Does a declassified "CIA document" prove that the intelligence agency knows "how the world is going to end"? No, that's not true: The "document" is an excerpt from a book, "The Adam and Eve Story: The History of Cataclysms." It was not written by the CIA, but by the writer Chan Thomas. An online book database shows that it has been in public circulation since 1963. The classification pertained to a larger document, of which a 50-page extract from "The Adam and Eve Story" and a note of conveyance were parts.
A version of the claim originated in a video posted on Instagram on May 11, 2023, with a caption that read, "They know how the world will END 😳." In the video, a person on-screen stated the following:
There is a CIA document that explains how the world is going to end. It's called 'The Adam and Eve Story' and a lot of it actually adds up. It claims that the world is going to end because the North and South Pole[s] shift, and they do this every 12 to 15,000 years. Once it happens, it causes mass destruction, which creates the apocalypse. I'm talking huge tsunamis, earthquakes, and other huge cataclysms.
This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken Fri May 12 10:03:00 UTC 2023)
The speaker implied that the extract of "The Adam and Eve Story" shown in the video was a "CIA document" written by the intelligence agency.
In fact, the book was written by Chan Thomas and published in 1963 by Bengal Tiger Press. It has been publicly available since, according to WorldCatalogue, which gives a history of the book's editions. The original publisher is listed as Emerson House, an outfit in Los Angeles. Thomas also wrote a book titled, "Natural Childbirth Self-Taught," according to the book cataloguing website ISBNS.net.
At the top of the declassified document is a handwritten note that suggests the extracted text from the book was likely part of an internal communication. The note reads:
Also included in the total 57-page document (archived here) were essay excerpts from the March 11, 1966, issue of TIME magazine (archived here), which is public material.
Neither the TIME magazine articles nor "The Adam and Eve Story" were classified by the CIA in their entirety or kept from the public. Copies of both were included in what was presumably a larger document.
The previously classified 57 pages were approved for public release on June 24, 2023, following a FOIA request (archived here), which gives a person the right to request access to federal records.
Federal agencies may classify documents based on the following criteria, according to the National Archives:
an original classification authority is classifying the information;
the information is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government;
the information falls within one or more of the categories of information listed in section 1.4 of this order; and
the original classification authority determines that the unauthorized disclosure of the information reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism, and the original classification authority is able to identify or describe the damage.
A CIA spokesperson, responding via email to Lead Stories' questions, wrote on May 22, 2023, that the document was released as part of the agency's ongoing removal of un-needed secrecy protections:
This document was among a set of permanent records that were reviewed and released through CIA's routine declassification process.
Lead Stories has also reported that the CIA did not create the term "conspiracy theorist" after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that a portrait of a familiar-looking historical figure does not actually show a CIA agent and that the CIA did not posthumously issue Osama Bin Laden a formal apology.