Register of the Richard Ober papers

Finding aid prepared by Dale Reed
Hoover Institution Archives
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305-6003
(650) 723-3563
hooverarchives@stanford.edu
© 2019


Title: Richard Ober papers
Date (inclusive): 1942-2001
Collection Number: 2019C20
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 28 manuscript boxes (11.2 linear feet)
Abstract: Correspondence, writings, notes, personnel records, memoranda, reports, legal records, and printed matter, relating to the Central Intelligence Agency and its Operation CHAOS. Consists mainly of reportage of post-Watergate debate on intelligence agency oversight and of documentation of related litigation.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Creator: Ober, Richard, 1921-2001

Access

The collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use.

Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Richard Ober papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Archives

Acquisition Information

Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2018.

Accruals

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Biographical Note

1921 Born, New York City
1943 A.B., Harvard University
1943-1946 U.S. Army service
1948 M.A., Columbia University
  Joined Central Intelligence Agency
1964 Graduate, National War College
1967-1972 Chief, Central Intelligence Agency Counterintelligence Special Operations Group
1972-1974 Chief, Central Intelligence Agency Counterintelligence International Terrorism Group
1974-1976 Director for Intelligence Coordination, National Security Council
1980 Retired from Central Intelligence Agency
2001 Died, Fairfax Station, Virginia

Scope and Content of Collection

The Richard Ober papers are narrowly focused on Operation CHAOS, a program conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency from 1967 to 1972 for the purpose of surveillance and infiltration of dissident and radical movements in the United States, including antiwar, black power and left-wing organizations. The program complemented the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation's older counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO. The Central Intelligence Agency's rationale for entering into domestic activities was to investigate the possibility of foreign influence in the target organizations. The programs became publicly known in consequence of revelations following upon and associated with the Watergate scandal. Beginning in 1974 they occasioned intense publicity and investigation by multiple Congressional and other government bodies.
Richard Ober, a career Central Intelligence Agency official, directed Operation CHAOS throughout its five-year existence. Subsequently he was seconded to the United States National Security Council as its senior staff member for intelligence matters. The publicity he received following revelation of the existence of Operation CHAOS prompted the Agency to seek severance of his employment. He resisted this, but was retired in 1980.
Key series in the collection are those formed around the numerous investigations of intelligence community activities: the Central Intelligence Agency Domestic Intelligence Report File (the Agency's report on itself); the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States File (the so-called Rockefeller Commission after its chairman, Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller); the Commission on the Reorganization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy File (the so-called Murphy Commission after its chairman, Ambassador Robert D. Murphy); the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities File (the so-called Church Committee after its chairman, Senator Frank Church); the House Committees File (especially the so-called Pike Committee, after its chairman, Congressman Otis G. Pike); and the Department of Justice Report File (regarding the mail-opening component of Operation CHAOS).
The Legal Cases File is concerned with the numerous subsequent civil lawsuits brought by individuals and organizations against government agencies and officials. Typically these cases involved both numerous plaintiffs and numerous defendants. Ober figured as a defendant in all but one--a potential legal case revolving around the unauthorized biography of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham by Deborah Davis. Davis mistakenly named Ober as Deep Throat and Ober figured here as a potential plaintiff.
There is also a specifically titled Operation CHAOS File. This consists of redacted internal documents from Operation CHAOS that were made public in the course of the various legal cases. They shed light on the program's general guidelines as well as on some specific operations.
The large General Intelligence File consists primarily of press coverage of the intense debate over the proper role and oversight of the intelligence community that ensued during the latter half of the 1970s.
There are a few additional small series not specifically connected with Operation CHAOS issues. These include Ober's Army Personnel File, Central Intelligence Agency Personnel File, and National Security Council Personnel File. In 1963-1964 Ober was a student at the National War College. His National War College File is mainly concerned with his participation in a group student visit to Africa, as is the associated Audiovisual File.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

United States. Central Intelligence Agency.
Secret service--United States.

