30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Middle East

Nov 24, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 24, 2020 – Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who pleaded guilty to spying for Israel in 1987, was released from parole this week.  Pollard, 66, spent almost three decades in prison before being paroled in 2015 on condition that he could not travel outside the United States, had to submit to a curfew, and wore an electronic monitor.  Any company that employed him had to have special government monitoring software on its computer systems.

Nov 10, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 10, 2020 — After Harvard professor Henry Kissinger met with top Israeli officials in January 1965, he told U.S. diplomats at the Embassy in Tel Aviv of his near certainty that Israel had begun a nuclear weapons project, according to a record of the meeting, which has recently been declassified and is published here for the first time by the National Security Archive. Kissinger added that Israeli scientists were “very certain that such weapons were necessary and that they knew how to make them.”

Sep 9, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 9, 2020 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev quickly decided that joint action with the United States was the most important course for the USSR in dealing with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait 30 years ago, rather than the long-standing Soviet-Iraq alliance, and built what he explicitly called a “partnership” with the U.S. that was key to the international condemnation of Iraq’s actions, according to declassified Soviet and American documents published today by the National Security Archive.

Aug 17, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 17, 2020 – Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – took part in the 1953 kidnapping of the chief of police of Tehran, Iran, according to a recently recovered interview of an ex-MI6 operative that is featured in a new documentary film, COUP 53.  The full interview transcript is posted today for the first time by the National Security Archive.

Dec 19, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 19, 2019 – For 40 years, since the first year of the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the United States and Iran have been the bitterest of political adversaries.  Yet, every U.S.

Dec 12, 2019 | Blog Post
The National Security Archive, in conjunction with our partners at the scholarly publisher ProQuest, is publishing a new set of documents offering an unprecedented look into United States policy towards Iran from the Carter administration to the Obama years. The extensive collection, U.S. Policy toward Iran: From the Revolution to the Nuclear Accord, 1978-2015, covers […]

Nov 4, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 4, 2019 – On November 4, 1979, a group calling itself the Students Following the Line of the Imam stormed the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, seized control of the compound, and took several dozen American diplomats, Marine guards, and others hostage. Thus began a 444-day ordeal that shocked the world, fundamentally altered the political scene in Iran, and cemented negative perceptions in the West of the country’s Islamic leadership. 

Oct 15, 2019 | News
A new documentary film offers fresh historical material and perspectives on the 1953 coup in Iran.  COUP 53, directed by award-winning Iranian-born film-maker Taghi Amirani, is an innovative look at a decades-old story that continues to reverberate in international politics.  After notable selections in festivals from Telluride to London in 2019, the film is currently having premier screenings in a number of U.S., Canadian, and European cities.

Sep 22, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 22, 2019 – An unidentified flash on 22 September 1979 in the far South Atlantic had a “90% plus” probability of being a nuclear test, according to a CIA finding from later that year. The document, among others uncovered recently through archival research, adds significant weight to the argument that the flash, detected by a U.S. VELA satellite, was not a natural event, as White House science advisers later insisted. 

Aug 9, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 9, 2019 – Several previously unknown Henry Kissinger memoranda of telephone conversations – or telcons – from October 1973, uncovered by the National Security Archive, provide blunt and fascinating vignettes from a significant moment during the Nixon presidency. 

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