The CIA offers an electronic search engine that lets you mine about 11 million agency documents that have been declassified over the years. It’s called CREST, short for CIA Records Search Tool. But this represents only a portion the CIA’s declassified materials, and if you want unfettered access to the search engine, you’ll have to physically visit the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, historians and researchers have urged the CIA to provide them with their own copy of the CREST electronic database, so that they can seek greater insight into U.S. history and even build up additional checks and balances against the government’s approach to official secrecy. But the agency won’t do it. “Basically, the CIA is saying that the database of declassified documents is itself classified,” explains Steve Aftergood, a senior research analyst with the Federation of American Scientists, who oversees the federation’s government secrecy project.
It’s an irony that represents a much larger problem in the world of declassified government documents. According to Aftergood — a researcher some have called the “the Yoda of Official Secrecy” — most government agencies haven’t even gone as far as the CIA in providing online access to declassified documents, and as it stands, there’s no good way of electronically searching declassified documents from across disparate agencies.
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Indie games aren't just an artistic niche - this is where the industry's creative and commercial future will be written. Since Microsoft's unveiling of Xbox One earlier this week, the company and its shiny new device have been subjected to a number of different criticisms - some of which are a bit silly ("the name sucks!"), some of which deny the basic realities of the industry ("but I don't want a console that does anything except games!") but the majority of which are reasonable criticisms that will need to be addressed by deeds, not words, in the coming months. One topic in particular stands out, because it's become the subject of some slightly bitter argument within the industry and its associated commentators. In contrast with Sony's highly developer-focused approach with PS4, Microsoft made no mention of indie or self-published titles during the Xbox One reveal, and in subsequent interviews confirmed that it's going to remove the Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games channels from the new console s. Furthermore, it's not going to allow any form of self-publishing on Xbox One; instead, it's planning to work with publishing partners in the same way it always has.
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