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FOIA News: Donations needed to publish CIA records

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

This Guy Wants $10K to Scan CIA Docs and Put Them Online

By Stephanie Mlot & Chloe Albanesius, PC, Feb. 12, 2016

Thanks to the Snowden data dump and other hacks, classified data is readily available on the Internet. But oddly, millions of pages of officially declassified CIA documents are only accessible from a small room in Maryland. A new Kickstarter campaign wants to put that data online.

Michael Best needs $10,000 to scan the Central Intelligence Agency's declassified vault and upload it to the Internet Archive. "There are over 10 million pages of CIA documents that have never seen the light of day. It's time to change that," he said.

At the National Archives (NARA) facility in College Park, Md. sits a database with more than 700,000 files and millions pages of declassified CIA intel, known as the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST). But the only way to peruse it is to visit the facility and search via four available computers.

The plan, Best said, is simple: "Scan and upload as much as possible for everyone to access—for free."

Which is where you come in: Backers who pledge $1 or more get to help choose what gets digitized first after Best prints, scans, and processes the millions of pages. The documents will be uploaded to the Internet Archive, where anyone can peruse them online, or download them as a PDF or EPUB file for some light reading.

To get there, though, Best needs $10,000 for a scanner, 13-inch MacBook Air $1,199.00 at Amazon, office supplies, and rewards. He's currently raised about $7,500 with 18 days to go.

Will the CIA and National Archives allow it? As Best points out, those who visit the College Park facility can print out as much as they want. But it's unlikely that anyone has ever tried to print out the entire archive. 

Read more here.