Sunday, December 8, 2013


     The CIA Library contains a wealth of intelligence information. The CIA releases millions of pages of documents each year and mounds of these declassified documents as well as current publications are easy to obtain at this site. The CIA Library used to be open only to their 
personnel and contained over 125,000 books and archives of over 1,700 periodicals. However, the new digital library has opened up to the public online, without risking national security (I hope).
     Although I viewed the CIA Museum at CIA HQ in Langley, VA a few years back when I attended an AFIO seminar on the OSS, I couldn't gain access to the library (photo above). This  main library has a large reference collection that includes the usual research tools: encyclopedias, dictionaries,  commercial directories, atlases, diplomatic lists, foreign and domestic phone books, CD-ROMS, web-based resources, journals, foreign and domestic newspapers, monographs and extensive commercial database services.
     The good news is that not all this information (for obvious reasons), but much of it is accessible via the Digital Library. A best-kept secret is that the CIA main library participates in inter-library loans of circulating items with many colleges and universities around the U.S.
     The CIA Library's Historical Intelligence Collection is primarily open-source and dedicated to the collection, retention, and exploitation of material dealing with the intelligence profession. Currently there are over 25,000 books and an extensive collection of press clippings on that subject.

     You can obtain additional information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act of 1974. There are recommended procedures you must follow when requesting vital and unclassified information and chances are you may have to appeal after an initial request is denied. But, such documents are, indeed, obtainable. Just use common sense when requesting unclassified and vital 
government information. If our enemies could benefit from what you are innocently requesting, for the good of the order...don't ask!

Our Pick!
Further reading

Robert Morton, Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online Spy thriller "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean." The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Got a thought, article or comment you'd like to submit? Contact him on the SECURE CONTACT FORM

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