Imagine a library filled with a million books, each 270 pages long.
That’s how many historic FBI pages we declassified on December 31, in line with an executive order that now applies to the Bureau.
“It’s unprecedented,” says David Hardy, chief of the Record/Information Dissemination Section in our Records Management Division. “To historians and researchers interested in the FBI, it may be remembered as the ‘Great Declassification of ‘06.’”
The 270 million pages of records cover a span of time stretching from the 1920s until 1981 and just about every kind of FBI investigation, including sensitive cases involving domestic security and more routine ones like organized crime and kidnappings.
“Not all of it is going to be flattering for the FBI,” says Hardy, “but we think it’s important to make this information available to the American people.”
That won’t happen overnight. “Just because the files are officially declassified doesn’t mean they are automatically ready for public review. We have a lot of work to do before that happens,” explains Hardy.