Box/Folder 1 : 1

Army Personnel File 1942-1952

Scope and Contents note

Military personnel file of Richard Ober. Includes Reserve Officers Training Corps and Army Reserve materials, orders, and memoranda.
Boxes 1-2

Central Intelligence Agency Personnel File 1948-1980

Scope and Contents note

Personnel file of Richard Ober as a Central Intelligence Agency employee.
Box/Folder 1 : 2

Questionnaires and personnel action notifications 1948-1979

 

General

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence, memoranda, lists and notes.
Box/Folder 1 : 3

1951-1974

Box/Folder 1 : 4

1975

Box/Folder 1 : 5

1976

Box/Folder 1 : 6

1977-1978

Box/Folder 1 : 7

1979-1980

Box/Folder 1 : 8

Request for documents 1978

Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence together with redacted document copies.
Box/Folder 1 : 9

Appeal of proposed separation 1978

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence and memoranda. Includes redacted copies of earlier personnel file documents.
Box/Folder 1 : 10

Retirement 1980

Scope and Contents note

Contains memoranda and drafts.
Box/Folder 1 : 11

Travel authorizations and miscellany 1974-1979

 

Writings

Box/Folder 2 : 1

"Recommendations on Intelligence from the Murphy and Rockefeller Commission Reports" (internal memorandum by Ober) 1975

Scope and Contents note

Typescript
 

"The U.S. Intelligence Community Today" (internal study by Ober) 1978

Box/Folder 2 : 2-4

Drafts

Box/Folder 2 : 5

Notes

Box/Folder 2 : 6-7

Working materials

Boxes 2-4

National War College File 1963-1964

Scope and Contents note

Papers of Richard Ober as a National War College student.
Box/Folder 2 : 8

General 1963-1964

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence, memoranda, lists, and handbooks.
Box/Folder 2 : 9

Research paper 1963-1964

Scope and Contents note

Contains memoranda, guidelines, and a letter.
 

Trip to Africa 1964

Scope and Contents note

Contains memoranda, itineraries, travel documents, briefing materials, and printed matter. See also Audiovisual File.
Box/Folder 3 : 1

General

Box/Folder 3 : 2

Senegal

Box/Folder 3 : 3

Ghana

Box/Folder 3 : 4

Congo

Box/Folder 3 : 5-6

Angola

Box/Folder 3 : 7

Southern Rhodesia

Box/Folder 4 : 1

Southern Rhodesia

Box/Folder 4 : 2

Kenya

Box/Folder 4 : 3

Ethiopia

Box/Folder 4 : 4

Nigeria

Box/Folder 4 : 5

National Security Council Personnel File 1974-1976

Scope and Contents note

Personnel file of Richard Ober as a National Security Council employee. Contains correspondence, memoranda, lists, and notes.
Boxes 4-5

Central Intelligence Agency Domestic Intelligence Report File 1974-1975

Scope and Contents note

File on a report by Central Intelligence Agency Director William E. Colby to President Gerald R. Ford on domestic intelligence activities of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Box/Folder 4 : 6

Text of report, 1974, with publicly released redacted appendices, 1975

Box/Folder 5 : 1

Press coverage 1974-1975

Boxes 5-6

Commission on CIA Activities within the United States File 1974-1977

Scope and Contents note

File on a report by commission established by President Gerald R. Ford and chaired by Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller (Rockefeller Commission).
Box/Folder 5 : 2

Text of report 1975

Scope and Contents note

Printed copy
Box/Folder 5 : 3

Excerpts of report leaked to press prior to public release

Box/Folder 5 : 4

Executive orders and White House press conference transcripts subsequent to Commission report 1976-1978

Scope and Contents note

Includes 1976 Executive Order on United States Foreign Intelligence Activities by President Gerald R. Ford and 1978 Executive Order on United States Intelligence Activities by President Jimmy Carter.
Box/Folder 5 : 5

Correspondence 1975

Box/Folder 5 : 6

Memoranda 1975

Scope and Contents note

Includes comments on the report by William E. Colby and by Ober.
Box/Folder 6 : 1

Notes 1975-1977

Box/Folder 6 : 2-3

Press coverage 1974-1977

Boxes 6-7

Commission on the Reorganization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy File 1975

Scope and Contents note

File on a commission jointly established by President Richard M. Nixon and Congress and chaired by Ambassador Robert D. Murphy (Murphy Commission).
Box/Folder 6 : 4

General

Scope and Contents note

Contains selected recommendations affecting the intelligence community, memoranda, and press coverage.
Box/Folder 6 : 5

Senate response

Scope and Contents note

Contains memoranda and bills introduced.
Box/Folder 7 : 1

House response

Scope and Contents note

Contains memoranda and bills introduced.
Boxes 7-9

Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities File 1974-1980

Scope and Contents note

File on investigations by Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (Church Committee)
Box/Folder 7 : 2

Final Report, Book III: Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans 1976

