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Statement by the CIA Historical Review Panel
(March 2001)

Dr. Lewis Bellardo
National Archives and Records Administration

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

Professor Lawrence Kaplan
Department of History
Georgetown University

Professor Melvyn Leffler
Department of History
University of Virginia

Professor John Norton Moore
Center for National Security Law
University of Virginia School of Law

Professor Robert Pastor
Department of Political Science
Emory University

Professor Betty Unterberger
Department of History
Texas A&M University

The Director of Central Intelligence'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 DCI 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, DCI George Tenet and the Panel concluded that it should inform the interested public of the subjects and problems that the Panel is discussing.

The winter meeting of the HRP was held on January 31-February 2. As was the case for the previous meeting, about half our time was devoted to CIA's contribution to FRUS. We reviewed issue statements, documents slated for release, and proposed redactions for several volumes, concentrating on the Dominican Republic. In addition to discussing the question of inclusion of material from the President's Daily Briefs, we discussed the relationships between policy and policy-making processes on the one hand and detailed implementation, which takes place within the foreign country, on the other.

In this connection we discussed with agency officials at both the working levels and the highest levels issues of what information had high historical value and the extent to which the government's ability to gather information and carry out policy would be damaged by disclosure of information about how CIA implemented government policy, especially in covert operations.

We discussed the issues that have arisen between the Department of State's Historian's Office and the CIA in the preparation of FRUS volumes and met with Marc Susser, the new State Department Historian. Robert Jervis, HRP Chair, accepted the invitation of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee to meet with it on February 13.

We reviewed a sample of documents released and withheld concerning CIA reporting and activities in Chile in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and discussed the redactions that were made, the purposes of the release, and the relationship between these materials and what would be included in FRUS.

HRP also reviewed progress and problems with the twenty five-year release program, viewed a demonstration of the electronic search system now in place at NARA for accessing the documents that have been released, and discussed how scholars and the general public could learn that these documents are available.

The Panel continues to monitor the CIA's programs to release documents of great historical interest that are not directly covered by other programs. Priorities include reviewing and declassifying the Director's office files under the principle of "oldest first, top down", the continuing programs for releasing finished intelligence on the Soviet Union, and a possible project on Korean War documents.

We met with members of the Center for the Study of Intelligence and the History Staff to review past studies and consider future plans for both classified and unclassified projects. We discussed peer-review processes for CIA histories, the value of classified studies, and the possibilities for writing either unclassified histories or declassifying those which were originally written as classified.

The panel will meet again in June.

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