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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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The CIA was unimpressed with the Atomic Energy Commission’s attempts at secrecy

The CIA was unimpressed with the Atomic Energy Commission’s attempts at secrecy

In July of 1955, Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, wrote to CIA director Allen Dulles over matters of mutual interest. In one of those letters, uncovered in the Agency’s archives, Strauss thanked Dulles for a package he had sent him, using deliberately vague terms to describe its contents as to “avoid classifying this letter.” Strauss’ efforts were in vain however. Not only was the letter classified for just shy of 50 years, but the vague descriptor itself remains classified to this day.

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Cold War feuds led to the FBI investigating accusations that the government was compromised by a network of secret socialists

Cold War feuds led to the FBI investigating accusations that the government was compromised by a network of secret socialists

In the late ‘50s, a former Army Intelligence chief alleged to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a secret cabal of socialists and Communists were infiltrating the government. The 122 named individuals included some senior officials and even hardline anti-communists such as Central Intelligence Agency spymaster James Angleton. Though the FBI ultimately dismissed the accusations as the result of an interagency feud, the Bureau did did congratulate itself on having already been aware of most of the individuals’ alleged subversive tendencies, which included sometimes having thoughts similar to those of socialists.

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CIA internal history blamed interagency conflicts on the National Security Act being "purposefully vague"

CIA internal history blamed interagency conflicts on the National Security Act being “purposefully vague”

As part of MuckRock’s ongoing project to declassify and collect internal Central Intelligence Agency histories, the Agency recently released a copy of the history on coordination between inbetween intelligence agencies in the aftermath of World War II. The history outlines various “turf wars,” some which predate the Agency itself, which were the result of disagreements about what the law said and who had what responsibilities. According to the history, many of these disagreements and differing interpretations stemmed directly or indirectly from the language of the National Security Act of 1947, which both established and empowered the CIA, as being “purposefully vague.”

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National Treasure: the CIA hid historical artifacts in the walls of their headquarters - twice

National Treasure: the CIA hid historical artifacts in the walls of their headquarters - twice

One of the more fascinating revelations in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives is the fact that, on two separate occasions, the Agency has had the White House bury time capsules of CIA materials in the walls of their buildings. The first box was jokingly referred to by Director Allen Dulles as containing “secrets,” and that came amazingly close to being true. The second, placed by one of Dulles’ successors, was nearly a plot device in a spy thriller, thanks to a suggestion that they place the true names of every Agency employee within the box.

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On Pearl Harbor Day, browse the archives of the agency it helped create

On Pearl Harbor Day, browse the archives of the agency it helped create

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the country set out on a trajectory that would bring it to drop an atomic weapon, become the global superpower, and firmly embed itself in the domestic affairs of foreign countries, often through the use of a new organization: the Central Intelligence Agency.

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