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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.

Records of the Intelligence Community

Some documentation relating to the origins and early development of the IC have been published by the Department of State in its series Foreign Relations of the United States. The two volumes listed below relate specifically to the IC and intelligence-related documentation can be found in other volumes.

Accessing the Records

Records relating to intelligence matters are often 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.

Informational Links

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

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Department of Homeland Security

Department of the Treasury

Office of Intelligence and Analysis

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Department of the Treasury

Department of Justice

Office of National Security Intelligence

NARA Descriptions: DEA Records described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Drug Enforcement Administration

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 Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

NARA Descriptions: National Geospatial-Intelligence Records described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

National Reconnaissance Office

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the National Reconnaissance Office

National Security Agency

NARA Descriptions: National Security Agency Records in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the National Security Agency

Air Force

Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

NARA Descriptions: Records of Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of Air Force Commands, Activities and Organizations

Army

Military Intelligence (G-2)

NARA Descriptions: Records of the Army Military Intelligence described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Headquarters of the Army

Navy

Office of Naval Intelligence

NARA Descriptions: Records of the Office of Naval Intelligence described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the Department of the Navy, 1941-

Marine Corps

Intelligence Department

NARA Descriptions: Records of the United States Marine Corps Intelligence Department described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the United States Marine Corps

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Intelligence

NARA Descriptions: Records of the United States Coast Guard Intelligence described in the Online Catalog

NARA Guide: Overview of Records of the United States Coast Guard

 
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