- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2016

The CIA this week said it will make more than 11 million declassified documents searchable on the agency’s website.

The sizable collection of previously privileged documents currently resides on a database called the CIA Records Search Tool, or CREST, and for years has only been accessible by using computers at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Md.

Ryan Trapani, a spokesman for the intelligence agency, told the Federal of American Scientists on Tuesday that CREST documents will soon be uploaded to the CIA’s official website, CIA.gov.

“When loaded on the website they will be full-text searchable and have the same features currently available on the CREST system at NARA,” he said.

“This will dramatically increase the ability of the public to access these documents, which currently are available only by going to NARA in person,” CIA spokesman Jonathan Lieu told The Hill on Thursday.

The CIA hasn’t said when the move will occur, but Mr. Trapani told FAS “we are moving out on the plan to make the transition,” FAS reported. The CREST database will remain accessible at the National Archives for the time being, and declassified documents will be viewable there “at least until the website is fully functioning,” he added.

Information activist Michael Best launched a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year in an effort to raise the funds needed to digitize and freely distribute the declassified CIA documents, and garnered more than $15,000 in donations. He’s obtained and uploaded upwards of 100 GB worth of government documents as of Sept. 2, according to his Kickstarter page.

“Information doesn’t do any good if it’s hidden away in a locked file cabinet,” Mr. Best told Motherboard when he launched the effort in February.

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