Friday, December 2, 2011

That Didn't Last Long Long

Recently, I acquired this a 7/7/1976 letter from newly appointed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence E.H. Knoche to Deputy Director of the National Security Agency Benson K. Buffham in which Knoche expresses how much "appreciate[s]" having the assistance of "first-rate officers" such as Buffham and that he "look[ed] forward to a continuing close association, and I know that our two agencies can accomplish much working together in a spirit of harmony and cooperation."

Buffham- Knoche Letter

In little over a year after this letter was sent, the National Security Agency, backed by Congress, would aggressively seize control over most of the SIGINT effort of the United States.  This rather swift change of affairs was brought about by younger, more aggressive, domain building  NSA staffers, a budget conscious House Appropriations Committee headed by Charles Snodgrass and their supporters in the Defense Department. The CIA's case was not helped by the decision of the Carter administration to replace George H.W. Bush as head of the CIA, an act that forced Knoche to square off against the DOD with limited standing during a good portion of the year in question.(1)

(1) Thomas R. Johnson, American Cryptology During the Cold War, 1945-1989, (U) Book III: Retrenchment and Reform, 1972-1980, 224-231