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CIA finally declassifies last WWI era classified documents

So the CIA just got around to declassifying 6 of the U.S.’s oldest classified documents from WWI (1917 + 1918). They’ve posted them in their CIA FOIA reading room and the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) at the National Archives (but to use CREST, a researcher must physically be present at the National Archives, College Park, Maryland :-|). That also means that the documents will also soon be available at the archive-it FOIA collection (I’m harvesting them as we speak ;-)).

These documents, which describe secret writing techniques and are housed at the National Archives, are believed to be the only remaining classified documents from the World War I era. Documents describing secret writing fall under the CIA’s purview to declassify.

“These documents remained classified for nearly a century until recent advancements in technology made it possible to release them,” CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said. “When historical information is no longer sensitive, we take seriously our responsibility to share it with the American people.”

One document outlines the chemicals and techniques necessary for developing certain types of secret writing ink and a method for opening sealed letters without detection. Another memorandum dated June 14, 1918 – written in French – reveals the formula used for German secret ink.

“The CIA recognizes the importance of opening these historical documents to the public,” said Joseph Lambert, the Agency’s Director of Information Management Services. “In fiscal year 2010 alone, the Agency declassified and released over 1.1 million pages of documents.”These documents, which describe secret writing techniques and are housed at the National Archives, are believed to be the only remaining classified documents from the World War I era. Documents describing secret writing fall under the CIA’s purview to declassify.

“These documents remained classified for nearly a century until recent advancements in technology made it possible to release them,” CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said. “When historical information is no longer sensitive, we take seriously our responsibility to share it with the American people.”

One document outlines the chemicals and techniques necessary for developing certain types of secret writing ink and a method for opening sealed letters without detection. Another memorandum dated June 14, 1918 – written in French – reveals the formula used for German secret ink.

“The CIA recognizes the importance of opening these historical documents to the public,” said Joseph Lambert, the Agency’s Director of Information Management Services. “In fiscal year 2010 alone, the Agency declassified and released over 1.1 million pages of documents.”

Declassified CIA documents (all pdf):

This was such cool news that Rachel Maddow went gaga over the news!


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[HT to Gary Price for posting CIA Declassifies Oldest Documents in U.S. Government Collection (1917 + 1918), View Them Online on InfoDocket. Thanks Gary!]


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