CIA Documents Reveal “Unflattering” History

On June 26, 2007 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released two sets of previously classified historical documents detailing some of the most infamous activities by the agency involving overseas assassination plots, kidnapping, and domestic spying. The material is being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request originally filed by the National Security Archive in 1992.

The first collection, which some call the “Family Jewels,” consists of almost 700 pages (please note the large file size when clicking on the link above) and was compiled in 1973 under Director of Central Intelligence James Schlesinger, who asked CIA employees to report activities they thought might be inconsistent with the Agency’s charter.

The second collection, the CAESAR-POLO-ESAU papers, consists of 147 documents and 11,000 pages of analysis from 1953 to 1973. The CAESAR and POLO papers studied Soviet and Chinese leadership hierarchies, respectively, and the ESAU papers were developed by analysts to inform CIA assessments on Sino-Soviet relations.

The release of the documents was announced last week in a speech given to the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) by CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. “Most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA’s history,” Hayden told the group.