Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room (2024)

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Welcome to the Central Intelligence Agency's Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room.

The Nixon Collection

Nixon and the People’s Republic of China: CIA’s Support of the Historic 1972 Presidential Trip

This collection marks the 50th anniversary ofPresident Richard M. Nixon’s February 1972 trip to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – a landmark event that preceded the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This small collection, consisting of three city guides, an atlas, and four leadership profiles, is a subset of the materials CIAproduced for President Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in preparation for the seven-day visit.

City guides were produced on Peking (Beijing), Shanghai, and Hang-Chou (Hangzhou)1, as these cities were part of President Nixon’s tour of the PRC. Each guide included a brief history of the city, contemporary maps and photographs, and descriptions of geography, climates, and points of interest.

CIA also produced an 82-page atlas of the PRC for President Nixon’s trip. The US government distributed more than 4,000 copies to government customers and non-government institutions and libraries, and sold 30,000 copies to the public for a short period after the trip for $5.25, or $35.19 in today’s dollars. This is the first time in fifty years CIA has made the atlas available to the public.

This collection also includes leadership profiles—assessments that CIA provides US Presidents and other policymakers to assist them in understanding their foreign counterparts. The profiles in this collection include Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) and Premier Chou En-lai (Zhou Enlai). A profile of Lin Piao (Lin Biao), Vice Chair of the CCP, prepared for this trip is also included in this collection; however, Lin died in a plane crash five months before President Nixon’s visit.


1 CIA did not begin using the non-Romanization spelling of Beijing and Hangzhou until 1979. This article provides updated spellings elsewhere in parentheses.

See The Nixon Collection(8 documents/331 pages).

Current/Central Intelligence Bulletin Collection

Central Intelligence Bulletin

Harry Truman was the first U.S. president to receive a daily intelligence digest. At his direction, the Daily Summary began production in February 1946, and continued until February 1951. President Truman was pleased with the product, but a survey group commissioned by the National Security Council in 1949 was critical of the Daily Summary and issued several recommendations to improve it. The new version, called the Current Intelligence Bulletin, began production on 28 February 1951, and this remained the format of the president's daily digest through Dwight Eisenhower's two terms, although it was retitled the Central Intelligence Bulletin in 1958. The Current/Central Intelligence Bulletin grew longer than its predecessor over time with the addition of more items and more analysis, and would eventually contain more graphics as printing technology improved.

2 January-30 June 1961

The new Kennedy Administration confronted a full array of international issues in 1961. In April, a group of CIA-trained Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba with the goal of overthrowing the Fidel Castro regime and establishing an anti-Communist government. The outnumbered invading force was quickly repelled by Castro's troops. The year's reports were dominated by the worsening Congo crisis, with the fragmentation of the country widening despite the efforts of the United Nations, and US concern over the high tempo of Soviet testing of space vehicles and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The situation in Laos deteriorated, as the Communist Pathet Lao insurgency gained strength against the US-backed Royal Lao government.

The changes at the CIA following the Bay of Pigs included a format update for the president's daily intelligence report. The new version, called the President's Intelligence Checklist (PICL), was first delivered on 17 June 1961. The Central Intelligence Bulletin continued to be produced as a separate publication until 10 Jan 1974, when it was replaced by the National Intelligence Daily. The PICL, however, was the president's primary written intelligence source through the remainder of the Kennedy Administration. The Kennedy PICL reports are available here

This historical release includes: the Central Intelligence Bulletin reports from 2 January-30 June 1961 (2752 pages).

This release is the thirteenth and final release in the Current/Central Intelligence Bulletin series.

See the Current/Central Intelligence Bulletin Collection


aquiline adj. of or like the eagle.

Aerial intelligence collection platforms have played a critical role in US national security from the earliest beginnings of aviation. CIA's 1960s OXCART Program and its use of U-2s are examples of collection innovations that have kept US leaders informed about adversaries' capabilities and intentions. Despite their success, however, use of these platforms carried significant risks and repercussions, including detection and even pilot loss, such as the downing of the U-2 flown by Francis Gary Powers in 1960. Ever-evolving research by the CIA led to the development concept of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as collection platforms. An innovative Agency program in the 1960s codenamed Aquiline was the very first to test this concept. Based initially on the study of flight characteristics of birds, Aquiline was envisioned as a long-range vehicle that could safely and stealthily provide a window into denied areas such as the Soviet Union through photography and other capabilities, and would even support in-place agent operations. While it never became operational, the concept proved invaluable as a forerunner to today's multi-capability UAVs.

