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The CIA is trying to clean up its image.

Recommendations on how to do that are included in an internal CIA report made available by the agency Thursday. The document was declassified after critics questioned the point of keeping secret a document titled "Task Force Report on Greater CIA Openness."The 16-page document, written by one of a dozen task forces recommending changes for a post-Soviet world, suggests more openness - but almost in the same breath concludes that it's not really necessary.

"There was substantial agreement that we generally need to make the institution and the process more visible and understandable rather than strive for openness on specific substantive issues," said the authors.

"We are the most open intelligence agency in the world, which is proper in our form of democracy," they wrote.

"That said, many Americans do not understand the intelligence process" and many "still operate with a romanticized or erroneous view of intelligence from the movies, TV, books and newspapers. These views often damage our reputation and make it harder for us to fulfill our mission."

To remedy that, the task force suggested declassifying old files that shed light on the way the agency operates, conducting more briefings for reporters and academics, and making the agency directors available for TV interviews.

"In short, we are trying to help people understand better what this agency does and how it does it," CIA Director Robert Gates said in response to the recommendations, most of which he approved.

The task force, mindful that the agency would likely be called upon increasingly to explain its role now that the Soviet Union is no more, also recommended more briefings for members of Congress and their staffs.

The recommendations were based on interviews with senior officials in Congress, the news media and the academic and business worlds.

Gates outlined the gist of the report in a Feb. 21 speech in Oklahoma, emphasizing that the CIA intends to declassify files pertaining to several controversial cases, including the 1963 Kennedy assassination, but he authorized declassification of the report only last week.

The names of agency officials mentioned in the report were blacked out to protect their identities for reasons of national security, said an agency spokesman.

The task force recommended that whatever action is taken, the CIA should "be consistent; be excellent; be credible - admit when we are wrong; personalize the agency; preserve the mystique."

Asked to explain, CIA spokesman Peter Earnest said that some things popularized by movies or books "make you jump to a conclusion that we engage in ruthless, immoral activities. That we'd like to dispel."

The task force also said the CIA's Public Affairs Office had developed relationships with every major news medium in the nation.