30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Intelligence and Espionage

Aug 17, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 17, 2020 – Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – took part in the 1953 kidnapping of the chief of police of Tehran, Iran, according to a recently recovered interview of an ex-MI6 operative that is featured in a new documentary film, COUP 53.  The full interview transcript is posted today for the first time by the National Security Archive.

Feb 19, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 19, 2020 - Reporting last week in The Washington Post and Germany’s ZDF public television channel mentioned a 1951 meeting between Crypto AG’s Boris Hagelin and American cryptographer William Friedman, the noted cryptanalyst who was acting as a representative of U.S. intelligence, at Washington D.C.’s Cosmos Club. This meeting reportedly built the foundation of a “gentlemen’s understanding” between Hagelin and the United States to control the company’s cryptographic devices.

Feb 11, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 11, 2020 - The U.S. intelligence community actively monitored for decades the diplomatic and military communications of numerous Latin American nations through encryption machines supplied by a Swiss company that was secretly owned by the CIA and the German intelligence agency, BND, according to reports today by the German public television channel, ZDF and the Washington Post.

Feb 5, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 5, 2020 – In the eyes of U.S. intelligence and the military services, the greatest threat to American national security during the early Cold War was the emerging Soviet missile program with its ability to deliver nuclear weapons to targets across the United States.  Before the era of satellite surveillance, the U.S.

Oct 15, 2019 | News
A new documentary film offers fresh historical material and perspectives on the 1953 coup in Iran.  COUP 53, directed by award-winning Iranian-born film-maker Taghi Amirani, is an innovative look at a decades-old story that continues to reverberate in international politics.  After notable selections in festivals from Telluride to London in 2019, the film is currently having premier screenings in a number of U.S., Canadian, and European cities.

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 22, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 22, 2019 – The movie VICE, nominated for eight Academy Awards including the best picture Oscar, shows on screen several documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Those documents relate to then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s meetings with oil company lobbyists discussing potential drilling in Iraq. But at least a dozen other declassified records deserve screen time before Sunday’s Oscars show, according to the National Security Archive’s publication today of primary sources from Cheney’s checkered career.

Feb 11, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 11, 2019 – U.S. intelligence analysts and Tehran-based diplomats struggled to come to grips with the tumult of the Iranian revolution, yet still managed at times to provide considerable detail for policymakers, according to a survey of formerly classified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

Jan 10, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 10, 2019 – From the late 1960s until the late 1980s, U.S. government officials worried that Taiwanese leaders might make a “fundamental decision” to develop nuclear weapons.  Documents published today for the first time by the National Security Archive illustrate Washington’s efforts to keep tabs on military and scientific research and to intervene when they believed that Taiwan’s nuclear R&D had gone too far.  

Dec 17, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 17, 2018 – During the dark days of the Cold War, spying on the enemy often took place in broad daylight.  Some of the best opportunities for Western intelligence to get a picture – literally – of Soviet capabilities were presented by the USSR itself at public military parades, where the normally secretive Soviets proudly showed off to the world their arsenal of advanced hardware. 

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