The White House announced yesterday it is conducting an "intensive and comprehensive" review of foreign intellignence operations as new reports circulated that the Central Intelligence Agency had secret financial relationships with at least half a dozen present and former foreign leaders.
The announcement of the presidential review was made by press secretary Jody Powell during briefing in which he declined to comment on a report in The Washington Post yesterday that the CIA has for 20 years been making secret cash payments to King Hussein of Jordan.
Powell's statement was teh first official indication of President Carter's concern over CIA activities and his apparent intention to bring them under control.
In a statement read by Powell, the administration pointedly praised King Hussein as "an outstanding national leader" who had "played a constructive role in reducing tensions in the Middle East."
The payments to Hussein are not the only example of the CIA paying money to world leaders, according to reliable sources.
Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios recieved amounts of approximately $1 million annually in the late 1960s, the sources said. It is not known if these CiA payments have continued.
The Dalai Lams, the exiled god-king of Tibet, was on the CIA payroll for some time after he fled to India in 1959 to escape the Communist Chinese takeover of Tibet.
His holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of an estimated 6 million Tibetans. It is also not known if these payments continue.
The sources said that there are six to eight other leaders of countries who have at one time or another received covert payments from the CIA.
It was learned, meanwhile, that the court-censored manuscript of a book by two former goverment intelligence officers named Hussein along with Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Joseph Mobutu of Zaire, Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Nuguyen Vanm Thieu of South Vietnam and Willy Brandt of West Germany as national leaders who had secret financial relationship with the CIA.
The book, "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence," by Victor Marechetti, a former CIA official, and John Marks, a former State Department officer, was published with the names of the recipient deleted, sources familiar with the original manuscript said. The deletions were ordered in U.S. District Court as a result of the CIA civil suit against disclusure.
These relationships, however, never reached the financial scale or duration of the secret CIA support extended to Hussein, accordingly to qualified sources.
Such payments are not the only focus of the review announced by Powell yesterday.Sources said that the review is a sweeping look at the current operations of all intelligence agencies.
"It's not just to see what is proper," one source said. "It is a question of whether the operations are worth of money . . . it's a budget review also."
Powell said that the review of intelligence activities would also involve senior official from the Office of Management and Budget.
At the same time, the review will not be another attempt, in the words of one of the sources, to "dig back into the past and find all the skeletons and wave them around . . . the President (just) wants to know what's happening on his watch."
Powell said yesterday in his prepared statement that the review of intelligence activities involves all senior national security officials and it began "almost from the first day of the administration."
"This review is nearly completed," Powell said, "and, on the basis of its findings, the President will make basic decisions concerning the future of such activities."
Powell added: "The objective of the review is to make certain that activities are proper, to ensure full compliance with oversight procedures by law, and that what can be done openly is not done secretly."
As a matter of policy Powell said that he would not comment "either to confirm or deny - any stories concerning alleged covert activities."
In his session with reporters, the press secretary doggedly refused to elaborate on his opening statement. At times during the sensitive briefing the questioning grew tense and Powell appeared to be groping for words.
Sources said that President Carter ordered the Hussein payments stopped this week within a day of learning of them.
In addition reliable congressional sources said that the President has already stopped several other CIA activities and reported their termination to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Authoritative sources said the payments Archibishop Makarios were made at the time the United States, with the tacit consent of the neutralist Cypriot president, flew U-2 reconnaissance missions to the Middle East from the British sovereign base of Akrotiri on the southern end f the island.
The CIA also maintained special radios near the northern seacoast town of Kyrenia to monitor radio communications from nearby countries in the East Mediterranean.
Cypriot officials have privately acknowledged the receipt of special U.S. government funds by Makarios but maintained that they were used by the archbishop for official governmental purposes.
The CIA station chief in Jordad during the late 1960s, John W. O'Connell, is now a Washington attorney representing the Jordanian government, the Associated Press reported. Although O'Connell could not be reached yesterfday foir comment and was reported to be in Jordan, records on file with the Justice Department show his law firm has received $333,000 in legal fees from the Jordanian government to represent its interests here.