CIA Secrets On The Web

The Central Intelligence Agency is posting its formerly supersecret "family jewels" documents on the Web ( in a very public airing of old misdeeds.

"Much of it has been in the press before, and most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA's history," the agency's director, Gen. Michael Hayden, said last week. "The documents provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency."

It may be "old news" to some, but the internal documents about the agency's worst illegal actions--assassination attempts against Cuban leader Fidel Castro and others as well as such covert operations as domestic spying and wiretapping, kidnapping, and human drug experiments--are likely to draw new attention to former abuses.

The long-secret documents being released were compiled at the direction of then CIA Director James Schlesinger in 1973. In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, he directed senior CIA officials to report immediately on any current or past agency matters that might fall outside the authority of the agency.

More on the CIA is available in U.S. News's special report First Line of Defense--Inside the Effort to Remake U.S. Intelligence (