30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Covert Action

Sep 15, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020 – On September 15, 1970, during a twenty-minute meeting in the Oval Office between 3:25 pm and 3:45 pm, President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to foment a military coup in Chile. According to handwritten notes taken by CIA Director Richard Helms, Nixon issued explicit instructions to prevent the newly elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, from being inaugurated in November—or to create conditions to overthrow him if he did assume the presidency.

Sep 4, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 4, 2020 – “Chile voted calmly to have a Marxist-Leninist state, the first nation in the world to make this choice freely and knowingly,” U.S. Ambassador Edward Korry dramatically reported to Washington in a cable titled “Allende Wins” on September 4, 1970. “[W]e have suffered a grievous defeat; the consequences will be domestic and international; the repercussions will have immediate impact in some lands and delayed effect in others.”

Apr 6, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, April 6, 2020 – Cold War concerns about another Communist Cuba in Latin America drove President John F. Kennedy to approve a covert CIA political campaign to rig national elections in British Guiana, then a British colony but soon to be independent, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

Oct 3, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 3, 2019 – When the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba nearly 60 years ago, American officials refused to believe that at least one Soviet motivation was the defense of Cuba. But declassified U.S. documents published in the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) confirm a series of sometimes frenetic covert operations ordered by the Kennedy White House and run by the CIA in those years to overthrow the Castro regime that in hindsight make Moscow’s (and Havana’s) concerns about defending the island much more credible.

Mar 4, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, March 4, 2019 – The covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency are one element of the forward edge of power in U.S. foreign policy. But the CIA is not a lone ranger, shooting up saloons on its own account. A senior interagency group within the United States government acts as the high command of the secret war.

Feb 7, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, February 7, 2019 – Attorney-General nominee William P. Barr figured prominently in arguments to limit CIA responsibility to provide notification to Congress about covert actions during the 1980s, according to a review of declassified materials published today by the National Security Archive at the George Washington University.

Jun 27, 2018 | Blog Post
Explore important historical events, like the epic Bay of Pigs disaster, through the lens of little-known or under-explored covert activities in the National Security Archive’s latest digital collection, CIA Covert Operations, Part III – From Kennedy to Nixon. This Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) collection, the most comprehensive of its kind, is the third of […]

May 16, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 16, 2018 – Incoming National Rifle Association President Oliver North’s conduct during the infamous Iran-Contra affair featured a pattern of deliberate deception, a willingness to cooperate with known drug dealers, and – according to some senior colleagues – flawed judgment, according to declassified documents and sworn testimony posted today by the National Security Archive.

Mar 7, 2018 | Briefing Book
Recently declassified British and CIA documents provide new evidence on the Iran 1953 coup including on the role of Iranian clerics

Feb 12, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 12, 2018 – A partially-declassified CIA history of the 1953 coup in Iran, released in late 2017, includes an-depth critique of how the agency approached the operation, highlighting the effects of bureaucracy and politics on the conduct of U.S. clandestine activities. The CIA report, posted today by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive, also reveals details about the hatching of the covert plot as well as its execution. 

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