Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room

Welcome to the Central Intelligence Agency's 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?

FY 2015 CIA FOIA Annual Reports

(Updated March 9, 2015)
The CIA FOIA Annual Report is now available in PDF, and in machine-readable XML formats.

What's New on the Electronic Reading Room?

John A. McCone was the sixth Director of Central Intelligence, serving from 1961 to 1965 during some of the most tumultuous events in American history. The United States narrowly averted nuclear war with the Soviet Union when the Soviets tried to put offensive ballistic missiles into Cuba. An incumbent president fell to an assassin’s bullet. The United States committed itself to defending the Republic of Vietnam against communist aggression and escalated its military support to that beleaguered country.

The Collection of Presidential Briefing Products from 1961 to 1969

The President’s Daily Briefs (PDBs) are “eyes only” publications written specifically for the president and are the standard for exchange of comments between the president and the intelligence producers of these daily products. The PDB as it exists today was initiated under the Kennedy administration with the production of the President’s Intelligence Checklist (PICL) in June 1961, which was replaced by the PDB during the Johnson administration. The CIA’s goal was to draft a daily document that flowed, was comprehensive and concise, and carried the updates on an intelligence thread from beginning to end. With each presidential administration, the PDB was routinely adjusted to focus on issues that mattered to that president, and reformatted in ways that held his attention on issues the CIA believed were vitally important. These documents have had limited distribution – generally the president’s executive staff members, including most often the vice president, the secretaries of state and defense, and the national security advisor, and any other government officials the president identified to be recipients. The PDB remains the most tightly held intelligence product and arguably the most influential on a daily basis because the content is derived from the most up-to-the-minute inputs based on highly sensitive sources.


Declassified Documents Related to 9/11 Attacks
For an official statement on this release, please click here

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 Disclosure 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.