Unearthing CREST: CIA's Declassified Archives
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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.
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.
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.