What we talk about when we talk about █████: Secrecy, overclassification, and the CIA’s hidden history
In 1978, the director of the CIA warned that excessive, impulsive secrecy was a danger — not only to the public’s right to know, but to the agency’s ability to keep the important secrets. 40 years later, that lesson still needs repeating.
A MuckRock user found an interesting memorandum from the late ‘70s in our recent assignment From the Archives: Memos mentioning Senator Joe Biden, in which the Central Intelligence Agency bemoaned the “burdens” placed on it by the recently strengthened Freedom of Information Act.
With the recent news that MAD Magazine will be effectively ending publication after nearly 70 years, it’s worth revisiting the one gag that the Central Intelligence Agency liked so much that it became a state secret.
The “Halloween Massacre,” the most horror movie-sounding thing to ever happen to the Central Intelligence Agency, was a bureaucratic nightmare that pushed out the Agency’s most senior employees. CIA officers were so outraged at the “massacre” that they reportedly responded with everything from screen-printing protest shirts, leaving graffiti in Agency buildings and even cussing out newly-appointed CIA Director Stansfield Turner (via telegram).