Harold P. Ford

See T. Rees Shapiro, "Harold P. Ford, Analyst Who Publicly Opposed Gates as CIA Director, Dies at 89," Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2010.

Ford, Harold P. "Bill Colby Remembered." Center for the Study of Intelligence Newsletter 5 (Spring 1996): 1-3. Excerpts published in CIRA Newsletter 21, no. 2 (Summer 1996): 18-20. "William Colby: Retrospect." Studies in Intelligence (Semiannual ed., no. 1, 1997): 1-5.

Ford reviews Colby's career in broad terms and without avoiding the contentious aspects.

In a letter to the CIRA Newsletter, Fall 1996, John Warner, CIA General Counsel in the mid-1970s, says that Ford's "is a fine article," but seeks to correct several errors he believes are present. Warner addresses Colby's dealings with James Angleton, with events surrounding the indictment of Richard Helms, and with Colby's decision to cooperate fully with the Congressional committees.


Ford, Harold P. "Calling the Sino-Soviet Split." Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1998-1999): 57- 71.

With regard to the developing Sino-Soviet split, "the dominant voice of CIA analysis was out in front of the rest of the Intelligence Community (IC) in trying to alert policymaking consumers that the United States might someday face a significantly changed strategic situation." Nevertheless, "for the better part of a decade, those analysts who were convinced that bitter differences underlay the Sino-Soviet relationship faced tough hurdles....

"One of the earliest CIA publications mentioning differences between Moscow and Beijing was published jointly by the Foreign Documents Division (FDD) and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), on 30 April 1952, titled 'Propaganda Evidence Concerning Sino-Soviet Relations.' That study briefly identified two chief areas of differing Soviet and Chinese propaganda: Soviet aid to China's war effort in Korea, and China's status in the Communist orbit [footnote omitted]....

"The word 'conflict' in Sino-Soviet relations first appeared in November 1954 in an FBIS study, 'Points of Sino-Soviet Conflict on Far Eastern Policy.' This piece identified two areas in which Soviet and Chinese propaganda 'persuasively suggest longstanding and still not entirely resolved divergences on policy in the Far East.'"

[Analysis/Soviet; CIA/C&C/FBIS]

Ford, Harold P. CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes, 1962-1968. Washington, DC: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1998.

Clark comment: The former officer in CIA's Office of National Estimates and, later, Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) provides "a candid view of the CIA's intelligence assessments concerning Vietnam during three episodes between 1962 and 1968 and the reactions of senior US policymakers to those assessments." (Foreword, i) The episodes presented are:

"Episode 1, 1962-1963: Distortions of Intelligence";

"Episode 2, 1963-1965: CIA Judgments on President's Johnson's Decision to 'Go Big' in Vietnam"; and

"Episode 3, 1967-1968: CIA, the Order-of-Battle Controversy, and the Tet Offensive."

Anderson, Intelligencer 9.3, calls Ford's book "one of the best studies on the Vietnam War." Goulden, Intelligencer 10.2, is similarly very positive about this book, noting that the author describes the policy debates in Washington "[w]ith consummate skill." For Shryock, IJI&C 13.4, this is an "exceptional piece of work." Three quibbles that the reviewer has with the work are that "Ford's footnotes are sometimes a mite meaty,... the index is maddeningly incomplete,... [and] there is no bibliography."

According to Bob Brewin, "Web Docs Show NSA Forecast Bloody Tet Offensive," Federal Computer Week, 2 Oct. 1998, Ford's book shows that "[i]ntercepts of enemy radio communications collected and collated" by NSA "provided U.S. commanders in Vietnam with more than two weeks' notice of the bloody 1968 Tet Offensive.... [Ford] told Federal Computer Week that he received permission from NSA to refer to its still-classified history of NSA operations in Vietnam."

[Analysis/Estimative; Vietnam/Analysis; Gen; & Tet][c]

Ford, Harold P.

1. Estimative Intelligence: The Purposes and Problems of National Intelligence Estimates. Washington, D.C.: Defense Intelligence College, 1989. Rev. ed. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1993. [pb]

A UPA advertisement identifies Ford as a former "Staff Chief of CIA's Office of National Estimates; Chief of a major CIA station overseas; a Staff Officer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; a National Intelligence Officer (NIO); Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC); and Acting Chairman of the NIC."

Surveillant 2.6 notes that this is "[u]sed as a textbook at the Defense Intelligence College." According to Herman, I&NS 9.3, Estimative Intelligence consists of "nine brief chapters, each with easy-to-read 'bullets' of factors and conclusions.... [It] includes student exercises and a bibliography, plus case-summaries and classic papers as Annexes."

See also review by CIA's DDI, 1962-1966: Ray S. Cline, "Analyzing Past Experiences to Look into the Future," Foreign Intelligence Literary Scene 9, no. 3 (1990): 6-8.

2. Estimative Intelligence. The Intelligence Profession Series, No. 10. McLean, VA: Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1993.

Surveillant 3.4/5: "[D]istilled from ...1989 Defense Intelligence College work."


Ford, Harold P. "Piety and Wit: The Bad Effects of Covert CIA Activity." America, 11 Jan. 1975, 10-11. [Petersen]

[Analysis/Gen; CA/To79]

Ford, Harold P. "The Primary Purpose of National Estimating." Studies in Intelligence 35 (Fall 1991): 69-79.


Ford, Harold P. "Revisiting Vietnam: Thoughts Engendered by Robert McNamara's In Retrospect." Studies in Intelligence 39, no. 5 (1996): 95-109.

For Ford, McNamara's account is "ambiguous, debatable, and, above all, selective.... In Retrospect is nonetheless worth absorbing for the contributions it makes concerning the Vietnam policymaking process and the role therein that US intelligence did and did not play.... McNamara does not give CIA judgments specific credit for helping him change his basic attitude toward the war, but the inference is clear that he ... came increasingly to respect CIA's reporting candor and good track record."

Ford, Harold P. "Unpopular Pessimism; Why CIA Analysts Were So Doubtful about Vietnam." Studies in Intelligence (1997): 85-95.

The author discusses the "principal factors and forces ... for the doubts exhibited by so many of CIA's Vietnam analysts."


Ford, Harold P. "The US Government's Experience with Intelligence Analysis: Pluses and Minuses." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1995): 34-53.

This is a brief-but-informed jaunt through the history of U.S. intelligence analysis efforts, with the focus on what has come to be called "estimative intelligence." It culminates in an overview of current problem areas in U.S. analytic production, and offers in a bang-bang fashion ways of lessening the "many hazards besetting intelligence analysis." Much longer presentations of where we are and where we should be going have been written that say much less than this article.


Ford, Harold P. William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency: CIA History Staff, 1993 [declassified 10 Aug. 2011]. [Available in four parts at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB362/index.htm]

In an introduction and review accompanying the National Security Archive's publication of Ford's history, John Prados finds some shortcomings in Ford's depiction of Colby's tenure as DCI. Nevertheless, he believes that the work "is especially worth reading for the attention it brings to a number of issues.... Harold Ford has refined our understanding of the precursor events that helped create the modern American intelligence system. These origins throw needed backlight on arrangements for congressional oversight, and the competition between that oversight and presidential control which still drives the U.S. intelligence community today."

[CIA/70s/Gen & Investigations; CIA/DCIs/Colby]

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