centralized Defense HUMINT structure. It specifies development of a plan under which the military services would continue to conduct HUMINT activities but a DoD HUMINT manager would exercise control over tasking and how the military services satisfied that tasking - although not managing day-to-day operations.

Document 23: Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence [ODCSI], Annual Historical Review, 1 October 1992 to 30 September 1993, n.d. Secret.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

Of all the military services, the Army offered the strongest objections to any restructuring of Defense HUMINT. Part of this portion of the Army ODCSI history specifies the office's view of the centralization activities and its objection to centralization that did not allow service HUMINT collectors to determine how to satisfy tasking from DoD.

Another part of this document excerpt focuses on the intelligence reports produced as a result of Army HUMINT activities. Several of the reports concerned atrocities committed against Bosnian Moslems by Serb forces. Other topics included Cuban biological warfare capacity and signals intelligence, Russian ICBM development, and the role of Panamanian air cargo companies in narcotics trafficking.

Document 24: DoD Directive 5200.37, Subject: Centralized Management of Department of Defense Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Operations, December 18, 1992. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This directive replaced the 1987 directive on DoD HUMINT operations. It named the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency as DoD HUMINT manager. The directive ordered the consolidation of the HUMINT activities of DoD, the military services, and the unified and specified commands into joint operating bases. Most importantly, it required the military service organizations to receive and implement HUMINT tasking from DIA without alteration. 

Document 25: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, C3I, Plan for Consolidation of Defense HUMNT, 1993, Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This plan was developed in response to the agreement between DCI James Woolsey and Deputy Defense Secretary William Perry to establish a Defense Department organization to absorb the HUMINT operations of the military services. The plan notes that its purpose was to "preserve the Department's ability to manage HUMINT under the constraints of diminishing resources while more rapidly and efficiently focusing the HUMINT elements of the Department on targets worldwide." It instructed the DIA Director to establish, during the 1994 fiscal year, a Defense HUMINT Service (DHS) to incorporate DoD and military service HUMINT operations (excluding non-sensitive, overt, tactical HUMINT activities).

Document 26: William Perry, Subject: Consolidation of Defense HUMINT, November 2, 1993. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

In this memorandum Deputy Secretary of Defense William Perry approves the provisions of the Plan for the Consolidation of Defense HUMINT. It directs the Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I) to "take the actions necessary to effect the consolidation of Defense HUMINT by Fiscal Year 1997." The DHS would be established on a provisional basis on April 1, 1994. By October 1995, it had over 2,000 personnel stationed in over 100 locations. By 1996, DHS had completed absorbing the HUMINT efforts of the military services.

Document 27: Department of Defense, Subject: [deleted] PLA Reaction to Attache Detention and Current Status of the Sino-U.S. Relationship, August 4, 1995. Confidential.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This information report, probably transmitted by the U.S. Defense Attache Office in Beijing concerns the detention of Col. Joseph Wei Chan and Capt. Dwayne Howard Florenzie, attaches assigned to the U.S. Consulate General’s office Hong Kong. They had been apprehended on July 28, 1995, and charged with sneaking into restricted areas and “illegally acquiring military intelligence by photographing and videotaping” the areas. They had entered China on July 23 to consult with officials at the US Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate General in Guangzhou. Reportedly, their actual objective was the monitoring of ongoing Chinese military exercises north of Taiwan.

Document 28: Department of Defense, [deleted] COSTIND Company Update, December 21, 1995. Confidential.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This intelligence information report, probably based on reporting by the Defense Attache in Beijing, provides information on one of the enterprises of COSTIND - the Commission of Science, Technology, Industry for National Defense, a key PRC government institution that acquires both technology and scientific and technical intelligence.

Document 29: John C. Dymond, Air Force HUMINT: Phoenix or Albatross? (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Air War College, April 1998). Unclassified.

Source: Defense Technical Information Center.

In this paper, the author notes that the Air Force is in the midst of reestablishing the HUMINT capability it surrendered to the Defense HUMINT Service in 1995, and goes on to examine the issue of “what HUMINT can and should do for the Air Force.”

Document 30: David W. Becker, Coming in from the Cold ... War: Defense HUMINT Services Support to Military Operations Other Than War (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2000). Unclassified.

Source: Defense Technical Information Center.

This study examines the history of military HUMINT, the purpose in creating the DHS and, as indicated by the title, the role of the DHS in supporting military commanders and task forces in operations other than war – specifically Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia.

Document 31: OSD (C3I) Special Study Team, OSD (C3I) Review of Defense Intelligence Activities; “An Alternative Approach to Meet the Department of Defense Human Resource Intelligence Demands of the 21st Century,” March 2000. Secret.

Source: DoD Freedom of Information Act Release.

The few unredacted pages of this over 100-hundred-page document state the purpose, scope, objectives, and tasks of the study. Also identified are the four areas within which the sixteen major findings fall. However, the findings as well as any recommendations have been redacted.

