Unearthing CREST: CIA's Declassified Archives

After our three-year lawsuit led to the public release of 13 million pages of declassified CIA records, we've begun a daily-deep dive into the depths of the Agency's seven-decade history.

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Our three year saga to release 13 million pages of CIA secrets


Help build a comprehensive timeline of CIA’s history

CIA World Tour: What has the Agency done in your country?


The ultimate guide to searching CIA’s declassified archives

How to use exemption codes to find the most interesting documents hidden in the CIA archives

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265 Articles

How FOIA exposed the CIA’s false claim that FOIA helped Soviet spies more than American journalists

How FOIA exposed the CIA’s false claim that FOIA helped Soviet spies more than American journalists

After the government claimed that FOIA was more useful to Soviet spies than American journalists or citizens, American journalists and citizens were able to use FOIA to expose the “apparently groundless” nature of these charges.

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Cooking with FOIA: The CIA's TOP SECRET anti-poop diet

Cooking with FOIA: The CIA’s TOP SECRET anti-poop diet

Practically synonymous with high-altitude espionage, the Lockheed U-2 spy plane played an almost legendary role in the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities during the Cold War. Notoriously difficult to pilot and physically demanding (flights of over ten hours at over 70,000 feet were not uncommon), and a formerly TOP SECRET manual uncovered in the Agency archives outlines a strict regimen to keep pilots fit and healthy. Unsurprisingly, the manual touches upon the necessity of maintaining a proper diet, but somewhat surprisingly, the purpose of this proper diet is focused on “obviating the need for frequent defecation.”

In other words, keeping pilots from soiling their flightsuit.

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The CIA had a policy of ignoring declassification requirements

The CIA had a policy of ignoring declassification requirements

While a number of declassification programs and requirements have historically been in place at the Central Intelligence Agency, its responses to these programs has been mixed at best. One study in the CIA’s declassified archives is extremely optimistic, stating up front that it assumes the Agency would fully implement the intent of the declassification programs. In a stark contrast, another memo revealed that “for many years,” the CIA had no continuing declassification review program - and other policies and guidelines declared that the Agency’s records were simply exempt from declassification.

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