Declassified National Intelligence Estimates on the Soviet Union and International Communism

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A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence. Unlike "current intelligence" products, which describe the present, most NIEs forecast future developments and many address their implications for the United States. NIEs cover a wide range of issue-from military to technological to economic to political trends.

NIEs are addressed to the highest level of policymakers-up to and including the President. They are often drafted in response to a specific request from a policymaker. Estimates are designed not just to provide information but to help policymakers think through issues. They are prepared by CIA with the participation of other agencies of the Intelligence Community and are coordinated with these agencies. When there are alternative views about a subject within the Intelligence Community, the NIEs include such views.

CIA has made a major commitment to increasing the public understanding of the role played by intelligence analysis in the Cold War by reviewing for declassification NIEs on the Soviet Union and international communism. The declassification review and release to the public of NIEs on the former Soviet Union is part of a voluntary program initiated by DCI William Casey in 1985 and given new life in 1992 by DCI Robert Gates. In addition to NIEs and their predecessors-called OREs and produced by the Office of Reports and Estimates in the early postwar years-the review has included other interagency intelligence assessments-such as Special NIEs and Interagency Intelligence Memoranda-which are usually more narrowly focused or specialized in content. The declassification review is done in consultation with other agencies of the Intelligence Community, particularly those who participated in producing the assessments. More than 550 documents have been declassified and released thus far through the voluntary program, including most recently documents for use at conferences titled "At Cold War's End," held at Texas A&M University from 18 to 20 November, 1999, and "CIA's Analysis of the Soviet Union, 1947-1991," held at Princeton University on 9 and 10 March 2001.

An index of National Intelligence Estimates and other interagency intelligence analyses released to the National Archives is provided below, arrayed by year of publication. Click on the year desired to view those published during that 12-month period.

Users should note that textual material was deleted from a number of the documents during the declassification review process. The deletions were made to protect intelligence sources and methods or for other national security reasons. In those instances where deletions were necessary, an effort was made to avoid distorting the conclusions or the analysis in the documents. No deletions were made to conceal incorrect assessments or faulty conclusions, or to remove information embarrassing to the Agency or the Intelligence Community. The number of pages shown in the index for a particular document may be less than the total number of pages in the original document. To assist the reader, the following symbols are used in the index to indicate which documents contain deletions and the nature of the redactions.

  • RIF (Released in Full) - the document has been released in its entirety.
  • RNS (Released with non-substantive deletions) - The document has been released with minor redactions, such as certain classification indicators, access restrictions, and references to names or documents not released to the public.
  • RIP (Released in Part) - The document has been released with substantive deletions made in the text.