WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT THE CIA'S BROKEN PROMISES
"George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, is responsible for directing an espionage empire that includes several large agencies and an overall annual budget of $27 billion. It is hard to believe that he and Congress cannot come up with enough money to more speedily review and declassify cold-war intelligence records. Unsealing archives is essential to the sound management of intelligence agencies in a free and open society. All but a handful of secrets necessitated by war, diplomacy and espionage must eventually be disclosed in a democracy, for secrecy over time breeds insularity and a lack of accountability. The Central Intelligence Agency itself has often exhibited the arrogance and misconduct that come of excessive secrecy.... [E]ven at the agency's estimated cost of $2 per page, the expense of an expanded declassification effort would produce barely a ripple in the generous intelligence budget. This history is too important to neglect. Mr. Tenet has surrendered without a fight."
—New York Times editorial, July 19, 1998
"The agency has published some documents from two of [the] operations: the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the successful 1954 coup against the Guatemalan Government. In the case of Guatemala, the release so far represents less than 2 percent of the available files. It became clear today that the agency never undertook a serious effort to declassify the remaining nine operations."
—News article on day of Tenet's announcement to shut down the Historical Review program, New York Times, July 15, 1998
"The Agency had done such a brilliant public relations snow job, moreover, that in numerous conversations with people in and outside academia I was frequently told how the CIA was moving towards openness, a carefully nurtured myth that was not at all easy for me to dispel.... Promises were still being made regarding release of documents on the acknowledged covert operations, but as yet there had been no releases.... In an especially chilling moment, one troglodyte from the Directorate of Operations referred to the Executive Order as that 'silly old law."'
—Speech by George C. Herring, Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and former member of the CIA's Historical Review Board, Jan. 1997, republished in the May 1997 newsletter of the Organization of American Historians.
"Nobody believes them any more. The real problem at the CIA is the way they declassify, deleting information that can easily be found in the public arena, sometimes on the front pages of The Washington Post and the New York Times."
—Historian Anna Nelson, member of the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board, in The Washington Post, July 16,1998
"The Review Board encountered early CIA resistance to making records available to the Review Board, as well as resistance to the ultimate disclosure of records. A small number of CIA staff officers, almost exclusively from the Directorate of Operations, unnecessarily impeded the process and damaged the Agency's interests by resisting compromise with all-or-nothing positions."
—Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, Sept. 30, 1998