30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

"A prodigious achievement – a truly exceptional examination of perhaps the most vexing relationship in the history of U.S. foreign policy. Based on vast numbers of documents, many rarely seen before, plus firsthand interviews with nearly every one of the important participants, including Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro, Back Channel to Cuba is the equivalent of a 9' high jump when the world record is 8'04" (held since 1993, incidentally, by a Cuban). Nothing else even comes close." 

- Lars Schoultz, author, on Back Channel To Cuba (2014)

“This has been an extraordinarily impressive event. I felt for the first time in this morning’s session that I understood Soviet decision-making in the Cuban missile crisis better than in any other event since 1941.” 

- Ernest R. May, Harvard University, after participation in a National Security Archive conference (1987)

“In this brilliant and disturbing book [Becoming Enemies], America’s foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1980s is told, for the first time, from deep inside the U.S. decision making apparatus of the Carter and Reagan administrations. It is a sobering tale of Washington’s misperceptions, ignorance and arrogance drawing on newly declassified documentation and oral testimony from key participants, who struggle to come to grips with how and why the U.S. rallied behind one of the twentieth century’s most brutal despots, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, in his war with Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, thereby sowing the seeds of bitter U.S.-Iranian enmity that exists to this day.”

- Patrick Tyler, author and former correspondent for The New York Times and The Washington Post (2012)

“Thank you again for your recent trip to Spain.  It was a pleasure to have you work with us in submitting evidence for the judicial case against General Augusto Pinochet.  We will be relying on you to search for other declassified U.S. records that may be relevant to this judicial case, as well as to the cases of other human rights abusers in Chile which we are advancing.  Your work is invaluable to the pursuit of truth and justice.”

- Juan Garces, lead lawyer in the Spanish prosecution of Augusto Pinochet, to Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh (1999)

“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)

The Kissinger Transcripts provides a unique and fascinating look into Henry Kissinger’s personal conduct of diplomatic negotiations and diplomatic maneuver in his contacts with the leaders of China and the Soviet Union. These near-verbatim transcripts provide an unvarnished and candid record [and] the personalities and proclivities of Kissinger’s Chinese and Soviet partners come through fully. The Kissinger Transcripts is not only an important book, but a really good read.” 

- Raymond L. Garthoff, on The Kissinger Transcripts (1999)

“The battle for the first outpost of cyberspace- electronic mail- is over. We won; the White House lost.” 

- Wired, on White House Email (1995)

“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)

“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)

“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

“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 proceedings of the conference [at Musgrove] and the documents – Soviet, American, and East European – together create a rare volume and significant pool of evidence ... The hosts succeeded in creating an atmosphere of tolerance for every opinion, an honest approach to any detail of a problem in any of its twists and turns, which provoked the kinds of spontaneous thoughts, reminiscences, and discourses that the participants themselves probably could never have ‘planned’ beforehand.”

- Anatoly S. Chernyaev, former senior Gorbachev adviser (1998)

“Despite denials by the Brazilian government that Araquaia guerrillas existed and that human rights violations had occurred during the twenty-year military dictatorship, a declassified US government document detailed the plans for a “bloody” revolution.  Additional evidence was also uncovered, including a taped conversation of President Geisel discussing his plans for eliminating the guerrillas. (Document from the National Security Archive).”

- Equipo Argentino de Antropologica Forense (2005)

“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)

“A pioneering and illuminating assessment of the role and influence of secret intelligence in the twentieth century which contains much of importance that more conventional histories of international relations leave out.” 

- Christopher Andrew, on A Century of Spies (1995)

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