Document 32: [Deleted], “Response of the Defense HUMINT Service to the 1996 Central African Crisis,” Studies in Intelligence 46, 4 (Winter 2002). Secret.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The title of this article indicates another operation other than war (Document 30) that the DHS supported – although details of its activity have been redacted from the version released.

Document 33: Robert W. Noonan, Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, Memorandum for Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Subject: U.S. Army Operational Activity, December 26, 2002. Confidential.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo indicates the Army’s decision to enhance its human capabilities – which had been substantial prior to the creation of the DHS – although the memo also specifies that the newly established Army Operational Activity (AOA), under the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), is to conduct overt HUMINT collection.

Document 34: Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Memorandum for Commander, United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, Subject: U.S. Army Operational Activity Charter, January 2, 2003. Secret/Noforn.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo provides details on the mission, responsibilities, and organization of the AOA, as well as the responsibilities of INSCOM. It states that “USAOA will conduct tactical, operational, and service-level overt HUMINT activities ... and serve as a bridge between the Army’s operational HUMINT force and the Defense HUMINT Service.” 

Document 35: Donald Rumsfeld, To: Stephen Cambone, Subject: Defense HUMINT Service, January 27, 2004. Classification Not Available.

Source: www.rumsfeld.com

In this memo to his Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense inquires about steps being taken to make the Defense HUMINT Service “a credible career service.”

Document 36: VADM Lowell E. Jacoby, Subject: Message to the Workforce – DH Strategic Support Teams, January 27, 2005. Unclassified.

Source: Defense Intelligence Agency Freedom of Information Act Release.

In response to media accounts concerning an enhanced Defense HUMINT effort, DIA Director Lowell Jacoby issued this message to the workforce providing details on the origins and purpose of the agency’s Strategic Support Teams.

Document 37: Charles A. Duelfer, “The Iraq Survey Group and the Search for WMD,” Studies in Intelligence, 49, 2 (2005). Secret.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The Iraq Survey Group was chartered by DCI George Tenet and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to search for and conduct an investigation of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs – an effort that involved overt HUMINT collection. This account, written by David Kay’s successor as special advisor to the ISG, discusses the group’s background, its key components, its contact with higher authority, the exploitation of sites and documents, interviews, the role of analysis, and redirection of the ISG after the repeated failure to find WMD.

Document 38: John Defreitas, Commanding General, United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, Memorandum for: Deputy Chief of Staff G-2, Subject: HQ INSCOM Concurrence to Modify AOA, February 9, 2006. Secret/Noforn.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo, from the head of INSCOM to the Army’s intelligence chief, requests approval to modify the AOA charter. The precise changes are redacted from the version of the memo released.

Document 39: John F. Kimmons, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, Memorandum for Commander, United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, Subject: U.S. Army Operations Activity Charter (Update - Change 1), April 2, 2006. Secret/Noforn.

Source: US Army Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo provides more details (Document 38) on the proposal to update and amend the charter of the AOA – although it still contains key redactions.

Document 40: Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, “All-Hands,” March 23, 2007. Top Secret//SI//TK//Noforn.

Source: www.governmentattic.org

This extract from the transcript of an all-hands event at the National Reconnaissance Office, featuring then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, contains his remarks on the demise of the Navy’s Task Force 157 (Documents 4a, 4b, 5, 6). He states that Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, Director of Naval Intelligence at the time, “whipped out his trusty pistol and shot HUMINT in the head.”

Document 41: Juliet L. Montalvo, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, Special Order GC-14, November 16, 2007. Unclassified.

Source: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency Freedom of Information Act Release.

This brief special order represents a further attempt to enhance Air Force HUMINT capabilities, with the creation of a detachment at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio – the headquarters of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. 

Document 42: James F. Whidden, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, Memorandum for HQ AF ISR Agency/A1, Subject: Request for Unit Activation, January 25, 2008, w/atts: Justification, Functional Statement, Organizational Charts. Unclassified.

Source: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo and its attachments provide additional details on Detachment 6 – the new Air Force HUMINT organization. They specify the rationale for the action and its organization. 

Document 43: William E. Tarry, Jr., Deputy Commander, Office of Naval Intelligence, Subj: Civilian ONI-36 Employee Notice of ONI-36 Transfer of Function and Request for Decision to Exercise Transfer Rights, January 22, 2009. Unclassified.

Source: Office of Naval Intelligence Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo notifies employees of the ONI-36 – responsible for Navy HUMINT – that the mission is being transferred from ONI to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which was already responsible for Navy counterintelligence operations.

Document 44: Department of Defense Instruction S-3325.07, Subject: Guidance for the Conduct of DoD Human Source Validation, June 22, 2009. Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This document establishes DoD component responsibilities for source validation, and specifies the procedures involved – which include operational tests and CI flags (defined in the unredacted portion of the instruction),

Document 45: Department of Defense Instruction S-5200.42, Subject: Defense Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Related Intelligence Activities, December 8, 2009. Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This Secret instruction identifies the responsibilities of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the DIA director, the Director of DIA’s Defense Counterintelligence and HUMINT Center, and the Defense HUMINT Executors. It also, inter alia, establishes procedures with regard to enterprise management, requirements management, collection planning, and intelligence reporting.

