After years of fighting with Freedom of Information Act requesters, the CIA has finally uploaded over 12 million documents to its website. While many of the documents have been declassified for some time, the pages were intentionally hard to access, and only available on a few computers sitting at the US National Archives. But now, anyone can search the documents from anywhere.
“We’ve been working on this for a very long time and this is one of the things I wanted to make sure got done before I left,” the CIA’s Joseph Lambert told Jason Leopold from BuzzFeed. Lambert will be retiring soon after 32 years with the agency.
The files contain everything from the CIA’s strange mind control experiments to reports on Communist activity around the world. Many of the pages have already been liberated by the likes of researcher Michael Best and Leopold himself, and uploaded to places like Archive.org. But they’re now all there at the CIA website for your own searching pleasure. All 12 million of them.
A quick search for names like “Donald Trump” yield little more than newspaper clippings from the 1980s about government contracts and “the party of the century.” But those don’t even tell the full story. As you can see from the big white box in the upper right hand corner, they’ve been “sanitised” for release. Why was the CIA keeping newspaper clippings like that? We may have to wait a few more decades to find out.