(Senate - January 04, 1995)


S. 126. A bill to unify the formulation and execution of United States diplomacy; to the Select Committee on Intelligence.


Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, it is no secret that a serious re-examination of our intelligence needs is in order. Since 1991, when I introduced the End of the Cold War Act, I have endeavored to bring the shortcomings of the intelligence community to public light. Not to denigrate our intelligence efforts, but to improve them. Despite resistance to change, much of the End of the Cold War Act has been implemented. We have eliminated `Lookout Lists,' which excluded persons who merely expressed `unacceptable' opinions from entry into the United States. One aspect of the bill yet to be implemented brings me to the floor today: the transfer of the functions of the Central Intelligence Agency to the Department of State.

The scrutiny that has now visited the intelligence community in the aftermath of the exposure of Aldrich Ames, the man whose treason caused the deaths of at least 10 American agents, increases the likelihood that some long needed reassessments will be made. I do not relish these circumstances, for to a great extent the Ames case merely distracts from some of the most fundamental defects of the CIA. While the Ames affair brings attention to the Directorate of Operations, it takes scrutiny away from the Directorate of Intelligence.

What of operations? Speaking before the Boston Bar Association in 1993, John le Carre, the man who provided us with a window into the world of a spy, questioned the contributions of spies to the winning of the cold war. In his remarks he stated:

You see, it wasn't the spies who won the cold war. I don't believe that in the end the spies mattered very much at all. Their capsuled isolation and their remote theorizing actually prevented them from seeing, as late as 1987 or 8, what anybody in the streets could have told them:

`It's over. We've won. The Iron Curtain is crashing down! The monolith we fought is a bag of bones! Come out of your trenches and smile!'

Even the victory, for them, was a cunning Bolshevik Trick.

And anyway, what had they got to smile about? It was a victory achieved by openness, not secrecy. By frankness, not intrigue.

The Soviet Empire did not fall apart because the spooks had bugged the men's room in the Kremlin or put broken glass in Mrs. Brezhnev's bath, but because running a huge closed repressive society in the 1980s had become--economically, socially and militarily, and technologically--impossible.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was therefore the very denial of secrecy. Mr. le Carre is not alone. Recently William Pfaff in an article in the International Herald Tribune posed the question, `what positive things do [spies] accomplish?' He reached much the same conclusion as le Carre and added that `the useful information today is that supplied by area specialists, historians and ethnologists, and through conventional diplomatic observation and journalism.'

If covert operations failed to have an impact as suggested by le Carre and Pfaff, what of our intelligence analysis? How did that serve us in the cold war? I believe I have fully laid out to the Senate on previous occasions my assessment and those of numerous respected individuals on the performance of the CIA in this regard. The defining failure of the CIA was their inability to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1975, along with my daughter Maura, I visited China as a guest of George Bush, who was then Chief of our U.S. Liaison Office of Peking. By this time, I was persuaded the Soviet Union would break up along ethnic lines. In a `Letter From Peking' dated January 26, 1975, which I wrote and submitted to The New Yorker, the closing passage reads:

While it is agreed that few Marxist-Leninist predictions have come true in the twentieth century, it is perhaps not sufficiently noticed that certain predictions about Marxist-Leninist regimes have proved durable enough. Lincoln Steffens returned from Moscow in the early years, pronouncing that he had seen the future, and it worked. Well, it was one future, and it has worked for a half century, and may have considerable time left before ethnicity breaks it up. Red China works, too, and is likely to last even longer.

I believe this is the first time in my writing that I stated the belief then forming that the Soviet Union would not conquer the world, but rather, would one day break up along ethnic lines. A no longer brief acquaintance with Central Asia and its history had about convinced me. I thought then, at mid-decade, that this might require considerable time. By the end of the decade, I had decided it would be upon us sooner. In 1979, in an issue of Newsweek devoted to predictions of what would happen in the eighties, I submitted it was likely that the Soviet Union would break up.

Former Director of Central Intelligence, Adm. Stansfield Turner, writing in Foreign Affairs in 1991, confirms that such a possibility had not penetrated the intelligence community when he stated.

Today we hear some revisionist rumblings that the CIA did in fact see the Soviet collapse emerging after all. If some individual CIA analyst were more prescient than the corporate view, their ideas were filtered out in the bureaucratic process; and it is the corporate view that counts because that is what reaches the president and his advisers. On this one, the corporate view missed by a mile.

