Intelligence Release Policies

United States

Through 1997

Materials arranged chronologically.

Baker, Carol M., and Matthew H. Fox. Classified Files: The Yellowing Pages. New York: Twentieth Century, 1972.

Andrew, Christopher. "Whitehall, Washington and the Intelligence Services." International Affairs 53 (Jul. 1977): 390-404.

Petersen: "U.S. vs. U.K. attitudes on release of information on intelligence."

Donnalley, Gail F. "Declassification in an Open Society." Studies in Intelligence 18, no. 3 (Fall 1974): 11-18.

"From a speech to the National Classification Management Society in San Diego, Calif., in July 1974."

Maechling, Charles, Jr. "Official Secrets: British Style/American Style." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 2, no. 3 (Fall 1988): 359-380.

Karabell, Zachary, and Timothy Naftali. "History Declassified: The Perils and Promise of CIA Documents." And McDonald, Kenneth J. "Commentary on 'History Declassified.'" Diplomatic History 18, no. 4 (1994): 615-634.

Aldrich, Richard J. "British and American Policy on Intelligence Archives: Never-Never Land and Wonderland?" Studies in Intelligence 38, no. 5 (1995): 17-26. "Never Never Land and Wonderland: British and American Policy on Intelligence Archives." Contemporary Record 8, no. 1 (Summer 1994): 132-150. [With footnotes]

The author initially looks at the importance of recently released papers, using the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and Pearl Harbor as a case study. Aldrich finds nothing in the JIC minutes for 1941 to support the revisionist suggestion that Churchill had and withheld foreknowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In comparing British and American policy on releasing archival material, Aldrich is positive about the briefer de facto waiting period of the U.S. government and the broader U.S. definition of intelligence which includes military intelligence. In addition, there seems to be a profusion of British secret service materials for the period before 1945 available in the U.S. archives.

U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. NRO Public Affairs. "Press Release -- President Orders Declassification of Historic Satellite Imagery Citing Value of Photography to Environmental Science." 24 Feb. 1995. []

On 24 February 1995, President Clinton directed "the declassification of imagery obtained by the first generation of photo-reconnaissance satellites; the CORONA, ARGON and LANYARD systems. The order will cause the declassification of more than 800,000 satellite images of the earth's surface, collected by these satellites between 1960 and 1972. By the end of an eighteen-month transition period, the public will be given access to this imagery that can be used to assist environmental studies and other civilian applications."

Jehl, Douglas. "Clinton Revamps Policy on Secrecy of U.S. Documents." New York Times, 18 Apr. 1995, A1, A9 (N).

On 17 April 1995, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12958 "overhauling Government secrecy rules and requiring, with certain exceptions, that even the most highly classified documents be made public after 25 years."

Weiner, Tim. "C.I.A. Slow to Keep '93 Vow to Release 50's and 60's File." New York Times, 8 Apr. 1996, A1, A6.

Includes critical comments from John Lewis Gaddis, a member of the CIA Historical Review Panel.

U.S. Department of Energy. Office of Declassification. "History of Classification and Declassification." 22 Jul. 1996. []

Covers the classification of technological data on nuclear information from the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 to Executive Order 12958.

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