38 Replies Latest reply on Sep 20, 2017 10:39 AM by Michael Tomko

    I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...

    Bill Streifer Adventurer

      I've already had some documents declassified for me from the CIA. And I've requested that others be declassified from the NSA. Is there a way to know which NARA documents have recently (2010-present) been declassified?

        • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
          Research Services at the National Archives Scout

          Dear Mr. Streifer,

           

          You can find information about NARA and declassification here on our website. The site contains information about and links to a variety of declassification-related topics. Under the “Updates” heading, you can find links to several PDF lists created by the National Declassification Center (NDC) of entries that have completed declassification processing; the lists are arranged by Record Group number. You may also find some helpful information on the NDC's website.

           

          Because the National Archives Catalog is constantly being updated, you may also want to conduct periodic searches there for series related to your research interests.

           

          Thank you for posting your question to the History Hub, and best of luck with your ongoing work.

            • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
              Bill Streifer Adventurer

              Here's the situation/problem that no one knows.

               

              1. The Navy, CIA, NSA, and NARA don't talk to each other.
              2. In 2016, I had CIA documents on the Pueblo Incident declassified and released, here: Anything Could Happen: Newly Declassified CIA Documents Tell an Entirely Different North Korea "Pueblo Incident" - Kindl…
              3. The #2 officer on the Pueblo thinks things remain classified and is afraid to too much, and has rejected an offer to be interviewed by a Russian journalist for publication.
              4. The NSA has already released declassified documents related to the Pueblo since around 2010, and some even more recently.

               

              If the Navy, CIA, NSA, and NARA knew about all of these recent declassifications, it would make it easier to have the rest of the documents declassified. With North Korea in the news every day, it's imperative that the public understands North Korea's history of making threats and their cooperation with North Vietnam and the Soviet Union.

                • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                  Michael Tomko Adventurer

                  Perhaps requesting the RG 263,  NN3-263-04-006 Accessions  SF 135 Record of Transmittal and Receipt Forms will provide a more thorough portrait of the tactical and strategic situation. The NARA Youtube PIDB Meeting described the situation mentioned above. South Korea retains male conscription for 24 months and seems to have employed a position of strategic patience.

                   

                  Another factor to consider, is that as current military planning takes priority in this region, the historic records, maps, and geological studies will then be reclassified. It almost seems like the entire Earth is like a giant battlefield?

                  Another factor to consider is AI,  "Artificial Intelligence". Future decisions and responses will be made using AI simulations.

                   

                  The "threats" are also decisions. And the reactions are decisions. The public may not be part of the process at this stage?

              • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                Bill Streifer Adventurer

                Naval History and Heritage Command informed me that deck logs older than 30 years are at NARA.

                 

                On January 25, 1968, the USS Enterprise arrived in the Sea of Japan to defend the USS Pueblo that was recently seized by North Korea. In support of its ally North Korea, the Soviet Union sent ships and submarines into the Sea of Japan. The Enterprise departed about a month later.

                 

                How do I request the Enterprise's deck logs from January 23, 1968 to February 28, 1968, particularly concerning the location and identity of those Soviet ships and subs?

                  • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                    Research Services at the National Archives Scout

                    Dear Mr. Streifer,

                     

                    The deck logs you are interested in have been digitized as part of an ongoing project and are already available through the National Archives Catalog. You can find the deck log for January 1968 here: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/7182351 and the one for February 1968 here: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6034896.

                     

                    Further information about the deck logs held at the National Archives can be found here: Navy Deck Logs Available in the National Archives Catalog | National Archives and here: A History of Naval Deck Logs | National Archives.

                     

                    Thank you.

                    3 of 3 people found this helpful
                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                        Bill Streifer Adventurer

                        Excellent, but with a problem. Since I'm unable (I think) to add contrast to these documents, I conducted a test. So I printed out the cover page and here is what I found: The printed words (words produced on a printing press) look great, but the handwritten daily log is faded so badly as to be unreadable when printed out. Yes, I could read it off the screen, but if a contrast option were available, I could print them out and read them at my leisure -- offline.

                         

                        Are you listening, NARA?

                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                            techhistorynerd Adventurer

                            I don't know if this is helpful to you or not, but if you download the image set from the NARA site you can use the following free and open source tools to improve contrast on the images.  (I'm using these from the command line since that's how I normally work - there may be a graphical way to do the same thing...)

