Statement by the CIA Historical Review Panel
February 25, 2004

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
Department of Political Science
Emory University

Professor Marc Trachtenberg
Department of Political Science

Professor Betty Unterberger
Department of History
Texas A&M University

Professor Ruth Wedgwood
School of Law
Yale 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, DCI George Tenet and the Panel concluded that it should inform the interested public of the subjects and problems that the Panel is discussing.

Much of the meeting of December 3-5, 2003 was devoted to the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. In addition, we discussed the review and declassification of the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence (ODCI) files, the work of the CIA's history staff, the impact of the budget on the 25-year release program, and issues of early budget figures and Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs).

The HRP reviewed the progress and problems that have followed the negotiation of a new Memorandum of Understanding with the State Department governing the CIA's role in the production of FRUS. We particularly discussed the reasons why the CIA has been unable to meet the deadline for the review of documents that was specified in the MOU and how processes could be altered to bring the CIA into compliance. We also discussed how the CIA could improve its ability to handle the increased flow of documents to the CIA that result from the growth of the State Department Historian's Office. We continue to keep in close touch with the State Historical Advisory Committee on these matters.

We reviewed ODCI files, with special concern for how to best use scarce resources to obtain the greatest release of most valuable material. The best procedures may vary from the files of one DCI to another because of differences in the type of material in these files.

We also analyzed progress and problems with reviewing CIA material held at Presidential libraries.

We discussed the work of the CIA's historians, the multiple calls on their time, and the commitment to capturing as much of the Agency's history as possible.

We also reviewed specific issues of the Agency's position on early budget figures and PDBs.

We have presented the Director with our views and recommendations on these issues.

Our next meeting will be in June.