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tv   The Presidency  CSPAN  October 2, 2016 8:00pm-9:21pm EDT

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announcer: you are watching "american history tv all weekend , every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. releaseda recently 2000 pages of previously classified material from the richard nixon and gerald ford administrations. the documents were part of the president's daily briefs on security issues, which are seen only by the president and selected other officials. theext, historians discuss
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changes that have been made. they also talk about the cia, department of defense, and the white house during the nixon administration. >> it has been closely guarded and in great demand since they were created during the kennedy administration. there were lots of individuals in the chain that made this possible, but i want to publicly joe during his time as an archivist. he truly embodied the slogan, releasing all we can, protecting what we must. thanks, joe, for making that happen. [applause] with an advance copy of today's release, i had an opportunity to did in and go through the history through the lens of the daily brief. i immediately went to five marks of 1970, the first marine
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my firstinto nam, and day in the country. not that i expected to see my name prominently announced in the presidential daily brief, but i was curious about what was going on. related to vietnam, and the principal developments of that , the middle east policy, which troops are coming back from egypt, and entirely redacted reports on jordan and short notes on guatemala and venezuela, not a mention of vietnam. or cambodia, for that matter. but enough about me, i now have the honor of introducing today's panel of experts who will address the importance of these records. your program has detailed biographies. of theerator is trevor
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national intelligence council. the council supports director clapper in his role as head of the intelligence committee created a nation 79 to serve as a bridge between the -- created in 1979 to serve as a bridge between intelligence and other communities. a facilitator of intelligence community collaboration and outreach. he served as a policy analyst and director of the center for global risk and serve -- security in the grand publication. he talked about reshaping national intelligence for an age of information. our distinctive panel includes chiefrobards, the historian of the central intelligence agency, publishing classified and unclassified reports on the reconnaissance aircraft and intelligence in the american revolution. the chief historian for
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kennedy and the goal and western europe. steve randall is the historian for department of state, and author of powerful and brutal ispons, and david sargent associate professor of history at california berkeley and the author of a superpower transformed, remaking of inrican foreign relations the 1970's. in the spirit of true disclosure , steve and erin served on the national archives, which i chair. [applause] >> thank you, very much, david. it will be a great honor and pleasure to be here as someone who has been outside government and outside intelligence more than i have been inside. this is my fourth time on the
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inside. that is probably plenty. i am struck by how ungood the intelligence community is. we often leave it to the edward snowden to do it for us, and that is not good. so i find this welcome, and i want to add my thanks to the archives and the library as well as the cia for making this possible. i had the privilege before i took my current position to speak at an earlier gathering on an earlier release, they released a bunch of documents pertaining to the 1973 war, and that was a wonderful occasion for transparency. i applaud that line with director clapper's transparency initiative, the more we can do, the better. the only did we provide too much water for students with phd's,
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we hopefully should provide grit for people that want to understand better what we do. , gave to me the task of introducing the panel, so i won't. let me say it is wonderful to have a trifecta of distinguished government historians, distinguished academics who have thought about this issue. i want to turn quickly to them. i want to keep this conversational, but i wanted to frame the panel and what i thought was a very interesting conversation between jim and john. we know this has changed a lot over time and could involve in the future. it -- it could evil in the in the-- it could evolve future. it began as a pickle, the president checklist. so he would not be confused by reading the same thing twice, not knowing where something
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would come from. it has gone from that modest beginning to what is now a very substantial operation. that makes us think about how it might evil in the future -- might evolve in the future. we want to focus on the nixon and ford administration. i was struck, i had the opportunity to look for the center of intelligence and how subsequent administrations to these, specifically the three administrations before mr. obama's, had dealt with the president's daily brief. i had good oral histories of the cia. what struck me about those oral histories is the senior official that testified on the point like bd's, but they like to the briefers better. they were an entree to
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conversation. they could ask russians, it more information. a reminder that when we focus on d'bs as documents, it is about process, not points. it is about the process over time. wonderfule cia has a study of intelligence success. and though in fashion to typical community, it is classified, because it talked about the various intelligence analyses. what it makes clear was the successes resulted not from a sparkling single analysis from a process over time where intelligence analysts could better understand what policy people needed, and policy people could calibrate and direct to some extent with the intelligent analysts work on. it is a process that i think it raises two questions that were themes this morning.
