‘Classified Historical Films’ You Can Now Request From the Pentagon

"Peacetime Governmental Detention," "Nuclear Warfare at Sea," and "Electronic Intelligence Research Techniques" are among the classified films the Pentagon will now consider releasing.
May 3, 2016, 2:25pm

Throw a Nickle on the Grass—Have Doughnot is the title of one of at least a thousand "classified historical films" held by the Defense Media Activity, an arm of the Pentagon tasked with doing public relations for the military.

Though the films themselves remain classified, the titles of them were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Government Attic, which tries to publish as many government documents as possible. The Defense Media Activity is a Department of Defense office that runs the websites of the major military branches, as well as military newspapers and publications such as Stars and Stripes.

Why should you care about this? Well, it's a reminder that the Pentagon has a treasure trove of highly curious-sounding videos, such as "The Silent War: Electronic Combat" and Lasers in Military Operations Part 2 and Recovery of the Mayaguez. Now that we know the names of the films, they are subject to "Mandatory Declassification Review," meaning anyone can ask for the release of the films. We'll be filing declassification review requests for some of them, but we're hoping with more awareness, more of these films will actually see the light of day.

The titles of the videos suggest that some of them date back to the Cold War, while others are from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Here are some that jumped out at me:

  • The Silent War: Electronic Combat

  • Nuclear Warfare at Sea

  • Nuclear Depth Bomb as Submarine Deterrent

  • GTMO Activities

  • Operation Iraqi Freedom Weapons System Video

  • Operation Enduring Freedom, Detainee Arrivals

  • Mass Casualty Exercise, Live Fair, Detainee Barbecue

  • Detainees Play Soccer & Have Rec. Time in Camp Four. MP's Serve Hot Lunches to Detainees. MP's Collect Dirty Laundry in Camp Delta

  • Peacetime Governmental Detention: B Level Training Video

  • Lasers in Military Operations Part 2

  • Electronic Intelligence Research Techniques

  • Recovery of the Mayaguez

The full list is embedded below. Though this is doubtlessly a tiny fraction of the classified videos the Pentagon has, it's an interesting window into what the military retains, what it's willing to admit it has, and what it deems is worthy of classification in the first place.