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Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 12:07:32 PM   
GaryChildress

 

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What is the longest classified document in history? Someone in another thread mentioned some British documents from WWII which keep getting 20 year extensions on their classification. I remember seeing something on TV one time about an American document which has been classified since WWI.

I really have to wonder what could be so sensitive that it has to be classified for almost 100 years?

I mean there have been outrageous conspiracy theories in existence for years which probably make these documents look tame. So why keep them secret? I remember the curator of the American document since WWI saying on TV, "It's quite a document". Now that sparks my interest more than anything. What could the document possibly say that would destabilize the US government or whatever after 100 years? Most documents are kept secret because they may jeopardize the lives of spies. I assume there aren't many spies over 100 years old around. So what could possibly be something that would be kept secret from the American public for almost 100 years?

Does anyone know if this document has been declassified since?

Personally I can't think of anything in my wildest imagination which would warrant classification for 100 years.

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 12:35:16 PM   
GaryChildress

 

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Found this on the Internet regarding the oldest classified documents in the national archive.

quote:

The formula for invisible ink will remain classified
as part of the CIA's effort to protect national security. Really.
By KATHERINE PFLEGER
St. Petersburg Times
June 23, 1999
WASHINGTON -- At the Central Intelligence Agency, as we all know, they're big on secrets. So big, it would seem, that information is never too old or insignificant to keep secret.

Like say, maybe, 80-year-old recipes for invisible ink. Circa World War I.

You read it here: first. Or second. (Pay no attention to the invisible part). Yes, the CIA says, secret ink is a matter of national security. The public simply cannot, must not, will not be allowed access to the recipes.

Of course this story involves a lawsuit, how could it not? Lawsuits and secret ink were meant for each other.

The man who has filed the suit is Mark Zaid, an attorney from Washington. He's the head of the James Madison Project, a five-member organization launched last fall to peek behind the government's veil of secrecy.

Zaid can't decide if he should laugh or cry about the CIA's "intelligence." He says his lawsuit isn't about the ink, it's about principle.

"We don't dispute that you certainly could use secret ink," says Zaid, who has been filing motions to get the documents since November. "Kids use it all the time. . . . (But) to say this antiquated formula should still be protected runs smack into a much broader principle: how far do you go to protect very basic formulas?"

Zaid believes this is the stuff of spy movies and decoder rings. He dug up books, Web sites and experts who can reveal scads about secret inks -- with names like "Hustler's" and "Double Agent Red" -- much more advanced than the rusty 1917 varieties. To boot, Zaid found a KGB-designed disappearing ink pen, a faux Mont Blanc, on sale for $60. (The pen comes with a note: "not to be used for illegal purposes or for signing legal instruments.")

Even so, the CIA is holding its ground. The secret recipes are collecting dust at the National Archives and Records Administration, the six oldest classified documents there.

CIA spokeswoman Anya Guilsher says the information could prove quite useful to hostile governments and terrorist groups. "Some of the formulas provide the basis of more advanced formulas that are currently in use," she says.

That's exactly the mentality that makes government watchdog organizations howl. For years, they have argued that the intelligence community keeps too much information too close to its chest.

With the end of the Cold War, President Clinton tried to change that in 1995 with an executive order calling on all agencies to declassify by 2000 historical information 25 years or older. (Not secret ink, though. The CIA got that exempted.) In 1997 alone, the government spent more than $3.4-billion on an army of blurry-eyed federal workers that increased declassification 50 percent.

That's $3.4-billion in tax dollars spent, and still we don't get the secret ink formulas.

Without a legal battle, Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, asked for and received the archives' oldest classified documents in 1991, information about World War I troop movements. While he applauds the government for releasing oodles of classified information in the past three years, he can't help but chuckle at the secrecy surrounding secret ink.

"Clandestine communications nowadays are accomplished with encryption, not with invisible messages on pieces of paper," he says. "It would have to be a pretty low-tech terrorist" who relied on invisible ink.

From Zaid's humble office, a sublet room cluttered with accordion files and precarious towers of paper, the 31-year-old attorney works diligently on his Freedom of Information Act requests, many to crack into the CIA.

"The CIA does not give up its secrets easily," Zaid says. "It's an institutional thought process."

