Statement by the CIA Historical Review Panel
(September 2002)

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 Robert Pastor
Department of Political Science
Emory University

Professor Betty Unterberger
Department of History
Texas A&M University

Professor Ruth Wedgwood
School of Law
Yale 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 HRP met most recently on June 25-27, 2002. Most of our discussion concerned the Foreign Relations of the United States series (FRUS) and for this we were joined by members of the State Department's Historical Advisory Committee. We went over the recently-negotiated Memorandum of Understanding between the CIO and State's Historical Office and explored issues that were likely to arise in the future. These included the expectation of a significant increase in the number of documents the CIA will need to consider for declassification, the changes in the review process, the operation of the panel to resolve disputes between the State Department and the CIA, and the new access guides that will accompany FRUS. We discussed the likely pace of FRUS compilations in the future, the resources that would be required, and possible ways to maximize the release of valuable information without compromising the CIA's ability to carry out its missions. We also discussed the role of the joint historian (who will be a member of both HO and CIA's History Staff), and were glad to see that the first person hired in this capacity was already at work. We also reviewed some documents that had been selected by HO which contained material which presented problems for declassification.

A second major topic of discussion was the CIA's administrative reorganization as it affects declassification, the Center for the Study of Intelligence, and the History Staff. We considered the relationship of the latter two to the established CIA University.

We also discussed the priorities that should guide the CIA's voluntary declassification program. Most of the National Intelligence Estimates on the Soviet Union are in the process of being released or have been released, accompanied by a good deal of other finished intelligence on the USSR. Work on the Director of Central Intelligence's office files continues, with one tranche having been released to the Archives. We discussed the priority to be given to continuing this work, and considered other possible projects.

The committee will meet again in January 2003.