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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 Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.

While a not-insignificant percentage of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities under Director J. Edgar Hoover were driven by personal vendettas, few were as well-known – or as publicly vicious – as Hoover’s feud with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. That clash quite literally came to a head on December 1, 1964, when, at the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, Hoover invited King to FBI headquarters for their first - and only - face to face meeting, captured in a ten-page memo in King’s file.

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Where in the world is Frank Wilkinson's FBI file?

Where in the world is Frank Wilkinson’s FBI file?

When we first requested the 132,000 page Federal Bureau of Investigation file for activist Frank Wilkinson, the FBI first claimed they couldn’t find it, then directed us to the National Archives and Records Administration. But when NARA tracked down the file, it turned out to be empty. So where is it?

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CIA employees called for "abolishing FOIA" as one of Agency's goals for 1984

CIA employees called for “abolishing FOIA” as one of Agency’s goals for 1984

In early 1984, then-Director of the Central Intelligence Agency William Casey kicked off the “Pursuit of Excellence” campaign, which encouraged Agency employees to be the best at what they do. But before they could do that, they first had to figure out what, exactly, the CIA should be doing - prompting a frank discussion about the Agency’s goals and an even franker admission that eliminating FOIA should be on the agenda.

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The CIA’s dank Soviet meme stash

The CIA’s dank Soviet meme stash

For as long as it’s existed, the Central Intelligence Agency has used Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) in its hunt for information that could serve as fuel for its analysis. This often meant simply reading major foreign newspapers, and monitoring for trends. When it came to understanding foreign cultural movements, CIA took it a step further - they studied the political cartoons of foreign countries. Cartoons that were essentially memes.

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The CIA gave Congress a report on the JFK assassination that was edited to remove human rights violations - and mention of JFK

The CIA gave Congress a report on the JFK assassination that was edited to remove human rights violations - and mention of JFK

As a result of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, the Central Intelligence Agency ostensibly produced a copy of the Hart Report, more famously known as the “Monster Plot,” which was intended to be a definitive account of the Yuri Nosenko affair and a takedown of disgraced spymaster James Angleton. What the CIA actually released, however, resembles Hart’s actual report as much as the television edit of The Big Lebowski resembles the actual dialogue.

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