Researching the Records of the Intelligence Community
Since World War II, the intelligence function in the U.S. government has grown and developed extensively, and today all of the agencies involved are referred to as the Intelligence Community or the IC. The Intelligence Community presently consists of the seventeen agencies or parts of agencies noted below. In many cases, only a small part of an agency, such as the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the Department of State, is part of the Community, while in other cases, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the entire agency is included.
The Intelligence Community is continually evolving. Information about the IC can be found on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the IC's website.
Published Records on the Intelligence Community
Some documentation relating to the origins and development of the IC have been published by the Department of State in its series Foreign Relations of the United States. The volumes listed below relate specifically to the IC or include sections relating to intelligence matters.
- Foreign Relations of the United States: Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, 1945-1950
- Foreign Relations of the United State: The Intelligence Community, 1950-1955
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XXV, Organization of Foreign Policy; Information Policy; United Nations; Scientific Matters
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXV, National Security Policy, 1973–1976
Accessing the Records
Records relating to intelligence matters are generally retained by agencies for a period of time longer than for most other records due to their sensitivity and the length of time before they can be declassified. Even if records of the intelligence component of an agency have not been transferred to the National Archives, intelligence-related documentation might be found among other files that have been transferred. Even after those records are transferred to the National Archives, many remain classified for a lengthy period of time.
For this reason, it is a good idea to contact the National Archives before planning a research visit. Please see this FAQ for more information.
The National Archives holds records from the following agencies and commissions. For some of these organizations, detailed information is available about their records; for others, the information available in the Guide to Federal Records will provide an overview of the records.
|Department of Homeland Security|
Office of Intelligence and Analysis
|Department of the Treasury|
Office of Intelligence and Analysis
|Department of Justice|
Office of National Security Intelligence
|Department of Energy|
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Department of Energy
|Department of Defense|
|Defense Intelligence Agency
NARA Descriptions: DIA Records described in the National Archives Catalog
|National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency|
|National Reconnaissance Office||National Security Agency
NARA Descriptions: National Security Agency Records in the National Archives Catalog
Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Military Intelligence (G-2)
Office of Naval Intelligence
Coast Guard Intelligence