CIA’s Newly-Declassified Maps Give Rare Insight Into Historic Events


    The CIA has recently released copies of maps that were at one point only seen by those who worked within the intelligence community. The maps that were release dated back as far back as the 1940s, with more recent maps belonging to our current decade.

    The maps were created by the cartography center of the CIA and were released to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the cartography center. “Geographers and cartographers amassed what would be the largest collection of maps in the world and produced strategic maps and 3D plaster terrain models in support of strategic studies and military operational plans,” the CIA said in a statement.

    Included in the release was a photo that was taken on September 29, 2001, after the 9/11 attacks. Depicted in the photo is George W. Bush, chief of staff Andrew Card, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Directed of Central Intelligence George Tenet at Camp David. In the map, you can see them studying a map of Afghanistan.

    Also included in the collection is a 3D map of the Konar Valley in Afghanistan from 2001. Another map from 2012 that has a complete profile with geographic information and a timeline of groups within the region including the Taliban and the Soviet Union military.


    There is also a 2003 map of Baghdad, Iraq showing strategic sites, one of which is Saddam Hussein’s home.


    Older maps show Russia during World War II from 1941-1942.


    One map from 1944 shows Germany’s population distribution, and another even shows German concentration camps.


    Then, there is a map of Berlin from 1945 that shows how the city was divided by allies at the end of World War II.


    Depicted in a map of Cuba from 1962 are air missile sites on the island before the missile crisis.


    One photo even shows President John F. Kennedy next to a map of “Communist Rebel Areas” in Laos from March 22, 1961.


    A map from 2013 shows the West Bank of Palestine, with Israeli settlements in blue.


    A 1951 map shows the oil production and refinery capacities for the Middle East oil.


    These newly declassified maps show history in picture. Not only that, but they show a side of history that regular citizens have not had access to for decades. From Middle Eastern oil refineries in 1951 to President George W. Bush sitting with his cabinet more recently, these maps tell us a story that we haven’t seen in color until now.

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