The CIA Is Closing the Office That Declassifies Historical Documents
As a result of the sequester-induced budget cuts, the CIA is closing the Historical Collections Division office, which declassifies historical documents, and transferring the division’s responsibilities to the office that handles FOIA requests.
The Historical Collections Division is described on its website as “an important part of CIA’s ongoing effort to be more open and to provide for more public accountability.” It is a “voluntary declassification program that focuses on records of historical value,” including information on the Vietnam War, spy satellites, the Bay of Pigs and other historical scandals and operations.
Neither of America’s two major political parties is definitively “pro-transparency” or “pro-obstructionism,” so unlike when the CIA closed the GOP-maligned Center on Climate Change and National Security, closing this office isn’t a victory for anyone—least of all, for Americans who want to see more transparency in government.
Ken Dilanian at the Los Angeles Times reported quoted Washington lawyer Mark Zaid, who said, “this move is a true loss to the public.” According to Zaid, the CIA office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests “is the most obstructionist and unfriendly of those I have dealt with during the last two decades.”