Site menu:

Archives

NEW PRIORITIZATION CATEGORY: Topics Older Than 25 Years

by on December 2, 2013


We have already received many comments from our followers about what topics you would like to see declassified.  Today, we present you with anew  list of topics OLDER than 25 years.

View the List Here:  Older Than 25 Years

Like our first category of topics 25 years old and younger, this list of older topics captures what we heard from Agency declassifiers, experts from the Presidential Libraries and the requester community.  The topics are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking.

All lists will remain active for comment while the blog is live.  Please continue to make comments on this new list and also any other topics you think are important for prioritization.

Your comments will be posted as soon as possible.  Please review our blog’s Comment and Posting Policy for more details.  Thank you for your continued interest and participation.

 


Comments

Dan Alcorn December 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

The most frequently mentioned topic for declassification on this blog has been the assassination of President Kennedy, yet I see it is missing from your list. This topic has also been the most frequently requested declassification effort at the three public forums conducted by the Archives since 2009, and other public input solicitations by the NDC. An example of why this topic should be prioritized is a report on JFKFacts.org today that a leading anti-Castro militant has recently stated that he observed his CIA handler meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald in September 1963. The Archives holds in its JFK collection over 600 pages of classified records related to this CIA officer. Please respect the public interest in the JFK assassination and prioritize these records for declassification.

[Reply]

Andrew Gross Reply:

Release all Kennedy Assassination related docs now!

[Reply]

Jim Glover Reply:

Since JFK was in the process of sharing the space program with Russia all NASA records of the day of the Assassination and after about JFK should be released as well as DIA in the months before and after.

[Reply]

Andrew December 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I agree with Mr. Alcorn: NARA should prioritize the declassification of all records related to the Kennedy assassination.

[Reply]

Ben Rudgley December 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I see no reason why the JFK records should not be declassified in interest of the public and transparency, more generally. At the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, especially when levels of public concern, inquiring and sentiment are so high, there is no more opportune time than now to declassify these records.

[Reply]

Ken December 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Mr. Alcorn has a valid point. It has now been more than fifty years since the Kennedy assassination, and too many questions remain unanswered. Surely, the records that continue to be withheld could help clear up some of these questions and bring some closure, if not to the tragedy itself, then to the governmental secrecy that continues to surround it.

[Reply]

Dale Reply:

I agree with Ken. I do not understand the continued need for classification regarding the JFK assassination. Common sense dictates, if there’s nothing to hide, it wouldn’t be hidden.

Who/what is being protected? What is the benefit of keeping this information classified and does it outweigh the benefit(s) of declassification?

Aside from the murder of a US President, the only other salient and incontrovertible fact (that I am aware of) is this: Fifty years post assassination my government is refusing to divulge information related to the murder of the only known President to have averted nuclear war.

Perhaps, if not for Kennedy, I wouldn’t have been born in 1965? I read (perhaps) once in a history book that Kennedy was assassinated by Oswald. I’ve been aware of the multitude of controversial conspiracy theories which (until now) contemplating amounted to nothing more than entertainment.

I recently happened across a TV documentary regarding the assassination. I watched until mentioned that Oswald shot Officer Tippet. I hadn’t even known an officer was shot much less Oswald accused. Given that over the course of 48 years I’d never heard that bit of information, I assumed I was watching yet another piece of propaganda parading as fact. I reached for the remote. “Real Housewives of NJ” would certainly be more “real”, wouldn’t it?

The sad truth is that majority of Americans, myself included, are frighteningly uneducated and misinformed regarding the assassination and post Civil War history in general.

There has been secrecy and the attempted hiding of facts for fifty years. If history is our best teacher then it stands to reason that the CIA will delay declassification well past 2017.

My hope is that declassification of all known facts regarding the assassination and the history leading up to it will prompt the media and history books to clarify and correct any fallacies. Knowing how and why we arrived at today will teach us about ourselves and help us navigate this not so safe world we’ve played the starring role in creating.

