FOIA News

FOIA News Spotlight

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Federal Reserve Releases Public Sections of Resolution Plans

The Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently made available the public portions of resolution plans for 116 financial institutions. As part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, bank holding companies (and foreign companies treated as bank holding companies) with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more, as well as nonbank financial companies designated for enhanced supervision, are required to periodically submit resolution plans to the agencies. These plans describe the strategy of each institution for a rapid and order resolution in the event of material financial distress or failure of the company.

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CFPB Continues to Update Consumer Complaint Database

Launched in June 2012, the Consumer Complaint Database of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was initially populated with credit card complaints and has since expanded to include consumer complaints regarding other products and services handled by the agency, such as debt collection, student loans, and mortgages. A year after launching, the database contains over 176,000 entries with additional data added on a rolling basis. The database also allows the public to view data by product, as well as to visualize, sort, or downloadthe data.

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FSIS Releases Public Service YouTube Series

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service has released a series of public service announcement videos on YouTube detailing practical steps to reducing the risk of food poisoning. The “Check Your Steps” series illustrates the four safe food handling behaviors – clean, separate, cook, and chill – in order to bring awareness to the issue and help individuals understand food poisoning risks.

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FAA Consolidates Information on Incidents Where a Laser Pointer was Aimed at an Aircraft

FAA Consolidates Information on Incidents Where a Laser Pointer was Aimed at an Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on February 14, 2012, amended Title 18 of the United States Code, making it a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. The FAA has created a dedicated program page for such incidents, providing the latest news on occurrences as well as releases related to enforcement actions. The page also has information on the hazards and effects of lasers, as well as the ability for the public to report a laser incident.

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IMLS Launches New Open Data Page

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently launched a new webpage detailing the agency’s commitment to open data and information sharing. In addition to the annually updated Public Libraries Survey dataset the agency included on this new page the Museum Universe Data file, a geo-referenced list of known museums in the United States. All datasets are available in machine readable formats and the agency will continue to expand upon the information available on this page on a regular basis.

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NRC Continues to Update Collection of Public Records

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to update its Agency-wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS), the agency’s official recordkeeping system, with new documents. The system provides public access to two collections of documents -- the Publicly Available Records System (PARS) Library and the Public Legacy Library. The PARS Library currently contains more than 730,000 full-text documents released by the agency since the end of 1999, with hundreds of new documents added each day. The Public Legacy Library contains more than 2 million bibliographic citations for documents dating back to the 1980s. The ADAMS interface provides the public with a search engine to conduct full-text searches and document downloads of these libraries.

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USAID Agency Seal

USAID Releases Transaction-Level Financial Data for First Time

The U.S. Agency for International Development released for the first time transaction-level financial data and information for investment recipients of agency funds. Totaling 75,000 records across 30 data fields, the agency interface (which is also available in an IATI-compliant format) allows members of the public to download and search data showing recipients of agency funding and how much was spent in a given time period the recipient.

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BOEM Launches Interactive Renewable Energy Activity Map

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the Department of the Interior has created an interactive map that displays and describes the Bureau’s renewable energy-related activities across the United States. With projects located across the Outer Continental Shelf, the map provides summaries and supporting information on the status of activities in different states across the nation.

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FBI Releases Files on Notable Figures

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has added the FBI files of Joe Paterno, Ray Bradbury, United States (U.S.) Senator Robert Byrd, and U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson to its electronic records library, the Vault. The FBI files cover a wide range of materials regarding these figures including investigations into threats against them, and investigations by the FBI into the individuals themselves. With thousands of documents now available, dating between 1955 (Senator Byrd's records) and the 1990s, these files provide valuable insight into the lives of these individuals as well as a snapshot of the FBI's own history.

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CIA Declassifies and Releases Documents on Secret 1972 Spy Satellite Capsule Recovery Mission

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently declassified and released documents and photographs detailing a secret CIA and U.S. Navy joint mission to recover a capsule of information from the HEXAGON spy satellite that crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 1972. The capsule, stuck 16,400 feet below the surface of the ocean, was recovered by the U.S. Navy's most advanced deep sea submersible at the time, and the documents detail how the CIA and Navy undertook the mission and recovered the capsule.