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one is, you can imagine lots of possible ways that we intelligence can support presidents daily. so what is the best way? in particular, how best to manage the balance between immediately tactical, reporting information and more strategic thinking? my role at the national intelligence council is meant to be very strategic. we are dominated by current intelligence. so we are try to think, how do we get the ballots right -- balance right? i think it raises a second more is,lligent issue, and that what is the future between relations and policy in the digital age? ipad came upmb seniors but soon policy will not want a dumb ipad but
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alive ipad so they can have a 24/7 conversation. already, my australian counterpart said his prime minister is disappointed in him because the prime minister gets up in the morning, gets on the pda and starts talking to the cabinet ministers, but he can't talk to intelligence. he has to wait and go to some special room. we will think about those future developments in the light of this rich history we are going to discuss right now. i will go in the order of the program. david robards, for cia. david. [applause] john brennan: this event -- david: this event mirroring the
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us's of nixon and ford gives a way to look at the white house , which is that it is entirely up to the president how it is going to be run. there is nothing in the national security acts of 1947 setting up cia and the national security council that says the intelligence process will be a certain type. it is up to the president, whether he is interested in intelligence, thinks it is important, wants to use it, advising against us, considers it irrelevant, as other sources, that is up to him. and the agency over the years and now the dni and other elements have try to tailor the daily product to meet the president needs is a fascinating story. you can see by scanning through the documents in today's release how the pdb itself as a product has changed. but behind that is an important , ary as dr. turgeon says
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process. how they integrated the pdb into their intelligence below, who managed the intelligence below. more importantly, i think is what the art -- agency try to do to strike the balance between what the agency thought and needs to tell the president and what the president wants to hear from the agency. they certainly are not the same things by any stretch. today we have the opportunity to look at two very different presidents running to very different -- two very different administrations. i would refer to gerald ford as an eager consumer. you can hardly take more juxtapositions. nixon's trust is well-established. but as a mirror of what the agency was getting into, during
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the transition would nixon has set up his headquarters in new york city, it was wired intelligence up to the outpost. we called it ddi new york at the time. this includes the pdb, analytic products and so forth. when the operation there close down before the inauguration, all of those items were told -- returned to us in envelopes and had never been opened before. the point is henry kissinger, as he said, wanted to make sure no agency had particular entree to president-elect nixon. he wanted to control all of the intelligence flow, and he didn't want the agency trying to sell itself as the premier actor in the intelligence community. he also had a number of complaints about the pdb as a document. literarily, he thought that the style of it was elliptical, the articles were too brief, the coverage was spotty, it did not it to the key issues.
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he once referred to in article on panama as a worry for the assistant secretary of state, not the president of the united states. heels and wanted to change the whole daily process of the pdb arrival. previously, it would arrive in the morning for a brief time, johnson got in the afternoon, but that he change it to the morning. he wanted to watch it with the tv shows. kissinger thought he would control everything, said i wanted delivered in the afternoon so i can mix it together with all the other intelligence i collect from the white house situation room and other sources, and then i will put it together into a morning briefing for the president and give it to him myself. so the important point here is we have no morning briefing. we did not have one until general -- gerald ford, which i will get to in a bit. and kissinger said that nixon wanted the pdb to go to the
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attorney general. this has nothing to do with law enforcement or terrorism because mitchell was a political advisor to nixon, and kissinger thought it would be useful for mitchell to advise him and have political implications for these foreign events. nixon was a lawyer, and he wants facts and analysis separated. he wants the facts first and then the analysis second. it had been integrated in the structure of the articles. we go through pdb's, you go through them tonight, you see just the facts, and then the analysis. said wet later on, they should distinguish them typographically. so you have italics for analysis and regular font used for the so-called main facts of the story. also the pdb is restructured from the one johnson had, and i suggest you go back to the
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previous release with how the structure changes. it would be divided up into major developments, other important developments and --exes in a very important and for became itads, it developed a top binding. you could flip it over like a big legal pad. this is an example of how they have tried to proactively, in a sense, tailor the product itself with presidential needs. the delivery signs, all of that has changed. the circulation itself is up to the president. in the case of johnson, he added -- delivered to 10 people before he got out of office. nixon cut that back to six, and then up to nine. so it has done to as many as 2.5
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dozen individuals outside of the immediate circle. in other cases, it has been close, up to the president. the key point from the relationship perspective is that the pdb under nixon lost its standalone quality. it was no longer the thing that went to the president each morning albeit by delivery from between with discussion the president and national security advisor or just the president reading it himself. the way kissinger ran the process here is he would take that document, let it sit for 12 hours, constantly updating with prepare a then national security men know -- .emo .ia is out of the picture none of the items were tagged specific to pdb.
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at the start of the administration, we are out of the process momentarily. we are also out of the process of feedback because there is no continual back and forth between the white house and cia. kissinger's with a said, you are slammed thetyle, door shut, cook up something, and then spring it on the policy community. cia is not involved, you are not telling them what you want in the book, you are taking it as it comes and going from there. as a result, the pdb is growing ever more useless overtime in the nixon administration. s presence is lacking as well. there were national security council meetings where this was less important over the nixon to terms. he had -- two terms.
