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194 Interview With Wheaton B Byers PFIAB 3-12-75 RIF 178-10002-1007

194 Interview With Wheaton B Byers PFIAB 3-12-75 RIF 178-10002-1007

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Title: INTERVIEW WITH WHEATON B. BYERS, PFIAB, 3/12/75 Author: nla Pages: 6 Agency: ROCKCOM
RlF#: 178-10002-10078 Subjects: ASSASSINATIONS, PFIAB Source: History Matters FOREIGN LEADERS; CIA; BYERS, WHEATON B.;

Date;06/30I J JFK ASSASSINATION SYSTEM

Page! 1

---------------------------------------------------------------,------------AGENCY INFORMATION AGENCY :. ROCKCOM ~ q RECORD NUMBER 1781000210078

IDENTIFICATION FORM

6ELIN-GRAY~GREENE FILES

RECORDS SERIES

!

AGENCY FILE NUMBER·: B-G-G (III-A)

ANDERSON~GEORGE

.

.

(ADM. USN)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION ORIGINATOR : ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION FROM : CARGILL, MASON

TO : FILE

INTERVIEW WITH WHEATON B. BYERS, PFIA6, 3/12/75

TITLE :
PAGES

DATE; OJ(13{75

ASSASSINATIONS, FOREIGN LEADERS CIA BYERS, WHEATON B. PFIAB CLASSIFICATION

SUBJECTS. :

DOCUMENT TYPE
. RESTRICTIONS

: PAPER,

:"s.

TEXTUAL DOCUMENT

CURRENT STATUS : 1?--<:> . DATE OF LAST REVIEW 06/30/93 OPENING CRITERIA : COMMENTS:

: ~ED

I
II

I

""

COMMISSION ON CIA ACTIVITIES !VITHIN THE UNITED STATES
Washio9ton, DC 20500

March 13, 1975

MEMORANDUM
To:

File

From:

Mason Cargill ~
~ EXECUTIVE

Subject: INTERVIEW WITH WHEATON B. BYERS,
MhRCH 12, 197 5, lOA. M., .

PRESIDENT'S FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE
ROOM 340, OEOB

SECRETARY,

ADVISOnV BOARD,

President's

Mr. Byers has been Executive Secretary of the
Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

.the CIA in the Deputy Directorate for Operations.

since 1973, Prior to that, he had spent 20 years with
He I. BACKGROUND OF
THE PFIAB

(PFIAB)
WaS

.~ i
'\I

~

~

Chief of Station in one European country.

was created by President

Byers explained that the predecessor of the PFIAB
Eisenhower

Commission also recommended a congressional joint committee on intelligence, which recommendation was never carried out. Presiden·t Kennedy, upon taking office, expressed indecision as· to how or whether he would utilize the services of the PFIA13. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, however, he resuscitated the Board and gave it primary responsibility for report-

recommendation of

in 1956 as a result of a the second Hoover Commission. The Hoover

ing ·to him on matters affecting the intelligence community.
In 1969, President Nixon promulgated Executive

/"

whether or not the new charter was broader than the old one; however, he added in a separate memorandum one additional specific responsibility, Uto make a yearly, independent assessment of the nuclear threat, supplementing regular

establishing a new charter for thePFIAB. It is arguable
assessments made thereon

Order 11460,

community.

intelli9'ence
II

by the intelligence

1 - David W. Belin 1 - Marvin Gray

..

,
-2-

with it only once in
II.

President Ford has taken no action to change the charter of the PFIAB or its membership. He has met

his tenure

as

President.

ORGMIZATIONAND ·PROCEDURES

At. Staff Size and Structure,
only two professionals,
The full-time

~elp w~th specific projects.

they are able to

lntelllgence agency for manpower in ,an ad hoc fashion. B. Meetincrs The Board meets on

employ consultants from time to time to Also, they may call on any

Byers and his assistant.

staff of ~he PFIAB consists of

However,

months, for two days.

into·committees which consider particular issues; these committees meet more often than the Board itself. Between Board meetings, classified material on intelligence matters is sent to them through the mail for their consideration. The agenda for each meeting is prepared by the Executive to the President,

a regular basis every two The Board is sometimes subdivided

Secretary and the Chairman. It reflects items of interest
Executive Secretary, Chairman,

which have been expressed to the Executive Secretary.
Executive secretary as covering covert
operations

and members,

In deciding on agenda items for discussion, the

relies on the Board's view of its charter

as well as mere covert collection.

;7

The meetings themselves generally consist of briefings by Government officials from the eTA, DOD, and the State Department. These briefings may encompass subjects only tangentially related to intelligence, such as new weapons systems, aspects of foreign policy, etc. Following these briefinss, the Board discusses the SUbject at hand and directs questions at the briefing officials. These discussions often result in letters'to the President conveying particular information or making recommendations.

f

"'..

,

-

3-

!' Assignments

c.

