From Out of the Past: The Historical Intelligence Collection

By: Ward Warren and Emma Sullivan


Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

The Life of Reason

The CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection (HIC), with its 23,000 volumes of intelligence history, gives the Agency a running start in avoiding the fate that Santayana posited for those without mnemonic resources to fall back on. When Allen Dulles ordered the establishment of the HIC in 1954, he envisioned the collection as a working repository of books and periodicals on all aspects of intelligence, beginning with the earliest written accounts of intelligence operations and continuing to the present. He wanted it to be used by members of the Intelligence Community as a law library is used by lawyers. 

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