Six documents were declassified last week as part of the work of the National Declassification Center (NDC), regarding secret writing as described in the documentation.
The NDC was established within the National Archives at the direction of the President in 2009 with the task of reviewing more than 400 million pages of records by year end 2013. So far, “more than 84 million pages have passed the quality review process, the first step. Of the 14.5 million pages which have been fully reviewed, 91% were declassified and made available to researchers.”
It’s a difficult and complicated job because a single document could contain classified information drawn from several agencies, with each of these agencies having its own standards for classifying and declassifying documents. A representative s from the agencies was present at the facility in College Park, Maryland, so that the referrals and the decisions can be made quickly.
The secret writing recipes could include iodite of potassium, sulphate of iron, nitrate of silver, rice starch, ferro cyanite of potassium, and the old favorite of party games, lemon juice.
The six declassified documents date back to 1918 and were the oldest records reviewed. If you’d like to take a look at the documents and learn more about the NDC, click on the link to AOTIS National Archives, written by David S. Ferriero 10th Archivist of the United States. It’s a fascinating read.