Specific

Presidential

for the President

From time to time the Board has prepared reports
at his specific

retained

in preparing these reports by its small staff of consultants
for the p~u;ticular project. Three recent specific g~udiesre~uested by ~he President are (1) a study on the
the strengths and weaknesses of the

request; the BOard is ~ided

,cOllection of intelligence through human means {HUMINT},
whIch discussed

HUMINT program: (2) a study on how t.he

energy research' and development budget should, be' allocated among various sources of energy; (3) a study of the size and composition of U.S. naval forces. President Nixon mad~ these requests.
D. Reportin~ Lines

u.s.

u.s.

Fresiden't s Advisor for NationalSecuri and his aide, General Scowcroft.
I

the President, in bureaucratic practice it reports to the
ty, Dr. Kissinger,
III. PFIAB CONCERN ABOUT LACK OF CERTAIN

Al though in theor'y the PFIABreports

ditectly to

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES
of unclear jurisdictional

CIA and the FBI, certain valuable intelligence-related
acti~ities which could successfully be accomplished

that because

In the early 1970's, the Board became concerned
lines between the within

destine penetration of foreisn emb~5sie5 ~nd missions at the United Nations and technical (audio, visual, and wiretap sur-

the U.S. were not being pursued. These might include' clanagainst foreigners and foreign officials in the

o
~'

fozJ'

U.s. In June, 1972, the Board expressed this concern to President Nixon, suggesting that the jurisdictional lines

veillance)

}/

clarified, either legislatively or administratively so that some u.s. agency might undertake these types of domestic intelligence activities. The Board did not recommend the infiltration of agents into dissident groups composed of the u.s. citizens. The Board was not; aware of the activities of Oberrs SpeCial Operations Group; had it been aware of these activities, it probably would have raised questions as to its legality under existing legislation, although perhaps sympathized with its objectives. DCI Helms told the Board that he had no ,authority to conduct the domestic activities wh.Lch it suggested might be valuable ..

be

SECREl'i'

,

,

.

.
- 4 ..
The Board became aware of the so-called Huston plan and requested.a copy of it from the FBI and the Attorney General; they were refused a copy and declined

to press the matter in the White Hous~.

" Beginning 'in 1969, the PFIAB periodically expressed concern to the President about leaks of classified '
White House plumbers.
. When
questions informa tion and the damage such leaks were caus ing • H'owever, the Board was unaware ot the activities of ,the 50-called

activities, the Board generally took the position that
of legality of these activities and wisdom about, the propriety of CIA activities.

considering

actual or pot~ntial

CIA

,although it was appropriat~ for the Board to raise que.stions
In 1966 and 1967, the
Angleton and the CI Staff the general problem of KGB agents 'in the U.s. and the specific problem of penetrat10n of our .intelligence services.

were for the DCI,

Board discussed with

IV. PFIAB LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES
A,. Mail Intercept Byers thinks that the Board was never aware of the CIA's activity of mail opening within the United States. However, the Board was aware that the FBI had conducted such an activity in the past. In ignorance of the CIA's ongoing mail opening program, the Board made a sussestion that a
~

mail opening program be instituted;
suggested not a general program program which would coming from a person

to or from Soviet bloc countries but'rather a focused
~uspicion of cooperating
B.

to open or inspect all mail states subject to

however, the Board

examine or open only mail gOing to or,
in the United

'/

did not make it clear whether this activity carried on by the FBI or the CIA. Assassination Attempts

with. foreign powers.

should be

The Board

, CIl.

Byers thinks the Board had no knowledge of any assassination attempts or conspiracies conducted by the
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- 5-

v.

GENERhL COMMBNTS AND RBCOM~illNDATIONS
Mr.

reconunendat:ions:
A.

Byers made the follO\ving observations

and

matters through the eyes of the President. port, its effectiveness would be diminished.
,

1t may nave sOlely from its unique rela tionshi p "Ii th the President. The job of the Board is to look'at intelligence
.
B.
The Board does not need an 'increased staff.

The PFIAB derives whatever

importance

and influence

Without hi~ supFor

"special projects, the Board may call on temporary consultants and employees detailed from the various intelligence agencies.,
The, Board and M.r.
empire. Byers do not ,"lishto create a bureaucratic the Board's charter

'

However, Byers
on any

c.

In general,

employee of any intelligence agency to report to the Board
questionable activity, especially efforts by the

is satisfactory. thinks it. should be amended t.o allow the

White House to use the agency improperly.

diversity in backgrounds. He thinks the Board should have at least one former Congressman and one legal authority.

D. Byers believes that Board members should have wide

I

"

members have no substantial prior experience in intelligence
and
a substantial learning process can make real contributions. is necessary before they

E. Byers feels that the membership of the Board should' not turn over rapidly; i.e., members should serve for relatively long periods of time. This is desirable because most

Certain minor changes, suggested by Wheaton on April 3D, 1975, were incorporated herein.

Byers

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