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State Department Posts Collection of Documents Related to the Keystone XL Project

The Department of State has posted a collection of documents related to the proposed construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline project and the Canadian Oil Sands. Dating between 2006 and 2012, the documents detail views of various stakeholders including environmental, historical, and cultural concerns regarding the construction. Additionally, the collection contains communications between the State Department and TransCanada Corporation, Members of Congress, and the Canadian embassy regarding the project through its various phases.

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The White House Beer Brewing

White House Chef Releases Recipe for Homebrewed Beer

A recent online petition on We the People asking that the White House release the recipes for homebrewed beers in the White House Mess was followed up by a number of FOIA requests. Though the Mess is itself not subject to the FOIA, White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass released the recipes for the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter through the White House Blog. The post also includes a video tour of the Mess explaining how beer is homebrewed at the White House.

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Released Documents Show Inner Workings of al-Qaeda Leadership

The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), located at the U.S. Army's West Point Academy, has released a study of seventeen de-classified documents captured during the U.S. military raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan last year. These documents, dated between September 2006 and April 2011, consist of internal letters from al-Qaeda leaders, most notably Osama bin Laden. In addition to the report, the CTC has also released the letters themselves, with 175 pages in the original Arabic, and 197 pages in the English translation. The letters provide a comprehensive look into the inner workings of al-Qaeda through the final days of bin Laden's life.

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NASA Releases Data and Images for the Entire Sky

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released a new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky, capping off a project that began over 14 years ago. Using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), astronomers were able to capture images of nearly a half-billion objects, such as planets, stars and galaxies that make up our universe. NASA has combined the individual images taken by the WISE project and put them into 18,000 images, which are currently available to the public. The entire atlas represents one of the clearest images of our universe to date.

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FBI Releases File on Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs (2/24/55 – 10/5/11) is known worldwide as a co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc., and for dynamic keynote speeches introducing such products as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. The files released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), totaling 191 pages, concern a background investigation conducted when Mr.Jobs was being considered for an appointment to the President's Export Council in 1991, as well as an investigation into a bomb threat made against Apple in 1985.

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NRC Releases Report From Japan Task Force

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released its report with recommendations from the agency following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi site in Japan in March 2011. Prepared by the NRC’s Japan Task Force, with a summary of events at the Japan nuclear site, the ninety-six page report presents a regulatory framework for the 21st century, taking lessons learned from this event into consideration. The NRC has also posted this report alongside other materials collected by the agency on the Fukushima Daiichi incident, such as news releases, speeches, testimony, and congressional correspondence, providing a vast resource for the public on this topic.

VIEW The Summary

 
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FEC Updates Campaign Finance Database for 2012 Election

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has updated the campaign finance reports and data available through its website, to include disclosure filings for the 2012 campaign season.  Financial disclosure reports and data from federal candidates, political action committees, and political parties are available for public review as they are made available to the FEC.  This database contains reports that have been submitted to the FEC on either a quarterly or monthly basis, going back to the 1999-2000 election cycle.

search The database

 
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NASA Launches New Open Source Data Portal

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) has launched a new open source data website, code.nasa.gov.  The site expands on the agency’s ongoing open source activities, serving existing projects, while providing new and expanding forums for future programs and discussions.  The site also offers guidance on how to engage with the open source process, as well as providing points of contact at the agency.  With NASA’s belief that the space and science systems of the future will be designed and built in the open, the goal of code.nasa.gov is to create a visible community and hub that will allow open source projects to contribute to the formulation of new hardware and software projects for the agency.

