Statement by the CIA Historical Review Panel
January 27, 2005

Dr. Lewis Bellardo
National Archives and Records Administration

Professor Robert Jervis (Chair)
Department of Political Science
Columbia University

Professor Melvyn Leffler
Department of History
University of Virginia

Professor Robert Pastor
Vice President for International Affairs
American University

Professor Marc Trachtenberg
Department of Political Science

Professor Betty Unterberger
Department of History
Texas A&M University

Professor Ruth Wedgwood
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Johns Hopkins University

The Director of Central Intelligence's Historical Review Panel (HRP) was formed in 1995, replacing a panel that was less formally organized and that had met only episodically. Since then, the HRP has met twice a year, with the mandate to:

The HRP, like the other DCI panels, is convened by the Director to provide him with confidential advice and assessments. Because the HRP's advice to the DCI must be completely frank and candid, we are not reporting Panel recommendations. But because this panel's primary concern is the program of declassification and the release of information to the public, the DCI and the Panel concluded that it should inform the interested public of the subjects and problems that the Panel is discussing.

The day before the HRP met, chairman Jervis joined the meeting of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee (HAC) for their discussion of CIA documents and issues involved in the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. Both HAC and the HRP have the same information and are working with those they advise to see that FRUS volumes appear promptly and include as much information as possible.

FRUS in general and the Congo volume in particular occupied much of the HRP meeting. The process has been slowed in part because of personnel turn-over at both CIA and the Department of State, but the issues are being prepared for a meeting of the relevant officials. The value and potential problems with retrospective volumes covering Iran and other countries were also discussed.

The greatest number of documents are produced under the 25-Year Program, and we discussed both the usage that has been made of these documents at NARA and ways of increasing the number of documents that are not only being reviewed, but released to the public. We discussed ways of making this material more readily available through Presidential libraries, which could employ the very useful search engine installed on the machines at NARA, and the difficulties with searching the documents that are on the CIA's Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room, and we will return to the latter problem at the next meeting. We reviewed the release of National Intelligence Estimates on the PRC and plans for similar releases in other areas.

The HRP also discussed CIA's position on the release of historical budget figures, both overall and in connection with covert actions covered in FRUS volumes.

We discussed these issues and other matters, such as the status of Presidential Daily Briefs, with CIA's top management.

We will meet again in June 2005.