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he had no relationship with this. it was superseded with the looming impeachment. the agency tried to do in response to a request from bob holman who didn't get involved with the process a bit was dry -- did get involved with the process of it was dry to pre-craft this. they came up with the presidential intelligence crafting. you will see some of those in the documents. they were rejected for sensitivity sources, even at this late date. the key was to try to make a document relative, respond to what the president wanted. i did not work. it only lasted about 10 months. pretty soon, the whole relationship was superseded by the watergate scandala and looming impeachment. onto the scene comes gerald
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ford, eager consumer. you have a night and day change. reset sensitivity, replace hostility. flowenry kissinger's diminishes. this goes back to the time when ford was vice president. healing had some working intelligence of cia products, including the pdb, because he was introduced to them when bill colby gave him a tour of cd -- cia headquarters. he showed it to him, and he said, i want to see this if i become president. of course, he becomes president, and he says, i want a daily briefing. i want the pdb front and center. i want one of your people in my oval office talking to me about the document, having that conversation. kissinger was not too thrilled about this idea, but he remembered who he works for. ford said we are going to have the briefing whether you like it or not. would you find here is an interesting change in the whole
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atmosphere and process. nowadays and for many years in the past, including when i started as an analyst over a this wasentury ago, the be-all, end-all of the agency. hundreds of people every day would get constantly strong up about putting something in the pdb, responding to presidential again seven it all days a week with one exception not done on sundays. this is so different from what it was back then. when jfk would get the pickle in the morning, maybe look at it, stuff it in his coat pocket, pick it up during the day, glanced through it -- johnson similarly, you see him reading to his grandchild for bed, it is a very, very different atmosphere. what you suddenly see here with isward is this -- with ford this tempo change. the re-think at the white house, he is a daily communication with
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the situation room. he goes to the situation room, tips them off with what the president was interested in so they can watch that over the cia 24 hours and inform the when he is picking up. meanwhile, cia is taking the tasking to the white house, analysts are getting strong up about it, feeling the book, and it goes back to the white house in this symbiotic relationship. this is unprecedented in the history of the pdb, and is what seated -- cia likes, because it is immediate response to the premier presidential product. as you look to the product, you see the format of the ford book changes a bit. it retains the legal size, but after the initial, there are longer essays, events you may not have been familiar with. it does include explanatory .nnexes and longer essays
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it is end in november 1975 when, with the campaign coming up for 1976, the white house staff, now brumfield and cheney, step up on intelligence and winning the election. so they say you should cut back on the daily briefing, get the book delivered by brent scowcroft, the person who replaced kissinger as that role. his and her was still secretary of state. he talks to brent about it, he will get back with anything to say, feedback. the dci has not involved. colby stayed out as well as dci bush, when he becomes dci 1976. this is not good to the agency. we are ultimately dissatisfied
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with it, but we work for the president, and we have to go by these preferences in this process. but you can see the excellent essay in the back of the book, there is no substitute for direct access. indirect filtered by others. he will inform and, are you sure. . i will turn it over to the subsequent experts, who talked about the content of the pdb itself. john helgeson writes, in a great book, getting to know the president, it would not be until george bush himself within the oval office -- he is dci at the time, establishes with the a relationship as fruitful as the one during the first half of the ford presidency. please look through the documents. they are fascinating.
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look for them as signals of relationship between cia and the white house, which is one of the most important relationships inside the u.s. government. i will turn it over to my colleagues now, thank you. >> thank you, david. [applause] next is erinrton: mahanta, historian of the secretary of defense. erin: good afternoon. i am honored to join this distinguished panel of historians. provided an excellent overview of how the pdb worked under nixon and ford. in my time, i would like to insightspiration and with the pdb used in intelligence generated in the department of defense with the nixon administration.
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defenseer secretary of was there all four years during nixon's first term. he was only one of four recipients of the pdb outside of the white house. a career would arrive each morning to deliver the current pdb and pick up the previous day's edition. his senior military assistant, lieutenant general robert just describeed the secretary's interest as browsing the reader's digest. the more erudite amongst [indiscernible] but given he became senior counsel for international affairs at readers digest upon leaving the pentagon in 1973, well, that suggests that regarded asmight be praise, albeit somewhat faint. so someone, not layered himself, would cruise this.
