Report from CIA's Historical Review Panel
August 18, 2009

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 DCIA 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.

We discussed possible revisions in Executive Order 12598, especially the proposed establishment of a National Declassification Center and possible changes in standards for classifying and declassifying documents. Changes that could generate greater efficiencies and that could lead to the release of more documents may be possible. Fewer compilations from the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series have been received for review in the past six months, but we continued our discussion of specific issues, general principles to guide declassification for FRUS, and procedures to decrease frictions and delays. We discussed events and releases by the Historical Collections Division and projects that are under way or proposed that can have great scholarly value and public interest, especially further releases in the Warsaw Pact Project. For documents related in this and other programs, we explored ways of increasing dissemination, especially of the documents now on the CREST system at NARA. We also discussed procedures and issues related to Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP).

We conveyed our recommendations to top CIA officials and will meet again in December.

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 Jeffrey Taliaferro
Department of Political Science
Tufts University

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