Intel - History
Team B

"In God we trust.
All others we monitor."


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Richard Pipes

Headed by Richard Pipes 

Key Members 
  • Richard Pipes
  • Paul Wolfowitz
  • Ally as Defense Secretary was Donald Rumsfeld


Wohlstetter Accuses CIA of Underestimating Soviet Missile Capabilities 1974 
  • In 1974, Albert Wohlstetter, a professor at the University of Chicago, accused the CIA of systematically underestimating Soviet missile deployment, in his 1974 foreign policy article entitled "Is There a Strategic Arms Race?"
  • Wohlstetter concluded that the United States was allowing the Soviet Union to achieve military superiority by not closing a perceived missile gap.
  • Many conservatives then began a concerted attack on the CIA's annual assessment of the Soviet threat.

CIA Director Colby Asked To Permit
Team B....Colby Refuses 1975  

William Colby discusses Vietnam with Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller and Deputy Assistant For National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft

CIA Director Colby Fired in Halloween Massacre 1975  
  • In 1975, PFIAB members asked CIA Director William Colby to approve the initiative of producing comparative assessments of the Soviet threat. Colby refused, stating it was hard "to envisage how an ad hoc independent group of analysts could prepare a more thorough, comprehensive assessment of Soviet strategic capabilities than could the intelligence community."

George HW Bush Replaces CIA Director Colby, Permits Team B 
  • 1976 is the era of détente, and the neocons hate this; they fear losing their favorite enemy, the Soviet Union. They are saying the CIA is coming up with much too rosy of predictions and they don’t believe the intelligence. Who takes over the CIA at this point? George H.W. Bush. They decide they have to go to battle against him and they form what is known as Team B, which starts an “alternative intelligence assessment.” It effectively says the CIA is all wrong and that we have to redo their intelligence. But Team B’s estimates were completely inaccurate.

Access To Same Evidence as CIA 

Claims of Team B 
  • A team of 16 "outside experts" were to take an independent look at highly classified data used by the intelligence community to assess Soviet strategic forces in the yearly National Intelligence Estimates.

Committee on the Present Danger 1976
  • It was privately revived in March 1976 to try to influence the presidential candidates and their advisors.
  • After Jimmy Carter won the election, CPD went public again and spent the next four years lobbying, particularly against détente and the SALT II agreement.
  • Its hawkish conclusions influenced the CIA's future reporting on the Soviet threat, but, ultimately, proved to have provided a highly inaccurate worst-case scenario.
  • This iteration of the CPD provided 33 officials to the Ronald Reagan administration.
  • Donald H. Rumsfeld "was a founding member of the Committee on the Present Danger, which effectively undermined President Jimmy Carter's arms control policies.