Scope and Contents note

Printed copy
Box/Folder 7 : 3

Report excerpts and Committee rules of procedure 1975-1977

Box/Folder 7 : 4

Hearing transcripts 1975

Scope and Contents note

Includes testimony by James Angleton and Richard Helms.
Box/Folder 8 : 1-2

Hearing transcripts 1975

Box/Folder 8 : 3-4

Bills 1974-1978

Box/Folder 8 : 5

Correspondence 1975

Box/Folder 8 : 6

Memoranda and notes 1975-1980

Box/Folder 9 : 1-4

Press coverage 1975-1976

Boxes 9-10

House Committees File 1975-1976

Scope and Contents note

File on investigations by the House Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Congressman Otis G. Pike (Pike Committee), and by the House Committee on Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights, chaired by Congresswoman Bella Abzug.
Box/Folder 9 : 5

General 1975

Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence, memoranda, and notes. Includes draft statement to Abzug Subcommittee.
Box/Folder 10 : 1

Hearing transcript of Abzug Subcommittee 1975

Scope and Contents note

Includes testimony of William E. Colby.
Box/Folder 10 : 2

Statement by William E. Colby before Abzug Subcommittee 1975

Box/Folder 10 : 3

Bills 1976

Box/Folder 10 : 4-7

Press coverage, mainly regarding Pike Committee 1975-1976

Box/Folder 11 : 1

Department of Justice Report File 1975-1977

Scope and Contents note

File on the Department of Justice report regarding Central Intelligence Agency mail opening activities. Contains text of the report, notes, and press coverage.
Boxes 11-16

Legal Cases File 1975-2001

Scope and Contents note

File relating to legal cases resulting from revelations of intelligence community activities within the United States.
 

General

Box/Folder 11 : 2

Correspondence 1975-1978

Box/Folder 11 : 3

Memoranda 1975-1978

Box/Folder 11 : 4

Notes 1975-1982

Box/Folder 11 : 5

Press coverage 1975-1978

Box/Folder 11 : 6

Black Panther Party vs. Levi (re alleged disruption of Black Panther Party by FBI and CIA) 1975-1978

Scope and Contents note

Contains legal complaint, notes, and press coverage.
 

Davis, Deborah and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Scope and Contents note

Potential legal case regarding the book Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and The Washington Post written by Deborah Davis and published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. The book named Ober as Deep Throat and made other assertions considered possibly libelous. Includes some material on other media contacts with Ober.
Box/Folder 11 : 7

Correspondence 1979-1990

Box/Folder 11 : 8

Memoranda 1975-2001

Box/Folder 12 : 1

Katharine the Great 1979

Scope and Contents note

Printed copy
Box/Folder 12 : 2

Press coverage 1975-1999

 

Driver vs. Helms (re CIA mail opening activities)

 

Legal documents

Scope and Contents note

Contains legal complaint, briefs, petitions, motions, affidavits and decisions, and legal correspondence.
Box/Folder 12 : 3

1975

Box/Folder 12 : 4

1976

Box/Folder 12 : 5

1977

Box/Folder 12 : 6

1978

Box/Folder 13 : 1

1980-1982

Box/Folder 13 : 2

Memoranda and notes 1975-1982

 

Grove Press vs. Central Intelligence Agency (regarding allegedly illegal CIA surveillance)

 

Legal documents

Scope and Contents note

Contains legal complaint, affidavits, briefs, motions and decisions, and legal correspondence.
Box/Folder 13 : 3

1975

Box/Folder 13 : 4-5

1976

Box/Folder 13 : 6-7

1977

Box/Folder 13 : 8

1978-1981

Box/Folder 13 : 9

Memoranda and notes 1975-1980

 

Halkin vs. Helms (originally Chandler vs. Helms; regarding Operation CHAOS surveillance)

 

Legal documents

Scope and Contents note

Contains legal documents, affidavits, briefs, motions and decisions, and legal correspondence.
Box/Folder 14 : 1

1975

Box/Folder 14 : 2

1976

Box/Folder 14 : 3-4

1977

Box/Folder 14 : 5-6

1978

Box/Folder 15 : 1-2

1979

Box/Folder 15 : 3

1980

Box/Folder 15 : 4-5

1981

Box/Folder 15 : 6

1982-1983

Box/Folder 15 : 7

Undated

Box/Folder 15 : 8

Memoranda and notes 1975-1980

 

Hampton vs. Hanrahan (re shooting of Black Panther Party members) 1975

Box/Folder 16 : 1

Legal documents

Scope and Contents note

Contains deposition by Ober and legal correspondence.
Box/Folder 16 : 2

Memoranda and notes

Box/Folder 16 : 3

Nunez vs. Central Intelligence Agency (regarding CIA break-in) 1975-1976

Scope and Contents note

Contains legal complaint, White House press conference excerpts, and press coverage.
 