                             

                            https://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php

                             

                            In particular, the tool "mogrify" can be used with the option contrast-stretch to batch process these types of images to improve their contrast.  To use the setting suggested here:

                             

                            mogrify -contrast-stretch 4x80% *.jpg

                             

                            As a test case, I tried it on a few of the Enterprise log pages.  The below has the original images in the top row, and the increased contrast images on the bottom:

                             

                            improved_contrast_examples.jpeg

                             

                            If you want to make a PDF of the results for printing or online book reader viewing, you can use the same tool to do an initial batch conversion to individual pdf files:

                             

                            mogrify -format pdf *.jpg

                             

                            and then use another free/open source tool called pdftk to assemble the results into a single pdf (in this case, first creating a directory called "final" to hold the final output PDF document):

                             

                            pdftk *.pdf cat output final/enterprise_log_1.pdf

                             

                            My understanding is that the NARA deliberately doesn't provide either post-processed records or the means to generate them in the catalog, but perhaps someone like archive.org could be convince to set up an automatic scripting link to process ARC textual record entries to prepare such outputs using the National Archives Catalog API ...

                              • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                Good suggestions:

                                 

                                1. I'd rather not create a pdf from 50 individual jpg's, although I know how to and have done it before.

                                 

                                2. Someone with a lot more authority than I have needs to contact NARA or the archives.gov website to provide tools to help researchers do their job. Right now, the deck logs are faded badly and basically unusable. Who does that benefit? And what about the millions of other documents that are faded badly?

                                 

                                3. You've added contrast, but to print them out so they are easily readable, far more contrast is required like this.

                                Deck Log Book -- cover.jpg

                                  • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                    techhistorynerd Adventurer

                                    1. I'd rather not create a pdf from 50 individual jpg's, although I know how to and have done it before.

                                     

                                    Agreed, although I've found it is possible to script downloads by taking advantage of patterning in the image names and the directories they are stored in.  Definitely not an ideal situation, but it still beats the heck out of going in person to do the scanning...

                                     

                                    2. Someone with a lot more authority than I have needs to contact NARA or the archives.gov website to provide tools to help researchers do their job. Right now, the deck logs are faded badly and basically unusable. Who does that benefit? And what about the millions of other documents that are faded badly?

                                     

                                    I suspect that comes down to the scope of the NARA's mission and/or what resources they have available to pursue such improvements.  A few comments on history hub from folks associated with the web dev teams have indicated that they don't really have enough resources to pursue those sorts of goals - that probably means the correct people to petition are your Congressional representatives.

                                     

                                    3. You've added contrast, but to print them out so they are easily readable, far more contrast is required like this.

                                     

                                    Ah, that looks more like an overall darkening than a simple contrast increase.  I barely scratched the surface of what the ImageMagick tools are capable of (indeed, they could probably be used to implement the back-end web infrastructure you're talking about, at least for smaller images) so if there is interest I'm sure I could figure out how to darken things as well.

                                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                        Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                        "Ah, that looks more like an overall darkening than a simple contrast increase.  I barely scratched the surface of what the ImageMagick tools are capable of (indeed, they could probably be used to implement the back-end web infrastructure you're talking about, at least for smaller images) so if there is interest I'm sure I could figure out how to darken things as well."

                                         

                                        Indeed. I used the dastardly duo of darkening and contrast increase.

                                         

                                        Here's an interesting photo. I obtained it from a member of the crew of a Soviet submarine that had a U.S. aircraft carrier squarely in its periscope sights. Since the photo was taken during a storm, this photo wasn't too great to begin with, but with a little darkening and contrast change, it's a little less crappy. By the way, he gave me permission to use this photo in my book. Luckily, he spoke English although my co-author is a Russian.American aircraft carrier Soviet periscope 1976.jpg

                                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                            Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                            If true, this correlates with a 2-7-68 Enterprise Deck Log entry, whereby at 1414 PM 2 Soviet Badger aircraft flew over the bow, appx 1000 feet. At 1417 they were intercepted by 1 F-4 Phantom.

                                            At 2320 PM The Truxton reported sonar contact , and the USS Blue destroyer was sent to investigate.

                                            There were no further entries of the sonar depth or Blue and Truxton Interventions. The Truxton was an air screen.

                                            Many are not aware that the Pueblo contained the KL-47 Crypto machine, which was given to the Soviet Union after capture. . This time period also had elements of naval espionage by the Walker spy ring, who had sub qualifications, and was later incarcerated.  The Soviets had the crypto data for US Naval Operations during the Cold War.  The Pueblo, had vital equipment whereby it should have been destroyed by thermite charges, or the ship should have been ....destroyed, as to prevent capture. Were there crew on the Pueblo, that were never returned to the US?