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did ask to, laird expand the readership of the pdb to include deputy david packard. this stems not from the belief that it was indispensable but rather from laird's operating philosophy of participatory management. he promised ever to exclude employees, which could be a fair rebuke of the management style of henry kissinger, his chief rival within the administration. he ignored his senior military existence, never knew a single decision,nto the dod much less serve as a determinant role. he was genuinely overwhelmed. he believed the pdb lacked intensity, and the secretary never saw fit to alert president because of something he read in the pdb. by extensive transcription of
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recent presidential recordings, supports the notion the pdb did not make waves. still, the fact nothing listed phone calls to or from neck's and whereas media reports usually leaks and cables did provoke the president, perhaps speaks volumes to the security of the dealey grief -- daily brief and cia's ability to become politicized. berd's assessment should not mistaken as lack of appreciation for the value of intelligence. alwayshe opposite, laird sought a larger universe of intelligence, wanting as much on as many topics on as many sources as possible. layered'--rize laird's use of intelligence,
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probably the most apt d's use ofn of lair' intelligence is ubiquitous in ways that was unusual in the nixon administration. he acquired information from a wide variety of sources, not only executive agencies but also congress and the media. requirednce, laird great respect before agreeing to become the secretary of defense, continue to cultivate work relationships on the hill, heeting with them socially, said n idea of at congress hem.e mea, he usd ey rogzeis pronsity opne, n in refrhi conast tohe w givin ay kd nonthreatening manne sd hi well nte iquitond intlige eriner--tellence or peopleh whome lau lunch
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had brkfast regully preed uponon atnd mia brief in a another capacity. owing to the presidency aloof style and feelings which dr. robarge just addressed. laird grew beyond the pdb contents and asked for twice a week special briefings by nci, cia officers. it brought together all officers of dod intelligence so each new with the other was doing. every other friday, he convened an intelligence breakfast which theuded all the heads of dod components. during today, we heard about how much inclusive the pdb and intelligence process is. i want to provide this historical context where we remember this was a cia product
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alone. his attention brought the universe to speak of other avenues of intel. so the intelligence breakfast, he included all the heads of the dod components, air force undersecretary jonathan lucas also attended because he secretly served as the head of the national reconnaissance office, that dealt with satellite imagery and was considered so sensitive at the time that even its name and initials are classified. met twice a week with the heads of the defense intelligence agency and the national security agency. and promisedthem, for star status if they are proved loyal by giving him intelligence first. with this universe of intelligence sources, he achieved his objective of saying a stride if not a step in front
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of henry kissinger. he acquired the hardest intelligence possible for military operations. so with regard to the second step, my second a, analysis, he followed the victim. from first report, skeptical about second, questioned the third. he was always cautious about single reports from intelligence agencies. it made no difference whether it or theom cia, via, military service branches. in early crisis in the administration, the april 69 downing in north korea of a reconnaissance plane, which carried six tons of electronic news hardware, illustrate la ird's cautious approach and insight into politics in the nixon administration. the president regarded the downing of an unarmed,
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unsupported plane and the death of the 31 member crew as an intentional, hostile act with swift reprisal. wanted to immediately suspend reconnaissance globally until the pentagon could discover if this was critical or if armed escorts were required. this made so much sense he did not think it necessary to inform the president or discuss it in any detail. house meanwhile pressed the pentagon to draw up options or retaliation and began deliberations. they learn from intelligence sources, not the pdb, which, throughout the two week or three weeks crisis, really provided single paragraph summaries. he learned from other sources that a single nervous north korean pilot had not sought approval up his chain of command, was responsible for the
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airplane shootdown, making the episode something other than a deliberate act of war. laird also learned that the recon mission had intel that was not critical. these pieces of information showed his enthusiasm for retaliation, even when nixon learned the facts. there was great risk in retaliation. logistic resources were insufficient to prosecute the war in vietnam and modernize the south vietnamese army. and simultaneously, to decide a possible conflict in korea. but delaying nixon's desire to resume recon fights -- flights, laird wanted to evaluate the risks of air force reconnaissance, frequency of necessary missions, and whether protection was needed. kissinger informed the president that laird's actions delayed
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reconnaissance, therefore to intervene the presidents policy. this neutralized talk to ask. .- tactics there was a body that included the national security adviser but not the secretary of defense, would take over from dod, though review of worldwide reconnaissance information's in addition to the covert operations. there were essentially two other significant consequences from this episode. as kissinger writes in his memoirs, they would never trust layered or secretary of state rogers again. nixon would quote, get rid of d at thend lair earliest crisis. frustrated by the lack of timely retaliation against north korea, nixon turned his attention to southeast asia and ordered another secret round of bombing in cambodia against north
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vietnamese forces stationed there. so to conclude, it is hazardous to extrapolate from one episode grand pronouncements about intelligence policy relationship, but i do think it reminds us of the complexities involved women talk about the outcomes of intelligence delivered to policymakers, whether in the form of cheap pdbs or more. the same income delivered in various ways. it cannot be divorced from their ,rejudice sees, personalities and institutional rivalries and interest. in short, the human factor. it is difficult to envision safee save melvin laird, in washington and his own skin, using intelligence to outmaneuver the president and national security advisers. the pdb's, we are reminded, are
