CIA Historical Review Panel Public Statement
August 6, 2007

Dr. Lewis Bellardo
National Archives and Records Administration

Professor Robert Jervis (Chair)
Department of Political Science
Columbia University

Professor Melvyn Leffler
Department of History
University of Virginia

Professor Thomas Newcomb
School of Criminal Justice and Security Studies
Tiffin University

Professor Robert Schulzinger
Department of History
University of Colorado at Boulder

Professor Betty Unterberger
Department of History
Texas A&M University

Professor Ruth Wedgwood
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Johns Hopkins University

The Director, Central Intelligence Agency's Historical Review Panel (HRP) was formed in 1995, replacing a panel that was less formally organized and that had met only episodically. Since then, the HRP has met twice a year, with the mandate to:

The HRP, like the other DCIA panels, is convened by the Director to provide him with confidential advice and assessments. Because the HRP's advice to the DCI must be completely frank and candid, we are not reporting Panel recommendations. But because this panel's primary concern is the program of declassification and the release of information to the public, the DCIA and the Panel concluded that it should inform the interested public of the subjects and problems that the Panel is discussing.

The HRP met on June 19-20, 2007, with all members other than Belardo in attendance. We reviewed the implementation of the DCIA's recent reorganization of declassification authority and took note of the progress in the processes and results of declassification and release.

Much of our time was spent on CIA's contribution to the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, especially the Iran retrospective and the Chile, 1969-1973 volume. Both present challenges because of the centrality of American covert actions, but a great deal of progress has taken place in the last 6 months and we were able to concentrate on the few issues that remain in dispute. We also discussed the kind of issues likely to arise with future FRUS volumes.

We discussed the FOIA and EO 12958 mandatory review backlogs and the associated problems of budgets and priorities. We reviewed the status of the Warsaw Pact Project and the Caesar/Polo/ESAU collection that was released the day after our meeting. We devoted attention to the question of what areas and collections should be targeted for similar release and review, and will explore this further at our next meeting.

We discussed the possibilities of bringing the documents on the CREST system at NARA to a larger audience.

We returned to the question of whether Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs) should be considered as a special category of privileged documents due to their status as conveying the Director's advice to the President or whether they should be available for declassification review.

We conveyed our views to CIA leadership and will meet again in December.