Slowly but surely, Zaid is making headway in his pursuit of the secret ink recipes: In court proceedings, he has found out the weighty contents of each document. One is written in French and gives the invisible ink formulas used by the Germans. Another document outlines covert methods to carry secret ink chemicals and detailed instructions on how to open sealed letters without detection. Some are typewritten, others handwritten. They belonged to the Navy, Commerce Department and Post Office Inspectors. No word on whether any of the recipes use chocolate.

Some intelligence watchdogs say Zaid's fight is silly. He should pick a battle with a prize more lofty than secret ink.

To that, Zaid says, protecting decaying documents from a dead enemy is what's ridiculous. "The CIA chose the battleground, not us."

For now, he can only hope the federal judge presiding over the case agrees, and it seems there's a chance of that. At a February hearing, the judge said he had the secret ink formulas.

They fell out of a cereal box when he was a kid.



Actually "secret ink" is a red herring they're using to cover up the fact that the documents actually reveal Woodrow Wilson was a transvestite.

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 12:47:25 PM   
Sarge


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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 12:59:49 PM   
GaryChildress

 

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Sorry Sarge, I was bored so I thought I would start a conversation. Heaven forbid.

EDIT: Glad to see you have something civil to add to the discussion. Instead of the first thing coming out of your keyboard being an attack. I mean, I hope you aren't fishing for a "flame war" here Sarge.

< Message edited by Gary Childress -- 10/6/2010 1:02:11 PM >


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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 2:04:13 PM   
ilovestrategy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sarge







I could just sit here all day, transfixed by this gif............

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 2:26:36 PM   
LarryP


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It makes me want to pack a lunch and go to the river.

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 2:46:29 PM   
Feltan


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Most data that gets classified is crap, and the classification is attached automatically. Oodles of classified data gets thrown in the burn barrel every day, and no one misses it.

However, I am not an advocate of automatic declassification even for old data. I say that because tid bits of things can be lashed together to form a larger picture.

Gary is correct when he states that some data is classified to protect spies -- "sources" in the intel vernacular. This article has to to with "methods," which is another broad area of data that gets classified. While the author of the article above is rather cheeky and sarcastic, a reasonable person could ask other questions: "Why should this data be declassified? Who is to benefit?"

I suspect that the ink formula above isn't all that obsolete, in the sense that it can be (or is) still in use by someone somewhere. Why give it to domestic createns and poorly funded terrorist groups? To me, it seems like an ideal document to end up in the burn barrel -- just get rid of it; no one will miss it.

Regards,
Feltan

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 6:36:48 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feltan

Most data that gets classified is crap, and the classification is attached automatically. Oodles of classified data gets thrown in the burn barrel every day, and no one misses it.

However, I am not an advocate of automatic declassification even for old data. I say that because tid bits of things can be lashed together to form a larger picture ...


Just before Desert Storm, I wrote a story for the Fort Hood Sentinel abt. OP BLUEBAT in which 3 battalions of Marines landed on the shores of Lebanon in 1958; the OP was still classified, but as long as I didn't use any grid co-ordinates, it passed military censors and was fit to print.


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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 10:09:54 PM   
Fred98


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The Brits have 2 secrets that will probably never be revealed.

How they tricked Hess to fly to the UK. This trick may need to be used again.

The name of the deceased man whose corpse was used to trick the Germans before the landing in Sicily so as not to upset his family.

-






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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 10:15:18 PM   
Q.M


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Operation Mincemeat.

......

With the help of the renowned pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury, Montagu and his team determined what kind of body they needed: a man who appeared to have died at sea by hypothermia and drowning, and then floated ashore after several days. However, finding a usable body seemed almost impossible, as indiscreet inquiries would cause talk, and it was impossible to tell a dead man's next of kin what the body was wanted for. Under quiet pressure, Bentley Purchase, coroner of St. Pancras District in London, obtained the body of a 34-year old Welsh man named Glyndwr Michael, on the condition that the man's real identity would never be revealed. The man had died after ingesting rat poison which contained phosphorus. After being ingested, the phosphide reacts with hydrochloric acid in the human stomach, generating phosphine, a highly toxic gas. Coroner Purchase explained, “This dose was not sufficient to kill him outright, and its only effect was so to impair the functioning of the liver that he died a little time afterwards”, leaving few clues to the cause of death. Montagu later claimed the man died from pneumonia, and that the family had been contacted and permission obtained, but none of this was true. The dead man's parents had died and no known relatives were found.

