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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 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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Declassified records show extent of CIA's involvement in efforts to discredit Daniel Ellsberg

Declassified records show extent of CIA’s involvement in efforts to discredit Daniel Ellsberg

A previously classified document that the Central Intelligence Agency provided to Congress during the investigation of the Watergate affair shows that G. Gordon Liddy used papers that the Agency had provided - without authorization - while traveling to California to break into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. This newly released document shows that CIA’s Inspector General report on Watergate left out key details, and exposes CIA’s Deputy Director Vernon Walters’ claim that the assistance was provided in response to a “duly authorized extra-Agency request” as false.

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Read newly released CIA transcripts of FBI and DC police calls regarding Watergate

Read newly released CIA transcripts of FBI and DC police calls regarding Watergate

Files recently released to MuckRock include the transcripts of phone calls the Central Intelligence Agency received from Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate arrests. Previously unavailable, the only apparent reference to the tape is Congress’ request for a copy of it. According to the request, “it is not known what is contained in the tape, but its importance is obvious.”

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FBI file dismisses conspiracy theories surrounding a Watergate-connected plane crash

FBI file dismisses conspiracy theories surrounding a Watergate-connected plane crash

One of the more persistent, but less well-known, conspiracy theories surrounding Watergate is the crash of United Airlines flight 553 that killed Dorothy Hunt, a former government employee who was transporting $10,000 in hush money on behalf of her husband and Watergate burglar, E. Howard Hunt. Recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation files, however, tell a different story - one of pilot error, unfortunate coincidence, and an utter lack of foul play.

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