Ronald Reagan’s decades-long association with the Federal Bureau of Investigation - from his early days as an anti-Communist informant in Hollywood to the law and order governor of California to President of the United States during Iran-Contra - is attested to in his 30,000-page file, recently released to Emma Best. Due to the size and scope of the historical material contained in these pages, we’re using our new Assignments tool to start a crowdsourced project to hone in on the most interesting finds buried in the Bureau’s margins.
This weekend, I was saddened to read about the sudden passing of legendary investigative journalist Robert Parry. Parry is vital reading for anyone interested in American’s hidden history and ironically, the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives offer a curated collection of some of his best work.
In response to a FOIA appeal by Emma Best, the Central Intelligence Agency has released in full a copy of “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare,” a manual on “Armed Propaganda” written for the Nicaraguan Contras during the civil war of the mid-’80s.
In 1994, CIA’s Director of Congressional Affairs wrote a memo to the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) seeking, and receiving, affirmation of the Agency’s policy for dealing with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The memo not only spelled out the Agency’s “hard line approach” to the GAO, it made explicit the Agency’s intention to not to answer inquiries from the GAO that involve “so called “oversight” information.”
A formerly TOP SECRET memo to the CIA Director written by the Agency’s Office of Political Analysis shows that as early as August 1980, the Agency had concluded Iranian hardliners such as Ayatollah Khomeini were “determined to exploit the hostage issue to bring about President Carter’s defeat in the November elections.” While the document doesn’t prove the Reagan campaign intended to collude with Iran, it does document Iran’s motives and matches the October Surprise narrative outlined by former CIA officers.