Essentially, the memo 57 had no real military significance except to reiterate what everyone already knew and was nothing more than an internal reorganization of standard operating procedures that held zero implications by Kennedy. It became meaningful only after Johnson had become President and instituted further organizational changes which essentially made the CIA less front and center. In other words kept them in their historical role of covert operations in opposition to the FBI's desire to be the big dawg. No idea why people are hyperventilating over this whole thing. As far Trump, he might have started this whole thing believing that it would cause more trouble for Biden. After all, that is his current focus, if not, just to kill as many people as possible.
- me -
NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 57 - NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDA [NSAM]: NSAM 57, RESPONSIBILITY FOR PARAMILITARY OPERATIONS
TO: The Secretary of State, The Secretary of Defense, The Director, CIA
The President has approved the attached recommendation:
The Special Group (5412 Committee) will perform the functions
assigned in the recommendation to the Strategic Resources
cc: General Maxwell D. Taylor, Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Smith
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PARAMILITARY OPERATIONS
1. For the purpose of this study, a paramilitary operation is considered to be one which by its tactics and its requirements in military-type personnel, equipment and training approximates a con- ventional military operation. It may be undertaken in support of an existing government friendly to the U.S. or in support of a rebel group seeking to overthrow a government hostile to us. The U.S. may render assistance to such operations overtly, covertly or by a combination of both methods. In size these operations may vary from the infiltration of a squad of guerillas to a military operation such as the Cuban invasion. The small operations will often fall completely within the normal capability of one agency; the large ones may affect State, Defense, CIA, USIA and possibly other departments and agencies.
2. In order to conduct paramilitary operations with maximum effectiveness and flexibility within the context of the Cold War, it is recommended that current directives and procedures be modified to effect the following:
a. Any proposed paramilitary operation in the concept state will be presented to the Strategic Resources Group for initial considertation and for approval as necessary by the President. There after, the SRG will assign primary responsibility for planning, for interdepartment coordination and for execution to the Task Force, department or individual best qualified to carry forward the operation to success, and will indicate supporting responsibilities. Under this principle, the Department of Defense will normally receive responsibility for overt paramilitary operations. Where such an operation is to be wholly covert or disavowable, it may be assigned to CIA, provided that it is within the normal capabilities of the agency. Any large paramilitary operation wholly or partly covert which requires significant numbers of military trained personnel, amounts to military equipment which exceed normal CIA-controlled stocks and/or military experience of a kind and level peculiar to the Armed services is properly the primary responsibility of the Department of Defense with the CIA in a supporting role.
Lyndon B. Johnson
The assassination of Diem sparked a cascade of coups in Saigon, and at the same time the city was wracked with assassinations. Lyndon B. Johnson, the new President, wanted to refocus the CIA on intelligence, rather than covert action, while the Kennedys were seen as relentless in their hounding of the CIA to produce results, Johnson soon gave them only the most minimal attention.
In the face of the failure of Project Tiger, the Pentagon wanted CIA paramilitary forces to participate in their Op Plan 64A, this resulted in the CIA's foreign paramilitaries being put under the command of the DOD, a move seen as a slippery slope inside the CIA, a slide from covert action towards militarization. After touring Vietnam in 1964, DI McCone and Secretary of Defense McNamara had different views of the U.S. position. McCone believed that as long as the Ho Chi Minh trail was active the U.S. would struggle.
DI McCone had statutory control over all intelligence committees, but in reality, but the military had near total control of the DIA, the NRO, the NSA, and many other aspects. Importantly, President Johnson almost completely ignored the CIA. In effect, the military controlled the two-thirds of the CIA budget laid out for covert action. McCone, the unspoken hero of the Cuban Missile Crisis, submitted his resignation in the summer, but Johnson would not accept it until after the election.
On August 4, Secretary of Defense McNamara gave President Johnson the raw translation of intercepted Korean transmissions directly from the NSA which, ostensibly, reported to DI McCone, rather than to McNamara. It was later determined that the transmission took place before the weapon discharges that night which leads to the conclusion that the transmission refers to the events of the attack the day before, and that, although Destroyers Maddox, and Turner Joy fired hundreds of shells at intermittent radar contacts, they were firing at false returns.
A CIA analyst's assessment of Vietnam was that the U.S. was "becoming progressively divorced from reality... [and] proceeding with far more courage than wisdom". The CIA had created an exhaustive report, "The Vietnamese Communist's Will to Persist". This created a key flashpoint in the US government, PAVN troop levels,. Was it 500k or more as the CIA believed, or 300k or less as the commanders of US forces in Vietnam believed. The argument went on for months, but Helms finally OK'd a report saying that PAVN troop levels were 299,000 or less. The DOD argument was that whatever the facts on the ground, to publicly admit any higher number could be the last nail in the coffin of the war for vietnam in the press.
“Chance is perhaps God's pseudonym when He does not want to sign” Anatole France, Le Jardin d'Epicure