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Government Privacy

Thousands of Leaked KGB Files Are Now Open To the Public 95

Posted by timothy
from the file-a-foia-request dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes "Over 20 years after being smuggled out of Russia, a trove of KGB documents are being opened up to the public for the first time. The leaked documents include thousands of files and represent what the FBI is said to view as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." The documents include KGB information on secret Russian weapons caches, Russian spies, and KGB information on the activities of Pope John Paul II. Known as the Mitrokhin Archive, the files are all available as of today at Churchill College's Archives Centre."
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Thousands of Leaked KGB Files Are Now Open To the Public

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  • *comment redacted*
  • by user317 (656027) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:48AM (#47407647)

    whats the difference between this guy and snowden?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:53AM (#47407721)

      No see it's okay because they were dirty commies and aren't allowed to have secrets, what are you some kind of terrorist?

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:54AM (#47407729) Homepage Journal

      Snowden had the decency to alert his own people to abuses, rather than just foreign governments?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How is the parent post Insightful? The only entity Snowden alerted were the American public, if you could say even that. I could be mistaken, but Glen Greenwald was filtering the information and chose to release information pertaining to foreign governments. All Snowden did was flee to other countries because his own was no longer safe for him.

        Even if he were responsible for notifying Germany of phone-hacking their heads of state, I still agree with that 100%. History has shown American's apathy will pl

    • by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @12:13PM (#47407887)

      Well:
      * The documents are being revealed to the public now and document events from 30-40 years ago.
      * These are documents that he personally worked with, rather than a cache of documents acquired for the purpose of copying and releasing them.
      * There's no question, I think, that this guy was a spy and defector. He was moved from Russia to the UK with the help of UK intelligence agencies in exchange for Russian secrets. Nobody's trying to claim that he's a "whistleblower". No comment on his actions or motivations vs. Snowden's, but they are potentially substantially different.
      * This guy is dead.

      Up to you to decide if any of these are substantive differences and why, but there are distinct differences.

      • Well: * The documents are being revealed to the public now and document events from 30-40 years ago. * These are documents that he personally worked with, rather than a cache of documents acquired for the purpose of copying and releasing them. * There's no question, I think, that this guy was a spy and defector. He was moved from Russia to the UK with the help of UK intelligence agencies in exchange for Russian secrets. Nobody's trying to claim that he's a "whistleblower". No comment on his actions or motivations vs. Snowden's, but they are potentially substantially different. * This guy is dead.

        Up to you to decide if any of these are substantive differences and why, but there are distinct differences.

        Your answer makes too much sense, and it was not marinated in bullshit sauce at all. That is not how we post replies in slashdot!(10+1)

      • by plover (150551) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @01:40PM (#47408547) Homepage Journal

        Here are a few more differences and corrections:
        * Mitrokhin turned the data over to British officials only after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He did not endanger his country's ongoing intelligence operations. He may have embarrassed several former Soviet officials, but the revelations were not a crime against his country, as that country no longer existed at the time of their release. While the act of copying the classified data would certainly have been a crime against the Soviet Union, again, that country was gone. (Snowden released the data of his own still-active country, including information about active operations.)
        * The data he turned over was archival material spanning decades and ending in the 1980s; he gave it up in the early 1990s. Some of it was less than ten years old at the time it was delivered. (Snowden's data was indeed more current and relevant.)
        * After the publication of his notes in two books, the SVR actually provided academic access to the old KGB archives for a time. I think that was ended after the wrong person was embarrassed by his historical record, perhaps a former lieutenant colonel in the KGB. (The NSA has not yet opened their doors to the public in response to Snowden's release.)
        * He was not a "whistleblower" in that he did not release this data in an attempt to change any ongoing practices. He was a historian who respected the truth, and did not want the facts distorted or destroyed by a regime with a long history of rewriting history. (Snowden is an activist, who is trying to effect change.)
        * Mitrokhin's position was a Senior Archivist. He had access to essentially all KGB historical records, not simply operations of which he was a part. (Snowden was an administrator of systems, and had access to the records they contained; he also used other people's credentials to gain additional access to other records.)

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          You just don't seem to get it when "endanger his country's ongoing intelligence operations" are criminal activities, they are 'CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES' and are by law required to be reported, to the public so that they can be investigated and prosecuted. Now the reported part has been done, but of course in a very blatant corruption of the law, the investigation bit is sort of happening but not happening whilst of course the prosecution part of not happening at all.

          That was the whole idea to basically end, h

          • by plover (150551)

            Wow, such hate and bile. The country Mitrokhin "betrayed" no longer existed. He turned over documents from the Soviet Union, not from "Russia". Yes, there is a distinction.

            You completely failed to read what was written, which was a comparison of Mitrokhin to Snowden.

            Apparently, that's what the fuck I don't get.

      • These are documents that he personally worked with, rather than a cache of documents acquired for the purpose of copying and releasing them.

        Nope, guess again. They're releasing edited versions, not the originals or even direct copies or direct typed copies.

        "In accordance with the deposit agreement, the Churchill Archives Centre is opening Mitrokhinâ(TM)s edited Russian-language versions of his original notes.The original manuscript notes and notebooks will remain closed under the terms of the depo

      • by dpilot (134227)

        > * This guy is dead.

        I get the distinct feeling that there are quite a few in the US govt and elsewhere that would like to help Snowden achive the same status.

    • by MikeMo (521697)
      A traitor is a traitor is a traitor. Whether or not he's also a "good guy" depends entirely on your politics.
  • Of course, when politely asked by the SVR to 'return' these documents and delete any copies, everyone will comply, right?

