WASHINGTON — The budget ax has fallen on a CIA office that focused on declassifying historical materials, a move scholars say will mean fewer public disclosures about long-buried intelligence secrets and scandals.
The Historical Collections Division, which has declassified documents on top Soviet spies, a secret CIA airline in the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis and other major operations, has been disbanded. The office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests will take over the work.
CIA officials said they closed the Historical Collections Division to accommodate federal budget cuts that the White House and Congress proposed last year to create pressure for a deficit-reduction deal. No deal materialized, so across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester were imposed.
“As a result of sequestration, elements of one program office were moved into a larger unit to create efficiencies, but CIA will continue to perform this important work,” said Edward Price, a CIA spokesman.