30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Covert Action

Apr 25, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 25, 2017Media mogul Agustin Edwards Eastman, who was widely regarded as the Rupert Murdoch of Chile, died on April 24, at age 89, leaving a legacy of close collaboration with Henry Kissinger and the CIA in instigating and supporting the September 11, 1973, military coup.  Edwards was the only Chilean—civilian or military—known to meet face-to-face with CIA Director Richard Helms in September 1970 in connection with plans to instigate regime change against Socialist leader Salvador Allende, who had just been elected president.

Feb 7, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. February 7, 2017 – CIA covert aid to Italy continued well after the agency’s involvement in the 1948 elections – into the early 1960s – averaging around $5 million a year, according to a draft Defense Department historical study published today for the first time by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.

Nov 25, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 25, 2016 – Exactly thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan announced to the nation – after weeks of denials – that members of his White House staff had engaged in a web of covert intrigue linking illicit U.S. support for a guerrilla war in Central America with an illegal and politically explosive arms-for-hostages bargain with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The revelation quickly led to a new phrase – “Iran-Contra” – which became synonymous with political hubris, government incompetence, and dishonesty in the public sphere.

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 23, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 23, 2014 – Covert U.S. planning to block the democratic election of Salvador Allende in Chile began weeks before his September 4, 1970, victory, according to just declassified minutes of an August 19, 1970, meeting of the high-level interagency committee known as the Special Review Group, chaired by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. "Kissinger asked that the plan be as precise as possible and include what orders would be given September 5, to whom, and in what way," as the summary recorded Kissinger's instructions to CIA Director Richard Helms.

May 21, 2014 | News
Washington, DC, May 21, 2014 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit yesterday joined the CIA's cover-up of its Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961 by ruling that a 30-year-old volume of the CIA's draft "official history" could be withheld from the public under the "deliberative process" privilege, even though four of the five volumes have previously been released with no harm either to national security or any government deliberation. "The D.C.

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.

Apr 2, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, April 2, 2014 – Almost two years before the April 1, 1964, military takeover in Brazil, President Kennedy and his top aides began seriously discussing the option of overthrowing Joao Goulart's government, according to Presidential tape transcripts posted by the National Security Archive on the 50th anniversary of the coup d'tat. "What kind of liaison do we have with the military?" Kennedy asked top aides in July 1962. In March 1963, he instructed them: "We've got to do something about Brazil." The tape transcripts advance the historical record on the U.S.

Pages