GENERAL POST-WORLD WAR II

1990s

Excerpt from Report of U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on U.S. Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China -- Unclassified version released 25 May 1999

 As noted by John Macartney, "[e]xcept for an item in the appendix that criticizes the CIA for warning industry that Congress was going to be questioning them..., there is not much criticism of the Intelligence Community." [AFIO WIN 21-99 (28 May 1999)]

Text of the unclassified version of the report of the House select committee is available at: http://www.house.gov/coxreport/.

 

[Excerpt]

The Select Committee's attempts to investigate allegations made by a CIA analyst were made more difficult by certain actions of the CIA. The analyst had alleged that, while visiting Hughes in 1995, he had come across information indicating that technical data had been improperly passed by Hughes to the PRC in connection with the 1995 failure investigation, and that the CIA had ignored his request for a formal report to CIA Headquarters to that effect. As part of its investigation of Hughes' conduct in 1995, the Select Committee had previously determined that it should interview several of the Hughes employees from whom the CIA analyst said he had obtained his information since they were known to have played a part in the failure investigation.

Because the CIA analyst could not remember the names of the Hughes employees with whom he had spoken, the Select Committee asked the CIA to retrieve the information from its files. The CIA did so, but also, without the prior knowledge of the Select Committee, advised Hughes not only that the Select Committee might seek to interview these employees, but also of the lines of questioning that the Select Committee probably would pursue. The Select Committee was concerned that this notification may have inadvertently given Hughes the opportunity to destroy relevant evidence and allowed its employees to be less than candid. The Select Committee considered this action by CIA to be ill-advised and an impediment to this aspect of its investigation. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was separately investigating this matter of the CIA analyst, made a formal notification of the matter to the Justice Department. Justice was also already investigating the conduct of Hughes employees. The Justice Department had not yet concluded its investigation at the time of this report.

The CIA's official explanation for its actions was that it notified Hughes as a courtesy. The CIA denies that its notification to Hughes was intended in any way to interfere with the Justice Department or Congressional investigations that were then under way.

The Select Committee is disappointed about the lack of judgment that CIA personnel showed in this matter by not coordinating the CIA's communication with Hughes on this matter with the Select Committee prior to the event. The decision to advise Hughes about the Select Committee's intentions was discussed at length within the CIA and was approved by, among others, the CIA's Principal Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Director for Congressional Affairs. Because their personal counsel advised certain CIA employees not to make themselves available to the Select Committee during the pendency of the Justice Department investigation, the Select Committee was unable to interview all the CIA personnel who were involved in this matter. However, based on the information the Select Committee has been able to obtain on this matter, the Select Committee believes that at no time in the course of the many internal discussions and exchanges of correspondence did any of the CIA employees involved voice any concern about the adverse effects their proposed course of action might have on the Justice Department or Congressional investigations that were under way, nor even of the impact that lack of notice of this action might have on relations between the CIA and those entities.

Remedial action is needed at the CIA to ensure that employees are made more sensitive to the implications of their activities as they relate to on-going investigations by Congress and law enforcement agencies. Steps also should be taken to ensure that competent legal advice is available to CIA personnel. The Select Committee understands that, in addition to the Justice Department, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are reviewing this matter.

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