CIA to release decades of classified files

The WaPo reports:

The CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing some of the intelligence agency's worst illegal abuses -- the so-called "family jewels" documenting a quarter-century of overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

The documents, to be publicly released next week, also include accounts of break-ins and theft, the agency's opening of private mail to and from China and the Soviet Union, wiretaps and surveillance of journalists, and a series of "unwitting" tests on U.S. civilians, including the use of drugs.

"Most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA's history," Hayden said in a speech to a conference of foreign policy historians. The documents have been sought for decades by historians, journalists and conspiracy theorists and have been the subject of many fruitless Freedom of Information Act requests.
Hopefully there'll be tons of information on the Middle East. Some things I'd like to see:
  • Details of CIA involvement in the coup against Mussadeq
  • CIA contacts with Saddam Hussein in Cairo in the late 1960s
  • CIA covert action against the Nasser regime
  • CIA covert action in support of Morocco's Hassan II in the 1970s
  • Whether there's any truth to the weird conspiracies you hear about the CIA and the Church of Scientology in the 1970s in the Middle East, and other bizarre stories
  • CIA information about the Israeli nuclear program in the 1960s (long alleged to have been repressed)
  • CIA intelligence on Saudi and other Arab royals
Now that would be fun.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.