Searching Through The CIA

    January 16, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The Freedom of Information Act has enabled many people to request previously classified documents from federal agencies. Few agencies elicit as much interest from individuals as does the Central Intelligence Agency.

Ever since its post-World War 2 founding, the CIA has been a magnet for interest from people ranging from serious academics to casual researchers. Their efforts to learn more about the undertakings of the spy agency became easier with FOIA, and more so with the debut of online search for unclassified information.

The Resource Shelf website reported an update to the CIA’s most requested FOIA documents, and its top 25 search queries. This update covers the month of December 2006.

Just as they did in November, UFOs topped the list of terms people hunted for at the CIA’s search site. Other queries that rated highly included ‘pbsuccess’, which refers to a report on CIA operations in Guatemala in the early 1950s, Iran, and Web 2.0.

That latter term brings up a few references to Soviet-era Russia; maybe the CIA sees Web 2.0 as a resurgent Communism effort? Should John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly, the major drivers of the phrase Web 2.0, start looking over their shoulders for nondescript vans following them around?

The top documents searched for in December contain some interesting information, but sadly no reports of Comrades Battelle and O’Reilly meeting with Russian agents in a vegan caf in San Francisco.

One report showed a look forward from the year 2000 toward ‘Global Trends 2015’, where non-government experts discussed topics like future warfare and the information revolution. To say they completely missed considering a 9/11 scenario would be understatement.

Another report focused on an airman who went missing over Iraq during the first Gulf War. Lieutenant Commander Michael Scott Speicher was the only pilot brought down during the first night of the air war. His body was never recovered.

Toward the end of the six-page report, those who compiled it presented a damning indictment of the mainstream media and its possible role in Speicher’s capture or recovery; investigators believe Speicher survived ejecting from his F/A 18:

We judge that Baghdad was aware of January 1991 western press reports that a US aircraft was shot down over Iraq on the first night of the war and the pilot was believed to be the first casualty of Desert Storm. The press reports would have caused Iraqi intelligence to investigate, and the information very likely helped Baghdad focus its search for the wreckage and the pilot.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.