MuckRock has previously written about some of the surprising photographic finds in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives, including a stray cat that was considered a state secret for 50 years. Proving that they’re equal opportunity creature classifiers, records recently uncovered in CREST show photos of World War II military working dogs which weren’t made public until 2013 - nearly 70 years after they were taken.
The plot of John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold hinges on the bureaucratic details of retirement benefits for spies. Recently uncovered documents from the Central Intelligence Agency archives show that real-world spy stories sometimes do, too.
A year before U.S. imposed economic sanctions against North Korea, intelligence community concluded they wouldn’t work
1992 economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. against North Korea contributed to the collapse of an already fragile economy, and in two years the country was in the throes of a severe famine. Despite the mounting death toll, the sanctions were utterly ineffective in their goal of pressuring DPRK into ending their nuclear weapons program - exactly as a 1991 National Intelligence Council report predicted they would be.
The last section of Malcolm X’s 10,000 plus page FBI file concerns the Bureau’s electronic surveillance of the activist shortly before his death. For months, agents listened to X’s phone calls, photographed his comings and goings, and even considered bugging his Queens residence - only to hastily discontinue the operation for fear it would taint a potential conviction.
In 1976 and again in 1977, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute anyone for the CIA’s illegal surveillance and mail openings. The report issued in 1977 reveals the Justice Department’s highly flawed reasons, including claims that prosecution would not serve to prevent such questionable or outright illegal surveillance from happening again - ironically setting the stage for modern surveillance programs.