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one element in the perpetual struggle against policymakers, the intel they need, rather than what they prefer to see and observe. -- absorb. thank you. [applause] gregory treverton: thank you very much. next is stephen randolph, who has a wonderful title, the historian of the state department, but i don't think he is the only. stephen: but i am in charge of all the rest. let me start by thanking the library for hosting this event that also the work and preserving the record of this remarkable administration we have been talking about today. i have been dealing with nixon material for 15 years now. you never get enough. it is truly magnificent. i would like to thank the cia, joe, and all of the people who helped put this together and ran the declassification process
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that are integral to this magnificent release, and i am inud to work with you guys publishing the foreign relations of the united states series, glad to reciprocate and play a supporting role in this event today. my research strategy and preparation for these remarks was to examine the material around key moments in nixon's management of the vietnam war, and to see where the documents took me, to see what the hysteria graphical value was. i found myself, as i read this material, isolated among three different perspectives as i viewed the material, proving we are all prisoners of our past. as a historian of the state department, i was reading this as an immature way, how we would have viewed this when we were documenting the next nixonstration -- the administration, but i decided the important relationship of this material to the material we
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have already published on that administration. as historian of the next and vietnam war -- nixon vietnam war, it is how they are understood of that time, and is a former professor and national security strategy for the national defense university, i was looking at the nature of intelligence provided to senior leaders and the relationship of the intelligence community and policy touched on by others. with respect to foreign relationship series, to give a little context, my office is responsible for the documentary record of american foreign relations. for the nixon-ford administration, we have of primary6 volumes documents, 40% more than any other administration in history. .his is a mark of two things one, the drama and importance of events at that time, and secondly, the richness of the documentary record. generally speaking, our material
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yet published, and i 32 to go to the website and find it online, -- pdb'sly these pdp's complement each other. they improve the internals was death alternatives -- improve the alternatives. they improve these in a important way to look at the policy process. level, weion at this are not, in the nixon , theystration, printing would not have printed the kind of material that this is. it is more tactical, reporting at the ground level, more of a reflection of the relationship again of nixon and the intelligence community at the time. very conservative, i think, and reporting. but it is very important in one
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regard, and in many regards because it is present to resulting from policy deliberations we document. there is this, mentoring relationship which is -- there is this complementary relationship for the foreign relationships far into the future. as i work with the policy process, the pdb's release headline news at any given spot. there was a lot more information that they do not cover as is natural, but they provide a narrative backbone to these that is of immeasurable value. , i findpect to the war value of different types in each of the major episodes, nixon's leadership based on the documentation, and again, the relationship and the time between the president and the intelligence community. this is very important in
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measuring the extent to which this war was a constant burden on the administration. from day one with nixon swore the oath of office until the very end, the vietnam war was the primary concern for him, most days. include someb's reference to the war in indochina. conversely, the pdb's provide a very important remedy to the historic lawlessness assumption that he or she is studying, only one of concern to the policymaker. i care about vietnam, therefore the nixon needed to care about vietnam. this provides context for the non-broader policy, the sense of the administration. very important without respect. with respect to the specific value and the different major episodes, when you look at the material from the cambodian incursion which is after david
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got over there, started in 1970, what you see is a progressive narrative from the pdb's which welcomes clarity in very confusing events over time. i did not see anything that radically changes the interpretation, but i will say one of the most interesting aspects in reading that documentation was in the week prior to nixon's decision to send the americans and south vietnamese into cambodia, because the pdb's reflect fighting on the ground in cambodia during that time. he had a cool distance perspective. they don't see any real crisis going on, but nixon is getting primary intelligence from other sources, the military and kissinger, and was mentioned by the panel earlier, he chooses what he believes and what he listens to, and makes the decision to send troops into cambodia. there is a different value in material looking at the end of the war in vietnam, 1972 and
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1973 were most of the historiographical tengion has been paid to the christmas .ombing, the nta negotiations what you find in the pdb is is record and preparation of the two of the enemy the postwar environment, or after america departs the war. you find president to in saigon is restructuring his political system, the north vietnamese are restructuring their command around the saigon. they have the ho chi minh trail, christmas bombing. none of these actually expect peace to break out over the land. there is one other segment i would like to have with some care, from the ford administration at a time in april 9075 when the north vietnamese offensive overthrew the government in saigon after the war. and joe klapper mentioned that
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this morning. much thiss very changing relationship between the policy community and the cia and that time, because every single day, through this time, is a measure essay -- major essay on political advancement, claims of the contestants, much more potent than anything in the nixon administration, much of a change in the administration david spoke of earlier. respect to the intelligence policy, i think actually the most striking sequence i found was in the encouragement of 1971. general klapper was there the time. this is interesting enough, so it wasn't that long ago. it has come down through history with the name of lampson 719. only give you the back story
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here. this is worth paying attention to. it is one of these fairly common examples. often there are things that don't have an -- don't happen. after the incursion into cambodia in april and may of 1970, the north yet -- north vietnamese convened their military. they projected that having gone into cambodia, the next inevitable action will be for the south vietnamese to go into laos. the projected net on the next movement would be in laos but where it would be, which was of one lane dirt road called route nine kind of intersecting the ho chi minh trail. based on that projection, they proceeded to build, to command structure with that kind of an operation. they built a road network to