Document 46: Yvonne Rodriguez, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, Special Order GC-16, June 1, 2010.

Source: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency Freedom of Information Act Release.

This special order represents another step in the Air Force’s upgrading of its HUMINT capability – with the transformation of Detachment 6 into the Global Activities Squadron.

Document 47: John F. Finnegan, “The Evolution of US Army HUMINT: Intelligence Operations in the Korean War,” Studies in Intelligence 55, 2 (Extracts, June 2011). Unclassified.

Source: www.cia.gov.

The significant Army HUMINT operations that were downgraded with the creation of the Defense HUMINT Service extended back to the early days of the Cold War. This article, in the CIA’s in-house journal, examines various aspects, including counterintelligence, of the Army’s HUMINT effort in the Korean War.

Document 48: Department of Defense Instruction O-5100.93, Subject: Defense Counterintelligence (CI) and Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Center (DCHC), August 13, 2010. Unclassified/For Official Use Only.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This instruction provides the charter for the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC), which was first established in 2008 and placed the DIA’s Directorate for Human Intelligence and the Directorate for Counterintelligence (which absorbed the non-law enforcement functions of the disestablished Counterintelligence Field Activity) under a single DIA component. The instruction delineates the responsibilities of assorted officials, from the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to the Secretary of the Army.

Document 49: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, USAF HUMINT Program, February 2012. Classification Not Available.

Source: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency Freedom of Information Act Release.

This heavily-redacted briefing specifies three objectives for Air Force HUMINT “In the ISR Fight.” It asserts there has been great progress in Air Force HUMINT, and states that Air Force HUMINT was intended to be a key component of the service’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance effort. 

Document 50: Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, Memorandum, Subject: Establishment of Defense Clandestine Service, April 20, 2012. Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

With the absorption, in 2007, of the Defense HUMINT Service into the CIA-run National Clandestine Service, the DoD no longer had a department-level clandestine collection organization. This memo establishes a new DoD HUMINT organization, titled the Defense Clandestine Service, and specifies it will be “the primary DoD element authorized to conduct clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) operations in response to high priority national-level intelligence requirements.”

Document 51: Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, USAF HUMINT Way forward Full-spectrum Ops, August 9, 2012. Secret/Noforn.

Source: 25th Air Force Freedom of Information Act Release.

This, directive, largely redacted, notes a variety of milestones to be reached in the pursuit of greater Air Force HUMINT capabilities including joint operations with the Army Operations Group and the Defense Clandestine Service.

Document 52: Department of Defense Instruction S-3325.10, Subject: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Activities in Cyberspace, June 6, 2013. Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This directive recognizes that human intelligence operations may be conducted in cyberspace as well as through direct contact. It states DoD policy with regard to such operations, identifies responsibilities, specifies procedures, and discusses cyberspace tradecraft (in a fully redacted section).

Document 53: Department of Defense Directive S-3325.09, Subject: Oversight, Management, and Execution of Defense Clandestine Source Operations, June 13, 2013. Secret/Noforn.

Source: Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This directive, issued subsequent to the creation of the DCS (Document 50), covers the purpose and policy (both fully redacted), as well as responsibilities (heavily redacted), of relevant officials. It also covers synchronizing and coordinating clandestine HUMINT activities. While the definition of coordination in the released directive is not redacted the definition of synchronizing has apparently been deleted.

Document 54: [Deleted], History of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency 1 January – 31 December 2012 (San Antonio, Tx.: AFISR Agency History Office, July 14, 2014). Top Secret/ HCS/SCI/Talent-Keyhole.

Source: 25th Air Force Freedom of Information Act Release.

This extract from the 2012 history for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency (now the 25th Air Force) discusses the role of HUMINT within the agency, the Global Activities Squadron and its detachments, and funding for Air Force HUMINT operations. It also identifies the primary customers for squadron headquarters and each detachment.

Document 55: Department of Defense Directive S-5205.61, Subject: DoD Cover and Cover Support Activities, July 15, 2014. Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

Defense clandestine HUMINT activities require cover and cover support activities and this directive states the policy and delineates the pertinent responsibilities. In addition to deleting almost all of those sections from the document before its release, DoD FOIA reviewers have also deleted Enclosure 1 (References) and the Glossary in their entirety – even though both sections contain statements that they are unclassified throughout. Some of the deleted references are mentioned in the text and can be found on the DoD Directives website. 

Document 56: Department of Defense Instruction S-5205.01, Subject: DoD Foreign Military Intelligence Collection Activities (FORMICA), March 9, 2015. Secret.

Source: Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This directive provides a description of the nature of the FORMICA program (Document 19), which involves overt collection from DoD personnel.

Footnote

[a]. Nancy Feinstein and Christopher Simpson, "The Spies Who are Left Out in the Cold," Inquiry, November 28, 1981, pp.11-12; Interview with former TF 157 member.

 

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