What mistakes can we avoid repeating? What good can we do more of? Classification guarantees ignorance. Continued classification creates an atmosphere of distrust and ensures we doubt our ability to make informed decisions as we navigate a post 9/11 world.

If Kennedy doubted his decisions during the missile crisis – what might be different? We owe his family, his memory and our country full disclosure.

In addition to adding information regarding the JFK assassination to the top of the list, I would like to see the following declassified:

Decision to Transform Office of Strategic Services into CIA
Cold War Military Strategy
Cuban Missile Crisis
Cold War era efforts to subvert European Communist parties
Cold War in Europe 1947 – 1991

[Reply]

Brenda December 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm

What is the process that enables this kind of decision to be made? With all the new now-documented information derived from the millions of pages of declassified documents that have been released since the JFK Act was passed, what can possibly be the justification for continuing to withhold the remaining records?

[Reply]

Cory Newman December 3, 2013 at 10:06 am

NARA should declassify all cold war military records and then the other Foreign diplomatic records.

[Reply]

Scott December 3, 2013 at 10:32 am

To quote John F. Kennedy,
“The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society…We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it.”
Further withholding of the remaining files related to the assassination of a popular President (John F. Kennedy), no less fifty years after the fact, is damaging to the trust of government by the people that is required to govern. A solid majority of Americans do not believe the official account of the events of November 22, 1963 (61% according to a Nov, 15, 2013 Gallup Poll, and 74% according HISTORY – October 15, 2013). Help us restore faith that our government is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and that it has not, and shall not, perish from the earth. Release the files. 50 years is too long.

[Reply]

Jim Corwin December 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

That the JFK assassination records have not all been released is a travesty. The people running this program should be fired. Great comment by Scott.

[Reply]

Bob Truitt December 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Scott (12/3 10:32am) above is what I would like to say to the National Archives in a professional, meaningful way, however Jim (12/3 11:39am) above has it right. If you can’t release records of a slain president now just change the name to The CIA Archives, because that is who you take direction from, it’s sure not the American people or outright decency.

[Reply]

Robert Morrow December 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Please declassify any JFK assassination related document that Jefferson Morley wants released. That should be the top priority – what the American people want.

[Reply]

Larry Schnapf December 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

The most important records to be declassified have to be the JFK assassination records. This was the most important event of the 20th century much less the past 50 years. I cant imagine a topic that should have a higher priority–and the failure to do so would seem to violate President Obama’s executive order on transparency. Failure to prioritize the release of the records will cast a pall on everything else NARA does.

[Reply]

Harton Firmin December 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Who exactly is this anonymous “Administrator? ” What manner of cowardice is this? Stand up and be recognized please. The above posts are all very polite, but the time for etiquette has long passed. At what point did the will of the governed become so laughable? The above comments make it very clear what information citizens would like declassified. It is the height arrogance to continue to stall. At this time, the further withholding of JFK assassination files should be construed as an obstruction of justice and a legal process against he NARA should proceed.

[Reply]

Richard Downes December 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Please list documents of all eras relating to Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs for declassification. Thousands of documents relating to missing American soldiers from the Korean and Cold Wars remain classified in State Department, CIA, and other agency archives throughout the government. These documents often name POWs who were thought to be MIA, or MIAs who were known to be KIA. They need to be declassified and released. Families have waited far too long for answers these documents hold on our loved ones. Thank you.

[Reply]

Joel Knutson December 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Documents relating to missing American soldiers from the Korean War remain classified in archives throughout the government. These documents often name POWs who were thought to be MIA or MIAs who were known to be KIA. Some documents detail sightings of unnamed American POWs held in North Korea decades after the war. This information should be declassified immediately while the family members of these missing service members are still alive to learn of the fate of their loved ones.

[Reply]

Dona Reeves-Marquardt December 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I see no reason why documents older than 25 years cannot be released and declassified. They can certainly pose no threat to our national security and would be most valuable for historical research on any number of important topics. We need to illuminate themes of our own lifetime as well as of the deep past.