                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                      Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                      I use the free graphic software GIMP, which also has a PDF converter. The files can then be utilized for self publishing.

                                      The power point and draw formats are simplified for images. It also has a contrast, hue and threshold function.

                                    • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                      Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                      I found the February 1968 deck logs as a pdf, but I can't find the January 1968 deck logs (as a pdf).

                                      Can you help me find them?

                                       

                                      Meanwhile, here's a helpful tip...

                                       

                                      In order to print out these deck logs, I had to increase the contrast of each page. So I opened the February 1968 deck logs in a pdf reader. Then, when I found a page I needed to print out, I chose "copy file to clipboard." Then I pasted it into my Adobe Fireworks. Then I increased the contrast until it was sharp and clear. Then I copied (or cut) the page and pasted it into Word, where I printed it out. Then I repeated the process for the next page I needed printed out. It's pretty tedious when you need to print out 50 or more pages.

                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                        Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                        May I suggest:

                                         

                                        1. Including a tool to add (or reduce) the contrast to ALL NARA documents.

                                         

                                        2. In addition to individual pages, Navy deck logs should also be available as pdf files (with the entire set on each pdf).

                                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                        Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                        There should also be a record of the US Air Force response from bases in South Korea.

                                        The US Army,  2nd Infantry Division  was most likely patrolling the border and doing radio checks every

                                        half hour to the base camp.

                                         

                                        The Enterprise Log is interesting, I never realized they did a radioactive discharge ?  Did the engine

                                        room have a problem? Perhaps there was a Naval Engineering Repot?

                                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                        Alex Daverede Adventurer

                                        Mr. Streifer,

                                         

                                        No records concerning the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) have been declassified at the National Archives since 2010

                                         

                                        I appreciate your frustration with agency declassification efforts; however, a little background may be in order.  Executive Order 13526 of 29 December 2009 defines the creation, handling, and declassification of National Security Information (NSI)  Each originating agency then develops its own processes for creating, handling, and declassification of the NSI that they create.  So every agency has its own declassification program.  The National Archives, because of its unique position as the keeper of the nation's historically valuable records, also has a program for the declassification of the records in its legal custody.

                                         

                                        Agency declassification programs can take various forms.  In one form, the declassification program may be unified operations where every systematic review, FOIA review, mandatory declassification review, pre-publication review, and so on is conducted in one office.  At other agencies, these functions may be separated in different organizations under Administration, Security, and Information Operations.  Depending on the creating agency, the different declassification functions may not be aware of the work being done across the agency.  The declassification community is aware of the coordination problem and is not happy with that state of affairs; however, given the nature of bureaucracies and budgets, the problem is not going to go away any time soon. 

                                         

                                        So the short answer about Navy, CIA, NSA, and NARA declassification programs knowing about all the declassification being done on Pueblo records is that all those organizations probably do not know.  Researchers tend to know more about the subjects of the research than the declassification community because the declassifiers generally do not work on a subject by subject basis.  They tend to work in turn on each record series, as identified in the agency's records management schedule.  Researchers are free to focus on one topic and can call up all the available records either on the Web or at archival institutions, libraries, and so on.

                                        3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                            Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                            "No records concerning the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) have been declassified at the National Archives since 2010"

                                             

                                            From memory alone (I'm lazy), I have secret and top secret documents on the Pueblo Incident declassified in 2013-2016, and maybe 2017 before the end of September 2017. Someone needs to inform NARA that they are far behind the curve.

                                             

                                            I want everything declassified now...................

                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                            • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                              Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                              "No records concerning the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) have been declassified at the National Archives since 2010."

                                               

                                              I (and others) have had documents on the subject declassified in 2012-2016, and more are forthcoming. Question: If copies of these newly-declassified documents were presented to NARA, would that provide impetus for NARA to conduct new classification reviews on documents on a related topic? After all, why should a top secret NSA document be declassified in 2016-2017 and similar documents at NARA remain classified?

                                                • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                  Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                                  The NDC National Declassification Center has a list of priority records, listed at their site, which include the WW2 OSS records, 1st  Korean War and Vietnam. They have a slight backlog. There are still plenty of records from WW1 that are not available to the public in electronic format.

                                                   

                                                  There aren't many WW2 or Korean War veterans left. And Vietnam veterans are now in there 70's.

                                                  NARA has now listed the restricted records from over 25 years ago concerning Desert One, Desert Storm and Somalia.

                                                   

                                                  The records of the 1st Gas Regiment during WW1, are not available to the public in an electronic format. There are also some nice Tank Trap and Trench maps from WW1. It would be interesting to see the Hospital Maps, and training manuals toward chemical warfare from WW1. But history always tends to have a big back log, and then it fades away with a new generation.

