Group sues CIA over data release
May 13, WASHINGTON (AP) -- A private group alleged Thursday the CIA
has broken long-standing promises to release histories of the 1953 coup
in Iran, intervention by the agency in the 1948 Italian elections and nine
former communist leaders of Eastern Europe.
Suing the CIA in federal court, the nonprofit National Security Archive
accused the agency of ``withholding the histories of the Iranian coup in
large part because they include references to activities by British intelligence
cooperation with the CIA.''
In 1953, after the Iranian government nationalized the British-owned
oil industry, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq was ousted in a clandestine
CIA-backed coup to re-install the shah as a pro-American bulwark against
communist expansion in the Middle East.
The suit says that the agency is putting off indefinitely a declassification
project that includes materials on ``CIA intervention in the 1948 elections
The lawsuit also stated that the CIA has refused to even acknowledge
the existence of biographies of nine former East European leaders, seven
of them now dead.
The agency's position runs counter to nearly a decade of pledges to
declassify large portions of CIA historical archives, the private group
The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly,
a Clinton appointee.
``No other nation's foreign intelligence agency has voluntarily released
as much information about its past as has the CIA,'' said agency spokesman
Mansfield said that ``we will build upon that record in the years ahead,
within the limits imposed upon the director of central intelligence by
law not to jeopardize intelligence sources and methods, impinge on our
liaison relationship with other countries or interfere with our ability
to carry out the agency's mission.''
Mansfield said the agency has released about 1,800 pages on covert action
in Guatamala and more than 3,000 pages on the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
He said the agency in the past five years has declassified over 500
national intelligence estimates, more than 11,000 pages of finished intelligence
on the foreign Soviet Union and 227,000 pages of records on the assassination
of President Kennedy.