30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Cold War – General

Dec 7, 2018 | Briefing Book
The U.S. and NATO allies worried about losing control of the public narrative of the Cold War in December 1988 after Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer of an arms race in reverse in his famous United Nations speech, according to declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive.  Senior Italian officials, for example, complained to U.S. envoy Paul Nitze that the public’s sense of a diminishing Soviet threat would undercut their ability to maintain defense spending – even as the Soviet leader was announcing unilateral troop withdrawals from Eastern Europe.

Dec 4, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 4, 2018 - Five years ago, the National Security Agency (NSA) released 136 issues of its internal Cryptolog periodical spanning 1974 through 1997. The collection offered a look into the some of the discussions being held within one of America’s most secretive intelligence agencies. Today the GWU-based National Security Archive is providing a complete index of all 1,504 items in the declassified collection, including but not limited to articles, interviews, and puzzles.

Nov 19, 2018 | Briefing Book
The National Security Archive is publishing a set of documents to commemorate the life and achievements of Llewellyn Thompson and highlight the publication of a biography of him written by his daughters, Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson (The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, America's Man in Cold War Moscow (Johns Hopkins Nuclear History and Contemporary Affairs, 2018).  The posting contains never before published translations of Russian memcons with Khrushchev and Thompson’s cables from Moscow. 

Apr 20, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., April 20, 2018 –  Back-channel diplomacy, conducted by an ABC News reporter named Lisa Howard resolved a potential crisis with Cuba in mid-1964, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive. After the CIA obtained “disturbing” intelligence reports that Fidel Castro had threatened to shoot down U.S. reconnaissance planes in retaliation for the Coast Guard seizure of four Cuban fishing boats, Howard secretly traveled to Cuba to convey a U.S.

Apr 6, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 6, 2018 – Secret CIA interviews with East bloc scientists and technicians in the mid-1950s yielded invaluable insights into Soviet nuclear capabilities, according to recently declassified intelligence records posted today by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive. 

Mar 21, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 21, 2018 – The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), widely accepted today as a global standard for international nuclear policy, was in fact a source of significant tension between two staunch allies, the United States and West Germany, in the mid-1960s, as illustrated by declassified documents published for the first time today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. 

Mar 16, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Declassified documents from U.S. and Russian archives show that U.S. officials led Russian President Boris Yeltsin to believe in 1993 that the Partnership for Peace was the alternative to NATO expansion, rather than a precursor to it, while simultaneously planning for expansion after Yeltsin’s re-election bid in 1996 and telling the Russians repeatedly that the future European security system would include, not exclude, Russia.

Feb 12, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 12, 2018 – A partially-declassified CIA history of the 1953 coup in Iran, released in late 2017, includes an-depth critique of how the agency approached the operation, highlighting the effects of bureaucracy and politics on the conduct of U.S. clandestine activities. The CIA report, posted today by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive, also reveals details about the hatching of the covert plot as well as its execution. 

Feb 2, 2018 | Briefing Book
US Government preoccupation with West German nuclear potential contributed to US nonproliferation policy in 1950s and 1960s

Jan 31, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 31, 2018 – Like so many treasure hunters, beachcombers, and curio shoppers, U.S. military and intelligence operatives have for decades scoured the planet for access to everything from captured surface-to-air missiles to medicines to bits and pieces of spacecraft that have fallen to Earth – all with an eye to learning something useful about America’s adversaries.

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