Library

 

Special Collections Archive

A Life in Intelligence - The Richard Helms Collection

(April 28, 2008)

This collection of material by and about Richard Helms as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and Ambassador to Iran comprises the largest single release of Helms-related information to date. The documents, historical works and essays offer an unprecedented, wide-ranging look at the man and his career as the United States' top intelligence official and one of its most important diplomats during a crucial decade of the Cold War. From mid-1966, when he became DCI, to late 1976, when he left Iran, Helms dealt directly with numerous events whose impact remains evident today and which are covered in the release.

A-12 OXCART Reconnaissance Aircraft Documentation

(August 2007)

This release, containing approximately 1,500 pages of material, consisting of about 350 documents, maps, diagrams, and photographs dealing with the A-12 reconnaissance aircraft is occasioned by CIA's acquisition on loan from the Air Force of the eighth A-12 in the production series of 15. Known as Article 128, the aircraft will be on display at the Agency's Headquarters compound in Langley, Virginia. The release also coincides with the publication of CIA's unclassified official history of the A-12, Archangel: CIA's A-12 Supersonic Reconnaissance Aircraft by the Agency's Chief Historian, David Robarge. The newly declassified material will provide researchers on aviation and intelligence with significant additional detail about the design and development of the A-12 -- still the fastest and highest flying piloted operational jet aircraft ever built -- and its use as an intelligence collection platform in East Asia.

Air America: Upholding the Airmen's Bond

(April 18, 2009)

A fascinating assembly of documents revealing the role that Air America, the Agency's proprietary airline, played in the search and rescue of pilots and personnel during the Vietnam War. The collection has personal accounts by the rescued pilots and thank you letters as well as commendations from various officials. It includes, for the first time, direct information about Lima Site 85 in Laos and a possible hijacking attempt in the 1964 crash of Flight 908. Other elements include the airline's role in the final evacuations from Da Nang and Saigon in April, 1975.

An Underwater Ice Station Zebra: Recovering a Secret Spy Satellite Capsule from 16,400 feet Below the Pacific Ocean

(August 8, 2012)

The Trieste II Deep Sea Vehicle I (DSV-1), the U.S. Navy's most advanced deep sea submersible at the time, surfaced about 350 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands in the pre-dawn hours of 26 April 1972 after having salvaged a mysterious item from 16,400 feet below the Pacific Ocean. Publicly known as a nondescript "data package" from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the object was actually part of a film capsule from an American photoreconnaissance satellite, codenamed HEXAGON. Before today's digital technology, photoreconnaissance satellites used film, which capsules ejected from the satellite returned to Earth. The capsules, called "buckets," reentered the Earth's atmosphere and deployed a parachute as they descended toward the primary reentry zone near the Hawaiian Islands. In the case of the first HEXAGON mission in the summer of 1971, the parachute broke off causing the bucket to crash into the ocean, sinking on impact. This release of CIA material includes photos of the capsule on the ocean floor, pictures of the Trieste II (DSV-1), documents, and an article explaining how the CIA and U.S. Navy undertook the deepest undersea salvage then attempted. We have also provided a link to the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, where the Trieste II (DSV-1) is on permanent display.

Baptism By Fire: CIA Analysis of the Korean War Overview

(June 16, 2010)

This collection includes more than 1,300 documents consisting of national estimates, intelligence memo, daily updates, and summaries of foreign media concerning developments on the Korean Peninsula during 1947 - 1954. The release of this collection, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the start of the war, makes available to the public the largest collection of Agency documents released on this issue.

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."

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.

CIA Analysis of the Warsaw Pact Forces

(October 25, 2012)

This study examines the role of clandestine reporting in CIA’s analysis of the Warsaw Pact from 1955 to 1985. The Soviet Union established itself as a threat to the West at the end of World War II by its military occupation of eastern European countries and the attempts of its armed proxies to capture Greece and South Korea. The West countered with the formation of NATO. While the West welcomed West Germany into NATO, the Soviets established a military bloc of Communist nations with the Warsaw Treaty of May 1955. This study continues CIA’s efforts to provide a detailed record of the intelligence derived from clandestine human and technical sources from that period. This intelligence was provided to US policy makers and used to assess the political and military balances and confrontations in Central Europe between the Warsaw Pact and NATO during the Cold War.

CIA's Clandestine Services: Histories of Civil Air Transport

This collection represents the public release for some of the most closely held activities in CIA history concerning one of the most controversial operations in American history.  Within this collection, you will find excerpts of the CIA's Clandestine Services Histories of Civil Air Transport (CAT) - the precursor to Air America.  The Histories were written by Alfred T.

Creating Global Intelligence

(May 14, 2009)

Discover the back story of the US intelligence community by exploring "Creating Global Intelligence: The Creation of the US Intelligence Community and Lessons for the 21st Century", a collection of declassified documents from the late 1940s to the early 1950s that ultimately led to the establishment of the CIA.

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.

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.

Historical Review Office Collections on this site

The Princeton Collection

(9-10 March 2001)

Analytic Reports Produced by the Directorate of Intelligence on the Former Soviet Union Declassified and released for a March 2001 Conference at Princeton University

Intelligence, Policy, and Politics: The DCI, the White House, and Congress

(September 13, 2012)

The Crafting of an Intelligence Community collection of 800+ Agency documents along with 600 supplemental items shows the day-by-day activities, decisions, staff meetings and contacts that confronted each DCI. They ran the gamut of choosing a secretary to responding to a Presidential question to an evening social event with various ambassadors and dignitaries.

National Intelligence Council (NIC) Collection

(January 2007)

This collection contains hundreds of intelligence reports, including many National Intelligence Estimates and other publications produced by the National Intelligence Council or its predecessor organizations, the Office of National Estimates and the Office of Reports and Estimates since 1946.

