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CIA declassifies 1970s records on illegal surveillance
Thu Jun 21, 6:48 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Documents from the 1970s that detail more than two decades of the CIA's illegal spying activities on US soil have been declassified and are now available on the Internet, officials said Thursday.
The documents -- the so-called "family jewels" -- are part of official investigations and reforms instituted in 1973 on the order of then CIA chief James Schlesinger, after he discovered illegal activities had been ongoing since the 1950s.
The files were posted online by the National Security Archives at George Washington University.
Until now, only a few dozen pages from the file have been declassified, but with heavy redactions.
The release offers "a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency," said a statement by CIA director Michael Hayden.
The CIA also declassified 11,000 pages of analyses of Soviet and Chinese domestic policies, information on the Warsaw Pact military programs and hundreds of pages about the A-12 spy plane.
"This is the first voluntary CIA declassification of controversial material since (former CIA director) George Tenet in 1998 reneged on the 1990s promises of greater openness at the agency," said National Security Archive director Thomas Blanton.
Schlesinger commissioned the report after learning that former CIA agents were involved in the Watergate scandal which led to president Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974.
US journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story of the CIA's decades of unlawful activities in a front page New York Times story in December 1974.