NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE

1960 - 1994

 

Included here:

1. From Early Years to Declassification

2. Declassification

3. From Declassification through 1994

 

1. Prior to Declassification

Clark, Evert. "Satellite Spying Cited by [President] Johnson." New York Times, 17 Mar. 1967, 13.

This is an early report acknowledging U.S. use of monitoring satellites.

Klass, Philip J. "Military Satellites Gain Valuable Data." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 15 Sep. 1969, 55-61.

Richelson, Jeffrey T.

1. "Civilians, Spies, and Blue Suits: The Bureaucratic War for Control of Overhead Reconnaissance, 1961-1965." A National Security Archive Monograph. Jan. 2003. [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/monograph/nro/]

"In early 1958, there was still great uncertainty and even more concern about the extent of the Soviet missile threat.... The urgency attached to developing a successful reconnaissance satellite led, in addition to the approval of the CORONA program, to the creation of a special Air Force office to manage the SAMOS effort, and ultimately, to the 1961 creation of a top secret National Reconnaissance Program (NFP) and an organization to coordinate that program -- the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)."

2. "Undercover in Outer Space: The Creation and Evolution of the NRO, 1960-1963." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 301-344.

The author makes use of declassified internal histories and supporting documentation to fill in considerable detail about "how management of the U.S. satellite reconnaissance effort evolved during its early years."

Stern, Laurence. "A $1.5 Billion Secret in Sky." Washington Post, 9 Dec. 1973, A1, A9.

This is an early mention of the NRO by name in the national media.

Taubman, Philip. "Secrecy of Reconnaissance Office Is Challenged." New York Times, 1 Mar. 1981, 10.

Taubman reported that consideration was being given to declassification of the NRO, and discusses some of the reasons why there was concern about doing so.

 

2. Declassification

Gellman, Barton. "Remember, You Didn't Read It Here." Washington Post, 19 Sep. 1992, A4.

Reports announcement of NRO's declassification. See also, Melissa Healy, "Secret Spy-in-the-Sky Agency Disclosed," Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 1992, A2; and Military Space, "NRO Goes Public to Fight for Budgets," 5 Oct. 1992, 2.

Richelson, Jeffrey T. "Out of the Black: The Disclosure and Declassification of the National Reconnaissance Office." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 11, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 1-25.

This is a straightforward chronicle of the process that resulted in the declassification of the NRO and the National Reconnaissance Program, as well as a brief look at some of the subsequent problems attendant to having done so. Richelson speculates that additional declassification "is likely with respect to defunct imagery satellite programs," but wonders when a similar process will begin for long-dead SIGINT satellite programs. He adds that "it would be an unexpected quantum leap if NRO were to ... reveal details ... of current systems anytime soon."

 

3. From Declassification through 1994

Kiernan, Vincent, "NRO Streamlines to Cut Intelligence Bureaucracy." Space News, 7 Dec. 1992, 1, 29.

Scott, William B. "High Demand Stretches NRO Intelligence Assets." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 1 Feb. 1993, 49-52.

Bowens, Gregory J. "Chairman Leaves His Mark on Bill That Freezes Spending." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 17 Jul. 1993, 1895.

HPSCI Chairman Dennis DeConcini said: "It's a freeze.... Spending levels are the same as last year." Bowens, CQWR, 24 Jul. 1993, 1973, adds: The NRO "took the biggest hits from the Intelligence committees. Although details of the cuts are sketchy, most of the money was reportedly cut from research and development of a new satellite system combining optic and listening functions of previous generations."

Vartabedian, Ralph. "TRW Contract on Spy Satellites Voided by GAO." Los Angeles Times, 2 Jul. 1994, D1, D2.

Abrahams, Doug. "Martin Marietta Wins Billion-Dollar Job." Washington Times, 26 Jul 1994, B7.

Thomas, Pierre. "Spy Unit's Spending Stuns Hill." Washington Post, 9 Aug. 1994, A1, A6.

Reports Congressional concerns about lack of notification of costs of NRO's new headquarters building.

Weiner, Tim. "Senate Committee Receives Apology from Spy Agency." New York Times, 11 Aug. 1994, A1, B10

NRO director, deputy director, and headquarters building project manager apologize for lack of notification on costs to Congress.

Pincus, Walter. "Spy Agency Defended by House Panel." Washington Post, 12 Aug 1994, A21.

Members of the House intelligence committee take issue with their Senate colleagues over the issue of notification regarding NRO's headquarters building project.

Benenson, Bob. "Senators Allege Skullduggery in Spies' Building Project." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 13 Aug. 1994, 2369.

Pincus, Walter. "A Highflier, but Still Mired in the Cold War" Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 15-21 Aug. 1994, 34.

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