30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Middle East

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. 

Feb 12, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 12, 2019 – The incoming Reagan administration strongly supported Japan’s interest in reprocessing nuclear fuel for producing plutonium and chose to pull back from President Jimmy Carter’s policy of restraint, according to declassified State Department telegrams and other materials posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. 

Feb 11, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 11, 2019 – U.S. intelligence analysts and Tehran-based diplomats struggled to come to grips with the tumult of the Iranian revolution, yet still managed at times to provide considerable detail for policymakers, according to a survey of formerly classified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

Aug 13, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 13, 2018 – U.S. Cyber Command’s strategy for curtailing ISIL’s ability to exploit the internet may at least partially be paying off, according to an analysis of recently declassified documents posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. The new documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by Motherboard and the Archive, center around Operation GLOWING SYMPHONY, a USCYBERCOM activity authorized in late 2016 to deny the Islamic State use of the internet.

Aug 8, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 8, 2018 – U.S. allies from Europe and the Persian Gulf warned the Clinton administration that it would be “very dangerous” and “pose risks for the entire region” if Iran were isolated from the international community through overly burdensome sanctions, according to declassified cables posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive at George Washington University. 

May 22, 2018 | News
Israel’s national cyber proficiency goes largely unrecognized to those outside the field of cybersecurity. This week’s Cyber Brief highlights documents from the Vault related to Israel’s cybersecurity organization, policy, cooperation with the United States, and an FBI notice on a coordinated attack on Israeli and Jewish websites known as #OpIsrael.  

May 16, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 16, 2018 – Incoming National Rifle Association President Oliver North’s conduct during the infamous Iran-Contra affair featured a pattern of deliberate deception, a willingness to cooperate with known drug dealers, and – according to some senior colleagues – flawed judgment, according to declassified documents and sworn testimony posted today by the National Security Archive.

Pages