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support reinforcement. they built logistics infrastructure. they had commanders doing terrain walks, familiarizing themselves specifically with terrain the operation would be occurring in, and they put aaa units into tha area. all that before the american leadership began cultivating, kind of strategic planning on their part. the nixon administration starting in 1970 with final 1971 hadlate january this offensive, the offensive into laos has opened armed as the second major arms and cambodia. offensive.n error -- air offensive. this is something joe klapper mentioned this morning. he saw the number of how many americans filled those three and 40,000, they would not be there
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in the next dry season. if there was going to be a major american action, it had to be then, because it would draw the proceedings so quickly. this was the last major chance. it was a big roll of the dice. kissinger viewed it as a prelude to a diplomatic effort to try to to get theous terms war over by 1971. heard the sort of preparatory remarks given this extreme asymmetry as was mentioned in the earlier panel about information, the careful planning of the north vietnamese cycle ofairly rapid the south vietnamese and americans, you can project a bad outcome, and that is what happened. the south the enemies -- south vietnamese had been to laos in early february. strong counterattacks appear
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eminent. -- imminent. cognitive inn southeast asia and the time, i would have thought, tanks, north vietnamese, what? this was a completely different picture of what anyone was carrying from their adversary of the time. even though fighting at that .oint, there was fighting try tod they will inflict a major step back on the ,outh vietnamese army in laos even if the cost proves high. the north vietnamese moved substantial portions into the area, and they show a cautionist style of fighting that has been their hallmark over the last two years, so this is a completely different adversary and what anybody pictured going into that. nonetheless, the white house and prolongr wanted them to
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their stay in laos as much as possible and extend their stay in april for two reasons. of was the political impact a rapid retreat from laos, and secondly to support this diplomatic initiative he had planned. the south vietnamese broke into the counter offensive by the defected aamese and retreat into south vietnam, the operation ended march 23. i think the sequence is worth looking at for several reasons. it indicates there are multiple challenge -- channels for the communicators. the pdb was one small place. it is information getting to the white house. primary reform panel is kissinger came out of southeast asia. it came from the three-star serving with the south vietnamese during
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incursion, went back down to added one more, the joint chiefs, and then kissinger. it is remarkable to look at these ongoing reports because there is embedded optimism, this can do attitude part of the literary mindset, but they kept thinking that things would get better tomorrow. they kept that report repeatedly for the duration of the operation. the second thing that i think we pick up from this is the difficulty in picking up key information in all the noise and policy process. the stuff was in the pdb's. you could hear the small scale voices of these warnings, the new kind of enemy that they resolved to win this battle at any price, it changes your perspective, i think, in how you decide with respect to that operation. the third thing though, and it was referred to frequently as intelligence feeding into the
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intelligence makers important, but you are trying to overcome perspectivekers' and their intent. kissinger wants to sustain this as long as possible and prevents this domestic damage. it was very hard to get him to realize this is not the toration he had expected find. the fourth is the image of the enemy we had forced over long years in southeast asia was no longer valid. we had no concept that they would show up with heavy artillery and tanks in that area. and the february 27 pdb that i read the excerpt from was about 3.5 weeks from the end of the operation. by that point, the north vietnamese had clamped into south vietnamese forces there was no practical thing that could be done from the white house.
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there was a point at which we can no longer effect events. this important to focus on , among other things, because it shows, first of all, it is so important to get this right. the whole effort of the pdb is to avoid these kinds of outcomes . big part of what was discussed earlier today was inclusion, where you don't have a separate help from the military and a different one and intel channels were they basically lock each other out. once again, i would like to innk all of those involved this conference today for giving us the opportunity to think seriously about these subjects. [applause] gregory treverton: daniel sargent from university california berkeley, and i hope we will save a few minutes for your questions. we may have demonstrated how difficult it is for people to be brief discussing what they know. daniel. daniel: i would like to start by
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thanking the organizers of today's event especially julian m scale. it is an honor to be included, and i am grateful for the opportunity to speak. i came to talk about documents the cia is releasing today, i hope you'll indulge me a few words on my own scholarship so you will better understand the perspective i have to honor. i publishedths ago, a book called a superpower transformed. the core question that this book engages have to do in some basic sense with the relationship between intelligence and policy. the book asked how leaders in the nixon, ford, and carter administrations had perceived and responded to large-scale structural changes in the international scale they inhabited. i own conclusions have been scribed and in print, it was with trepidation i began to read the pdb's release today. largecuments represent a
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body of evidence i did not have evidence to consult, and they were worried about this. i'm glad to report that documents have not tossed apart hypotheses, i will gladly attest the pdb's have enriched, enhanced, and expanded my understanding of the world in which president nixon and ford operated. taken as a whole, what the pdb of 1967 to 1969 offer is a view of the world as the president of united states saw it albeit with national security advisers. this is crucial for understanding the history of decision-making. to grasp why richard nixon chose, as he did, we should attempt to see the world as he saw it. no set of documents will fight to give us perspective for worldview is always and necessarily an achievement of