[Reply]

Katharine Richardson December 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Please include the Korea POW/MIA files 25 Years and Older to your declassification priority list. This information is very important to those of us who lost family members.

[Reply]

martha ann wiley December 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

My father was shot down in Korea, 05-51; never found or heard from again. If there are documents concerning this time in our history, what reason is there to keep them classified? If they could answer the questions of even 1 family, at this point, it would be worth it. Please address this soon. and thank you very much.

[Reply]

Donna Knox December 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Documents from 25 years and longer ago related to Korean and Cold War missing servicemen should be declassified. There can be no valid reason to keep them from families who continue to wonder what happened to their loved one; families who to this day search for answers. Please release this information!

[Reply]

Brenda Comer December 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Please release all POW/MIA records older than 25 years. I understand the curiosity factor involved with the Kennedy assassination – I was 12 at the time and fascinated with all things related to this subject. But few people are aware of how many soldiers are unaccounted for from the Korean War, and the impact this has on their families. My uncle is one of those soldiers, and my family desperately wants any information that may be available regarding what happened to him. We hope that somewhere his name will appear with details of his possible capture and imprisionment. Maybe one day his remains will be recovered and we can honor him with a proper burial. There are so many families who wish the same. Please help us by releasing their records.

[Reply]

W. Ed Trotman December 6, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Thousands of documents relating to missing American soldiers from the Korean War remain classified in State Department, CIA, and other agency archives throughout the government. These documents often name POWs who were thought to be MIA, or MIAs who were known to be KIA. Some documents detail sightings of unnamed American POWs held in North Korea decades after the war. Information on our own loved one may lay waiting in these records.

[Reply]

Lana Cohen-Dorsey December 6, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Documents from 25 years and longer ago related to Korean and Cold War missing servicemen should be declassified. There can be no valid reason to keep them from families who continue to wonder what happened to their loved one; families who to this day search for answers. After all these years with so many still MIA, it is shameful that information is being kept from family members of those who did not come home.

[Reply]

Judy Hall Wernicke December 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

I wish to join the other families of killed or missing soldiers from previous wars and conflicts to request that documents relating to Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs be prioritized for declassification. This information is especially important to families of soldiers who are MIA. Even though it has been 63 years since my family learned that my brother was missing in action in Korea, it is still important for survivors to know what happened to him. I urge you to make documents older than 25 year available for families to use.

[Reply]

Jeff December 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Please declassify any JFK assassination related document that Mr. Morley wants released. You must realize that “We the People” have high expectations of you, the Archives, regarding your key role of proving transparent information to us. My hope is that you truly will listen to current dialogue and realize your responsibilty to act.

[Reply]

Jeff December 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Please declassify any JFK assassination related document that Mr. Morley wants released. You must realize that “We the People” have high expectations of you, the Archives, regarding your key role of proving transparent information to us. My hope is that you truly will listen to current dialogue and realize your responsibility to act.

[Reply]

Denise Painter December 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

My 2nd cousin was shot down in Korea in 1953. We have no knowledge of his fate. My mother (his nearest living relative) would be most relieved to know details in her lifetime. Please release documents relating to
Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs and prioritize for declassification

[Reply]

Allan Johnson December 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Of the 20 topics listed on the “older than 25 year” list, my recommendations for top priorities for declassification are:

1. Cold War Military Strategy
2. Cold War in Europe 1947-1991
3. U.S. Strategic Air Command’s Airborne alert/airborne indoctrination (including over flight)
4. Korean Air Lines Flight 007
5. Iran Hostage Rescue Mission
6. Watergate

However, it may be more efficient to undertake a mass declassification of the annual command histories of the unified and specified commands (Strategic Air Command, Atlantic Command, European Command, North American Air Defense Command, Pacific Command, etc.) as well as the major commands of the uniformed services (Air Force: Pacific Air Forces, Tactical Air Command, United States Air Forces Europe, Army: U. S. Army Europe, Navy: Atlantic Fleet, U. S. Naval Forces Europe, etc.).