Learn more about CIA's early eagle (40 documents/289 pages).

The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe: A 30-Year Legacy

The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe: A 30-Year Legacy

This collection includes a broad sampling of articles from the National Intelligence Daily—the CIA's principal form of current intelligence analysis at the time—from February 1989 to March 1990. These articles represent much of the Agency's short-term analysis of events unfolding in Central and Eastern Europe as popular opposition to Soviet misrule erupted and quickly surpassed anything the Communist regimes were prepared to understand or to which they could respond. The material also represents a major source of information and insight for US policymakers into what was happening in these countries, where the situation was heading, and how a collapse of Communist rule in Europe and the beginnings of the breakup of the Soviet Union would impact Europe and the United States.

Please note: Some of the material is marked "NR" or "not relevant." This means that material is unrelated to events in Central and Eastern Europe, and was therefore not reviewed for declassification as part of this collection.

Learn more about the collapse of Communist rule in Europe (105 documents/151 pages)

Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room (2024)


What is a FOIA reading room? ›

FOIA amendments signed into law in 1994 added a requirement that agencies must establish an Electronic FOIA (EFOIA) Reading Room. The EFOIA Reading Room contains such materials as certain agency manuals, specific agency policy statements, and opinions developed in the adjudication of cases.

What types of things cannot be requested through FOIA? ›

Information/data that is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) includes:
  • Non-agency records and personal records.
  • Public requests for access to physical artifacts or scientific samples (e.g. core samples, sediment, rocks, fossils, specimen samples, blood samples).

What records may be accessed in electronic FOIA library? ›

These records include contracts, agency policies, employee directories, and other types of policy, administrative, and personnel records.

What information can people request under the Freedom of Information Act? ›

generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

What are the rules for reading rooms? ›

Your assistance in maintaining these standards of care will ensure these materials are available for generations to come.
  • You will be asked to produce a photo ID on signing into the Reading Room.
  • Laptops, notebooks and pencils (no ink) are permitted in the reading room. ...
  • Food and drink are prohibited in the reading room.

What is the purpose of the reading room? ›

A reading room is a quiet room in a library or museum where you can read and study.

What is not a valid Freedom of Information request? ›

The following should not be interpreted as a valid FOI request: requests not requesting recorded information (asking for opinions, press statements, making a complaint, etc.) requests from an individual for information about themselves.

What information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act? ›

Information about people who have died is likely to be covered by an exemption, because the Freedom of Information Act is about disclosure 'to the world' and it would often be inappropriate to make this type of information public.

Why would a FOIA request be denied? ›

We will deny a FOIA request, in whole or in part, only if the information is covered by one of the nine exemptions listed above, and (1) a statute or Executive order prohibits disclosure or (2) release of the information could be harmful to an individual, a business, or the Government.

What is reading room records? ›

Records we make accessible electronically include, but are not limited to, final opinions rendered in the adjudication of cases, policy statements and interpretations not published in the Federal Register, administrative staff manuals and instructions affecting a member of the public, copies of records frequently ...

What shows up on a FOIA request? ›

Records obtainable under the FOIA include all "agency records" - such as print documents, photographs, videos, maps, e-mail and electronic records - that were created or obtained by a Federal agency and are, at the time the request is filed, in that agency's possession and control.

What are the exempt categories of information found in the FOIA? ›

Exemption 1: Information that is classified to protect national security. Exemption 2: Information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency. Exemption 3: Information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law.

Which of the following does the Freedom of Information Act not apply to? ›

The FOIA does not apply to the Congress, the courts, or the central offices of the White House, nor does it apply to records in the custody of state or local governments.

How far back can a FOIA request go? ›

Agencies can no longer withhold “intra-or inter-agency communications” that could otherwise be withheld under FOIA Exemption 5 alone if the internal documents are more than 25 years old.

What is an example of a FOIA request? ›

Dear Sir/Madam: This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I request that a copy of the following document(s) be provided to me: [identify the documents as specifically as possible. i.e. all investigative records concerning ABC company, located at 555 Main Street, City, State, in the years 1997-1999.

What is the purpose of a FOIA? ›

What is FOIA? Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.

What were reading rooms used for? ›

Reading Rooms provided a venue for the reading of books and newspapers but they were run on strict lines.

What is a FOIA library? ›

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Library provides a comprehensive list of documents and other information available electronically on


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