• Win friends and destroy your enemies with CIA’s wartime guide to bribery and blackmail

    A field manual in CIA’s archives explained how to use bribery and blackmail to destroy enemies and influence people.

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  • CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the new millennium Part 2

    As a result of the failure by the Senate Intelligence Committee to restore the GAO’s authority to audit or review the CIA, by the next year that immunity had spread to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which had assumed some of the Agency’s responsibilities in coordinating the Intelligence Community. Like CIA, the ODNI cited a legally dubious position in a 1988 letter from the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel stating that the GAO had no authority to look at anything relating to “intelligence activities.” Also like CIA, the ODNI used a such a broad definition of intelligence activities so that “by definition” they were categorically exempt.

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  • CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the new millennium Part 1

    While the 25-year declassification review program hasn’t reached the new millennium yet, contemporary public records still provide some insight into the GAO’s efforts to audit the Intelligence Community in general and CIA in particular. After its creation and taking on some of the duties that had previously laid with CIA, the ODNI would pay lip service to the GAO and seem to cooperate on some issues. At the same time, it manifested the same problems, ignoring its own guidance and, like the Agency, claim that almost anything was protected as an intelligence source or method.

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  • CIA included FOIA in its war on leaks

    A set of CIA documents originally marked CONFIDENTIAL and labeled “Initiatives to Deal with Leaks” outlines the recommendations of the CIA Director’s Security Committee for responding to the Intelligence Community’s ongoing leak problems. These recommendations included several notes about limiting the Agency’s exposure to FOIA, arguing that FOIA’s “climate of transparency” encouraged leaks.

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  • Former CIA Director compared prosecuting leakers under the Espionage Act to “driving tacks with a sledge hammer”

    Just months before the government’s first successful use of the Espionage Act against someone for leaking to the media, a declassified report written by then-CIA Director William Casey argued that just such an act would be irresponsible.

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  • The Enduring Octopus: What FOIA withholdings reveal about the PROMIS scandal Part 2

    According to the Department of Justice, not only is some material on the PROMIS affair being withheld to protect wiretap information, the FBI’s material is also being withheld to protect the Intelligence Community’s sources and methods, except where it was lost or destroyed as so often happens with files relating to the PROMIS scandal. In addition, the DOJ also positively affirmed that as of earlier this year, the FBI had an open investigation relating to PROMIS while hinting that part of it remains “pending” even now.

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  • The Enduring Octopus: What FOIA withholdings reveal about the PROMIS scandal Part 1

    Over two decades after Danny Casolaro died while investigating the PROMIS affair, a recent FOIA response from the National Archives confirms that it truly is “the scandal that wouldn’t die.” Where a previous release saw only 4% of the total redacted and nothing withheld in full, this release sees 23% of the pages redacted or withheld in full. The letter from the Archives’ suggests that the difference is due to the presence of wiretap information in the Casolaro investigation, a fact which has been previously undisclosed by the government.

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  • CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the ‘90s Part 2

    The “hard line” that the CIA drew against GAO oversight in a 1994 would form the basis for their refusal to cooperate for years to come. When the House Committee on Government Reform held a hearing in 2001 regarding the Agency’s refusal to cooperate with Congressional inquiries, one Congressman criticized their approach as a “dated, distorted concept of oversight.” It was this concept, the Congressman argued, that led to the Agency’s refusal “to discuss its approaches to government-wide management reforms and fiscal accountability practices.”

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  • Before NSA’s slides were made with PowerPoint, they looked like this …

    Included in the release of the NSA’s psychic research program is a document labeled “Chart Depicting Interaction/Dependencies Acting on Parapsychology.” The hand-drawn chart is the only thing in the document, and it looks awfully familiar …

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  • CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the ‘90s Part 1

    In 1994, CIA’s Director of Congressional Affairs wrote a memo to the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) seeking, and receiving, affirmation of the Agency’s policy for dealing with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The memo not only spelled out the Agency’s “hard line approach” to the GAO, it made explicit the Agency’s intention to not to answer inquiries from the GAO that involve “so called “oversight” information.”

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