30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Cold War – General

Jun 13, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 13, 2020 – The U.S. Embassy in Guyana in 1980 had strong evidence to believe that the death of internationally-known historian and activist Walter Rodney in the capital of Georgetown was a political assassination, according to declassified documents obtained and posted today for the first time by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University. 

Jun 2, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 2, 2020 – The Washington/Camp David summit 30 years ago today brought Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev together for three days of intense discussions of the future of Europe, the unification of Germany that would happen later that year 1990, the economic crisis facing the Soviet Union, and the tense stand-off between Moscow and the independence-minded Baltic republics, according to declassified Soviet and American documents published today by the National Security Archive.

May 22, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 22, 2020 – Seventy-five years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the start of the atomic era, questions about the value, danger, and morality of nuclear weapons continue to present a huge challenge for politicians, military strategists, and ordinary citizens.

Apr 6, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, April 6, 2020 – Cold War concerns about another Communist Cuba in Latin America drove President John F. Kennedy to approve a covert CIA political campaign to rig national elections in British Guiana, then a British colony but soon to be independent, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

Feb 19, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 19, 2020 - Reporting last week in The Washington Post and Germany’s ZDF public television channel mentioned a 1951 meeting between Crypto AG’s Boris Hagelin and American cryptographer William Friedman, the noted cryptanalyst who was acting as a representative of U.S. intelligence, at Washington D.C.’s Cosmos Club. This meeting reportedly built the foundation of a “gentlemen’s understanding” between Hagelin and the United States to control the company’s cryptographic devices.

Feb 5, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 5, 2020 – In the eyes of U.S. intelligence and the military services, the greatest threat to American national security during the early Cold War was the emerging Soviet missile program with its ability to deliver nuclear weapons to targets across the United States.  Before the era of satellite surveillance, the U.S.

Dec 5, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 5, 2019 – Cooperative threat reduction by the U.S., Ukraine, and the Russian Federation successfully eliminated the world’s third largest nuclear weapons force in the 1990s – the ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads left in Ukraine when the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991 – according to declassified documents from all three countries published today by the National Security Archive.

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.

Oct 3, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 3, 2019 – When the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba nearly 60 years ago, American officials refused to believe that at least one Soviet motivation was the defense of Cuba. But declassified U.S. documents published in the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) confirm a series of sometimes frenetic covert operations ordered by the Kennedy White House and run by the CIA in those years to overthrow the Castro regime that in hindsight make Moscow’s (and Havana’s) concerns about defending the island much more credible.

Sep 9, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 9, 2019 – Seventy years ago, on 9 September 1949, Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter handed President Harry Truman a carefully worded report of “an abnormal radio-active contamination" in the Northern Pacific that greatly exceeded normal levels in the atmosphere.  While uncertain as to the cause, the DCI’s first hypothesis was “An atomic explosion on the continent of Asia.”  This proved to be accurate – it was the first Soviet test of a nuclear device.

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