And there were others. Several months ago, the Deputy Director for Intelligence [DDI] at the Central Intelligence Agency, Douglas MacEachin, released a report entitled `The Tradecraft of Analysis: Challenge and Change in the CIA.' In this report he outlines what he regards as some of the major known failures of the intelligence community. He attributes these failures to analysis which rested on faulty assumptions--he called these assumptions `linchpins.' In the report he states:

A review of the record of famous wrong forecasts nearly always reveals at least one `linchpin' that did not hold up: the Soviets will not invade Czechoslovakia because they will not want to pay the political costs, especially after having signed the Rejkavik Declaration the previous year; the Soviets will not invade Afghanistan because they do not want to sink SALT-II which at that moment is being debated by the U.S. Senate; Saddam Hussein needs about two years to refurbish his military forces after the debilitating war with Iran and, therefore, will not, despite evidence of motives for doing so, invade Kuwait in the foreseeable future.

He concludes, `In each case, the sin was less in the fact that the linchpins did not hold than in the failure of the intelligence products to highlight the extent to which they were assumptions.' Surely intelligence products could benefit from highlighting assumptions. However, a more rigorous scrutiny provided by greater openness would give an opportunity for facts, assumptions, and conclusions to be challenged.

Scientists have long understood that secrecy keeps mistakes secret. In the early 1960's, Jack Ruina, an MIT professor who had been head of the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency at the Department of Defense during the Kennedy administration, told me after visiting the Soviet Union that it was plain it just wasn't working. In particular he noticed something which someone without scientific training might not have. The Soviets did not know who their best people were. Promising young scientists in Russia were locked in a room and had no knowledge about the activities of their colleagues around the country. As anyone who has visited the fine research hospitals of New York can tell you, the free flow of ideas is vital to advancement. Openness of information is essential for great science.

This is no secret. Indeed, in 1970 a Task Force organized by the Defense Science Board and headed by Dr. Frederick Seitz concluded that `more might be gained that lost if our nation were to adopt--unilaterally, if necessary--a policy of complete openness in all areas of information.'

Yet the secrecy system is still in place. The information Security Oversight Office keeps a tally of the number of secrets classified each year. They reported that in 1993 the United States created 6,408,688 secrets. Absurd. While each agency has different procedures and criteria for classifying documents, all seem to operate under the assumption that classification is preferable to disclosure.

Secrecy is a disease. It causes hardening of the arteries of the mind. It hinders true scholarship and hides mistakes. William Pfaff has suggested that we ought not rely on spies, but rather on journalists, historians, ethnologists; those who do not operate under the cloak of secrecy but publish their work for all to read and comment upon.

After World War II, it was originally intended that intelligence would be coordinated by the Secretary of State. The maneuvering of some of the more powerful Assistant Secretaries in the State Department at the time prevented that from being implemented and the independent Central Intelligence Agency was soon formed. Dean Acheson, who was present at the creation, doubted the wisdom of such a move. `I had the gravest forebodings about this organization and warned the President that as set up neither he, the National Security Council, nor anyone else would be in a position to know what it was doing or to control it.' The State Department must function as the primary agency in formulating and conducting foreign policy. Any other arrangement invites confusion.

In the last 4 years, this proposal has generated considerable debate--some positive, some negative. Reform of United States foreign policy institutions will continue to occupy the attentions of Congress, and if for nothing else, this proposal contributes to the debate. So I am today introducing the Abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency Act.

Abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1995 (Introduced in the Senate)

S 126 IS


1st Session

S. 126

To unify the formulation and execution of United States diplomacy.


January 4, 1995

Mr. MOYNIHAN introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Select Committee on Intelligence


To unify the formulation and execution of United States diplomacy.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SEC. 101. This Act may be cited as the `Abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1995'.


SEC. 201. PURPOSE- It is the purpose of this title to unify the formulation and execution of United States foreign policy by providing overall authority over intelligence activities to the Secretary of State.

SEC. 202. FINDINGS- The Congress finds that--

(1) the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency as a separate entity during the Cold War undermined the role of the Department of State as the primary agency of the United States Government in formulating and conducting foreign policy and providing information to the President concerning the state of world affairs; and

(2) it is desirable for the Secretary of State to serve as the official primarily responsible for coordinating and managing the gathering of intelligence.

SEC. 203. Transfer of Intelligence Functions-

(a) Not later than two years after the effective date of this Act there shall be transferred to and vested in the Secretary of State all of the functions, powers and duties of the Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and any officer or component of the Central Intelligence Agency.

(b) Not later than one year after the effective date of this Act, the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and other relevant officials, shall transmit to the Congress a plan for (1) effecting the transfer of functions under this section and (2) administering those functions. In designing the plan the Secretary shall also consult with the Congress, other relevant federal agencies and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

(c) The Secretary of State is authorized to conduct the functions transferred by subsection (a).

(d) The transfer of a function or office from an officer or agency to the Secretary of State includes any aspects of such function or office vested in a subordinate of such officer or in a component of such agency.