30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Middle East

Jul 14, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., July 14, 2015 -- Four decades ago -- in the mid-1970s -- U.S. and Iranian officials haggled over a range of concerns that uncannily prefigured similar clashes that surfaced prior to today’s history-making nuclear accord between the P5+1 governments and Iran, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive at www.nsarchive.org. The documents from the 1970s record the Shah of Iran’s insistence that his country had “rights” under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to develop such a program.
Apr 15, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 15, 2015 – The U.S. government first learned of Israel's secret nuclear program at Dimona from an American corporate official talking to U.S. diplomats in Tel Aviv during mid-summer 1960, according to a declassified document published today for the first time by the National Security Archive, the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Other documents published today detail the discovery of the secret project that some in the U.S.
Feb 23, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, February 23, 2015 –Documents posted for the first time — in a collaboration between the National Security Archive and VICE News — provide insight into the U.S. government's paradoxical and opportunistic relationship with arms dealer Sarkis Soghanalian, whose larger-than-life deals were so well known that he was an inspiration for Nicholas Cage's character Yuri Orlov in the 2005 film, Lord of War.
Sep 12, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 12, 2014 – During the spring and summer of 1969, officials at the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the White House debated and discussed the problem of the emergence of a nuclear Israel. Believing that Israel was moving very close to a nuclear weapons capability or even possession of actual weapons, the Nixon administration debated whether to apply pressure to restrain the Israelis or even delay delivery of advanced Phantom jets whose sale had already been approved.
Sep 5, 2014 | Briefing Book
"At last, the Reagan administration's Iran-Contra affair finally has a comprehensive history worthy of the scandal ... Malcolm Byrne has told the complex story in brilliant fashion." — Seymour Hersh Washington, DC, September 5, 2014 – A new book on the Iran-Contra affair shows that President Ronald Reagan stood at the epicenter of the scandal both in terms of his willingness to break the law in order to free American hostages in Lebanon and his failure to take account of the costs and consequences of his decisions, including the illicit conduct of numerous aides.
Jul 2, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, July 2, 2014 – On August 16, 1953, the same day the Shah of Iran fled to Baghdad after a failed attempt to oust Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the agitated monarch spoke candidly about his unsettling experience to the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. In a highly classified cable to Washington, the ambassador reported: "I found Shah worn from three sleepless nights, puzzled by turn of events, but with no (repeat no) bitterness toward Americans who had urged and planned action.
Jun 27, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, June 27, 2014 – During early planning for the 1953 Iran coup, U.S. Ambassador Loy Henderson warned not only that the Shah would not support the United States' chosen replacement for Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq but that the Army would not play its hoped-for leading role without the Shah's active cooperation, according to a newly released version of an internal CIA history of the operation posted today by the National Security Archive.
May 12, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 12, 2014 – As the Iranian revolution crested in 1978-1979, the CIA approved a memoir by Kermit Roosevelt, one of the architects of the 1953 coup against Iran's nationalist prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. After first balking at the potential exposure of numerous "secrets," the CIA relented when Roosevelt agreed to delete all mention of MI6 and made over 150 other changes that rendered the book "essentially a work of fiction," according to recently declassified CIA files posted today by the National Security Archive.
Mar 26, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, March 26, 2014 – The passing away of Iran-Contra Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh on March 19, at age 102, is an appropriate occasion to recall some of the extraordinary outcomes of his investigation into the most significant political scandal of the 1980s. The Iran-Contra affair stirred up profound political passions. Walsh found himself at the center of seemingly perpetual controversy from the time of his appointment in late 1986 until his last major case against a former cabinet official — Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger — jolted to a halt in December 1992.

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