                                                  • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                    Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                                    The Pueblo records are not going to be automatically declassified by an agency. This is especially the case, whereby

                                                    a series of tactical and strategic miscalculations may have been made. The Blue House Raid was anticipated and for some reason the Pueblo may not have had adequate air cover?  Or maybe the air cover was ordered not to engage?

                                                    There are plenty of gaps in the time line.

                                                     

                                                    A researcher would have to request a MDR or FOIA, and adequately "describe" the records, if they were transferred to NARA?

                                                     

                                                    Records are classified beyond 25 years as to protect human intel resources and the design criteria related to weapons of mass destruction.  Records are technically not to be restricted, because of poor military decisions, wrong doing, or the experimental use or subsequent friendly forces exposure to atomic, chemical or biological weapons? The Tuskegee Experiments, and similar military tests should not be considered part of the "design" criteria".

                                                     

                                                    Unfortunately these are ethical decisions that are weighed on an economic scale, and also on a level that maintains

                                                    personal reputations. Basically, money, reputation and power set the priority, in many historic cases.

                                                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                        Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                                        As you know, I'm not so interested in the Pueblo Incident itself, but rather with its aftermath. So I'm not sure how the decision to declassify President Johnson's decision to use the atomic bomb relates to the decision to declassify North Korea's or China's or the Soviet Union's decision to retaliate.

                                                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                            Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                                            Did any senior Naval Officers retire, after the Pueblo Incident? The Navy most likely had an emergency action plan, whereby tactical weapons could have been utilized at lower levels. Perhaps the air cover was not provided, due to an error in communication?  Perhaps the order to use a Tactical weapon was given? But similar to the Cuban Missile Crises and K-129, perhaps the order was .....Refused to be carried out?

                                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                    • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                      Jonathan Deiss Adventurer


                                                      Bill Streifer I attended a symposium last week that had a forum on how to push for declass with an agency or NARA. 

                                                      From information I gathered from a number of presenters, the number of records still in originating agency possession that are considered classified, restricted or controlled may number as many as are already in the National Archives (perhaps close to one billion).  For instance, the Navy may have about 300million+ records (post-1945) that remain classified and completely inaccessible to any sort of public review.


                                                      I was a virtual newbie to declass, as I have generally focused on earlier records, but I found it enlightening. 

                                                       

                                                      You may know or have already tried some of these steps, but here were a few suggestions from an inside player.  :

                                                       

                                                      1. After your initial records request, submit FOIA to the originating or controlling agency to encourage OCA security review.
                                                      2. If the classified records are over 25 years old, ask for mandatory declass review.  If the review takes more than one year, you may appeal to ISCAP (Inter-agency Security Classification Appeals Panel).

                                                      3. If the 25-years old record isn't declassified after a mandatory declass review, you may ask for an automatic declassification review again on the specific record (~not sure on this).

                                                      4. Submit a request to the originating or controlling agency for "historical researcher" access to the classified record (some agencies may have a policy on this).

                                                      5. Seek guidance or resolution from NARA's Information Security Oversight Office.

                                                      6. You may submit appeals for your declass denials to ISCAP.

                                                      7. Make this an agenda item for SAA, AHA, and other professional research or historical organizations.

                                                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                        • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                          Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                                          Thanks, I wasn't aware of some of that. But I can brag a little. I was

                                                          recently denied access to classified documents in response to a FOIA

                                                          request, so I appealed and won. I received the documents.

                                                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                            Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                                            How do you find the Originating and Controlling Agencies? NARA 's response letter, never mentioned

                                                            their names?  Perhaps agencies that are Not recognized or disclosed to the public, make the decisions?

                                                            Off site record centers and digital archives under agreements and contracts, that may not even be located

                                                            in the USA or a territory?

                                                             

                                                            It seems, the majority of records have been digitized, even  before they are transferred to NARA?

                                                            Then it seems that NARA has to reprocess and digitize them again?

                                                            So NARA is like  a retail center for public window shopping, while the majority of records are never

                                                            acknowledged? A sad realization of an Orwellian 1984?

                                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                              • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                                Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                                                Having analyzed U.S. Navy, NSA and CIA documents, I'm fairly confident that the Pueblo Mission was a dual NSA/US Navy mission. For the most part, the Navy didn't know what the NSA was doing and the NSA didn't care what the Navy was doing. During a fairly recent interview, Edward R. Murphy, Jr., the Pueblo's Executive Office, told his interviewer, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you." What he said was pure bravado. He knew that NSA documents were still classified, but he could not have known what they say. Yes, Murphy had a certain level of security clearance, but he no longer has the level of security clearance required to view those highly-classified and redacted NSA documents that are currently covered by the very highest classification. At that level of classification, like TOP SECRET ULTRA, even the word "ULTRA" is redacted.

