In a win for government transparency, the Central Intelligence Agency this week published millions of declassified documents online.
The publication of 12 million documents, which cover topics ranging from the CIA’s efforts to overthrow governments to UFOs, makes it possible for anyone to access the archive. The documents were previously only available from a pair of computers at the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Maryland. You can explore the archive here.
The CREST (CIA Records Search Tool) database first became available after former President Bill Clinton ordered the CIA to declassify documents that are at least 25 years old and of “historic value.” CREST currently includes documents from the 1940s to the 1990s.
Journalists and other open-records advocates have long fought to free CREST from its confines at the National Archives. Responding to one Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from MuckRock, the department said it would cost $108,000 for the archive to be delivered on 1,200 CDs. With this week’s publication of the documents, the one-time secrets of America’s spy agency are all just a click away.