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The Central Intelligence Agency has been unilaterally removing records from public collections in the National Archives, according to the minutes of a September 2004 meeting of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee that were approved for release this week.

The Advisory Committee oversees the production of the official State Department publication Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).

A State Department official noted that "the practice of submitting an entire FRUS manuscript to the CIA [for review] had resulted in the reclassification of documents located at the National Archives...."

"CIA reviewers... claimed the right to remove documents from the open files that, in their view, had never been 'properly declassified'."

The meeting minutes include a number of other notable historical nuggets, such as: "The CIA History staff will soon publish [sic] a classified study on DCI John McCone."

A copy of the minutes of the September 2004 meeting of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee is here:



Pope John XXIII. Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King, Jr. Certainly. But George Tenet? Tommy Franks? Paul Bremer?

All of them are recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award the nation has to offer.

The last three were selected by President Bush, who honored them this week in what appears to be a preemptive political strike in defense of the war in Iraq.

All that remains to be said is that if the three new awardees deserve the highest possible praise for implementing the President's war in Iraq, then the President himself must be beyond all praise.