from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 37
April 5, 2007

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The Central Intelligence Agency has released a newly declassified version of its closely-held internal history of the Berlin Tunnel Operation, which was an effort in the mid-1950s to tap into Soviet communications through a tunnel constructed in the Soviet sector of Berlin. The operation was famously compromised by a Soviet mole in British intelligence before it even began.

The official CIA history of the operation was prepared in 1968 and published -- in two copies. A declassified version was finally approved for release in February 2007.

See "Clandestine Services History: The Berlin Tunnel Operation, 1952-1956," 24 June 1968:

CIA internal histories are a largely untapped resource since the Agency has been slow to declassify and release them.

A previously published CIA account of the Berlin Tunnel operation, which includes links to limited excerpts from other internal histories of the episode, is here:

A clandestine services history of the 1953 coup in Iran was leaked to the New York Times in 2000, after the CIA refused to declassify it. The document is available from the National Security Archive here:


A former polygrapher for the Central Intelligence Agency has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Agency unlawfully retaliated against him for publishing a critical account of CIA polygraph programs.

John Sullivan, author of the forthcoming book "Gatekeeper: Memoirs of a CIA Polygraph Examiner," argued that his security clearance was improperly revoked in the course of a lengthy pre-publication review dispute, though it was ultimately restored.

"The CIA's treatment of John Sullivan, a former employee who dared speak out, is indicative of a pattern and practice by the CIA of unlawful and disgraceful retaliation through the abuse of the security clearance process," said Mark S. Zaid, the attorney who is representing Mr. Sullivan.

The allegations were described in an April 5 press release, available here:

The CIA response to the lawsuit will be posted when it is filed.


At the request of Sen. Carl Levin, the Department of Defense has declassified most of its February 2007 Inspector General report on the pre-Iraq war activities of the DoD Office of Special Plans, led by Douglas Feith.

"It is important for the public to see why the Pentagon's Inspector General concluded that Secretary Feith's office 'developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship,' which included 'conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community,' and why the Inspector General concluded that these actions were 'inappropriate'," Sen. Levin said.

"Until today, those details were classified and outside the public's view."

See this news release from Sen. Levin, with a link to the newly declassified report:

Mr. Feith's Office issued a January 2007 rebuttal to a draft version of the IG report that is available here:


"Congressional Access to Classified National Security Information" is the subject of a report prepared by Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies on the occasion of a March 30 forum on the subject sponsored by and the Center for American Progress.

Government attorneys defended their contention that some evidence to be presented to the jury in the upcoming trial of two former AIPAC officials should be withheld from the public, a position criticized by the defense as prejudicial and unconstitutional. See the government brief (first reported April 5 by the New York Sun) here:

Having declassified some eight million pages of historical records relating to Nazi and Japanese Imperial Army war crimes, the largest single-subject declassification program has now come to a close, the National Archives noted in an April 2 news release.

As a public service, the National Archives posts a new daily document of historical interest each day on its web site. Not all of them will be of interest to everyone, but the series as a whole has the potential to serve as an educational stimulus for students and citizens. Today's (April 5) document is a 1940 photograph of "Leon Trotsky and American admirers":


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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