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the individual psyche, being the result of a lifetime's experiences and learning. still, it is intelligence agencies of united states government that provides a real-time information upon which real-world decisions are predicated and which shape as much as any indication of flow and assumptions about the world. the great value for historians in the newly released pdb's is we can now account at least part of the information flow which has formed key foreign-policy choices of the 1970's. we can now encounter the world as nixon and ford engaged in. i unsurprisingly, they provided expanding context for the key foreign-policy decisions and choices. here, two examples may form illustrative. they provide vital context for understanding nixon's opening of china. the rest is unsurprising, relations between china and the
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soviet union in the early 1970's were dismal. what is impressive is the intensity and frequency with which that point is made. in the pdb's of the 1969 and 1970, the cleavage between the soviet union and china is not a defining feature of world politics. if that has important implications, right alongside the pdb's, neck since engagement with beijing may be less original than many historians render it. opening may bea more a response to changes that were already underway in the international system than a revolutionary innovation that created new realities and changed the course of the cold war. in this case, then, the pdb's may dampen the luster of nixon's accomplishments, but in other cases they chasten and refrain
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his critics. here laos and cambodia are suggested cases. they are routinely described as neutral states into which richard nixon expanded the vietnam war. such assessments of pdb's suggest risk distorting the landscape of choice as decision-makers and countered it. in the cia's daily briefings, after all, laos and cambodia were not neutral bystanders but decisive terrain in the war for indochina, a pan regional conflict in which communist insurgents frequently appeared to be getting the upper hand. the travails of laos and cambodia -- cambodia. one third of the pdb's team released today. this is remarkable. among the entire series of documents, indochina receives twice as much attention as europe. historians read these documents will learn excel was, almost on
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a daily basis, more likely than not to read about violent inroads the communist forces are making in cambodia and laos. this knowledge may or may not implicate his choices, but it should help historians emphasize and achieve full understanding of why the administration acted as it did. having reflected on what historians might gain from the pdb's, i will turn to a document that dr. travers imposed, how peopleght intelligence might make this more strategic in asia? crucial question, and it goes without decision-makers change.nding long-term i will offer two points, both of which i will frame in relationship to pdb's being released today. my first point has to do with
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this seems to be in a area in which specific characteristics of the government may inhibit the formulation of intelligence. in particular, that the aromatic demarcation between foreign and mystic agencies may discourage the national security agencies from engaging with the domestic variables that are determinative of america's capacity to act. until 19 77 illustrate the point. discussions of domestic politics is almost absent from these documents despite watergate and both of which- severely inflated foreign policy in the 1970's. the pdb features discussion of international monetary affairs but the documents make no mention of the vast changes in the american economy.
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changes that proved transformative to the exercise of american power. while formal demarcations between foreign and domestic arenas of responsibility exist we should be mindful of how the omission of material may limit our capacity to furniture -- furnish strategic intelligence. the means that sustain american power are for the most part domestic. my second point has to do with how analysts situate particular events in relation to larger processes of historical change. i am happy to engage as a historian. weposit -- we we po the challenge for those who
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advise presidents is presumably to provide sufficient context establishing causal connection while referring to the interpretive judgment of elected officials. the pdb's manage to strike this balance. read asments sometimes a rapidfire succession of events about lifeemarks being one damn thing after another. help to situate specific developments within broader historical context. i am drawn to wonder whether they could have been more forthright in the critiquing the implicit historical assumptions that shape u.s. foreign-policy in the 1970's. it isg across an difficult to avoid the impression that want matters in
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the world in the 1970's is the soviet american cold war. as such as energy and the recession are secondary. the pdb's can only have cold ward nixon's thatism, his assumption what mattered was a relationship between the united states, the .oviet union, and china engagement with simultaneous development in world affairs to the assertion of the postcolonial countries might have encouraged decision-makers to take a more expensive view of the challenges facing foreign-policy by highlighting processes beyond the cold war including political, economic ecological of peoples,
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professionals could have unsettled stable assumptions about the world and encouraged decision-makers to contemplate alternative advantages. the pdb's might have done more to unsettle static worldviews. i will concede henry kissinger's point. the white house is not an environment conducive to sustained reflection. at the same time, these are cognitive functions that some organs of the state ought to perform. without ongoing reassessment of what matters, foreign-policy will lack in adaptive strategic lever. the cia has a role to play today as much as in the 1970's. [applause]
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>> we have a few minutes for questions. please try to be as brief as you can. intevac? -- in the back? kudos to the panel. what a wonderful discussion amongst historians. i cannot let this opportunity go by and with the u.s. archivist for and everybody planning president obama's presidential library. i am curious whether agency historians have been tasked with ,he prospect of what records papers in your own agencies
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might be included in his library ? from my standpoint, if i were to go to a presidential library, i might be mistaken in my belief that all decisions regarding the administration may lie in that library. point in fact, during the bush taskedtration, -- was with making enormous decisions tortureg interrogation, , and other factors that influenced our foreign-policy. david? the answer is much more documentation anybody can process. isis very difficult but voluminous. >> -- two sets of laws that govern the records.