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DOJ Posts Report To Congress On Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has released the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress on the Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons for Fiscal Year 2010.  The report, prepared by the Department’s Office of Legal Policy, provides a summary of activities from fiscal year 2010, recommendations for fiscal year 2011, as well as a breakdown of activities from across the federal government in providing benefits and services to trafficking victims, details on investigations and prosecutions, and training and outreach to various agencies to combat trafficking in persons.  The 218-page report provides a view into the Department’s multi-agency and international efforts to combat this issue.

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FCC Unveils New Website with Spectrum Dashboard

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has unveiled an updated website including an interactive Spectrum Dashboard. Spectrum is the range of electromagnetic frequencies used to transmit sound, data, and video across the country. This interface allows the public to find out how broadcast spectrum bands are being used, which parts of the spectrum are available, and who owns spectrum licenses from the national to the local scale. The Dashboard allows users to search the broadcast spectrum in multiple ways, including by browsing maps, business names, and frequency ranges. The Spectrum Dashboard allows the public to learn more about how this finite resource is being used and managed.

learn about the spectrum dashboard

 
Central Intelligence Agency Seal

CIA Releases Historical Collection of Reagan-Era Intelligence

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has posted over 200 documents, which were provided to President Reagan during the Cold War. These documents, some being made available to the public for the first time, focus on key issues affecting U.S.-Soviet relations during the 1980s. Additional, non-CIA documents from the Reagan Presidential Library are included in this historical collection to provide a policy context for the newly-released material. The CIA has also released on its YouTube channel numerous video briefings made for President Reagan, including clips of President Reagan speaking on intelligence topics, and interviews with the President's National Security Team. Please note that these videos, while released by the CIA on its official channel, are made available on YouTube, which is not a government operated website.

VIEW The youtube channel   |   Read the Article

 
Department of Justice Seal

DOJ Posts Departmental Budget Memos

The Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice has posted numerous memoranda from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General regarding the Department's budget in its FOIA Library. Focusing on the end of Fiscal Year 2011 through the beginning of Fiscal Year 2012, these memoranda highlight efforts to reduce spending and identify fiscal efficiencies. The memoranda reveal the importance placed on fiscal and budget issues from the highest levels of the Department's leadership.

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FBI Releases Material on Operation Ghost Stories

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released dozens of still images, surveillance video clips, and documents related to Operation Ghost Stories, which led to the arrests of ten Russian spies last year. The pictures and videos released by the FBI were taken during the decade-long investigation, and the documents were compiled by FBI investigators during the course of their investigation. While much information in the documents remains redacted, the FBI has provided descriptions of their content, and the accompanying videos and pictures provide a fascinating look at an contemporary espionage investigation.

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DOJ Posts Newly-Digitized Legislative Histories

DOJ Posts Newly-Digitized Legislative Histories

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun digitizing and publicly releasing its unique collection of the legislative histories of a number of laws of the United States. These histories were originally researched and collected from Congressional publications, and were bound into paper volumes by DOJ law librarians. Until recently, these multi-volume histories were only available to DOJ employees, but are now available on the Department's website, with many more being added regularly. These histories provide a roadmap of laws' consideration, passage by Congress, and signature by the President, and often include: U.S. Public Law; House and Senate Documents, Reports, and Hearings; Congressional Debates (and excerpts from the Congressional Record); related Bills; and Presidential Statements.

Read More   |   View the Histories

 
FAA Releases Airport Control Tower Transcripts from Southwest Flight 812

FAA Releases Airport Control Tower Transcripts from Southwest Flight 812

The Federal Aviation Administration has released audio recordings and transcripts from Southwest flight 812, which made an emergency landing on April 1, 2011 in Yuma Arizona after developing a hole in cabin of the aircraft midflight.

 

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DOD Releases Cyberspace Strategy

DOD Releases Cyberspace Strategy

The Department of Defense (DOD) has released its first strategy for operating in cyberspace, laying the groundwork for protecting the United States from network attacks.  The strategy includes five “pillars” critical to denying or minimizing any cyber attack, including treating cyberspace as an operational domain, just like land, sea, air, and space, and working with the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector to protect critical national infrastructure.    

