30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“It is the first time that senior officers have faced justice for crimes committed during a 36-year ‘dirty war’ against left-wing guerrillas that left 200,000 dead, most of them killed by the army …. For the first time, the army’s order of battle and methods are being revealed in public.  This evidence has been pieced together from declassified American documents by Kate Doyle, an analyst at the National Security Archive, an NGO in Washington DC, who has been called as a prosecution witness.”

- The Economist (2002)

“This is a splendid contribution to recent history.” 

- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., on Politics of Illusion (1998)

“Specialists in U.S. national security policy, both scholars and journalists, will find the research collections of the Digital National Security Archive quite valuable. But anybody interested in revelations of government secrets and the prospects for future releases of official documents can use these sites with profit.”

- Chester J. Pach, Journal of American History, WebSite Review (2003)

“The work that you have done is immaculate. We thank you very much for all you have done and are doing for the cause of human rights.”  

- Walter De Leon, lawyer in the case against former Uruguayan President Bordaberry, to Carlos Osorio

“The National Security Archive in Washington proved, as always, to be the principal and most accessible source of declassified materials, providing information that extends well beyond the collections of the presidential libraries; Thomas Blanton and William Burr provided special help and insight.” 

- James Mann, author (2009)

“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)

“Governments at every level these days are providing less information about their inner workings, sometimes using fear of terrorism as an excuse.  But it’s precisely times like these that mandate citizens’ rights to check the efficiency of their government and hold those who fail accountable, open government advocates say.  The government itself won’t make it easy, so an increasing number of websites and data crunchers are stepping in to provide information about the inner workings of government …  Another trove of information is George Washington University’s National Security Archive, which contains thousands of documents acquired through patient Freedom of Information Act requests.”

- Ryan Singel, Wired.com (2004)

The Chronology is an extremely valuable work and will be immensely useful during the televised Congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.”

- Peter Jennings, ABC World News Tonight (1987)

“In the United States, on organization, the National Security Archive, has spent over 25 years working for more open government at home and abroad.  This independent nonprofit covers the waterfront: investigative journalism; research on international affairs; open government advocate; indexer and publisher of former secrets; and archive of declassified U.S. documents.”

- Carnegie Results (2014)

“This is the missing book – the primer – on the craft of intelligence. It is a highly informed briefing, set in historical perspective, by the best of the spy watchers.” 

- William E. Burrows, on A Century of Spies (1995)

“Russia has reverted to authoritarian type, yet there are opportunities for human rights cases and accountability in the European context.  We need from you any US documents you can retrieve on Chechnya and the enormous human cost of those wars.  Such information is called ‘state secrets’ in Russia.”

- Sergei Kovalev, chairman of “Memorial” and former human rights ombudsman of the Russian Federation, to Archive director Tom Blanton in Moscow (2006)

“First, in speaking to the LBJ library folks, the researcher who is most aggressive in pursuing the PP [Pentagon Papers], John Prados, will most likely find the "declassified" occurrence of the page pretty quickly.  So please advise everyone that if they insist on maintaining the redaction, Prados will likely scope out the "declassified" page very quickly.  As you can tell by his NPR appearance, Prados will parade this discovery like a politician on the 4th of July.”

- Text from U.S. interagency communication regarding the decision to declassify the last eleven classified words in the Pentagon Papers (2011)

The Pinochet File should be considered the long awaited book of record on U.S. intervention in Chile. . . . A crisp compelling narrative, almost a political thriller.” 

- Los Angeles Times

“There is no publication, in any language, that would even approach the thoroughness, reliability, and novelty of this monumental work .... For the first time in modern Hungarian history, and almost uniquely in the history of modern Europe, we are able to learn from original sources how exactly the decisions were taken that led first to the decline of the Stalinist system in Hungary, then to demonstrations for freedom and against the Soviet occupation .... [The 1956 Hungarian Revolution] will change forever our views of what happened in Hungary between 1953 and 1963.”

- István Deák, Columbia University, review of The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

“A remarkable book about a remarkable scandal that shook American politics more than a quarter century ago. Byrne's riveting account is not only good history and an exciting tale of espionage and White House intrigue; it is a warning about the excesses of secrecy and partisanship in American foreign policy. It offers a rewarding look backward with lessons for looking forward.”

- Bruce Riedel, former intelligence officer and author (2014)

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