30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Intelligence and Espionage

Mar 24, 2004 | Briefing Book
Ten years ago this week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Prudence Bushnell visited Rwanda and Burundi. Her visit-one of many visits by State Department and Defense Department officials in the preceding year-served dual purposes: to pressure Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, his government and opposition groups to form a transitional government and to gather information for policymakers back home. Such diplomatic activity was emblematic of the resources and attention committed to Rwanda despite its relative unimportance to U.S. interests.
Oct 7, 2003 | Briefing Book
Thirty years ago, on 6 October 1973 at 2:00 p.m. (Cairo time), Egyptian and Syrian forces launched coordinated attacks on Israeli forces in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. Known variously as the October War or the Yom Kippur War, this conflict lasted until late October when Washington and Moscow, working through the United Nations, forced a cease-fire on the warring parties.
Apr 30, 2003 | Briefing Book
The ability of the United States to gather overhead imagery of targets in foreign nations has evolved dramatically over the last sixty years. Modified bombers and fighters used in World War II and the early years of the Cold War gave way to specialized reconnaissance aircraft, such as the U-2 and SR-71, and to a variety of satellite systems. The capabilities of satellite systems have also evolved dramatically over the last four decades - from satellites that returned film days or weeks after the images were obtained to satellites that return their imagery virtually instantaneously.
Feb 5, 2003 | News
Washington, D.C., February 6, 2003 - The National Security Archive yesterday filed an amicus brief in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case, Department of the Treasury v. City of Chicago. The case involves the gun trace database maintained by Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which seeks to prevent Chicago from obtaining information such as names and addresses of gun purchasers from the database.
Dec 20, 2002 | Briefing Book
Between Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, and the commencement of military action in January 1991, then President George H.W. Bush raised the specter of the Iraqi pursuit of nuclear weapons as one justification for taking decisive action against Iraq. In the then-classified National Security Directive 54, signed on January 15, 1991, authorizing the use of force to expel Iraq from Kuwait, he identified Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against allied forces as an action that would lead the U.S. to seek the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.
Oct 16, 2002 | Briefing Book
Today, October 16, 2002, the National Security Archive publishes on the Web a comprehensive documentary history of U.S. aerial espionage in the Cold War and beyond. This publication comes 40 years to the day after CIA analysts briefed President John F. Kennedy on what is probably the most famous overhead reconnaissance photograph of all time.
Sep 10, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 10, 2001 – Mention of the Central Intelligence Agency generally elicits visions of espionage and covert action operations. It may also produce images of the multitude of finished intelligence products the agency turns out – from the tightly controlled President's Daily Brief, available only to the president and a select circle of advisers, to a number of less restricted intelligence assessments. The CIA's role in the application of science and technology to the art of intelligence is far less appreciated.
May 23, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 23, 2001 – A key part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s mission, since its creation in 1947, has been the conduct of human intelligence operations – which have included the recruitment of foreign nationals to conduct espionage as well the debriefing of defectors and other individuals with access to information of value. The primary focus of such HUMINT operations has been strategic – the collection of information relevant to national policymakers.
Apr 23, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 23, 2001 – On Friday, April 20, 2001, a Peruvian Air Force jet, acting on intelligence supplied by a U.S. intelligence plane, shot down a civilian aircraft that was mistakenly suspected of being part of a drug trafficking operation. An American missionary and her infant daughter were killed in a hail of gunfire, and the Bush administration immediately suspended all U.S. drug interdiction flights over Peru.
Apr 9, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 9, 2001 –The ongoing Chinese-American controversy over the EP-3 aircraft that landed on Hainan Island on 31 March 2001 is the latest moment in a long and complex history of U.S. aerial reconnaissance activity over and near Chinese territory. During the Cold War days of the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA flew U-2 and other aircraft over Chinese territory, with many of the flights piloted by Taiwanese airmen.1 Other military agencies, the U.S. Navy and the U.S.

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