VIEW The News Release

 
CIA Releases Documentary Film

CIA Releases Documentary Film "Extraordinary Fidelity"

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released on its' official YouTube channel the film “Extraordinary Fidelity”, which documents the story of CIA Officers John T. Downey and Richard G. Fecteau.  The officers were captured and held by the Chinese government after their plane was shot down during a classified mission in 1952.  Both officers were released in the early 1970s .  The film was produced by the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence, which has also made available a wealth of information about the failed mission, the officers’ captivity, and their eventual release.  Please note that the film, though released by the CIA on it’s official channel, is available on YouTube, which is not a government operated website.

VIEW The Movie   |   Read the Article

 
Pentagon Papers Declassified and Released

Pentagon Papers Declassified and Released

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in conjunction with the Presidential Libraries of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, have released the complete report titled "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force," unofficially known as the "Pentagon Papers." Originally commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967, portions of the report were leaked to the press in 1971, and widely reported and distributed. The official release of this report coincides with the 40th anniversary of this leak to the press, and contains 7,000 unredacted and declassified pages. Unlike other versions of the report, this official release is now available without redactions, including significant new information and back-documentation which is presented just as it originally was on January 15, 1969 to Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford.

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USCIS Releases Immigration File of John Lennon

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released hundreds of pages of documents relating to the late John Lennon.  These materials, dating to the 1960s and 1970s, detail the nature of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service's file on Mr. Lennon, and include records relating to Mr. Lennon's visa application as well as on deportation efforts against him.

 

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NRC Issues Summary of Recent U.S. Nuclear Plant Inspections

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released a summary of NRC inspectors’ recent examinations of the abilities of the nation’s 104 operating nuclear power plants to deal with power losses or damage to a reactor site following an extreme event.  In addition to this summary, all of the individual plant inspections are also available for review.  These inspections were carried out in the aftermath of the March 2011 natural disasters in Japan, and the resulting damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

 

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ODNI Releases Intelligence Community Directives, Policy Guidance, and Policy Memoranda

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has posted over sixty documents relating to directives and policy for the different entities that make up the U.S. intelligence community (IC).  These Intelligence Community Directives (ICDs), Intelligence Community Policy Guidance (ICPGs), and Intelligence Community Policy Memoranda (ICPMs), convey overarching direction, policy and program objectives, and implementing instructions, respectively, for the IC.

 

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CIA Declassifies Oldest Documents in U.S. Government Collection

The Central Intelligence Agency declassified the United States Government's six oldest classified documents, dating from 1917 and 1918. These documents, which describe secret writing techniques and are housed at the National Archives, are believed to be the only remaining classified documents from the World War I era.

 

 

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FBI Unveils New Online Records Center - The Vault

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched a new electronic records library, named "The Vault." The Vault contains more than 2,000 documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies, including more than 25 new files that have been released to the public but never added to the FBI website; dozens of records previously posted on the FBI site but removed as requests diminished; and files from the FBI's previous electronic records library.  The Vault also includes several new tools and resources for readers' convenience, including the ability to search for records by topic or keyword within files, and an open source document viewer, so readers don't need to have their own file software to view records in The Vault.

 

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Seal of the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB Releases Information Regarding Ted Stevens Plane Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board, as a part of its investigation into the August 2010 plane crash in Alaska involving former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, and eight others, has released the accident docket to the public.  The docket includes over 700 pages of factual reports on such topics as: meteorology, aircraft performance, airworthiness, survival factors and human performance.

 

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NSA Releases Documents Related to the Cuban Missile Crisis

The National Security Agency has released documents on the subject of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The documents available are from 1960-1963, 1969, as well as some undated material. These documents are PDF copies of formerly classified papers, and reports that have been declassified.

 

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U.S. Secret Service Releases Documents of the Reagan Assassination Attempt

Nearly 30 years after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. Secret Service has released an audio recording, transcripts, and internal interviews examining the event. The interview reports and other documents were recently released under a Freedom of Information Act request and are now available on the Secret Service FOIA website.

