The CIA's murky past uncovered - classifed documents to reveal the facts
“The summary ranged from some things that really called into question American values, like all the assassination attempts on foreign leaders, all the way down to the fairly routine which was say checking on a former CIA employee to make sure they didn't take classified documents home with them,” Tom Blanton, the National Security Archive Director.
The records are said to shed light on assassination plots against foreign leaders, including the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. They're also believed to reveal details of the “two-year physical confinement” in the mid-1960s of a soviet defector, the infiltration of anti-war groups, and the screening of private mail – including letters to the actress and anti-war activist Jane Fonda.
The CIA also put journalists under surveillance.
“I was covering National Security affairs for the Washington Post as a reporter and, as I've since learned, there was quite a bit of surveillance of me, but I had absolutely no sense of it at all,” Michael Getler, a former Washington Post Correspondent, said.
“It's the first time that we've had in this form the actual highest levels of the government looking at these family jewels, these skeletons in the closet and literally panicking, going into total damage control mode, because so many of these things were horrors,” noted Tom Blanton.
The CIA would have been forced to release the documents eventually under the United States Freedom of Information Act, which states that any person has the right to request access to Federal Agency records. But the decision to do it now may reflect a new openness on the part of the Agency.
However, this all comes at a time when the CIA is under fire for an array of alleged abuses, including the use of torture and secret prisons.