secrecy {fragments}

~ musings on secrecy ~

“Sanitized” CAIB

While searching the CIA’s CREST database at College Park,  I retrieved a “sanitized” copy of Covert Action Information Bulletin, or CAIB (summer 1982 #17). CAIB was first published in 1978, with a title change with #43 to Covert Action Quarterly. Both iterations of the periodical included articles by many well-known journalists and activists. The subject of #17 is “US Fakes Data in Chemical War,” which examined the moratorium on chemical weapons and public concern (and secrecy) with biological warfare during the Nixon administration. The editors write that, “biological warfare is a crime against humanity, and the U.S. government insists it is not engaged in it. The evidence we present refutes those denials.”

The point of this post is not to dismiss the important forensic research published by CAIB/CAQ contributors, or foster debate regarding the parapolitcs of one of its founders, former CIA officer Philip Agee. What I find fascinating is that CIA would “sanitize” and approve for release material that is open source, a publication that had subscribers, could be copied, widely distributed – and held by public and academic libraries.* Nothing appears redacted within the fifty-two page issue, so not sure what “sanitized” for release actually means. This seems almost a failure of the security classification system in terms of cloaking embarrassing or contrary information.

As far as I can tell, a .pdf of #17 isn’t on the Web. Here it is: 17_CAIB fakedata


* A few years after the Church Committee hearings, two years before the CIA Information Act of 1984, and a good three years before CIA v Sims. It was the Reagan years of EO 12356.


Written by S.

June 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm