CIA closes office that declassifies historical materials

tags: budget cuts, archives, CIA, declassification, sequester



The budget ax has fallen on a CIA office that focused on declassifying historical materials, a move scholars say will mean fewer public disclosures about long-buried intelligence secrets and scandals.

The Historical Collections Division, which has declassified documents on top Soviet spies, a secret CIA airline in the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis and other major operations, has been disbanded. The office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests will take over the work.

CIA officials said they closed the Historical Collections Division to accommodate federal budget cuts that the White House and Congress proposed last year to create pressure for a deficit reduction deal. No deal materialized, so across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester were imposed.

"As a result of sequestration, elements of one program office were moved into a larger unit to create efficiencies, but CIA will continue to perform this important work," said Edward Price, a CIA spokesman.

He said the agency remained committed to the "public interest mission" of declassifying significant historical documents.

But outside experts criticized the CIA for shutting down an office that academics, lawyers and historians use...

"This is very unfortunate," said Robert Jervis, a Columbia University professor who chairs the CIA's Historical Review Panel, which advises the agency on declassification. "There will be fewer releases. We shouldn't fool ourselves."...



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