From Top Secret Vault to Open Stacks: Declassification of Moving Images

Have you ever wondered how moving images and sound recordings get declassified? The process isn’t as simple as you might think. Because our records are media based – film, video or audio – the review process takes a few extra steps.

To read more about Declassification of Moving Images, visit NARA’s Media Matters blog!
After 40 Years, the Complete Pentagon Papers

It may be a first in the annals of government secrecy: Declassifying documents to mark the anniversary of their leak to the press. But that is what will happen Monday, when the federal government plans to finally release the secret government study of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers 40 years after it was first published by The New York Times.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

Kudos for a Spy Agency

September 20, 2011

In the five years before the 9/11 attacks, the 16 agencies that then comprised the U.S. intelligence community (the addition of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in December 2004 brought the number of US intelligence agencies to 17) were busy trying to outdo one-another by declassifying their Cold War secrets.  For intelligence historians and spy buffs alike, these were happy times as tens of thousands of pages of previously secret and top secret documents were released to the public.

But then 9/11 happened, and the atmosphere of “Glasnost” that formerly had been the norm in the U.S. intelligence community died a sudden and painful death. Declassification of historical documents came to a near-complete halt as the intelligence community in an instant reverted back to its old Cold War secrecy mentality. Only the State Department and the National Security Agency continued to assidiously declassify documents during the dark years immediately after 9/11.

But in a sign that things are slowly but surely returning to normal, this weekend the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), once one of the most secretive branches of the U.S. intelligence community, declassified thousands of pages of documents about two of its spy satellites, the GAMBIT (KH-7/8) and HEXAGON (KH-9). If you are interested in taking a peek at some of these formerly Top Secret Codeword document, they are available at NRO even placed a copy of the KH-9 satellite outside the Air and Space Museum’s annex at Dulles Airport outside Washington for a day, then took the satellite back to NRO headquarters at nearby Chantilly, where it will reside permanently.

Well-deserved kudos go to NRO for declassifying the documents and making them available in an easy to use format on its website. Now if only the CIA and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community would follow NRO’s example.

My CA declassification MIDI

Nanjing is carrying on transformation of the wired digital television, I order one set of and pay the channel, but other two set-boxes can only watch 60 multiple free programs. If what let other two set-boxes watch to me and order paid the channel, mean I want to pay charging the visual fee of triple! How often does it fiddle with, study CA to be little to have achievement, bring, come out, give, share, down.

Pieces of this look over full text
The CIA’s Covert Operation Against Declassification Review and Obama’s Open Government

The CIA’s Covert Operation Against Declassification Review and Obama’s Open Government
UNREDACTED-1 (Nate Jones) - 2/10/12 11:31 AM

Joseph W. Lambert, Director of CIA Information Management Services, who signed the CIA’s attack on MDR.

This very important Document Friday features a very obscure document, just two pages (59033 and 59034) that the Central Intelligence Agency printed in the Federal Register on Friday, 23 September 2011 –without a notice for public comment. These regulations, which the CIA began enforcing in December, are a covert attack on the most effective tool that the public uses to declassify the CIA’s secret documents, Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR).

Overnight, without public comment or notice, the Agency decreed that declassification reviews would now cost requesters up to $72 per hour, even if no information is found or released. To even submit a request –again, even if no documents are released– the public must now agree to pay a minimum of $15.

ISOO Report to the President

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), established in 1978, is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council.  ISOO has been part of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995.  You can learn more about ISOO at

The 34th Annual Report to the President covering 2013 was released earlier this month.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Jane Foster refuses to be photographed with the Avengers until after her first article on the Einstein-Rosen Bridge is published (after the fall of SHIELD and its declassification by default). She wants the article published on its academic merits, not part of a rush to claim some part of the Avengers. She would also rather be the scientist that connected Earth and Asgard, instead of “Thor’s rumored girlfriend.”

University Seminar on Big Data and Digital Scholarship

Title: “High Performance Text Processing and the Columbia Declassification Engine Project

Speaker: Daniel Krasner; Data Scientist, Co-founder KFit Solutions/Advisor Johnson Research Labs

When: Monday, November 18 - 5pm

Where: The Studio @ Butler, 208b Butler Library, Columbia University

RSVP: Please respond to the rapporteur, Arunabh Ghosh,

Abstract: This talk covers rapid prototyping of a high performance scalable text processing pipeline in Python. We demonstrate how Python modules can be used to analyze, clean, perform feature extraction, and apply machine learning techniques to millions of documents.

