CIA must not be given broad discretion to destroy its historical records

OpenTheGovernment is joining calls to halt the CIA’s proposal to destroy records it considers historically “insignificant.” The CIA’s proposal, submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) last month, could give the agency broad authority to destroy crucial documentary evidence of the CIA’s activities, including information from the CIA’s investigative files, counterintelligence records, documents on CIA assets (spy files), as well as CIA investigations into cases of alleged leaks of classified information.

The CIA’s track record of improper and illegal destruction of important records amplifies concerns over the latest proposal. Notable cases include the destruction of irreplaceable records on the U.S. role in the 1953 Iranian coup and the destruction of videotapes of CIA agents using waterboarding and other forms of torture at CIA black sites. In 2014, OpenTheGovernment and coalition partners led efforts to halt the CIA’s proposal to destroy emails of all but 22 senior agency officials, citing numerous cases that demonstrate the “culture of destruction” of documents that exists at the agency. We are again urging the National Archives to reconsider its pending approval of the CIA’s proposal until NARA can assure the public that important records of historic value will not be lost.

Today is the final day to submit comments to the National Archives urging the reconsideration of the pending approval of the CIA records schedule. Submit your own comments to

Read the comments submitted yesterday on the CIAs proposal, here.  


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