sources and methods
The Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives include several copies of one of its long-term plans, produced in 1980 and originally classified SECRET. The copies of the Summary Report reveal two things about the Agency: it was, in the immediate lead-up to the Reagan administration, determined to expand its scope of operations and collections, and seemingly to increase its covert activities, and it’s either negligent or incompetent when it comes to figuring out what’s actually classified and deciding what files can be released.
Last month, a federal court ruled that the Central Intelligence Agency can selectively disclose classified information while shielding its release from FOIA in order to protect “intelligence sources and methods.” That ruling ignores the Agency’s history of arbitrarily applying that label to everything from beer brands to cafeteria names and using it to hide behavior that was embarrassing, illegal, or both.
A series of photographs uncovered by Emma Best in the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives offers a guided tour of the CIA area of the Washington National Records Center - with a few notable omissions.
Guerrilla FOIAfare: How to use exemption codes to find the most interesting documents hidden in the CIA archives
As many researchers have learned over the years, government agencies in general and the Central Intelligence Agency in particular often apply exemptions very broadly, and at times, bordering on the ridiculous. Exemption codes, on the other hand, can still be useful to researchers, journalists, and curious citizens; by searching for these codes, clever researchers can find documents that discuss war plans, cryptography, WMDs, and diplomatically damaging information.
Thanks to the plenty of duplicates that can end up in the Central Intelligence Agency’s CREST archive, a cryptic version of the Agency’s December 20th, 1985 greetings to its worldwide employees is actually available in nearly-full format and available for reuse in your holiday-themed office-wide newsletter.