                                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                                  Jonathan Deiss Adventurer

                                                                  By 'originating agency' I mean a Federal agency, bureau or division that created the document(s) and maintains legal custody of them (records).  There are hundreds of agencies and bureaus, so you'd have to determine which one of those hundreds created the document before filing your FOIA or declassification request. Federal agencies and bureaus are supposed to transfer records of historical or permanent value to the Nat'l Archives based on their own internal retention and disposal schedules.  Once documents are transferred to the Nat'l Archives, then NARA is in control of the record and determines its classification status based on a number of rules. I use the term 'controlling agency' loosely to mean the agency that has legal custody of the record and determines its classification status.

                                                                   

                                                                  If you requested access to, and received documents, from the National Archives, then they are the controlling agency, so to speak.  I would say that most records are not digitized and that may just happen ad-hoc as requests are approved and copies provided.

                                                                   

                                                                  There are indeed many 'secret' kinds of records, many are indeed classified for the reasons of Nat'l Security, but there are also other reasons why items may be classified.  There are a great number of agency records that remain in a restricted, controlled or classified status simply because the agency does not have competent records managers or a good Chief Records Officer.  The worst case is that of the US Dept of Veterans Affairs, which jealously maintains their collection of Civil War, SpanAm War, Indian Wars and World War One insurance and pension case-files, for no good reason except that they refuse to cooperate with the National Archives.  I am sure there are cases like this at every agency where records are held hostage by bureaucratic inanition.

                                                                   

                                                                  I don't believe it is a conspiracy as much as it is a mess where each agency can operate as a feudal kingdom in regards to their records and there exists very little enforcement capacity within the system to compel compliance.  If a conspiracies exist, they're not generally in place to protect some "big time secrets" like ray-guns, human experiments or UFOs, but to obfuscate the discovery of bad decisions, wasted budgets, accidents and the identities of actors.

                                                                   

                                                                  This is all just my opinion based on what I have experienced.

                                                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                    • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                                      Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                                                      If I had to guess, I'd say the ULTIMATE controlling agency was the Joint

                                                                      Chiefs of Staff (http://www.jcs.mil/), which I think is part of the Defense

                                                                      Department.

                                                                      • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                                        Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                                                        In my case, the records pertain to Desert Storm, and the RG 518 CENTCOM records. I filed a FOIA with NARA, that stated no records were found. I then filed FOIA's with CENTOM and the US Army, whereby the Pentagon stated the records were at NARA. I then filed a FOIA with CENTCOM and the US Army toward any Desert Storm records that were not transferred to NARA in 1998. The response was, that nothing else was found. So now I have an MDR for the RG 518,  A1 23, records and some others. The NARA response, is that they are waiting for other agencies.

                                                                        Many of the Desert Storm records were actually declassified from 95-97, in relation to hearings. But they remain restricted, beyond 25 years. NARA did not even list them in the public catalog. And there are no original Army Desert Storm textual records displayed in the NARA online public catalog.  They have displayed some still photos, but no textual records for public view per the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. 

                                                                         

                                                                        They even have the research concerning the indirect nuclear propulsion engines, rail guns and energy weapons on the net.

                                                                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                                            Bill Streifer Adventurer

                                                                            Why don't you file a FOIA request with the Department of Defense,

                                                                            requesting documents concerning Desert Storm (from when it was conceived to

                                                                            just before it began)? Then, if one of those documents includes a letter to

                                                                            the CIA, or NSA, AF Intelligence, Army Intelligence, or some other

                                                                            intelligence agency, you have ammunition to file ne FOIA requests with

                                                                            those intelligence agencies. I think the mistake some researchers make is

                                                                            that they file their FOIA with the Army first, since the Army or Air Force

                                                                            actually carried out the mission. But before the armed forces can do

                                                                            anything, they need to contact the White House (to see it they can obtain

                                                                            authorization) and they need to obtain intelligence agencies (to see if

                                                                            their strategy would even work).

                                                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                          • Re: I'm interested in the Pueblo Incident...
                                                                            Michael Tomko Adventurer

                                                                            Perhaps still paying benefits to Civil War veterans? You should see how their contract company codes a $140 Lab Test as a $2000 Immunology Procedure.....