Sometimes, with redacted material the government releases under the Freedom of Information Act, what they redact is less interesting than what they don’t, if only because it provides a tantalizing hint at what was really said, and what really happened.
Today’s document, released a while back by the USAF, is one such example. More than half the document was redacted – under the (b)(1), “national security” exemption, no less – but what remains lets one paint a pretty clear, and pretty interesting, picture.
Our story begins in April 1977 – thirty-two years ago. Tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union were fairly high, and negotiations for what would eventually become SALT II were going nowhere fast; they wouldn’t be concluded for another two years. Things weren’t helped much by the USSR’s tendency to have their jets probe our air defenses. Most of the time, this was fairly routine. Once in a while, though, things got interesting…
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