10 Million Pages of CIA Declassified Records Available
The CIA recently delivered more than 420,000 additional pages of redacted declassified electronic records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in College Park, Maryland. The declassified CIA records are hosted on the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST), which is an electronic search and retrieval system. CREST now includes more than 10 million pages of records declassified under Executive Order 12958.
Records declassification is required by Executive Order 12958, which was signed by former President Bill Clinton. This Executive Order requires Intelligence Community agencies to review all nonexempt records that are 25 years old or older for declassification. As a result, millions of pages of previously classified information are now available for research at the NARA facility in College Park; moreover, these previously classified records are increasingly cited in academic publications on intelligence.
CREST allows users to search for records using key words, as well to print the redacted images. CREST includes a wide variety of records on nearly every topic related to the Cold War and the early history of the CIA. This includes significant collections of finished intelligence from the Directorate of Intelligence; Directorate of Operations (now National Clandestine Service) information reports from the late 1940s and 1950s; Directorate of Science and Technology research and development files; Director, Central Intelligence Agency policy files and memos; and Directorate of Support logistics and other records. CREST also contains declassified imagery reports from the former National Photographic Interpretation Center, the STAR GATE remote viewing program files, and several specialized collections of translations from foreign media.
The CREST system is very popular with researchers at NARA because it has drastically decreased the amount of time required to complete a search as compared to the time necessary to search most other records that are only accessible in their original hard copy form.