The CREST files: public pressure cracks open the CIA’s vaults

Addicts of espionage and scholars of mayhem will be pleased.

So will advocates of open government and defenders of digital freedom

The CIA’s long restricted CREST database is going to go online, thanks to a lawsuit.

MuckRock actually sued the Agency with the help of Kel McClanahan of National Security Counselors. …. Thanks to the combined (but uncoordinated) efforts of myself and MuckRock, these files will soon be available.

Michael Best estimates CREST might be online by February 2017. Not before the Election Day alas.

What is CREST?

I’m a CREST addict, myself

CREST is the search tool the agency uses to search the unclassified material in its possession. A poorly kept secret, CREST has been publicly available for many years, but only on four terminals in one location: the National Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland, USA.

James Angleton testifies

James Angleton, spymaster

Authors, students, scholars, and journalists rely on it. When I started writing a biography of CIA spymaster James Angleton, the first thing I did was a CREST search. The results were spectacular.

Soon you won’t have to travel to Maryland to access CREST

Which only makes sense. In a networked world, why should a citizen have to travel to across the country (or the world) for public information? That’s not public information, not in the Internet Age.

Stay tuned for further CREST developments at GlomarDisclosure.

Moral of the story

Technological savvy and litigious advocacy forced a secretive agency to do something it would have preferred not do.

There’s a JFK lesson for October 2017.


MuckRock actually sued the Agency with the help of Kel McClanahan of National Security Counselors. The Agency said it would take 28 years to process the files. After some more legal pressure from Mr. McClanahan, the Agency reduced their estimate to six years. This was still too long, … Thanks to the combined (but uncoordinated) efforts of myself and MuckRock, these files will soon be available.





From a 5-Star Amazon review of Jefferson Morley’s CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files,

“Can’t imagine a more meticulous take down of the CIA’s decades-long subterfuge surrounding the assassination.”

Jefferson Morley’s new ebook, CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, available on Amazon, provides the fullest account of the role of CIA operations officers in the events leading to the death of JFK, with a guide to what will be declassified in October 2017.


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