30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Intelligence and Espionage

Jan 21, 2005 | News
Washington D.C., January 21, 2005 - The National Security Archive this week submitted comments on the Central Intelligence Agency's decennial review of the record categories that the CIA has designated as exempt from search and review under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 1984 the CIA was granted limited protection from FOIA for operational records that are considered so sensitive that it is not productive to search them in response to FOIA requests.

Dec 17, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C.: Today, the National Security Archive posts an updated collection of reports, studies, commentaries, and other material concerning the issue of exactly how much authority should be vested with the nation's chief intelligence officer. The Archive's previous posting in December 2004 provided historical context for the congressional and public debate over intelligence reform proposals that included establishing an intelligence czar. In February 2005 President Bush nominated John D. Negroponte, the U.S.

Dec 14, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 14: Front page stories in The Washington Post ("New Spy Satellite Debated on Hill," Dec. 11, 2004) and The New York Times ("New Spy Plan Said to Involve Satellite System," Dec. 12, 2004) describe a secret satellite program that the Senate intelligence committee has voted to cancel but survives in the current intelligence budget due to strong support from the House and Senate appropriations committees and the House intelligence committee. Senator John D.

Oct 20, 2004 | News
Washington, D.C., 20 October 2004 - The National Security Archive today filed suit against the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA") seeking the expedited processing and release under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") of the 2004 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate ("NIE). As the New York Times reported on September 16, 2004, the NIE spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq. The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war.

Oct 15, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 15 October 2004 - On October 15, 1984, President Reagan signed into law the Central Intelligence Agency Information Act of 1984, Pub. L. 98-477, codified at 50 U.S.C. Sec. 431, which created an unprecedented exception for the CIA from the search and review requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It applies to records of current intelligence and counterintelligence collection, so-called "operational files." It leaves the designation of such files to the CIA.

Oct 14, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 14 October 2004 - The Transportation Security Administration this week refused to release the texts or even the titles of five aviation warnings given to airlines just before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, even though the titles and substance of the warnings have been published in the best-selling 9/11 Commission report, according to an analysis of the documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Sep 25, 2004 | News
WASHINGTON D.C.: For the first time in forty years, CIA and White House documents on covert political intervention in the 1964 Chilean election were declassified yesterday. The documents, which detail Washington's political and operational decisions on covert action "directed at the defeat of Salvador Allende" by "increasing the organizational efficiency and campaigning ability of the Christian Democratic Party," provide a comprehensive historical record of U.S. efforts to sway the election to candidate Eduardo Frei between January and September 1964.

Aug 4, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 4 August 2004 - Forty years ago today, President Johnson and top U.S. officials chose to believe that North Vietnam had just attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, even though the highly classified signals intercepts they cited to each other actually described a naval clash two days earlier (a battle prompted by covert U.S. attacks on North Vietnam), according to the declassified intercepts, Johnson White House tapes, and related documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

May 12, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C. May 12, 2004: CIA interrogation manuals written in the 1960s and 1980s described "coercive techniques" such as those used to mistreat detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to the declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The Archive also posted a secret 1992 report written for then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney warning that U.S.

May 2, 2004 | Briefing Book
Two months after the leak of the Pentagon Papers generated front page headlines and a landmark Supreme Court case, TIME magazine reported: "State's Secrets. The Pentagon, it seems, was not the only Government department to make a top-secret retrospective study of the nation's decisions in Vietnam. In 1968 Tom Hughes, then director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, ordered another report, far less voluminous and ambitious but with considerable potential impact.

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