Each unified, specified, and major command created an annual history complete with supporting documents. Some of them are quite extensive and they deal with multiple topics on the list of 20. These annual command histories form the institutional memory of the Department of Defense but are extraordinarily difficult to obtain. Declassification of the annual command histories is probably the most efficient approach to get the maximum information released in the minimum amount of time.

An additional issue that needs to be addressed is distribution. I recommend documents be scanned into pdf files and posted on the internet as they become declassified. That should alleviate the administrative burden on your staff from having to process individual requests one at a time with if multiple individuals request copies of the same documents.

[Reply]

Frankie Vegas December 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm

There is massive public interest in the Joannides files. Please put these files at the top of your list to release.

[Reply]

Win Smith December 9, 2013 at 8:08 am

As an independent body, NARA should remain true to its mission and declassify the JFK assassination records that are still being withheld. The JFK Act of 1992 mandated this and there is no reason why files relating to this case, such as the George Joannides files should be allowed to remain classified. Instead of bowing to the wishes of certain agencies that would prefer these records never see the light of day, NARA should be declassifying these records for the sake of transparency and historical accuracy; the citizens of this country have a right to know.

[Reply]

Win Smith December 9, 2013 at 8:10 am

Furthermore, I find it quite unbelievable that NARA did not include the JFK assassination on its list of files older than 25 years to be released!

[Reply]

John Huibregtse December 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

All the files older than 25 years on the JFK, RFK, and MLK assassinations should be released… now.

[Reply]

marie fonzi December 9, 2013 at 10:54 am

If we believe, as the mass media tells us, that Oswald was a lone nut, what’s to hide? Oh, that’s right. Antonio Veciana just acknowledged that his CIA contact was David Atlee Phillips, CIA Chief of the Western Hemisphere. Marie Fonzi

[Reply]

John MacDonald December 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Please add documents relating to the assassination of JFK to the list of those high priority files. In particular, the files on John Joannides are of great interest to many people. The credibility of the Warren Commission rests upon our confidence that they were shown all relevant documents.

[Reply]

Robert Morrow December 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

The murder of John Kennedy and the cover up by LBJ, CIA, FBI is the biggest lie in the history of the world.

Any CIA documents related to this or to the CIA operatives who hated JFK with a white hot passion should be released immediately.

[Reply]

Nate Jones December 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm

A blog post I wrote on why it would behoove the PIDB to establish its credibility by re-reviewing the 1000 plus Kennedy Assassination dox at NARA, and who it should take a “follow the footnotes” approach declassification prioritization after that. http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/re-review-the-kennedy-assassination-records-then-prioritize-by-following-the-footnotes/

[Reply]

Dan Alcorn Reply:

Mr. Jones- thank you for adding your voice to those calling for release of secret JFK assassination records.

[Reply]

Anna Marie Kuhns-Walko December 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

The JFK documents should be clear as promised. I cite a quote by JFK the very year his was murdered.

‘Documents are the primary sources of history, they are the means by which later generations draw close to historical events and enter into the thoughts, fears, and hope of the past.’
John F. Kennedy 19 January 1963

Considering this was his response to actually releasing documents and their classification — or are the words of a previous president important anymore.

[Reply]

Steven Aftergood December 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

Whichever worthy topic is selected for prioritization, I would like to suggest that it would extremely desirable for the prioritization process to adopt a new and bolder approach to declassification itself.

In other words, the prioritized topics should not simply be moved to the front of the queue. They should also be treated in a new, forward-leaning way that will maximize the volume of material that is released.

President Obama did something like this recently when he instructed the intelligence community to perform a declassification review of records related to intelligence surveillance policies and to “declassify as much as possible.”

Similarly, any records prioritized for declassification today should also be subject to a more forthcoming disclosure standard to declassify as much as possible.

