30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“By seeking greater government openness and accountability in one of the most sensitive areas of U.S. national security policy, the National Security Archive epitomizes the very activities that make up the life blood of democracy.”  

- Robert S. Norris, Natural Resources Defense Council

“The National Security Archive at George Washington University maintains a trove of declassified government papers, including voluminous files involving national security decision making during the Cold War.  Tom Blanton, the director, and his colleagues guided [research assistant] Gabriela and me through the archive’s collections, many of which are assembled and analyzed in thoughtful electronic briefing books.  William Burr, a senior analyst, has edited several invaluable collections about nuclear weapons policy during the Cold War.”

- Philip Taubman, author and former New York Times correspondent (2012)

“Extraordinary primary documents on this and other SALT matters can be found in the Digital National Security Archive, “U.S. Nuclear History, 1969-1976: Weapons, Arms Control, and War Plans in an Age of Strategic Parity.”

- Michael Krepon, Arms Control Wonk (2016)

“The best testimony, well organized, undeniable evidence.”

- Sabrina Gullino, daughter of disappeared parents (Argentina), on court testimony by Carlos Osorio

“In timely fashion, the National Security Archive has released another one of its well-devised electronic briefing books for consideration by the general public.”  

- Internet Scout Report, University of Wisconsin (2005)

“It’s time we used the ‘information age’ to our advantage in reclaiming our democracy from the secret-keepers.” 

- Jesse Ventura, former Minnesota governor, recommending the National Security Archive in his book 63 Documents The Government Doesn’t Want You To Read (2011)

The Kissinger Transcripts is among the most important Cold War records to emerge thus far. In these pages we see the bare knuckles of Triangular diplomacy, the mercurial Mao, the blustery Brezhnev, and the multiple personalities of Henry Kissinger, all of them analyzed in expert commentary by William Burr of the National Security Archive.” 

- Patrick E. Tyler, author and former correspondent for The New York Times and The Washington Post, on The Kissinger Transcripts (1999)

“This remarkable book [A Cardboard Castle?] documents in fascinating detail the rise and fall of the Warsaw Treaty organisation – an alliance of unfree nations press-ganged into military collaboration over forty years.  How it came about, did its business, and eventually imploded is the story of my lifetime – and that of many others who were affected by it.  This is therefore not just a story for experts or historians – it is a chronology of significance and an era we must never forget".

- The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, NATO Secretary General, 1999-2003

“Outside of government, the National Security Archive at George Washington University maintains the world’s largest library of declassified material and has used it to build a detailed set of online volumes called The September 11th Sourcebooks.  Drawing from documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and from individual scholarly research, the sourcebooks provide fascinating primary data and analysis on Afghanistan, U.S. foreign policy, bioterrorism, and U.S. policy against terrorism.”

- National Journal (2001)

“This latest offering from the indefatigable National Security Archive is part of its ongoing Guatemala Documentation Project, which has worked for the release of numerous secret US files on Guatemala .… Once again, the [Archive] is to be congratulated for its hard work, diligent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and for making its important discoveries freely available to all online.”

- University of Wisconsin, Internet Scout Report (2000)

“[Critical oral history architect James] Blight has made a ‘massive and uniquely valuable contribution’ to the historical literature.”

- Philip D. Zelikow, former State Department Counselor and National Security Council staff member (2002)

“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 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

"FBI documents declassified in July reveal that the bureau has been worried about right-wing extremists for a long time—so many years, in fact, that many seem to have forgotten that white supremacists, who pioneered homegrown terrorism with the Ku Klux Klan, have not gone away.  The documents, which were collected by the invaluable National Security Archive and obtained partly through Freedom of Information Act requests, shed light on the problems coming from the extreme right.”

- Jordan Michael Smith, in Salon (2012)

“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)

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