Unearthing CREST: CIA's Declassified Archives
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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.
The CIA and the State Department conspired to exploit a bureaucratic loophole to keep records hidden
In 1955, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Psychological and Paramilitary Operations Staff made some inquiries through their point of contact at the State Department about the storage and accessibility of records concerning CIA operations. When they didn’t receive the answer they wanted, an informal suggestion led to a formal policy to circumvent those requirements by manipulating technicalities and appearances, and in some cases ignoring the records even existed.