30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

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.

May 9, 2018 | Briefing Book
Today’s nomination hearing for Gina Haspel to be CIA director provides an opportunity for the agency and Haspel to fill in the blanks on the CIA “black sites” and interrogation program.  The National Security Archive has already identified key questions about Haspel’s record [see box below].  Today, the Archive provides the basis for an evidence-based review of the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program, posting a selection of the most recent versions of declassified documents that reveal the RDI’s background.

Apr 26, 2018 | Briefing Book
The Trump administration’s nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, personally supervised the torture of a CIA detainee in 2002 leading to at least three waterboard sessions, subsequently drafted the cable that ordered destruction of the videotape evidence of torture, and served as a senior CIA official while the Agency was lying to itself, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Congress, and the public about the effectiveness of torture in eliciting useful intelligence, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Jan 17, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., January 17, 2017 –  A tribunal in Rome, Italy, today sentenced two former heads of state and two ex-chiefs of security forces from Bolivia and Peru, and a former Uruguayan foreign minister to life imprisonment for their  involvement in the coordinated, cross-border system of repression known as “Operation Condor.”  The National Security Archive, which provided testimony and dozens of declassified documents as evi

Dec 14, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 14, 2016 - Operation Condor, the trans-border, multinational effort by Southern Cone secret police services to track down and “liquidate” opponents of their regimes in the 1970s, targeted officials of Amnesty International as well as other human rights groups, and planned overseas missions in Paris and London, according to a comprehensive CIA report on Condor operations just released by the Obama administration. “The basic mission of Condor teams to be sent overseas,” according to the CIA, was “to liquidate top-level terrorist leaders.

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 23, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 23, 2016 – A CIA special intelligence assessment in 1987 concluded that Chilean General Augusto Pinochet ordered an “act of state terrorism” on the streets of Washington, D.C., that took the lives of former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier, and his 25-year-old colleague, Ronni Moffitt, forty years ago this week. “A review of our files on the Letelier assassination,” the CIA reported, “has provided what we regard as convincing evidence that President Pinochet personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder.”  The assessment added that Pinochet later “decided to stonewall on the case to hide his involvement and, ultimately, to protect his hold on the presidency.”

Aug 11, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 11, 2016 – In September 1980, the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires transmitted a detailed six-page cable, entitled “The Tactic of Disappearance,” to the State Department. Although the Argentine military regime had already “won the ‘dirty war,’” the cable stated, the military would not cease using “disappearance” as its preferred form of repression. “This unwillingness does not reflect simple bloody-mindedness by unthinking military men,” the Embassy reported in its comprehensive effort to explain the institutional mindset behind this horrific atrocity.

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