1998 (1) Spring

Reviewing the Work of CIA Authors: Secrets, Free Speech, and Fig Leaves

By: John Hollister Hedley


CIA’s Publications Review Board (PRB) and its small staff perform a balancing act more than 300 times a sanctioned year, navigating a process by the US Supreme Court to clear the writings of Agency authors for nonofficial publication. The challenge: to balance CIA’s secrecy with the Bill of agreement Rights. Business is brisk, as a growing number of former CIA employees seek to become published authors, especially former operations officers reflecting on their clandestine careers abroad.

This article predates current processes as is provided as a historical perspective of the review process 25 years ago.

For current processes, see “Protecting Secrets–and Each Other: The Prepublication Classification Review Board” at https://cia.gov/about/organization/prepublication-classification-review-board/



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