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CIA Releases Presidential Daily Intelligence Briefs: 1961 Thru 1969~Kennedy And Johnson.

Guest Doug Campbell

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Mr. Current Intelligence
An Interview with Richard Lehman
By Richard Kovar
Lehman played a key role
in supervising the
Agency.s current
inteffigence support for
the White House,
including its briefmgs of
presidential candidates.

Editor.s Note: Dick Lehman devel
oped the President.s Intelligence
Check List, or PICL (pronounced
.~pickle.9 for President Kennedy in
June 1961. The Kennedy White
House had become overwhelmed
with publicationsfrom the intelli
gence community, many of which
were duplicative in nature, and
important pieces of information
were beginning to fall between the
cracks. The President and his advis
ers wanted one concise summary of
important issues that they could rely
on, and Lehman provided that sum
mary in theform of the PICL.
Kennedy.s enthusiastic response to
the PICL ensured that it became an
Agency institution. Former Deputy
Directorfor Intelligence R. Jack
Smith writes in his memoir, The
Unknown CIA, that the President
engaged in an .. . . exchange ofcom
ments with its producers, sometimes
praising an account, sometimes
criticizing a commenl~ once object
ing to the word .boondocks. as not
an accepted word. For current intel
ligencepeople~ this was heaven on
earth!. (The PICL was renamed The
President.s Daily BriefPDB] in the
Johnson administration.)
For many years thereafter, Lehman
played a key role in supervising the
Agency.s current intelligence sup
portfor the White House, including
its briefings ofPresidential candi
dates. Former Deputy Directorfor
Intelligence (DDI) Ray Cline in his
book The CIA Under Reagan, Bush,
and Casey, calls him .the longtime
genius of the President.s special
daily intelligence report..
Dick Lehman joined the Agency in
1949 and servedfor 33 years before
retiring. As a jun~or analysl he
worked in the Ge~.ieral Division of
the Office ofReports and Estimates
(ORE) using SIGIJVT to puzzle out
the organization and output of var
ious Soviet industrial ministries. He
then spent much ~fhis career in the
Office of Current Intelligence (OCI),
eventually serving as its Director
from 1970 to 1975. Lehman also
served as Director of the Office of
Strategic Research from 1975 to
1976, as Deputy 1~o the DCIfor
National Intellige~.zcefrom 1976 to
1977, and as Chairman of the
National Intelligence Council from
1979 to 1981.
In the interview excerpts thatfol
low, Lehman recalls the challenges
associated with briefing DCI Allen
Dulles, recounts how the PICL was
born, summarizes how the Agency
got to know Presidents-elect Rich
ard Nixon, fimmy Carter, and
Ronald Reagan, and gives his can
did assessment of thefamous A
Team/B Team exercise conducted in
1976 on Soviet intentions and
This interview was conducted 28
February 1998 as apart of the CIA
History Staffs oral history program.


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Richard Lehman not totally positive TEAM B per above interview. ,yet a hard core militarist. see below





Edited by Steven Gaal
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Guest Doug Campbell

Mr. Newton

VERY redacted.

Maybe if nothing else, we can gain some insight re: what POTUS was *told* v. What We Now Know?

...but that'll take much more Learned Minds than mine.



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Interesting that Antonio Veciana stated, in essence, that his group would be "nowhere" without CIA. His group was Alpha 66.

The PDB for 30 August 1962 has a couple "blurbs" on Alpha 66 in "Part 3", one of which opens with the statement: "Little is known about this group, but something may very well be cooking".

Is the CIA engaged in a little dishonesty here with POTUS? They know all about Alpha 66, it's a child of their own operations.


edit - added link

Edited by Chris Newton
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Chris, could you give me a reference for that Veciana statement? I've never seen any sign that the CIA was directly in contact with Alpha 66 as Alpha 66 was with military intelligence. I do believe that they were manipulated by Bishop/Phillips but that is a totally different story and we have no documents to verify that Phillips was not acting on his own at at most with total CIA deniability. I did find documents suggesting that some on the Special Group were interested in Alpha in the spring of 63 but after doing some checking and with CIA input concluded that they were not controllable and it never came to anything. I suspect if there was CIA deep penetration of Alpha 66 it was extremely compartmentalized; as far as I could find the only reason JMWAVE even knew of their boat missions was through exile informants like Fernandez.

