Most of the records of the three British secret services relating to the Cold War remain closed. Nevertheless, the Open Government initiative in the UK and the Clinton Executive Order of 1995 have resulted in some disclosures, often from consumer agencies who were in receipt of intelligence material. There have also been limited releases from other countries. Against that background, this essay considers two questions: First, how far has the study of intelligence affected the broad context of Cold War history during the last decade? And second, how effective have we been in probing the institutional history of secret services during the Cold War? The essay concludes that while some secret services are breaking new ground by recording their own oral history, academic historians have been less than enterprising in their investigations and tend towards a culture of archival dependency
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