  • No they're not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:50AM (#47407683)

    With the exception of sections 6-7[which are closed], the collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.

    Yeah, thanks...

    • From what I can tell from the article, it seems like the reason they haven't put the stuff online is because it's a huge number of documents and they apparently had a very strict agreement with Mitrokhin about how they could store and publicize it. The documents are also all in Russian, which means they'd be of limited use to anyone who doesn't speak the language. Scanning all of the stuff would probably take years, so I can imagine why they haven't undergone the effort.

      • Sounds more like they want the attraction of having something nobody else has. Maybe someone needs to smuggle copies out...
    • by geniice (1336589)

      Pretty typical for dead tree sources. Thats actualy slightly lower than the requirements the British library put in place when I wanted to look at a load of Amiga Action stuff. Also don't try and read a years worth of Amiga Action in one sitting.

  • http://thehill.com/policy/defense/211283-security-fears-loom-over-cia-report

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What a good pet!

  • And in 20 years (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:56AM (#47407765) Journal

    The Russians will release the complete Snowden Archive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kuberz (3568651)

      And China will release nothing.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, said: âoeThis collection is a wonderful illustration of the value of archives and the power of archivists. It was Mitrokhin's position as archivist that allowed him his unprecedented access and overview of the KGB files. It was his commitment to preserving and providing access to the truth that led him to make his copies, at huge personal risk. We are therefore proud to house his papers and to honour his wish that they should be made freely available for research."

      It's a "commitment to preserving and providing access to the truth" when they spy for [my team].
      Otherwise they should be brought home and prosecuted for treason and espionage.

    • The Russians will release the complete Snowden Archive.

      That seems reasonable. The only argument for not releasing it is to protect spies/plans/etc, so really in 20 years or so the US government should be releasing those documents.

      • by plover (150551)

        The declassification rules in the US are such that all documents are to be publicly released 50 years after the end of their active life. That's why they were compelled to release ULTRA and VENONA information in the 1990s, 50 years after the end of WWII. The declassification process is not automatic, in that someone still redacts the names of involved people who are still alive, and they make sure that the release won't endanger any current activities, but for the most part they are compelled to release i

    • The Russians will release the complete Snowden Archive.

      The Russians don't have the complete Snowden Archive. Not even Snowden has it. It was passed over to 3 journalists in hong kong before he left.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From their web page:

    "Access and Use

    "With the exception of sections 6-7, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required."

    You're in the USA and you want to look at them? Too bad.
    Thought you could have a look at the material without them knowing who you are? Sorry, not allowed.

    Someone needs to tell the Churchill

  • Ohh, Edward Snowden is in trouble now!
  • by bhlowe (1803290) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @12:25PM (#47407975)
    The Sword and the Shield [amazon.com] was written in 2000 and covered a lot of the information about the Mitrokhin archive. It is 700 pages and is an interesting read. The actual archive is probably only of interest to the serious student that can read and understand Russian and really loves cold war history.
    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      more I look into this, illustrates how much countries do all kinds of manipulations instead of "intelligence operations" particularly systematic silencing of dissidents at home and abroad.
  • by k6mfw (1182893) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @12:41PM (#47408087)
    on how they bungled every mission involving Moose and Squirrel.
  • UFO
    ALIEN

    REALLY?

  • Nobody check this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @01:03PM (#47408259) Homepage
    These old KGB archives are very inconvenient. They have a lot of damaging information about people who are still in politics, who cooperated in the past. It's not a good thing for the world to remember that the KGB funded the anti-nuclear movement in Europe, or Greenpeace, or Amnesty International. Let's just let this quietly lay. Fortunately, it's all in Russian and translators are a pain in the ass.
    • by plover (150551)

      Well, considering Mitrokhin had Christopher Andrew publish selected information in two English language volumes already, "The Sword and the Shield", and "The World was Going Our Way", I think your pleas for ignorance are not going to have much effect. This is simply a release of the rest of the materiel he exfiltrated.

  • Dead Trees (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Skiboy941 (2692201)
    If I can't download it, then what's the point of this even being posted? Am I really going to have to fly to Britain to read these? Also, It's in Russian. These aren't useful in their current form. "Hi guys! I'm going to leak the TRUTH! But you'll have to be able to know how to read Russian, be in Britain, set up an appointment, and have 2 forms of ID!" Hopefully, some nice person will bother to scan these, just like they did with JD Sallinger's "unreleased" stories.
    • Maybe we can ask Google to do a grayscale scan of it all. (then since everything had to be slit out of it's bindings it can all be pulped.)

  • See: "The Sword and the Shield," by Christopher Andrews. It's a summary of the Mitrhokin Archives, written at least 20 years ago.
  • There's evidence about a number of consipiracy theories in these documents:
    * That Lee Harvey Oswald didn't kill JFK
    * The story that the AIDS virus was manufactured by US scientists at the US Army research station at Fort Detrick
    * Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination had been planned by the US government

    Of course, the real conspiracy was the disinformation campaign by the KGB to spread these false rumors [wikipedia.org]. Which makes me wonder: what theories does a certain former KGB agent turned dic^H^H^Hpresident [wikipedia.org] want

  • The Mitrokhin Archive was published in book form over 14 years ago. See https://www.goodreads.com/book... [goodreads.com]

    It's a dense read but fascinating. Having all that in a searchable archive is worthwhile but it's not the first time this information has been revealed to the general public.

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