Socialist Workers Party vs. Attorney General (re surveillance of Socialist Workers Party)

 

Legal documents

Scope and Contents note

Contains legal complaint, affidavits, testimony by Ober, and legal correspondence.
Box/Folder 16 : 4

1975-1976

Box/Folder 16 : 5

1977

Box/Folder 16 : 6

Memoranda and notes 1977

Boxes 16-17

Operation CHAOS File 1967-1976

Scope and Contents note

File of internal Operation CHAOS documents, reports, memoranda, and correspondence, made publicly available in redacted form in connection with legal cases.
Box/Folder 16 : 7

1967

Box/Folder 16 : 8

1968

Box/Folder 16 : 9

1969

Scope and Contents note

Includes "Special Report: Foreign Communist Support to Revolutionary Protest Movements in the United States."
Box/Folder 17 : 1

1969

Box/Folder 17 : 2

1970

Box/Folder 17 : 3

1971

Box/Folder 17 : 4-5

1972

Box/Folder 17 : 6

1973

Box/Folder 17 : 7

1974

Box/Folder 17 : 8

1975-1976

Box/Folder 17 : 9

Undated

Boxes 17-28

General Intelligence File 1963-1991

Scope and Contents note

Contains material, mainly printed matter, related to intelligence issues in general.
Box/Folder 17 : 10

Memoranda and notes 1974-1978

Box/Folder 17 : 11

American Enterprise Institute symposium on "Foreign Intelligence: Legal and Democratic Controls" 1979

Scope and Contents note

Transcript
Box/Folder 18 : 1

Colby, William E. 1975

Scope and Contents note

Speech and statement
Box/Folder 18 : 2

Hardy, Timothy, "The Intelligence Reorganization Crucible" ca. 1976

Scope and Contents note

Typescript
Box/Folder 18 : 3

Hughes, Thomas L., "The Fate of Facts in a World of Men: Some Reflections on the Human Side of Intelligence and Policy-Making" 1969

Scope and Contents note

Typescript
Box/Folder 18 : 4

Turner, Stansfield 1978-1979

Scope and Contents note

Speeches
 

Press coverage

Box/Folder 18 : 5-7

Central Intelligence Agency activities abroad 1974-1976

Box/Folder 19 : 1

Central Intelligence Agency activities abroad 1974-1976

Box/Folder 19 : 2-4

Central Intelligence Agency domestic activities 1975-1976

Box/Folder 19 : 5

Federal Bureau of Investigation activities 1975-1976

Box/Folder 20 : 1

Federal Bureau of Investigation activities 1975-1976

Box/Folder 20 : 2-4

National Security Council and Operation CHAOS 1975-1976

Box/Folder 20 : 5-6

Other agencies 1975-1976

Box/Folder 21 : 1-3

Individuals (mainly intelligence officials; arranged alphabetically) 1974-1976

Box/Folder 21 : 4-5

Kissinger, Henry A. 1975

Scope and Contents note

Contains speech transcripts.
Box/Folder 22 : 1-4

Congressional commentary 1975-1976

Box/Folder 22 : 5

"News and Comment" intelligence sections (news summary compilation for the President) 1975-1976

Box/Folder 23 : 1-5

"News and Comment" intelligence sections (news summary compilation for the President) 1975-1976

Box/Folder 24 : 1-2

Magazine articles 1975

Box/Folder 24 : 3-5

Editorial commentary and letters to the editor 1974-1976

Box/Folder 25 : 1-2

Book reviews and book excerpts 1976-1991

 

Miscellaneous

Box/Folder 25 : 3

1963-1972

Box/Folder 25 : 4

1974

Box/Folder 25 : 5-7

1975

Box/Folder 26 : 1-2

1975

Box/Folder 26 : 3

1976

Box/Folder 26 : 4-5

1977

Box/Folder 26 : 6

1978

Box/Folder 27 : 1-5

1978

Box/Folder 28 : 1-2

1979

Box/Folder 28 : 3

1980-1990

Box/Folder 28 : 4

Undated

Box/Folder 28 : 5

Miscellany

Scope and Contents note

Contains notes and printed matter.
Box/Folder 28 : 6

Audiovisual File circa 1964

Scope and Contents note

Contains postcards and photographs of scenes in Africa.