The CIA Declassifies Invisible Ink

Friday, April 22, 2011


On Tuesday, the CIA declassified the government's six oldest classified documents, dating from 1917 and 1918. According to the agency’s press release, "These documents, which describe secret writing techniques and are housed at the National Archives, are believed to be the only remaining classified documents from the World War I era." Spencer Ackerman, senior reporter for’s national security blog, Danger Room, explains why the CIA was protecting its invisible ink recipes.

Comments [14]

Connor from Raleigh

I find it funny that it took over 50 years to declassify documents from WW1 over "secret writing techniques" we have made more advaces it TV's for example in the last decade and your telling me that the governments best and brightest could not come up with a new invisible ink formula. I feel that this is just a case of the CIA wanting to one up the American people and pretend that the information they have is vital to national security.

Apr. 29 2011 11:40 PM
Kaleisha Moore

I am amazed at the findings. They made some very good observations of the American documents and its amazing. As an american, we should always be aware at the new findings and observations. Being aware would help us in the community as well.

Apr. 29 2011 10:51 AM
Demesha Peebles

I think that this article was very interesting. They have made new observations in the American Documents. They should have to hide what our first fathers has done to make this country what it is today. They should continue with their findings and introduce their findings.

Apr. 29 2011 10:35 AM
emmanuel s. from Raleigh,NC

i think its cool that there taking new approaches to hiding American documents. but we shouldn't have to hide what our four fathers did to help this country to freedom. I think we should take better approaches then hiding important documents.

Apr. 29 2011 10:28 AM
Derrica B. from Raleigh,NC

Personally I have always felt as if as Americans we are way to forthcoming with our personal affairs. Here we are telling about a recipe for invisible ink. We are in several wars right now and to me the news is an easy way for our enemies to gain info on our every move. Though as Americans we want to know the whats happening with the government but it shouldn't be readily available for any and everyone.

Apr. 29 2011 09:44 AM
David from raleigh

Personally this report was very interesting! Im not saying that just because i am the one who chose this subject for my group. I believe the people have a right to know whats going on in they're country! Keeping secrets just make it harder to explain things.

Apr. 28 2011 02:46 PM
J'quan F. from raleigh

This report was okay. I personally did not like it. I would be mad at the person who declassified invisible ink, I would have kept it a secret.

Apr. 28 2011 02:39 PM
David O. J'quan F. Renita B. from raleigh

disclosing any of this information due to the fact that it could be used against the U.S.A and put its government and citizens at risk. This should be something the CIA keeps to themselves to keep the public and them safe.
I thought this was a very interesting report because I did not know the government used invincible ink. I thought the report was a good tool to educate those who did not know but its not useful to me in my daily life. I would recommend that people who are interested in US history should listen to this report.

Apr. 28 2011 02:35 PM
David O. J'quan F. Renita B. from raleigh

The CIA Declassifies Invisible Ink
By: David, J’quan, Renita

This report is about the CIA declassifying six old top secret documents which contain some of the secret recipes for invisible ink and special techniques of writing using the ink. It is based on the information gathered by a interview on Spencer Akromin (senior reporter for “”). He also points out that the secrets being declassified are nearly “ancient” and a lot of the document’s contents can be found on the internet!
Personally I agree with the purposes and the point of this article because I think that the government attempts to hide too many things from the american citizen. Well obviously this didn't become a secret anymore, because of its dated information and methods of use. Despite the other documents still being censored with the consequences of even death. I think thats a little far for someone just telling people how to open an envelope a certain way.
If I was a member of the CIA I would not support

Apr. 28 2011 02:32 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

Isn't Ackerman the Journo-List zealot who secretly advised his co-religionists in left-wing journalism (including at least one NPR reporter) to pick out a conservative journalist and just start accusing him/her of racism? NPR and OTM, log-rolling as usual with their ideological soul-mates.

Apr. 28 2011 12:50 PM
Xavier Yarborough from Broadcasting I

documents last year alone, the agency said. But the CIA was not always so eager to share these particular secrets, according to Steve Aftergood, of the Federation for American Scientists. He says the CIA resisted a Freedom of Information Act request in 2002 to release the records.
My reaction to this whole event, the government has many secrets that the public has not yet seen. They also have departments and agencies that do not exist. My dad was in the army for over 25 years and if he told me or even the public what he knew hew would be prosecuted and or killed by the government. I feel that it is necessary to keep the government and the Nation protected.

Apr. 28 2011 10:49 AM
Xavier Yarborough from Broadcasting I

The CIA declassified the government's six oldest classified documents on April 22, 2011. These documents are dating from 1917 and 1918. According to the agency’s press release, "These documents, which describe secret writing techniques and are housed at the National Archives, are believed to be the only remaining classified documents from the World War I era."

The documents show top techniques used by spies, generals and diplomats to send secret messages in a diplomatic war that raged long after the guns stopped. The records reveal how invisible ink was used to send word between allies, and spies learned to open letters to read each other's secrets without leaving a trace. Recent advances in the chemistry of secret ink, and the lighting methods used to detect it have made the secrets revealed Tuesday obsolete, explained CIA spokesperson Marie E. Harf.
Documents on secret writing fall under the CIA's authority to declassify. The agency declassified more than a million historical do

Apr. 28 2011 10:49 AM

The whole idea of having a secret document is to keep it secret for a time. The time stamp for these documents had a very long release date on them. Yes the documents might not have to most dangerous infornmation on them, but still classified is classified. Besides it is pretty cool knowing that back then they were trying to keep the secret documents for invisible ink a complete secret.

Apr. 28 2011 02:05 AM
Quentin Hammonds

wow they still have classified documents for world war 1. Do you how long that was ago. I don't even remember how long that was ago. And I their was secret writing techniques trust me I would know about it. I would have wrote fucked up things on my neighbors home, public bathrooms, AIG building, Fox 50 news station, and my dads cars. Besides I'm not surprised that the government did that the government is always trying to cover up something.

Apr. 27 2011 12:53 PM

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