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20 June 1997

Over the last few years there has been a revolution in the way intelligence records are researched and declassified for publication in Foreign Relations volumes. The Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) at CIA has put in place new policies and procedures that are working, and that already are evident in published and soon-to-be published Foreign Relations volumes.

Most importantly, CIA is now meeting all of the research and declassification requirements and deadlines of the 1991 legislation.

Our Center works closely with the State historian and with other officials there to assist in the publication of thorough and accurate documentary diplomatic histories. We also have been highly responsive to the many recommendations of the statutory Advisory Committee and its chairman, and we welcome the suggestions and views of all concerned. It was the 1991 legislation, of course, that impelled most of these changes. But the initiatives we have taken are ones that many in CIA--we historians in particular--have advocated in principle for many years.

I'd like to tell you more specifically about the new policies and procedures we have put in place since 1994, all of them in the spirit of greater openness promised by a succession of CIA directors.

Thus, as I've said, over the last few years there has been a revolution in the way CIA supports Foreign Relations. The new policies and procedures I have cited have resulted in much closer collaboration between CIA and State and its Advisory Committee. Foreign Relations volumes are more comprehensive. Important intelligence contributions to foreign policy are now much more likely to be included in volumes. Research in intelligence records and declassification review have been greatly expedited. Denials and redaction of documents have been reduced as the Agency's new standards of greater openness have been applied over the last few years. Very high-level review bodies have been established and are functioning well. There is no longer a possibility, in my view, that arbitrary, uncoordinated, or unreviewed denials or records will be made by CIA. And all this is the way it should be.

But, of course, we recognize another dimension of all this: the US Government will not be able to release every line of every document that State historians are likely to request for inclusion in Foreign Relations volumes. And thus there likely will continue to be controversies that all of us should discuss openly and constructively, and understand, in order to minimize or even eliminate contention.

Generally, information is withheld because of both intelligence and current policy concerns. My experience has been that at the appeals stages of declassification review it is just as likely to be one as the other.

So, despite all of the constructive initiatives that have been taken over the last few years in support of thorough and accurate Foreign Relations volumes, new declassification controversies perhaps cannot be avoided. My personal hope, as a professional historian, a university professor, and a long-time foreign intelligence officer, is that these controversies can be discussed openly and constructively and that understanding by all of us of each others interests and constraints will sustain a scholarly dialogue.

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