Foreign Affairs: Trapped in the Archives. “Did the United States have a hand in assassinating Congolese and Dominican leaders in 1961? What did President Richard Nixon’s White House know about a successful plot to kill the head of the Chilean army in 1970? After the Cold War ended, did top U.S. military commanders retain the authority to strike back if a surprise nuclear attack put the president out of commission? The answers to these and other historical mysteries are likely knowable—but they are locked in presidential libraries and government archives and inaccessible to researchers. The reason: the U.S. government’s system for declassifying and processing historical records has reached a state of crisis.” A really important read. Please do not miss this one.
Chicago Sun-Times: The FBI Files . “The Chicago Sun-Times has compiled FBI records on people and groups with ties to, or of particular interest to, the Chicago region and Illinois. They can be viewed through this portal, with new ones to be added regularly. Beside shining a light on historical events and people and giving a glimpse of how law enforcement operates, some of the files, as you’ll see, are just plain entertaining.”
MakeUseOf: 5 Freedom of Information Sites Full of Declassified Documents and Secrets. “Leaks from whistle-blowers and informants often lead to damaging exposes like with WikiLeaks. But more and more hidden information is surfacing through common people and activists. The trailblazers leverage the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the USA and its equivalents in other countries. These portals show how they are forcing changes and making an impact, and even gives you the power and guidelines to dig out data yourself.”
CNET: The FBI looked into Bigfoot legend, and you can read the documents. “On Wednesday, the FBI Records Vault Twitter account brought our attention to an intriguing set of documents involving the agency’s role in a Bigfoot investigation in 1976 and 1977. The collection spans 22 pages of correspondence and newspaper clippings starting with a letter the FBI sent in response to Peter Byrne, director of The Bigfoot Information Center in Oregon. “
Motherboard: Researchers Are Liberating Thousands of Pages of Forgotten Hacking History From the Government. “In 1989, just a few months after the web became a reality, a computer worm infected thousands of computers across the world, including those of NASA. The worm showed a message on the screens of the infected computers: ‘Your System Has Been Officially WANKed.’ Late last month—30 years after the ‘WANK worm’ struck NASA—the agency released an internal report that the agency wrote at the time, thanks to a journalist and a security researcher who have embarked on a project to use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents on historical hacking incidents.”
National Archives: Declassified Records Shed Light on Argentine History. “The largest government-to-government declassification release in United States history, the latest release represents the final stage of an effort by the U.S. Government to search, identify, review for public access, and provide records that shed light on human-rights abuses in Argentina between 1975 and 1984, committed during the military dictatorship of that nation (1976–1983).”
Ars Technica: Declassified photos from U2 planes are helping archaeologists unlock the past. “During the 1950s and 1960s, US spy planes made regular flights across Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, photographing the terrain to track military targets. A chunk of the Middle Eastern photographs were declassified in 1997, and now those airborne images are helping archaeologists track changing features in the landscape that in many cases are no longer visible today, according to a new paper published in Advances in Archaeological Practice.”