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.

Preparing for Martial Law: Through the Eyes of Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski

(December 11, 2008)

A captivating collection of over 75 documents concerning the planning and implementation martial law in Poland from mid-1980 to late 1981. The collection release coincided with a CIA symposium honoring Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, a member of the Polish Army General Staff and the source of the documents. His information provided documents and personal commentary that gave intelligence analysts and US policy makers invaluable insight into the crisis.

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.

President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

(January 30, 2013)

This collection highlights the causes and consequences of US Intelligence Community’s (IC) failure to foresee the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the October War or the Yom Kippur War. A coalition of Arab nations led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 6, the day of Yom Kippur. Prior to October 6, the CIA concluded that the Arabs would not attack, so the offensive surprised US policymakers as well as Israel. Directorate of Intelligence (DI) analysts believed that Arab military inferiority would militate against an attack on Israel. DI analysis did not explore the possibility that leaders might go to war--even at the risk of losing--to pursue political objectives. According to an internal postmortem, Agency analysis was impaired by preconceptions about Arab military capabilities, information overload, rational actor modeling and groupthink.

Reagan Collection

(November 2, 2011)

In the 1980s, the Cold War was going strong and was made worse by events such as the death of three Soviet leaders in a span of three years, the Soviet shootdown of a Korean airliner, and the USSR's support for Communist governments and movements in Afghanistan and Central America. This collection of declassified documents and other material highlights what the CIA provided President Reagan and other top members of his national security team on key issues affecting US-Soviet relations.

Soviet and Warsaw Pact Military Journals

(January 22, 2010)

A collection of sensitive Soviet and Warsaw Pact military journals from 1961 to 1984 providing a view into Warsaw Pact military strategy.

Additional documents to the collection, dating from 1961 to 1986, published in sensitive Soviet and Warsaw Pact military journals that reflect the evolution of military strategy in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, were added here on Jan. 22, 2010.

Stories of Sacrifice & Dedication

On 2 June, 2011, the CIA, in partnership with the National Museum of the United States Air Force, presented a symposium recognizing the sacrifice and dedication of Civil Air Transport (CAT) and Air America (AAm). These CIA air proprietary companies routinely suppilied and supported covert capabilities for the US military, and conducted photo reconnaissance in east and southeast Asia from the end of World War II through the Vietnam conflict. This event was held to highlight the public release of about 900 recently declassiied documents from CAT and AAm corporate files and CIA holdings spanning 1946 to 1978.

Strategic Warning and the Role of Intelligence: Lessons Learned From The 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia

(April 16, 2010)

The Czechoslovak crisis began in January 1968. The Czech communist leadership embarked on a program of dramatic liberalization of the political, economic, and social orders. These reforms triggered increasing Soviet concerns culminating in the invasion of 21 August 1968. This collection of documents pertains to these issues, the responses and analysis of this event in history.

The Berlin Wall Collection: A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall

(October 27, 2011)

Erected literally overnight, the building of the Berlin Wall was the culmination of over a decade of escalating confrontations and contentious blockades contrived to encourage the west to abandon Berlin to the Communist Bloc. The wall was East Germany's ultimate attempt to isolate and destroy an island of freedom. Instead of expelling the west, Berlin became ground zero in a contest of tit-for-tat brinksmanship with a serious risk of erupting into nuclear war. War was averted, but the wall dividing Berlin became a corrosive global symbol of bitter oppression that would last for nearly three decades.

The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers

(June 2007)

This collection of declassified analytic monographs and reference aids, designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO series, highlights the CIA's efforts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations.

The China Collection

(May 2004)

This collection of over seventy National Intelligence Estimates on China is the most extensive single selection of intelligence analyses the United States Government ever has released. This recently declassified collection represents the most authoritative intelligence assessments of the United States Government and thus constitutes a unique historical record of a momentous era in China's modern history.

The Original Wizards of Langley

(October 3, 2008)

This overview and collection of documents and other material related to the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) offer a glimpse of CIA's overall contribution to the analysis of Soviet capabilities in science and technology during the Cold War. It is by no means intended to be definitive, or even complete, with respect to all the activities associated with the Agency's scientific and technological capabilities, analysis, and resulting reporting. It does, however, highlight some key events and selected activities that contribute to our understanding of the unique role OSI played in the Agency's history.

The Vietnam Collection

This collection of declassified estimative products is the first such release by the Central Intelligence Agency of documents exclusively on the Vietnam war. The National Intelligence Council (NIC) commissioned Lloyd Gardner, the renowned American scholar on the Vietnam war, to prepare an introductory essay providing historical context for the documents.

Vietnam Histories

(March 13, 2009)

This release consists of six declassified histories volumes and describes the CIA's role in Indochina during the Vietnam War. These histories written by Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., are based on extensive research in CIA records and on oral history interviews of participants. The release totals some 1,600 pages and represents the largest amount of Vietnam-era CIA documents yet declassified.

Wartime Statutes - Instruments of Soviet Control

(April 5, 2011)

The collection, consisting of 22 documents, provides insight into how the Soviet Union codified its control over the armed forces of its Eastern European allies. The release of this collection coincided with a panel discussion at the Wilson Center.

What was the Missile Gap?

(September 26, 2011)

The Missile Gap was in essence a growing perception in the West, especially in the USA, that the Soviet Union was quickly developing an intercontinental range ballistic missile (ICBM) capability earlier, in greater numbers, and with far more capability than that of the United States. Even as that perception was disproved, it became evident that the Soviets were placing their major effort toward developing strategic missiles against which, once launched, there was no defense. The perceived missile gap that ensued was based on a comparison between US ICBM strength as then programmed, and reasonable, although erroneous estimates of prospective Soviet ICBM strength that were generally accepted.