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CIA Marks Release of Bosnia Historical Collection

On Oct. 1, 2013, Former President Bill Clinton joined former members of his administration at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR to discuss how political leadership and intelligence helped end the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

The symposium, titled Bosnia, Intelligence and the Clinton Presidency, marked the CIA’s release of more than 300 newly declassified documents related to the war. The Bosnia collection highlights the accomplishments of the Director of Central Intelligence Interagency Balkan Taskforce (BTF), the U.S. government’s first truly joint multiagency intelligence task force.

Clinton Event
President Clinton provides keynote address.
In his remarks, President Clinton praised the Intelligence Community (IC) for the support it provided his administration, describing how fast-breaking events on the ground required unprecedented teamwork between intelligence producers and consumers.

“I can’t say enough about the intelligence apparatus that was set up to give us timely, quick, brief, more accurate reports of what was going on in Bosnia,” President Clinton said. “We had the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the NSA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff regularly working together.”

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Nancy Soderberg moderated a panel discussion, which also featured former Secretary of State and United Nations Ambassador Madeleine Albright, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Wesley Clark, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Leon Fuerth, former National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Al Gore, and former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence John Gannon.

Gannon, who played a key role in establishing the BTF, stressed the importance of White House and IC collaboration. “It was a success only because it was in two-part harmony with intelligence and policy. The intelligence-policy relationship was managed responsibly and productively on both sides.”

Clinton Event-Panelists
Former Secretary of State and U.N. Ambassador Madeline Albright addresses crowd during panel discussion.

Albright described the role intelligence—including declassified images—played in helping convince policymakers to take action after the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in 1995. “I took the images to the U.N. Security Council and it was silent,” she said. “It was chilling to everybody. It was an amazing example of how you can use intelligence to push policy forward.  The evidence has to be visible.”

To view the symposium in its entirety, click here.

The Bosnia Historical Collection

CIA’s Historical Review Program (HRP) spearheaded this most recent CIA document release. HRP identifies, collects and produces historically relevant collections of declassified materials. The Bosnia collection is the youngest collection ever released in HRP’s 20 year history.

The records center around 1995, the year in which the Dayton Accords ending the Bosnian War were signed.  For more information, visit the interactive website: Bosnia, Intelligence and the Clinton Presidency. To download the PDF files of the booklet and declassified documents, visit the Historical Collections page. View the full collection of historical photos on CIA’s Flickr stream and videos on CIA’s YouTube channel.

Posted: Oct 24, 2013 09:22 AM
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2013 11:59 AM