....

Wiki

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 10:24:28 PM   
Jevhaddah


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Found a Wikipedia artical that names the body as
quote:

34-year old Welsh man named Glyndwr Michael, on the condition that the man's real identity would never be revealed.


Full article can be read here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mincemeat

Cheers

Jev

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/6/2010 10:25:31 PM   
Jevhaddah


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Bummer Q.M pipped me to the post

Cheers

Jev

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/7/2010 3:07:37 AM   
GaryChildress

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feltan

Most data that gets classified is crap, and the classification is attached automatically. Oodles of classified data gets thrown in the burn barrel every day, and no one misses it.

However, I am not an advocate of automatic declassification even for old data. I say that because tid bits of things can be lashed together to form a larger picture.

Gary is correct when he states that some data is classified to protect spies -- "sources" in the intel vernacular. This article has to to with "methods," which is another broad area of data that gets classified. While the author of the article above is rather cheeky and sarcastic, a reasonable person could ask other questions: "Why should this data be declassified? Who is to benefit?"

I suspect that the ink formula above isn't all that obsolete, in the sense that it can be (or is) still in use by someone somewhere. Why give it to domestic createns and poorly funded terrorist groups? To me, it seems like an ideal document to end up in the burn barrel -- just get rid of it; no one will miss it.

Regards,
Feltan


I agree that the need to declassify the document is probably nil if invisible ink is really all the document is about.

OTOH, the guy in the article has a good point, it would be a pretty low tech terrorist who would resort to invisible ink to communicate in this day and age. I mean, terrorists these days have plenty more things at their disposal which could probably play a bigger role in their operations. We gave Afghan guerillas stinger missles. Any terrorist could use Mapquest, Google Earth or a GPS to enhance their operations in the US. Should we shut down Mapquest or Google Earth because it could be used by terrorists? Like no one knows how to make invisible ink? You can buy invisible ink pens on Ebay. It just seems bizarre that the CIA wants to classify 100 year old docs on invisible ink.

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/7/2010 5:37:33 AM   
ilovestrategy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gary Childress


It just seems bizarre that the CIA wants to classify 100 year old docs on invisible ink.



Because it's the government! Any government employee can tell you that!

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/7/2010 5:42:44 AM   
jomni


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ALIENS!

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/7/2010 5:57:31 AM   
ilovestrategy


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jomni is right. I do not know what I was thinking! 

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/7/2010 10:40:26 AM   
RyanCrierie


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So I am reading through the General Correspondence of the Manhattan Engineer District at the National Archives II; and there's just one annoyance.

I'm finding red tabbed "we think this is fun and important so we're reclassifying it - sucks to be you" papers dated from 2005 throughout the files. There are some yellow tabbed reclassification notices from 1994; but they're outnumbered by the 2005 stuff.

It's so annoying. We're 65 years into the future; and this was a very experimental weapons deployment, and I'm finding stuff like "transhipment lists" in the Tinian files classified. What possible use or breach of national security would it be if I knew the box numbers of the shipment that the active sphere arrived on Tinian in???

Anyway.
The Indianapolis was not the only choice for carrying Little Boy to Tinian:



If you ever wondered what exactly she carried, wonder no more:



The Next Bomb?



For those of you who wonder what happened to all the extra FM and LB cases we shipped to Tinian after the war:



Poor high-energy physics experiments...what did the world ever hold against you?

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RE: Longest Classified Documents in History - 10/7/2010 12:27:45 PM   
RyanCrierie


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So it appears that the plan if the Japanese did not fold was to assemble and drop Fat Man Units F101, F102, and F103 as test devices; with plaster blocks and/or low-quality HE castings to prove out the assembly procedures and the latest batches of electronic components.

Fat Man Unit F32 apparently was slated to receive an active sphere (read, fissile material).

To give you a scope of how big the non-fissile material program was; apparently there was a request for Fat Man Units F100 through F200 (!) to be assigned to N.F. Ramsley and his Project A at Tinian for test and assembly purposes.

In case you're wondering where the designation F31 etc came from....it was their designation for shipping purposes. It was decided on Tinian to continue to refer to the bomb units by their shipping numbers; which were Lx if it was Little Boy, or Fx if it was Fat Man.

L11 was Little Boy and F31 was Fat Man.

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