Intelligence professionals are concerned with the Reagan Administration’s procrastination in repairing the previous damage done to our critical intelligence organizations. Six months into the new Administration, the CIA, the FBI and other similar agencies are still operating under the severe restrictions of President Carter’s Executive Order 12036.
There are some indications that Carter Administration holdovers in the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies are determined to delay any new Executive Order unless the restrictions are kept. What these holdovers are eager to retain, for instance, is language that prevents American counter-intelligence officials from surveilling U.S. individuals who are contacts for hostile intelligence agents. At present, in most cases, surveillance must cease once a contact is identified as an American.
The Carterites have leaked to the press two previous draft Executive Orders. While both were considered inadequate, since they did not eliminate some of the worst existing restrictions on intelligence activities, the left-liberals raised a huge furor. Reagan forces are trying to draft a new Executive Order that will allow the intelligence agencies to function fare more ineffectively, but the Carterites do not seem interested.