Keep reading
History Declassified: New Archive Reveals Once-Secret Documents from World Governments

In the early €™90s, the so-called “€œIron Archives€ of Russian political documents from the Cold War era opened up to historians, shedding light on the earliest days of Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin€’s diplomatic alliance. But not all of the Russian documents were declassified at that time.

Transforming Classification

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) at the National Archives has been hard at work this year developing recommendations to the President of the United States to transform the national security classification system.

PIDB is an advisory committee established by Congress to advise and provide recommendations to the President and other executive branch officials on the identification, collection, review for declassification, and release of declassified records of archival value.  In addition, PIDB advises the President on policies regarding classification and declassification of national security information.

On Thursday, December 6th, the Public Interest Declassification Board will host an open meeting to discuss its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. The full Report to the President will be published online on December 6th . The meeting will focus on the Board’s fourteen recommendations, centering on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, and the imperative for using and integrating technology into these processes.

When: December 6, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Doors Open: 8:45 a.m.
Where: The Archivist’s Reception Room, Room 105 in the National Archives Building
Address: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
(Note: Attendees must enter through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.)

The meeting is open to all, including press and media. Space is limited and attendees must register via Please note that one form of Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license) is required to gain admittance.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog

Something Strange Going On at CIA

July 2, 2012

I hope out everybody is surviving the sweltering heat! It was 104-degrees F here in Washington over the weekend. It’s enough to make you contemplate buying a timeshare apartment in Nome, Alaska!

Has anyone else out there in cyberspace noticed that the CIA has not placed any new declassified documents on its Electronic FOIA Reading Room website in more than seven months!!! The CIA last posted documents on this site back on November 28, 2011, which was a large collection document on the CIA’s involvement in the Missile Gap crisis of the 1950s and 1960s. But not a single page of newly declassified material since then.

Was ist los??? Has General Paetraeus cut his agency’s budget for document declassification? Has the CIA’s FOIA and declassification staff been secretly deployed to London for the upcoming Olympic Games?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but it bothers me a lot since we are now in the summer doldrums here in Washington, when very little usually gets done, including declassification work. If anyone from the CIA reads this, could you please poke your head into the declass unit and give them a great big “Whatsup!”

A message from David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States:

It is with great sadness that I share the passing of Dr. Allen Weinstein, Ninth Archivist of the United States, who died yesterday.

Professor Weinstein was sworn in as Archivist on February 16, 2005. The National Archives saw many major accomplishments under Weinstein’s leadership, including:

An increase in the annual appropriated budget for the National Archives from $318.7 million for fiscal year 2005 to $411.1 million for fiscal year 2008;

  • Restoration of public trust through the declassification and release of interagency agreements, an audit of purported reclassification activity, the return of previously withdrawn materials to public access, and the implementation of stringent new procedures to stem withdrawal of previously declassified and released records;
  • Establishment of the National Declassification Initiative to begin to address the very serious challenges regarding the policies, procedures, structure, and resources needed to create a more responsive and reliable executive branch-wide declassification program, particularly with respect to referrals of classified equities between executive branch agencies;
  • Inclusion of the once-private Nixon library into the National Archives system of Presidential libraries;
  • Expanding public outreach of the National Archives, in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives, through the creation of the Digital Vaults and the Boeing Learning Center;
  • Creating, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the “First Preservers” program which offers support and guidance to state archives and local records repositories to preserve vital records;
  • Continued growth of the Federal Records Center program.

Citing health reasons, Weinstein announced his resignation as Archivist in December 2008. Among numerous awards and fellowships, Weinstein has held two Senior Fulbright Lectureships; served as a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the American Council of Learned Societies; and was a Commonwealth Fund Lecturer at the University of London.

In 1987, he delivered the Bicentennial Fourth of July Oration at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. Recognition for his international contributions include the United Nations Peace Medal in 1986; The Council of Europe’s Silver Medal in 1990 and 1996; and awards from the Presidents of Nicaragua and Romania for his efforts on behalf of democratization in those countries.

We offer our condolences to Professor Weinstein’s family and will forever remember with gratitude his dedication to the mission and employees of the National Archives.