To kick off Sunshine Week, Catherine Shreve, the librarian for public policy and political science at Duke University's Perkins Library lists her five favorite declassified documents.
3. Bay of Pigs: Military Evaluation of the Central Intelligence Agency Para-Military Plan, Cuba. This memo from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara in early 1961 foreshadowed the humiliating failure of President Kennedy's Cuban invasion. It reads in part: "The amphibious assault should be successful even if lightly opposed; however the personnel and plans for logistic support are marginal at best. Against moderate, determined resistance logistic support as presently planned will be inadequate."
4. Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction: Senate Report 109-331 "Postwar Findings about Iraq's WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare with Prewar Assessments (unclassified version)". This 2006 report refuted President George W. Bush's reason for invading Iraq -- that it was developing weapons of mass destruction.
In part, it says: "Postwar findings support the assessment...that claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are 'highly dubious.'"
5. John Nash letters to National Security Agency. A find that made me smile, remembering the movie "A Beautiful Mind" based on the brilliant but schizophrenic mathematician John Nash. In this handwritten letter, he proposes an enciphering-deciphering machine he has invented. "I hope my handwriting, etc. do not give the impression I am just a crank or circle-squarer."
Top 5 Formerly Top Secret Documents
A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon’s 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon’s political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, “In keeping with best practices for major Internet providers to issue periodic transparency reports, Public Resource would like to issue two reports.
In a thoughtful New York Times editorial, science fiction giant William Gibson mediates on the difference between the privacy that individuals have and deserve, the privacy that governments assert (“What does it mean, in an ostensible democracy, for the state to keep secrets from its citizens?”), and what this will mean for the historians of […]
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