Dino Brugioni dedicates his book "Eyeball to Eyeball" (Random House, 1991) "to Arthur C. Lundahl. His vision and leadership made photo interpretation the guardian of the national security."
Brugioni wrote: …Concomitant with Johnson's development of [special Kodak film, Land cameras &] the U2, Lundahl began to structure the intelligence organization within the CIA required to exploit the imagery acquired by the U2. Lundahl was given a free hand in recruiting and selecting personnel. Early in 1955, Hans "Dutch" Scheufele, William F. Banfield, and I were told by Dr. James M. Andrews, the director of the Office of Central Reference, and Dr. Joseph Becker, his executive officer, that we had new jobs and that we were not to discuss our new assignments with anyone.
I had been recruited by the CIA in March 1948 and was a member of a unit responsible for creating the Agency's industrial register of detailed information on foreign-production facilities worldwide…..
…Lundahl, aware of the difficulties encountered by the photo interpreters during World War II, conceived of his organization as a wagon wheel. The photo interpreters would be the hub of that wheel and the radiating spokes of specialists would make the wheel turn….in Q Building and, later, Quarters I – an abandoned barracks that housed a WAVE contingent during World War II…Photo-interpretation had traditionally been the private preserve of the military, especially the Air Force, which was extremely sensitive to the Agency's encroachment on its territory.
…During this period, Lundahl and his executive officer, Chick Camp were also involved in negotiating a permanent home for the center. The nondescript Steuart Motor Car Co. Building was selected in a crime-ridden area of the Washington ghetto at 5th and K Streets, NW. the four upper floors of the building would become the division's home, while the three lower floors would still be occupied by the motor car company, along with the Steuart Real Estate Office. The building was not air conditioned, and there were heating problems in winter….
Lundahl met with the Agency's deputy director for intelligence, Robert Amory, about reorganizing the organization to accommodate the service elements. Amory agreed and Lundahl chose the title National Photographic Interpretation Center for his new organization.
Air Force Colonel Osmond "Ozzie" J. Ritland had been working with Bissel, and he and lower-ranking Air Force officers were doing everything possible to aid the CIA in its photo-collection and interpretation efforts.
Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, there was an angry undercurrent as to how the Air Force could allow a task properly assigned to them slip away to the CIA. Air Force photo-interpretation units were directed not to cooperate with Agency personnel in their attempt to establish a photo-interpretation center. At Omaha, General Curtis LeMay regarded SAC as the free world's primary deterrent to the Soviet Union and assumed that it should have the dominant role I acquiring strategic intelligence. While General LeMay cooperated with the Agency in providing logistical support, he too, to paraphrase one of his senior officers, was 'bent out of shape' because the Agency was becoming involved with photo-interpretation. In one of his staff meetings, LeMay said about the U2, "We'll let them develop it and then we'll take it away from them."
The first U2 mission over the Soviet Union took place on July 4, 1956…Photo interpreters at the center looked at the photographs with abject fascination. A number of briefing boards were produced….Lundahl showed the intelligence significance of each board as the president listened intently. Lundahl remembered that the president "asked questions about very specific targets that were of great national interest. He was impressed with the quality of the photography and asked questions about the resolution and the altitude the pictures were made from. He also asked questions about intercept attempts and questions about any Soviet reaction." Lundahl described the president as being "warm with satisfaction" after seeing the results from the first mission. A warm and friendly relationship developed. Eisenhower admiring Lundahl for his articulate presentations and Lundahl enjoying the president's support for the reconnaissance programs.
It was an exciting era – a new age of discovery, and, for the first time, we had the capability to derive precise, irrefutable data on the vast land mass and physical installations of our principal adversary – and the data was only a few days old. It was also a learning and collaborative experience between the policymakers, intelligence analysts and photo interpreters. The analyst literally stood at the photo interpreter's shoulder and was made acutely aware of the exploitation process and of the photo interpreter's nuances and jargon. The policymakers began comparing the information derived from the U2 with other sources of information. Often when presented with information from other sources, the president would ask, "How does this compare with the U2 information?"
These missions were generating accurate, current information in greater quantities than had ever been contemplated. Much to our surprise, the Russians had not employed any camouflage and concealment efforts. Time and again, we knew we were reporting information that was dispelling existing notions and intelligence estimates, and we took a certain vicarious pleasure in proving the value of aerial photography over other intelligence sources. Analysts began reevaluating assumptions regarding Soviet strategic capabilities. Within a few weeks, analysis of the U2 photography had dispelled the bomber-gap myth.
