Recently CIA released around 13 million pages of declassified documents online.
In all, more than 12 million documents are accessible, covering the history of the CIA from its creation in the 1940s up to the 1990s – with intelligence officials giving assurances that the half-century of data is in its entirety, with nothing removed.
So what have we learnt?
1. Uri Geller passed a psychic test
Spoonbender Uri Geller may have his sceptics, but the CIA were impressed by his psychic abilities after they tested his “clairvoyant” and “telepathic” abilities.
The US intelligence agency concluded he was a ‘convincing paranormal’ after secret experiments in 1973 which involved him successfully replicating the random drawings of an agent in a separate room.
“I did many things for the CIA,” Geller explained. “They wanted me to stand outside the Russian embassy in Mexico, and erase floppy discs being flown out by Russian agents.”
2. The Stargate Project
The CIA was interested in the powers of Geller as part of the bizarre Stargate programme, a rather ambitious plan involving what the CIA called “remote viewing,” and trying to recruit “psychic warriors”.
3. The CIA’s secret hunt for alien life
The CIA studied photographs of alleged sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS).
One report featured an “unusual phenomenon” spotted on the Iranian / USSR border in June 1966, which lasted for around five minutes.
“We suddenly observed a brilliant white sphere approximating the colouration and intensity of [a] full bright moon,” the witness said.
“The sphere appeared suddenly and at the first sighting was approximately three times the size of a full moon.
“Toward the end of this period it became very faint and its enormous size seemed to fill the sky.”
4. The threat of UFOS
Another report featured diagrams of what space craft from other worlds might look like and discussed if they were “a possible threat” to American security.
Pictures also showed agents experimenting with saucer-like objects.
“Since 1947, approximately 1,500 official reports of sightings have been received, of these about 20% are as yet unexplained,” one report says.
5. Recipes for invisible ink
There were also recipes for making invisible ink published, and a report titled “How to open sealed letters”, showing how to get into people’s post without them knowing.
“Make a silver print, fixed and bleached in mercury chloride,” the recipe says. “To make visible, dip in hypo.”
The report adds: “Messages are printed on the human body with invisible ink. To destroy messages, the body should be scrubbed, and then washed with lime or lemon juice, to eradicate all markings.”
6. Fidel Castro
The CIA was also interested in a conversation between American journalist Barbara Walters and Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in 1977.
In the interview, Walters asks: “I sometimes feel that you feel everything, everything comes back to the CIA. When do you think -, or, do you have proof of the last CIA attack against you, the last plan, to perhaps assassinate you?”
7. See into the future?
In 1980, it compiled a report into whether it was possible for clairvoyants to see in the future, or to use telekinesis to move objects.
“The report on “remote perturbation” said: “In view of the obvious military value of being able to disturb sensitive enemy equipment, it is to the advantage of the Army to assess the validity of the claims.”
8. ‘Magician’ walks into laboratory
Another document discusses a so-called magician from Tbilisi, Georgia, who was apparently healing people with his hands in 1969, NewsTalk reports.
9. The Berlin Tunnel project
During the Cold War, the CIA created a tunnel in Berlin to tap into the Soviet Army headquarters in the city.
Work began the using a US Air Force radar site and a warehouse in West Berlin as cover for the construction.
Construction took a year and the finished tunnel was 1,476 feet long. It ceased as an active operation in 1956, a report reveals.