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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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115 Articles

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Why did the CIA classify a birdhouse?

Why did the CIA classify a birdhouse?

A search through the Central Intelligence Agency’s archival photography reveals the Agency once classified a picture of a birdhouse. Help us figure out why.

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CIA archives offer a B-26-eye's view of D-Day

CIA archives offer a B-26-eye’s view of D-Day

A pair of stunning photographs unearthed in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives depict the D-Day invasion from the perspective of the planes buzzing overhead. Remarkably, these photos were only declassified in 2013, just a year shy of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

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The CIA and Pelé

The CIA and Pelé

A 1975 memo from Henry Kissinger uncovered in the Central Intelligence Agency archives details the then-Secretary of State’s talking points for an upcoming Oval Office meeting with Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the Brazilian soccer phenom better known as Pelé.

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Solving the mystery of the Hunt/Dallas CIA memo hoax

Solving the mystery of the Hunt/Dallas CIA memo hoax

In 1978, a JFK assassination hoax emerged that continues to fuel conspiracy theories and accusations against the Central Intelligence Agency. Two news stories began to circulate claiming that the House Select Committee on Assassinations had obtained an alleged 1966 CIA memo placing Howard Hunt, of Watergate infamy, in Dallas on the day of President John Kennedy’s assassination. Some conspiracy enthusiasts have tried to use the two articles to corroborate each other, unaware that they shared the same source. A review of over 1,000 pages of documents and testimony gives the story of - and dismantles - the HSCA memo hoax.

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In the '50s, CIA decried Soviet torture tactics that would later be used at Gitmo and Agency black sites

In the ‘50s, CIA decried Soviet torture tactics that would later be used at Gitmo and Agency black sites

In the early days of MKULTRA, while the Central Intelligence Agency scrambled to defend against the alleged “brainwashing” programs of foreign countries, and to create its own, Agency staff responsible for the program responded to a report describing reported Soviet brainwashing efforts. In a letter formerly classified SECRET, CIA staff dismissed the Soviet techniques as “police tactics which would not be condoned in a democratic country.” The tactics described in the report not only mimic tactics which have been used in Guantanamo Bay and in CIA black sites, proved to be a source of inspiration for some post-9/11 interrogation programs.

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Awaiting Appeal

CREST upload

Emma Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America