 

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USAID releases information on contracts related to the reconstruction of Iraq

USAID assistance helps to build a foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Iraq. It bridges the transition from the short-term provision of essential services to long-term, integrated, and Iraqi-led development. USAID's overarching goal is to contribute to the stability and development of Iraq as part of the broader U.S. government effort.

The released information covers a vast array of USAID's contracts and grants in Iraq, broken down into the following categories: expanding economic opportunity, stabilizing strategic cities, improving the efficiency and accountability of Iraq's government, restoring essential infrastructure, supporting health and education, and humanitarian assistance.

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FAA releases airport control tower transcripts from the crash landing of US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009

The Federal Aviation Administration has released the complete transcripts for the US Airways flight 1549, which landed in the Hudson River in January of 2009. Note that all air traffic communications for LaGuardia tower (LGA), Teterboro tower (TEB), and the New York Tracon (N90) in the time period surrounding the accident are included in the transcripts on the FAA site. However, most of the communications with the pilot while the aircraft was in the air are contained in the tape and transcript for the New York Tracon.

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Photo of Air Force One backup jet and F-16 fighter jet

Office of the Secretary of Defense release documents and photos on the Air Force One Flyover of New York City on July 31, 2009

The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have released the full documents and photographs pertaining to the July 31, 2009 flyover of an Air Force One backup jet (accompanied by two F-16 fighter jets) over parts of lower Manhattan and Jersey City.

The supporting documents include the flight manifest, the flight photos taken, and the supporting documentation of the flyover which inadvertantly caused concern among residents.

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George Steinbrenner III, former owner of the New York Yankees. Photo courtesy of MLB and Archive.org.

FBI releases file on George Steinbrenner III, former owner of the New York Yankees

George Michael Steinbrenner, III (7/4/1930-7/13/2010) is best known as the principal owner and managing partner of the New York Yankees for 37 years. His records concern three files - the first concerns the FBI’s investigation into illegal campaign contributions made by Steinbrenner and his company to the Nixon presidential campaign.

The second is a laboratory analysis for the Federal Highway Administration of several anonymous letters concerning possible fraud in the federal aid highway program in Ohio. The third material related to Steinbrenner’s appeal for a pardon from his conviction for illegal campaign financing and obstruction of justice.

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FBI Releases Records of 2001 Anthrax Investigation

Soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, letters laced with anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history. This interim release of FBI files concerning the investigation by the FBI and its partners consists of a total of 2,720 pages and 30 separate files. Additional releases will be made when the files have been processed under the guidelines of the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy.

As a supplement to this release, the U.S. Department of Justice has posted an Investigative Summary on its website.

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Department of the Interior personnel working on the Deepwater Oil Spill

Department of the Interior BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Documents

As a result of public and Congressional members' requests, documents of interest in the inquiry into the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill have been made available by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). Some documents date as far back as the 1980's.

VISIT THE BOEMRE LIBRARY AND READING ROOM

 
 
Photo of Howard Zinn. Photo courtesy of HowardZinn.org

FBI Releases File on Howard Zinn

In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Howard Zinn (FBI File # 100-360217). The Bureau noted Zinn's activities in what were called Communist Front Groups and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the Bureau took another look at Zinn on account of his criticism of the FBI's civil rights investigations. Further investigation was made when Zinn traveled to North Vietnam with Daniel Berrigan as an anti-war activist. The investigation ended in 1974, and no further investigation into Zinn or his activities was made by the FBI.

On July 30, 2010, the FBI released one file with three sections totaling 423 pages on Zinn, who died January 27, 2010 at the age of 87.

View the File

 
 
CIA Releases Analysis of Korean War. Photo courtesy of the National Parks Service.

CIA Releases Analysis of Korean War

Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the CIA has released a collection of more than 1,300 documents on developments on the Korean Peninsula during 1947-1954. This is the largest collection of Agency documents released on the issue.

View the Document List

 

 

Last Updated: 07/2014

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