Lundahl's combination of energy, memory, intelligence, knowledge, and articulateness was making quite a name for him and the art of photo interpretation. After the president was briefed on the takes from each mission, Lundahl would proceed to the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, congressional leaders, and the chiefs of the various intelligence directorates. Lundahl quickly became the most respected and honored intelligence officer in the intelligence community. He was a superb photo interpreter and photogrammetrist and could articulate the characteristics and technical specifications of the new collection system. This ability, combined with a warm enthusiasm and a strong empathy with his audiences, was daily proving the value of photo intelligence in the estimate process. After each mission, Kelly Johnson would come to the Center and we would brief him on the results of the mission. Such other distinguished visitors as General Jimmy Doolittle, Dr. Edwin Land, and Dr. George Kistiakowsky also came to our nondescript but vital facility in the Steuart Building.
On May 1, 1960, just fifteen days before a scheduled four-power summit conference was to convene in Paris, Gary Power's U2 air-plane was brought down by an indirect hit from a near-miss SA-2 missile near Sverdlovsk, in the USSR….
…A furious debate ensued in the Senate, …To quell the debate, Allen Dulles decided to brief the entire Senate on the benefits that were derived from the U2 program.
Mr. Lundahl was told that he would be allowed precisely thirty minutes and that this should be the briefing of his lifetime. Lundahl gave us the task of organizing the effort, and I carefully reviewed all the contributions that the U2 missions had made to the national estimate process, along with the many crises wherein the intelligence derived had been employed to resolve policy issues worldwide. A number of spectacular briefing boards were created, and Lundahl rehearsed himself intently on the substantive content of the boards, to assure that he could effectively deliver the information within the prescribed thirty minutes.
Lundahl remembers the chamber he and Dulles entered as being "filled with senators, many in angry or combative moods." Mr. Dulles, wearing one of his usual English tweed suits, introduced Lundahl. He then lit his curved tobacco pipe and settled back to enjoy Lundahl's startling presentation, which upon completion provoked a standing ovation from the senators present. Mr. Dulles was so surprised by the reaction that when he rose to his feet, his lit pipe tumbled onto his lap, setting his tweed coat afire. Lundahl, taken aback, did not know whether to simply stand there and accept the senators' acclaim or to seek a glass of water to throw on his inflamed director.
In Paris,…Lundahl, Cunningham, and a translater were driven to the Elysee Palace and escorted to de Gaull's office. De Gaulle was alone. Lundahl opened the package of briefing materials and moved toward de Gaulle in order to brief him at his desk. De Gaulle rose, walked toward Lundahl, and asked him to place the graphics on a large conference table, where he stood looking down at them....Lundahl handed him a lage magnifying glass. De Gaulle asked a number of questions…His initial response to what he saw was expressed, cryptically, in French, "Formidable! Formidable!"
When the briefing was completed, de Gaulle thanked Lundahl, paused, reflected for a moment, and then said, "This is one of the most important programs the West is currently involved in and it is something that must continue." ….
….Upon his return from the aborted conference, Eisenhower decided to speak to the nation and to reassure the public that he knew what was going on in his government…
James C. Hagerty, the president's press secretary, selected a number of the boards and left to show them to the president. He returned after a few minutes, saying Eisenhower had rejected the idea of showing all the briefing boards…Rather than releasing photography of Soviet installations for public display, the president had selected the single briefing board I had prepared of the San Diego Naval Air Station, showing the airfield, aircraft, hangers, and runway markers….
In his televised address, Eisenhower,….added, "Aerial photography has been one of many methods we have used to keep ourselves and the free world abreast of major Soviet military developments. The usefulness of this work has been well established through four years of effort…"
There are a number of references in books on Powers U2 flight and the Kennedy assassination to the effect that Lee Harvey Oswald provided the Russians with data on the U2 that was subsequently used by the Soviets in downing Gary Power's U2. Most of these accounts focus on the fact that in 1957, Oswald, then a seventeen year old US Marine Corps private, was assigned to the 1 Marine Aiercraft Wing, based at Atsugi Naval Air Station, about twenty miles west of Tokyo, as a trained radar operator. During the period Oswald was assigned at Atsugi, U2s used the naval air station as a staging base for missions over the Soviet Union. Oswald returned to the US, and on October 31, 1959, renounced his US citizenship. At the US embassy in Moscow, he indicated that he would tell the Russians everything he knew about US radar operations and something else that he termed "of special interest." 19 The knowledge derived from radar intercepts – i.e., course, altitude, and speed – is the same whether learned from US or Russian radar operations. The Soviets had an accurate record of U2 performance beginning with the first mission over the USSR on July 4, 1956. On subsequent missions the data was refined so that in a relatively short period the Soviets had an accurate record of U2 characteristics. The Russians had publicly confirmed the fact that they had been tracking and were knowledgeable about U2 operations….so the Russians were well aware of the U2s altitude, course, and speed….
