CIA releases thousands of previously classified briefings to Presidents Nixon and Ford

The CIA pulled the veil back Wednesday on long-classified foreign intelligence briefings it gave President Nixon in the 1970s during both the height of his power and his fall from grace, a period of intense turmoil at home and abroad.

The release of 2,500 President’s Daily Briefs — about 28,000 pages in all — shed light on such historic events as Nixon’s opening to China, the invasion of Cambodia, the U.S.-backed overthrow of an elected leader in Chile, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and ultimately the first resignation of a sitting U.S. president.

The release also covers briefings given to President Ford, who took over when Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, until he left office in January 1977. That period included the fall of Saigon and the end of America’s bitter war in Vietnam.

CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the briefs and other documents at a symposium at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.

The release is part an ongoing CIA effort to declassify presidents’ intelligence summaries. Last year, the agency released 19,000 pages of briefings from the Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations.

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