In practical terms, this would probably mean that the declassification guides relevant to the topic at hand would have to undergo a new, updated review to maximize disclosure — beyond what was deemed acceptable in the past.

In addition, agency heads should be expected to instruct their reviewers to deliberately and consistently err on the side of release.

[Reply]

Greg Burnham December 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Clearly the intent of The JFK Act, the law passed in 1992 calling for the immediate release of all JFK assassination related documents, has not been followed by agencies who still insist on postponing the declassification of JFK materials. Yet the only exception to this law are materials that would compromise National Security. It is very difficult to imagine that 50 years after the fact the release of any JFK documents would compromise National Security. After all, if we are to believe the “official story” the assassination was a simple homicide–carried out by a lone, misanthropic malcontent for personal reasons. That is hardly a matter of National Security. However, even if it was true, why then were so many documents generated in the first place? No matter, the law is clear: Release the documents. The burden of proof justifying keeping them secret for reasons of National Security is on the agency or agencies claiming the exemption not on those seeking their release.

[Reply]

Terry L Eaton December 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Thousands of documents relating to missing American soldiers from the Korean War remain classified in State Department, CIA, and other agency archives throughout the government. These documents often name POWs who were thought to be MIA, or MIAs who were known to be KIA. Some documents detail sightings of unnamed American POWs held in North Korea decades after the war. Information on our own loved one may lay waiting in these records. Please prioritize declassification of these records.

[Reply]

Martin Shackelford December 12, 2013 at 12:22 am

Waiting until 2017 makes no sense. It’s time to release ALL remaining JFK related documents, including the George Joannides files. Giving agencies another 4 years to come up with excuses for delaying release isn’t in the best interests of the American people–or, in fact, in the best interest of the intelligence agencies, which are already looked upon with great and increasing suspicion by millions of Americans. That the JFK records weren’t at the top of your list, on the 50th anniversary, is pathetic. 40% of the public, according to one poll, blames the CIA for the JFK assassination. Secrecy doesn’t help the agency in any way, shape or form, in the final analysis. These “brilliant” dummies need to get their act together and release the records–ALL of them.

[Reply]

John Zimmerlee December 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

For 20 years I have been doing research on the Missing men from the Korean War. Most of these records are still classified.
In 1995 Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 12958 which called for declassification of documents more than 25 years old and to provide an accessible database to track them. The declassification was supposed to be completed in 6 years, but in closer scrutiny, the EO was actually written to provide excuses for retaining classification on these documents . . . forever.
In 2003 George w Bush signed EO 13292 which actually increased the number of excuses, extended the threshold to 50 years, and lessened the database requirement.
In 2009 Obama signed the “transparency” EO 13526 which extended the threshold to 75 years, added more excuses, and obliterated the database requirement.
In recent trips to the National Archives, hundreds of 60 year old POW/MIA documents had been removed from the boxes just weeks before my arrival with pull-slips indicating they had been removed (classified) according to the provisions in EO13526.
So, yes, these documents need to be declassified, but even more import, our government needs to STOP the current practice of classifying them.
Yes, some of this information will be embarrassing for our government, but the families of the missing deserve the right to know what happened to their missing loved-ones, no matter how bad it makes our government appear.

[Reply]

Barbara Godvin Riney December 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I was shocked to read that the National Archives chose not to put on their list of declassified documents the records of the JFK assassination.When will a newer list be announced?
The murder of President Kennedy was a national security event and has widespread national and international interest. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Warren Report. This was a flawed report and in the public interest, all documents relating to the assassination of President Kennedy must be released to add to the historical record of how our government works.

[Reply]

Michael Martinson December 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Whi do you all continue to behavae as if the most consistently requested topic is so novel that it’s not on the list? Release the remainder of JFK collection (between 1171 and 50,000 docments).

[Reply]

J. Michael Blades January 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

Please declassify all media (documents, photos, maps, statements, etc.) regarding all American military personnel who remain unaccounted-for from the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

[Reply]

Write a comment




 

Archives

Links:

Subscribe to Email Updates