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Just listen to Veciana's recent revelations. He clearly states he was not working for military intel in a way that seems to satisfy Anthony Summers. He says Bishop was Phillips and that Bishop/Phillips funded their cause. Additionally, Veciana has always stated that it was Bishop that recruited him, trained him and funded his escape from Cuba after initially wanting him to operate "in place". How would that not constitute operational control?

Phillips was also at JMWAVE in an official capacity so I'm not sure how that "denial" works either.

edit - note video won't play embedded - click on blue tab and watch on vimeo

Edited by Chris Newton
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Chris, I'm aware of his recent statements but of course if we accept them he has only known for certain since the HSCA that Bishop/Phillips was CIA and before that point he was always firm in stating that Bishop told him he worked for no agency at all but private interests. Now having said that its very possible he was not that naive but that is what he said and of course Veciana only represents himself, not Alpha 66 in general - and he was the finance guy, not one of the operational leaders. They were all adamant about being independent. If you trace it back Phillips first contact with him was when Phillips was a CIA contract employee in Cuba, not in the JMMATE project, under deep cover and not at all linked to the US.

Beyond that, I have the documents on the mil intel relationship, which actually assigns Veciana a crypt and on numerous contacts between MI and several Alpha members. And as I said, none of the actual CIA documents pertaining to Alpha imply any sort of direct association or control. Based on that, whatever relationship that may have existed was not being reported in the HQ docs so the Presidential Daily Brief is probably accurate. Thinking that the PDB was a full reflection of all the covert and deniable activity going on within the Agency would be unrealistic anyway and the much more egregious sins in the recent release have to do with the impression they were conveying about when and how much they knew about Oswald in MC...and that was clearly either witheld from the folks doing the PDB or a conscious decision to lie in it.

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Phillips "retired" in 1975 per his obituary. He had to have had at least 20 years at that point to qualify for a government pension. He could not have been a Contract Agent in Cuba in 1959-1960 and certainly could not privately fund Alpha 66. Is it possible that CIA tried to keep Alpha 66 at arms length by assigning them military intel crypts?

One other thing about that PDB note, it gives the erroneous information that the name "Alpha 66" came from the organization's search for $66k. I find this tidbit curious because I see no reason to include it unless CIA is adding it for deniability purposes. The PDB does not look like a document that has room for a lot of extraneous B.S.

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Chris, I would suggest you read his books, in particular Night Watch, which describes his Cuban contract work in detail....I cover it in some depth in SWHT and we have a number of documents about his work there including his departure after having been exposed. As far as funding Alpha, that is not what he was doing with Veciana and other anti-Castro groups in Cuba at that point. Later on Phillips began using his commercial contacts to fund a number of projects in a deniable manner, including the purchase of the Tejuna. That appears to be where much of the Alpha money came from as well, not out of some significant CIA budget but brokered as donations. As to the crypts, the documents on the MI contacts with them are fairly extensive and some of the dialog records that while Alpha trusts the Army, it has no use at all for the CIA.

Now I don't want to imply that there was not some covert, deeply buried CIA effort to support Alpha - vs. it being largely at Phillips personal discretion, what I'm saying is that if that exists it was so deeply buried we have no documents on it and it shows up nowhere in the various CIA documents that do mention Alpha 66, in fact those that do are just the opposite, describing them as highly independent. I'm putting this strictly in the context of the official HQ record that would have been consulted in preparing the PDB. As to the 66 reference, there are a lot better stories as to the origin of the name, many of them contradictory.

My only other comment is that if you have read Shadow Warfare, I give several examples of CIA field operations running soft files and preparing reports that give a quite different sotry to HQ than what is actually going on - often to carry out the mission without being constrained or micromanaged....hence a lot of the higher level documents and briefings are often way off the mark....on the other hand the PDB's given GWB before 9/11 were pretty darn accurate, that being another story entirely. .

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