On August 18, at 12:57 P.M., the US Discoverer XIV space satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California….The reentry vehicle was ejected over Alaska on its seventeenth pass. In the recovery area, which encompassed a 200 by 60 mile rectangle, six C-119s and one C-130 flew within the area called the ball park. Three other C-119s patrolled an "outfield" area, embracing an additional 400 miles. All aircraft flew an assigned search pattern. At 3:46 PM on August 19, one of the C-119 Flying Boxcars, piloted by Captain Harrold E. Mitchell and his nine man crew, searching in the "outfield" area, hooked the parachute and the 84 pound capsule in midair at an altitude of 8,500 feet and hauled them aboard. 21 A new era of reconnaissance had begun. On this first successful photographic satellite mission, carrying a twenty-pound roll of film, we gained more than 1 million square miles of coverage of the Soviet Union – more coverage in one capsule than the combined four years of U2 coverage….
The front page of the New York Times on August 20, 1960 headlined the first successful midair recovery of the reentry capsule and on the opposite side of the front page announced the end of the U2 trial and conviction and sentencing of Gary Powers. One photographic-collection period of the Soviet Union was ending while another was just beginning….
The task of educating President Kennedy on photo interpretation devolved upon Arthur Lundahl. Lundahl was a key official who established a close working relationship with both President Kennedy and the assistant to the president for national security affairs, McGeorge Bundy. Lundahl's articulate, erudite, and succinct explanations of what was seen on aerial photography were always welcome at the White House. The president wanted technical information presented in a straightforward manner, free of military jargon, so it would be comprehensible not only to him but also the average person. In one of his early briefings of the president, Lundahl explained that the U2 camera could photograph a swath about 125 nautical miles wide and about 3,000 nautical miles long on over 10,000 feet of film. Lundahl drew the analogy that each foot of film was scanned under magnification in much the same manner that Sherlock Holmes would scan evidence or look for clues with a large magnifying glass. "Imagine," Lundahl would suggest, "a group of photo interpreters on their hands and knees scanning a roll of film that extended from the White House to the Capitol and back." Kennedy never forgot that analogy. When other high officials were briefed on the U2 at the White House, the president would call on Lundahl to repeat the story.
Lundahl and President Kennedy hit it off famously. Periodically, Lundahl would update the president in private briefings on the latest finds from both the U2 and satellite photography. The president's discomfort from a chronic back ailment, the usual cluttered condition of the presidential desk, with its many mementos and reams of reading material, and the very nature of the photographic briefing materials to be presented required that a certain special physical arrangement be made. Lundahl would enter the Oval Office and the president would leave his cluttered desk and be seated in the famous rocking chair that had been custom designed to alleviate his back problem. The rocking chair was positioned in front of a round coffee table. Lundahl would be seated on the sofa to the right of the president, and the director of the CIA would frequently be seated on the president's left. Removing the silver cigar humidor and ashtray that were usually on the table, Lundahl would arrange his briefing materials and provide the president with a large magnifying glass. The president then drew up his rocking chair close to the table and, using the magnifying glass, began to study the latest photography as Lundahl briefed.
According to Lundahl, the president was a good listener. He liked good lead-in statements. Lundahl knew this and carefully selected and arranged his words so he could gauge the president's reaction as he spoke. Once he asked Lundahl to remain after a briefing. He was eager to know more about the photo-interpretation process. "Where do you get photo interpreters? How much do you pay them? How do you train them? Are they satisfied with their work? He indicted that he would like to visit the center and observe the high technology of interpretation at work. Lundahl was afforded a unique opportunity because of his position. He admired the president's intellect and courage, and in turn, the president came to admire Lundahl for his intelligence and grace in making a difficult task look exceptionally easy. He came to know the president as a friend and was privy to share the laughter, heartaches, secrets, moods, defeats and triumphs that occurred during the Kennedy years.
…Colonel – later General Andrew Goodpasture became powerful during the Eisenhower administration performing important national-security-affairs function. McGeorge Bundy – who had been appointed assistant to the president for national security affairs after the Bay of Pigs invasion and also had an instinct for power – assumed the intelligence watchdog role in President Kennedy's administration. Intense, articulate, and intelligence, Bundy kept close track of the satellite, U2 and other aircraft missions being flown – and their results. Any photography shown to the president had to be passed through Bundy's office in the White House basement….
….Suspecting that General Cabell had leaked the information, he asked for his resignation….On January 31, 1962 he resigned…from the Air Force…He was replaced by Major General Marshall "Pat" Carter…(Murphy) revealed that Admiral Arleigh Burke had been the source of his Bay of Pigs information…and his "bagman" at the Department of Defense, McNamara…
End Part I
Edited by William Kelly, 04 March 2010 - 10:50 AM.