The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was established in 1961 and has grown into one of the US government’s largest intelligence organizations. It employs 17,000 people, including thousands stationed overseas, and its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. On November 20, the National Security Archive posted a new sourcebook of over 50 declassified documents that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history. [more inside]
Distractions in Space: Because astronauts also have problems with directions, coworkers, and poop.
Newly declassified documents show the United States had full knowledge of the Katyn massacre, the Soviet massacre of 22,000 Polish officers. The Soviets attempted to blame Nazi Germany. The scars of Katyn remain on Poland, after the Russian State Duma admitted and condemned Stalin's role in Katyn, a delegation of 130 prominent Poles including the President on their way to commemorate the 70th anniversary at the site died in a plane crash.
In 2006, the United States Air Force declassified part of one of its secret programs: Constant Peg, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which flew MiGs. [more inside]
"Only July 10, 1971, America's newest photo reconnaissance satellite, the KH-9 Hexagon, dropped a capsule loaded with film towards the Earth. The reentry vehicle was supposed to open its parachute; an American aircraft would snatch it out of the sky in mid-descent. But the chute was never unfurled. The reentry vehicle hit the Pacific Ocean with a force of approximately 2600 Gs. And then it sunk down into the deep, before settling at 16,000 feet."
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
Declassified secrets about the top-secret U.S. military base Area 51 revealed: Great food, cash-stuffed briefcases, no UFOs.
(Still) Declassified. "In January 2009, I had an idea; photograph people in their homes that have placed a wide variety of personal advertisements. Although I imagined most people wouldn’t want to give up their anonymity, I rightly imagined some would be willing to. " [more inside]
George Washington University's National Security Archive carries a collection of declassified US documents and articles on Saddam Hussein; Mexico, Cuba and other Latin American countries; Nixon's meeting with Elvis; the CIA and Nazi war criminals; etc.