30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Policy Making and Diplomacy

Jul 9, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., July 9, 2009 - Reflecting on the life of Robert McNamara, who passed away this week on July 6th, the National Security Archive is posting this recognition of the extraordinary role he played in driving scholarly and policy reassessments of some of the most important and contentious U.S. foreign policy events in the latter 20th century.
Jun 30, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, June 30, 2009 - The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) yesterday launched a historic Declassification Policy Forum to gather public input as part of an ongoing review of classification and declassification policy by the Obama Administration. The forum, hosted on the blog of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will run from June 29th to July 13th and will seek recommendations in four different issue areas.
Jun 10, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, June 10, 2009 - Last week the world lost a luminary scholar of diplomatic and international history with the passing of Ernest R. May, who served for 20 years on the National Security Archive's advisory board. In thinking about the immense and wide-ranging contributions that Ernest made during the course of a career that lasted over fifty years, a line from Wallace Stevens comes to mind: “Description is revelation.” (from his poem Description without Place).
May 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 26, 2009 - Today the National Security Archive publishes its fourth installment of the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, the man who was behind some of the most momentous transformations in Soviet foreign policy at the end of the 1980s in his role as Mikhail Gorbachev's main foreign policy aide. In addition to his contributions to perestroika and new thinking, Anatoly Sergeevich was and remains a paragon of openness and transparency, providing his diaries and notes to historians who are trying to understand the end of the Cold War.
May 21, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, May 21, 2009 – At a hearing today focusing on the National Archives and Records Administration and the selection of a new Archivist, National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs said: “[The new Archivist] should have a vision for an Archives 2.0.” Discussing electronic records management, classification, presidential records and libraries, and access as critical challenges, before the Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ms.
Apr 23, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C. April 23, 2009 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sought to lift the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba in December 1963, according to declassified records re-posted today by the National Security Archive.
Mar 19, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., March 19, 2009 - Attorney General Eric Holder today released new guidelines for federal agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reinforce the presumption of disclosure articulated by President Obama in his day one Memorandum on FOIA, issued January 21, 2009. Attorney General Holder’s memorandum provides practical guidance for implementing the presumption of disclosure, including by encouraging discretionary releases of records and releasing portions of records even when other portions are being withheld.
Feb 26, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, February 26, 2009 – Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lifted a blanket ban on news media coverage of the honor guard ceremonies that mark the return of military casualties from abroad. The new policy will permit media coverage of the ceremonies, during which caskets draped with American flags are brought home from war, after consultation with the families of the fallen. The Obama administration’s move restores press access to the honor ceremonies, which had been the practice from World War II through the Panama invasion of 1989.
Jan 22, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 22, 2009 - In March 1975, a top aide to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger drafted a secret/nodis report titled "Normalizing Relations with Cuba" that recommended moving quickly to restore diplomatic ties with Havana. "Our interest is in getting the Cuba issue behind us, not in prolonging it indefinitely," states the memorandum, which was written as the Ford administration engaged in secret diplomacy with Castro officials to lessen hostilities.
Jan 21, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., January 21, 2009 - On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda heralding what he called a "new era of openness." Announcing a Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act to reestablish a presumption of disclosure for information requested under FOIA, President Obama said that "every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known." The FOIA Memorandum articulates a presumption of

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