Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.
DIA Declassified: A Sourcebook
Web Posting Spotlights 50+ Year History of Secretive Defense Intelligence Agency
New Documents Feature Iraqi Defector “CURVEBALL,” Convicted Cuba Spy Ana Belen Montes, Analysis of Iraqi and Chinese WMD programs, and Brief Experiments with “Psychoenergetics”
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book #534
Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson
November 20, 2015
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Washington, D.C., November 20, 2015 – The Defense Intelligence Agency, established in 1961, is one of the United States government’s largest intelligence organizations – employing 17,000 individuals, including thousands stationed overseas. Its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. Today the National Security Archive posts a new sourcebook of over 50 documents, many appearing for the first time, that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history.
Highlights of the posting include an internal memo about the infamous Iraqi defector known as CURVEBALL and the false intelligence he provided about Iraq’s supposed WMD programs; a 180-page review of the case of DIA analyst Ana Belen Montes, convicted of supplying secrets to the Cubans several analyses of Iraqi and Chinese weapons of mass destruction programs; and descriptions of DIA’s interest in “psychoenergetics” activities such as extrasensory perception, telepathy, and remote viewing.
Today’s posting also features dozens of issues of the DIA’s in-house publication, Communiqué (see sidebar), containing significant information about the agency that is routinely withheld from the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents posted today concern:
- The creation of DIA (Documents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
- Early CIA-DIA relations (Documents 8, 9, 10).
- DIA’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis (Document 44) and the Vietnam War (Document 46).
- DIA’s 1978 intelligence appraisal of the Shah’s future (Document 14).
- DIA studies on Chinese nuclear weapons programs (Document 13, Document 17).
- DIA studies on locating Iraq’s short-range missiles during the first Gulf War (Document 24), its acquisition of aluminum tubes (Document 31), and its “reemerging” nuclear weapons program (Document 33).
- DIA director Lowell Jacoby’s summary of the CURVEBALL case (Document 36).
- DIA’s “psychoenergetics” activities (Document 18, Document 21).
- The DoD Inspector General report on the case of Ana Belen Montes, who served as long-time agent of the Cuban intelligence service (Document 37).
by Jeffrey T. Richelson
Along with the national intelligence agencies (the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is one of the largest United States government intelligence organizations. It employs approximately 17,000 individuals, with thousands deployed overseas. Its fiscal year 2013 budget request was for $3.15 billion dollars.
Some of the intellectual work that led to its creation took place during the later years of the Dwight Eisenhower administration (although it appears Eisenhower was interested in moving toward creation of such an agency as early as 1953). In 1959, the United States Intelligence Board created a Joint Study Group (JSG), chaired by the CIA’s Lyman Kirkpatrick, to study the intelligence-producing agencies. The group concluded that there was considerable overlap and duplication in defense intelligence activities, resulting in an inefficient distribution of resources. It observed that “… the fragmentation of efforts creates ‘barriers’ to the free and complete interchange of intelligence information among the several components of the Department of Defense” and recommended that the Secretary of Defense “bring the military intelligence organization within the Department of Defense into full consonance with the concept of the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958.”
However, as the end of Eisenhower’s tenure as president approached there was no concrete plan to establish a DoD-level intelligence agency. As a result, in an early January 1961 meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower was reported to have observed (Document 1, p. 4) that “each Military Service developed its own intelligence organization,” [that] “this situation made little sense in managerial terms” and that “he had suffered an eight year defeat on this question.” As a result, he “would leave a legacy of ashes for his successor.”
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Source: DIA Declassified