Appeals Court: CIA Can Keep Bay of Pigs History Secret

Split Decision on 'Draft' Document

In a 2-1 split ruling, the US Court of Appeals has decided that the CIA can keep its Bay of Pigs invasion history report secret on the grounds that the history only exists in a “draft” form, and was never marked as a final document.

The “Volume V” history details CIA involvement in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, an attempted CIA-sponsored regime change carried out by paramilitary fighters.

Normally an official government record would eventually be released under the Freedom of Information Act, but preliminary documents aren’t covered, and only the final version has to be released.

That’s where the problem is with Volume V, because it never became a final version at all, and in keeping it marked nominally a “draft” the judges insist the CIA can keep it secret forever.

Judge Judith Rogers, who dissented, said that the CIA hadn’t shown how the release of a document related to 1961 would impact decision-making 50+ years later. Rogers also said that while it made sense to withhold drafts in favor of a final version, it was something else entirely to withhold everything by just never marking anything final.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of