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on the federal side, these historians who represent agencies which are governed by the federal records tax which means that they create schedules records haveich long-term value and are going to be transferred at the appropriate time to the archives. selective. kudos of the criteria. -- those are the criteria. much easier, simpler to deal with. all the records that are created in the white house become the country. that is what ends up at the presidential libraries. the decision-making crosses lines. agencies support the work of the white house but
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there is a separation in terms of the records themselves. >> thank you for your presentation. you mentioned their shakedown of the reconnaissance aircraft. the puebloe pdb for which occurred in a relative timeframe and also probably less thought of in that time but mentioned in the 1990's the shootdown's of reconnaissance aircraft over siberia which were numerous. pdb gave report age way it was compared to the pueblo but the pdb was very cursory in its treatment in any way if parallel or comparison.
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>> you mentioned an incident in the 1990's? >> [inaudible] >> i cannot speak to unreleased pdb's. can't answer your question, i'm sorry. >> i want to know, was president to have first president daily briefings with a cia definitely.yes,
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david peterson was tasked to brief him when he was vice .resident he wanted that continued after he became president. , you had no daily briefing by a cia officer. kennedy administration, you would have delivery of the document by a senior officer but effectively he was an overpaid courier. --ourrier -- courrier. beyond that, you do not have anything until 1974 with peterson. what strikes me is in their
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current circumstance by comparison to my last in government is intelligence policy relations are so much closer and tighter. intelligence is so much more embedded in the process than it was 20 years ago because we has lastfighting wars for the 15 years and unfortunately you can make policy toward china without intelligence but you cannot very well find wars without intelligence. the contrast is striking and instructive. >> excellent presentation. pdb's are described by many groups and has anybody said how much it costs to put it together? only one -- can the i get my ipad every morning and
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read it. it is the most expensively published -- now, it is no longer published. it is an enormous endeavor. we have seen tons when it was checklist, but now it dominates the analytic side of the cia. because it is an interagency process and has the advantages that jim clyburn mentioned, it will often take six hours to write a piece. itis the opportunity cost of in its current form is really quite large again. if consumer number one really
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, then we will do it but myis worth noting that from perspective the opportunity cost in terms of things we do not deal is really quite large. addressed ton is professor sergeant. why is it that nixon fails to recognize the global implications of -- trudeau was one thing -- in canada, overall, dismissive, seen as an important. that is a challenging question. that nixon may not
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be exceptional in his disregard for canada among american presidents. relationshipdian is in a -- phase because of the war between the head of state and head of government but i would suggest that the present situation is unusually warm. and reminds you of the line, the united states is our best friend whether we like it or not. more?we have time for one one more over here. >> is the vice president briefed? it sounded like ford took a tour of the cia and found out about the briefings. >> he was not. president wasvice not receiving the pdb during the
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nixon administration. ford was not receiving it at that time when he was appointed and only whenent he went to the agency and got this tour that he found out about it and began to be briefed. it is entirely up to the president. initial pickle went to three people, kennedy, bundy and mccall and. it was entirely up to the president to expand the distribution list. it has sometimes been as many as two dozen. >> [inaudible] >> nelson rockefeller when he under vice president
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gerald ford received the pdb. the process was interesting to .ind time for the briefings they agreed on a driving briefing. there is a standard process with washington seniors, you will meet them at their houses in briefed him on the way to the oscars. a number of them prefer eight that way. then they can show up at your office is knowledgeable about the president read himself in that becomes increasingly dynamic in the process and you from policy makers in the reagan, clinton, bush administrations is that favorite announcements because they are interested in it -- they want to use it as a baseline for knowledge throughout the policy
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by and as mentioned earlier dr. trevor ginn, a lot of time to briefing is most important -- between theship principal and the briefer, the ability to provide clarification and feedback. that is a crucial element of an as a fundamental point, the briefer has proven to be more important than the document itself. >> please join me in thanking the panel. [applause] we have at a number of senior officers from across the andrnment joining us today i want to thank them. in particular, the head of digital innovation, our chief information officer, and others from the national white house and security council. thank you very much for your support of this event.
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this pretty much concludes the event. if i could ask -- come to the ?tage please library -- this hanks the library for their support of this event. if i could invite the president and ceo of the nixon foundation to the stage? thank you for your help. [applause] leslie, jim hughes, if you could
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caughtly, jimmy heelys -- lastly, jim hughes, if you could come up here please. [applause] events concludes our today. attending.or [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you are watching american history tv. forow us on twitter information on our schedule and
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to keep up with the latest news. next, mark ozer talks about how washington changed during the gilded age focusing on the expansion of the railroad system in the building of the union station and the lincoln memorial. the u.s. capital historical society hosted this event. >> it is always good to be here with old friends. , this is one of a series of books i have written on the history of washington dc. it has been a great opportunity to develop the concept of washington as a national capital and ultimately as an international capital.


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