White House Protest Corps

Why is “Operation Poodle Blanket” Still Classified?
April 8, 2010, 2:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

National Security Archive Update, April 7, 2010

Why is “Poodle Blanket” Classified?
Still More Dubious Secrets at the Pentagon

For more information contact:
William Burr – 202/994-7000


Washington, DC, April 7, 2010 – In a response to a Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request, the Pentagon claims that “Poodle Blanket” contingency plans from
1961 for a possible confrontation over West Berlin (no longer divided) with the
Soviet Union (no longer a country) still need to be secret for fear of damage to
current U.S. national security, according to documents posted today by the
National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).

“Keeping information on ‘Poodle Blanket’ a secret today shows how obsolete the
Pentagon’s security guidance is,” commented William Burr, the Archive’s analyst
who asked for the documents in 1992 — making the request one of the oldest
still pending in the U.S. government.

In the early 1990s, the State Department’s historical series, Foreign Relations
of the United States, published a number of documents on “Poodle Blanket” —
including the highest level National Security Action Memorandum 109. The name
“Poodle Blanket” came from Kennedy administration officials who used it to
describe a series of diplomatic, economic, and military contingency plans,
leading up to nuclear war, developed in the event of a confrontation with the
Soviet Union over Berlin. That formerly top secret documents on “Poodle Blanket”
contingency planning have been declassified for years makes it improbable that
declassification of more information would “serious and demonstrably undermine”
U.S. foreign relations, as the Pentagon argues.

“Spending taxpayers’ money withholding 50-year-old documents about long-resolved
Cold War conflicts is not only a waste but also damages our national security by
undermining the credibility of the system that protects real secrets,” said Tom
Blanton, director of the Archive.

Today’s release follows a previous Nuclear Vault posting on Pentagon
overclassification that highlighted several other cases in which the Department
applied stringent guidelines inappropriate for the review of historical

Follow the link below for more information:



THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research
institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington,
D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive
receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication
royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.


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