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    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    #CENSORED ?! CIA Plans to Destroy Some of Its Old Leak Files

    The National Archives has tentatively approved a proposal to let the agency get rid of files that don’t have historical value. Historians fear there’s a lot of room for error. The CIA is scheduled to begin destroying old records related to leaks of classified information in August unless critics convince the National Archives to scuttle the plan.

    The National Archives and Records Administration tentatively approved a CIA proposal to get rid of several types of records after 30 years. Along with leak-tied files, the record types include medical records, behavioral conduct files, security clearance information, personality files with counterintelligence interests, workers-compensation reports for employees posted overseas, and declassification and referral files.

    Leak-related files currently have to be saved permanently, but under this proposal they can be destroyed 30 years after a case is closed.

    NARA told government agencies to propose buckets of files with no historical value to get rid of and the CIA offered its initial plan in October 2012. NARA approved it June 5, but there is a 45-day comment period before it takes effect. The general public has until July 19 to comment on the proposal and activists are arguing against what they see as a housekeeping measure that could erase documents at one of the most secretive government agencies.

    NARA says the “unauthorized releases of classified information records,” aka leaks, have little research importance and that significant leak cases are saved for posterity elsewhere, like in legal records, so this bunch of files can be purged.

    The CIA wouldn’t say anything about the contents of the leak material headed for evisceration, beyond pointing to a paragraph-long description in an appraisal report, written by NARA officials: “Case files relating to investigations of alleged violations of Executive Orders, laws, or agency regulations for the safeguarding of national security information, including those referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) or Department of Defense (DoD).”

    Nate Jones, director of the Freedom Of Information Act Project at the nonprofit National Security Archive, expects information about notable leaks and more would fall into this category.

    “I suspect the majority is any leak of CIA classified information to a newspaper, magazine, or book, which happens very frequently, not just the high-profile cases,” said Jones, a critic of CIA records demolition.

    Jones warns that NARA and the CIA should err on the side of preservation, even if they believe the files at issue are backed up elsewhere. “History has shown that they are too eager to destroy their records,” he said of CIA officials. “The CIA does not have a lot of good will for preserving historically relevant documents.”

    For example, just last month, it came to light that the spy agency chucked records about this country’s secret role in the 1953 Iran coup during an office move, when it believed copies existed someplace else.

    A new 971-page Foreign Relations of the United States’ volume containing the official record of the CIA's clandestine Iran insurrection operation, codenamed TPAJAX, said irreplaceable microfilmed cables got deleted.

    “The original CIA cables relating to the implementation of the covert action TPAJAX no longer exist,” the volume said. “There is no written record confirming the destruction of the 1953 microfilmed cables” because “records of such routine destruction were themselves temporary and scheduled to be destroyed.”

    Read more info at thedailybeast.com

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