Millions of formerly secret CIA documents available online
- By Matt Leonard
- Jan 20, 2017
If you’ve been looking for a good invisible ink recipe then you’re in luck. A formula for German invisible ink is among the 12 million pages of declassified CIA documents now available online.
The new online archive also contains a 100-page report on the Berlin Tunnel project. Joseph Lambert, the CIA’s longtime director of information management, told BuzzFeed that this was one of the more highly requested documents. Other documents -- they date from the 1940s to the 1990s – pertain to the Cuban Missile Crisis, security challenges in East Asia, the U.S. Embassy in India denying spying allegations and include newspaper clippings from an era when the CIA was facing reports of helping drug traffickers.
These documents were open to the public starting in 2000. But to see them required a trip to the National Archives and Records Administration’s facility at College Park, Md. Now they are available as part of the CIA Records Search Tool.
“CIA recognized that such visits were inconvenient and presented an obstacle to many researchers,” the agency said on the CREST portal.
The CIA was slow to digitize these documents. The nonprofit news organization Muckrock sued the CIA for access to the database in 2014. Muckrock was originally told access would take six years to provide before the agency announced a 2017 release last year.
“We’re pleased that the CIA has finally agreed to a reasonable timeline and look forward to this release helping the public better understand not only the operations of the CIA,” Michael Morisy, Muckrock’s general manager said in a 2016 post, “but also their world through this unique and important public resource.”
Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.