Library

 

Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room

Do UFOs fascinate you? Are you a history buff who wants to learn more about the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam or the A-12 Oxcart? Have stories about spies always fascinated you? You can find information about all of these topics and more in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room.

What is the Electronic Reading Room?

Welcome to the Central Intelligence Agency's Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room.  The FOIA Electronic Reading Room is provided as a public service by the Office of the Chief Information Officer's Information Management Services.  It has recently been enhanced and updated, and while many of the updates happened behind the scenes, we'd like to highlight several of the changes.

  • Additional processing power and capacity have been added behind the scenes, which will allow for faster document searching, load times, and the ability to upload larger collections of released documents.
  • Search functionality has been enhanced to allow searching across all document collections, within document collections, and with additional filtering options for better targeted results.  We continue to plan for future search enhancements such as searching for only documents with PDFs as well as other options for further refining searches.  For those of you familiar with our previous searching capabilities, steps are being taken to restore the functionality to search and display documents by date.
  • FOIA requests can now be made online in addition to the alternate options of submitting via fax and US Postal Service.  This electronic format has been designed to assist our FOIA requesters in providing the necessary information CIA needs to process public access requests.  Although these requests can now be made online, CIA will continue to respond through the US Postal Service.

Here you can view documents released through the FOIA and other CIA release programs. If you would like to view our previously released documents and collections, visit our Frequently Requested Records, our Historical Collections, and our CREST: 25-Year Program Archive. You can search all the documents by using the search bar at the top of the page, or you can browse individual collections of documents on historically significant topics compiled by our office. Please note that not all documents reside in collections, so you may wish to perform an overall document search as well as browse the collections you are interested in. Because of CIA's need to comply with U.S. national security laws, some documents - or parts of documents - cannot be released to the public. Specifically, the CIA has the responsibility to protect intelligence sources and methods from disclosure.

Additional Information

We also provide basic guidance to assist you in exercising your rights to request and view government records through the following disclosure statutes:

This guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of the complex issues associated with these laws, but rather an overview of how they are carried out at CIA.
Learn more if you are interested in submitting a FOIA request or Privacy Act request.

What's New at FOIA?

Site last updated: September 15

New FOIA Release:

THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY AND OVERHEAD RECONNAISSANCE; THE U-2 AND OXCART PROGRAMS, 1954-1974

 

FY 2012 CIA FOIA Annual Reports

(Updated February 21, 2013)
The CIA FOIA Annual Report is now available in PDF, and in machine-readable XML formats.

Doctor Zhivago

CIA Publishes Doctor Zhivago in Russian and Exposes Life in USSR under Communism

The CIA has declassified 99 documents describing the CIA’s role publishing Boris Leonidovich Pasternak’s epic novel, Doctor Zhivago, for the first time in Russian in 1958 after it had been banned from being published in the Soviet Union. The Zhivago project was one of many CIA-supported covert publishing programs that involved distributing banned books, periodicals, pamphlets, and other materials to intellectuals in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This collection provides a glimpse into a thoughtful plan to accomplish fast turn-around results without doing harm to foreign partners or Pasternak. Following the publication of Doctor Zhivago in Russian in 19589, Pasternak won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the popularity of the book skyrocketed, and the plight of Pasternak in the Soviet Union received global media attention. Moscow had hoped to avoid these precipitous outcomes by initially refusing to publish the novel two years earlier. There is no indication in this collection that having Pasternak win the Nobel Prize was part of the Agency’s original plan; however, it contributed to appeals to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and it was a blow to those who insisted that the Soviets in 1958 enjoyed internal freedom. Of note, the documents in this collection show how effective “soft power” can influence events and drive foreign policy.

Berlin Wall Collection: A City Divided: Life and Death in the Shadow of the Wall

With his iconic speech on June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy united the citizens of Berlin and the United States by stating that he too was a "Berliner."  Twenty-four years later, President Ronald Reagan declared in Berlin that "I do not come here to lament.  For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph."

President Carter and the Role of Intelligence in the Camp David Accords

This collection consists of more than 250 previously classified documents, totaling over 1,400 pages, including some 150 that are being released for the first time. These documents cover the period from January 1977 through March 1979 and were produced by the CIA to support the Carter administration’s diplomatic efforts leading up to President Carter’s negotiations with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David in September 1978. The declassified documents detail diplomatic developments from the Arab peace offensive and President Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem through the regionwide aftermath of Camp David.

From Typist to Trailblazer: The Evolving View of Women in the CIA's Workforce

The document collection "From Typist to Trailblazer: The Evolving View of Women in the CIA's Workforce" consists of some 120 declassified documents, the majority of which are being released for the first time. The collection includes more than 1,200 pages from various studies, memos, letters, and other official records documenting the CIA's efforts to examine, address, and improve the status of women employees from 1947 to today.

Bosnia, Intelligence, and the Clinton Presidency

This collection consists of more than 300 declassified documents related to the Director of Central Intelligence Interagency Balkan Task Force (BTF) and the role of intelligence in supporting policymaking during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. The compilation contains Statements of Conclusions from National Security Council meetings where senior officials made decisions on the Bosnian conflict, BTF memoranda pertaining to those meetings, key intelligence assessments, and selected materials from the State Department, White House, Department of Defense, and William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The records center around 1995, the year in which the Dayton Accords ending the Bosnian War were signed.

Nazi War Crimes Declassification Act

From the 1960s through the 1990s, the U.S. Government declassified the majority of its security-classified records relating to World War II. Yet, 60 years after the war, millions of pages of wartime and postwar records remained classified. Many of these records contained information related to war crimes and war criminals. This information had been sought over the years by congress, government prosecutors, historians and victims of war crimes. In 1998, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), at the behest of Congress, launched what became the largest congressionally mandated, single-subject declassification effort in history. As a result of this landmark effort, more than 8.5 million pages of records have been opened to the public under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (P.L. 105-246) and the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act (P.L. 106-567). These records include operational files of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) totaling 1.2 million pages, and 114,200 pages of CIA material. This information sheds important historical light on the Holocaust and other war crimes, as well as the U.S. Government’s involvement with war criminals during the Cold War. It further enhances public confidence in government transparency.