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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Archives Thrown Open

WASHINGTON () -- President Bill Clinton in the next few weeks will sign a sweeping order dismantling a significant piece of the government's Cold War security apparatus by ordering the automatic declassification of hundreds of millions of secret documents held by federal agencies, according to administration officials.

The order should culminate in the release of all classified documents more than 25 years old unless they meet a handful of relatively strict exemptions and will produce an avalanche of data about American foreign policy, military planning, intelligence assessments and scientific research that has been kept under wraps for decades.

The documents are expected to shed new light on the planning and execution of the Vietnam War, U.S. policy toward Cuba, China and Iran, and American assessments of Soviet intentions around the world in the 1950s and 1960s.