Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

January marks the 30th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s inauguration, and the beginning of a fertile period for historians: The State Department is required to periodically publish foreign policy documents relating to events that took place more than 30 years ago. Forthcoming editions of this official history, called Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), will include previously unavailable documents from Nixon’s active — some say unscrupulous — foreign policy operations.

Yet the intelligence community has refused to declassify documents for previous FRUS editions, a problem Congress tried to address in 1991 by appointing a group of independent historians to review all FRUS editions. In the committee’s annual report last year, however, chair Warren F. Kimball wrote that if intelligence agencies don’t start cooperating, FRUS could become “so incomplete and misleading as to constitute an official lie.” The CIA and other agencies balk at declassification, Kimball says, not always out of national security concerns, but more often for fear of embarrassment.

The government recently established a panel of senior intelligence officials to decide disputes over covert operations, and Kimball says he looks forward to the Nixon FRUS editions with guarded optimism: “The issue … is not going to go away. [Nixon] was all over Latin America like a wet blanket.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend