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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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As part of Watergate, FBI investigated a fake press release on Hubert Humphrey campaign stationery targeting Shirley Chisholm

As part of Watergate, FBI investigated a fake press release on Hubert Humphrey campaign stationery targeting Shirley Chisholm

Documents released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first black major-party candidate for president, reveal that in 1973, the FBI investigated a smear campaign concerning Chisholm as a part of their Watergate investigation. The campaign, allegedly the work of the infamous Committee to Re-elect the President, involved a falsified press release full of racist and sexist insults, typed on what appeared to be official Hubert Humphrey campaign stationery.

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CIA’s report on the "The World Situation in 1970" shows a shift in focus towards soft power

CIA’s report on the “The World Situation in 1970” shows a shift in focus towards soft power

The Central Intelligence Agency’s “The World Situation in 1970” report was a strange mixture of realistic concerns, candid admissions, and forced optimism. In one of its more realistically optimistic moments, the CIA reported that the Soviets believed “rational Americans” would want a stable Europe. In response, President Richard Nixon asked if anything could be done to “cause more trouble” instead.

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CIA archives capture Richard Nixon’s failed 1958 "goodwill" trip to Latin America

CIA archives capture Richard Nixon’s failed 1958 “goodwill” trip to Latin America

The Central Intelligence Archives document then-Vice President Richard Nixon’s disastrous 1958 “goodwill” tour to Latin America, in which Nixon faced multiple mobs of angry protestors - and at least one surprisingly heavy soccer ball.

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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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Brazil’s military dictatorship leaves a paper trail in the CIA archives

Brazil’s military dictatorship leaves a paper trail in the CIA archives

While Brazilian presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro’s overt embrace of authoritarianism may seem aberrant to many foreign observers, it differs only in degree from decades of United States influence in Latin America. Declassified Central Intelligence Agency and State Department records from the midst of the Brazilian military dictatorship reveal an official US policy of support for the very brutality Bolsonaro intends to revive.

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