30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

The National Security Archive [is] a private group devoted to prying documents out of the federal government’s files and making them public … The house that FOIA built and a mecca for documents buffs … Some of the documents are mind-numbingly boring, of course, but others are nothing short of astonishing.

- Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, (2008)

“‘No one will be able to write the same way’ about Cuban-Soviet relations.”

- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education after taking part in a National Security Archive conference in Havana (2002)

“[T]he world’s largest nongovernmental library of declassified documents.” 

- Los Angeles Times (2001)

“After eight months of research in the Mexican national archives [on the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968], the National Security Archive has found records documenting the deaths of 44 people: 34 are named, and 10 more remain unidentified.  Based exclusively on declassified Mexican intelligence files, the Archive wants to continue gathering evidence about the 44 (accounted for up to now) victims  and to this end launched a new website Monday, where families, friends and colleagues of the victims can register additional names, documents and photographs: http: muertosdetlatelolco.blogspot.com.”  

- Prensa Latina (2006)

"‘This thing about eyeball-to-eyeball, it never was. That confrontation never took place,’ said Kornbluh, who is a Cuba analyst at the nongovernment National Security Archive, which has spent decades working to get missile crisis documents declassified.”

- Peter Orsi, Associated Press (2012)

“Subtly devastating .... The most revealing of the newest books [on Nixon] is Nixon’s Nuclear Specter by William Burr and Jeffrey P. Kimball ... Burr and Kimball neatly recreate the Vietnam dilemma that Nixon and Kissinger confronted: they couldn’t win, but they couldn’t face losing. Nixon’s Nuclear Specter is a detailed and careful account of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s fruitless efforts during 1969 to find an ‘honorable’ way out of Vietnam. As events that year unfolded, these authors demonstrate, honor had little to do with it .... Quite amazingly, Nixon and Kissinger, according to documents cited by Burr and Kimball, also ordered an unannounced, worldwide nuclear alert: an elaborate military exercise that put US strategic forces – missiles, missile-carrying submarines, and bombers – in a position of high readiness, as though the US was preparing to launch a nuclear attack.  These details were particularly fascinating for me because, as a young correspondent in Vietnam for most of 1969 and 1970, I knew nothing about any of this secret maneuvering.”

- Robert G. Kaiser, The New York Review of Books (2016)

“The innovative approach of critical oral history yields penetrating insights into how policy-makers and officials understood events at the time and in hindsight.” 

- Nigel J. Ashton, London School of Economics

“Any presentation of the events that took place in Poland in 1980-1982 faces an extremely arduous task … Undoubtedly, the medium that could best describe the past and ourselves – the way we were at the time – consists of the pertinent documents. This is the reason I consider From Solidarity to Martial Law to be a highly successful effort at depicting the events of 25 years ago. These documents also enable us to perceive the path we have traversed since that time when – prior to Gorbachev and Reagan – we created the first fissure in the system of communist captivity.”

- Lech Wałęsa, former leader of Solidarity and president of Poland (2007)

“Thank you for the assistance your organization has provided to the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  The support of Miss Tamara Feinstein, from the beginning of our work and during these days, has been extraordinarily helpful in the difficult task of analyzing and understanding the nature, scope and utility of the declassified documents …. Taking into account the short period of time the Commission has to perform its mandate, and the complexity of the information contained in those documents, the active and generous involvement of Miss Feinstein is crucial to our goals.”

- Javier Ciurlizza, Executive Secretary, Comision de la Verdad y Reconciliacion (Peru), (2003)

“An important contribution came from Thomas S. Blanton and the National Security Archive in Washington, which provided key historical documents and analysis.  I am also grateful to Anne Hessing Cahn for access to her collection of papers at the [National Security Archive]. Svetlana Savranskaya guided me with precision and patience through Cold War memoirs and documents.”

- David E. Hoffman, 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Dead Hand (2009)

“Under the request of the Brazilian Minister of Justice Tarso Genro … we would like to follow our dealings about the presentation of a Brazilian Government official request of declassification of secret documents that may exist in the U.S. National Security Archive about the repression during the Brazilian Dictatorship (1964-1985).” 

- Paulo Abrão Pires Junior, President of the Amnesty Commission of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice (2009)

Masterpieces of History ... provides a fascinating array of sources from the late 1980s and early 1990, largely from Russian-language originals.  Experts who have seen these documents already at conferences or the archive itself, as I did in the course of writing my book 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, already know how valuable they are.” 

- Mary Elise Sarotte, University of Southern California

“Th[is] volume constitutes an unparalleled resource of primary documentation on the events of 1968, which is of inestimable value for future researchers, and equally valuable for classroom use and for a broader attentive public.”

- H. Gordon Skilling on The Prague Spring (1998)

“A nice trove of documents was declassified and made public yesterday by the invaluable National Security Archive of George Washington University.”

- Michael Tomasky, in The Daily Beast (2012)

“Blanton and the research organization he heads, the National Security Archive, have made it their mission to plant Freedom of Information Act requests all across the federal government to shed light on what agencies are doing in our name.”

- Linda P. Campbell, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (2008)

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