CIA will put records online

For sixteen years, the US Central Intelligence Agency has offered researchers the ability to search its database of declassified documents – provided they happened to be in the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland.

As Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, notes in a post to FAS' Secrecy News blog, "This geographic restriction on availability has been a source of frustration and bafflement to researchers ever since the digital collection was established in 2000."

The CIA acknowledges as much. "CIA recognizes that such visits may be inconvenient and present an obstacle to many researchers," the agency explains on its website.

On Tuesday, the CIA decided to take pity on those making the pilgrimage to NARA computer terminals. According to Aftergood, the agency said it will make its CREST (CIA Records Search Tool) database available online, through the CIA website.

No availability date has been set. ®

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