nettime's_roving_reporter on Sun, 11 Apr 1999 19:58:17 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> CIA methods revealed

ISSUE 1416     Sunday 11 April 1999

CIA fights to hide its invisible ink
By James Langton in New York 

Invisible Ink - The Conservative Homemaker

THE CIA, the American intelligence agency, is fighting to preserve its
secret recipe for invisible ink.

CIA lawyers say that classified First World War documents must not be
made public because its spies still use the ink to send secret
messages, using a German formula believed to have been passed to the
United States in 1917 by British agents.

The files' existence was disclosed by a Washington pressure group
campaigning against what it sees as excessive secrecy by government
agencies. The formula is the oldest classified document still banned
from public viewing at the National Archives, the US equivalent of the
Public Record Office.

The James Madison Project, run by Mark Zaid, a lawyer, took legal
action to have the records made public based on their age. Mr Zaid
said he was astonished when the CIA objected.

"This is something they have managed to keep quiet for 80 years," he
said. "But given the sophistication of foreign intelligence agencies
and even terrorist groups today, it is difficult to imagine that a
formula for secret ink could still be of any value."

Mr Zaid's scepticism was apparently shared initially by the judge who
heard his freedom of information request in a Washington court last
month and remarked that he remembered reading the formula on a cereal
box as a child.

The CIA said that revealing the formula would compromise covert
operations and make its messages "more vulnerable to detection . . .
by hostile intelligence services or terrorist organisations". The
judge eventually agreed, ordering the six files relating to the
invisible ink kept secret until 2020.

5 April 1999: CIA men urged plot to topple Milosevic
31 December 1998: US agents look into arms deals with CIA
30 November 1998: US and Russian recruitment drive for spies

Nect International Report: Farmers turn a loss on worms 

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 1999. Terms & Conditions of reading.
Commercial information.  

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: