30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“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)

“Journalists occasionally receive well- or not-so-well-intentioned leaks about past or present official misdeeds.  Once in a while – less so these days – a congressional investigation or a commission unearths long-buried truths about government-gone-bad.  But when it comes to consistently forcing important secrets out of the US government no journalist or investigator rivals the National Security Archive, a nonprofit outfit based at George Washington University.”

- David Corn, The Nation (2005)

“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)

“The fiercely independent National Security Archive ... has rendered yeoman service in the pursuit of historical truth.”

- A.G. Noorani, Frontline (India)

“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)

“Over the years the archive has found that declassifying documents may alter the course of history as well as illuminate it.  A database on the Guatemalan military, assembled from declassified U.S. documents, wound up helping the truth commission examining human rights abuses in Guatemala to pursue its investigations despite resistance from Guatemalan authorities.”

- David Anderson, “Open Secrets,” Ford Foundation Report (2000)

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

“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 Nuclear Vault is a model website. It now gathers all – or almost all (I don't know what else lurks on the Archive's website that hasn't been pulled over and/or reconfigured for the Nuclear Vault) – of the nuclear history on the website. ... It looks so good one wants to linger on it and explore it ... Finally, the electronic briefing books, the heart of the scholarship, are easy to access, intuitive to choose among, and immensely interesting and useful – the electronic source on nuclear history ... In addition, the context provided by Burr and others is essential. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable these briefing books are, and how very good it is that the Archive's nuclear scholarship and other nuclear information is housed all together in The Nuclear Vault.”

- Lynn Eden, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

“Challenging the prevailing narrative of U.S.-Cuba relations, this book investigates the history of the secret, and often surprising, dialogue between Washington and Havana ... Suggest[s] that the past holds lessons for future negotiators.”

- The New Yorker, review of Back Channel to Cuba (2015)

“At last, the Iran-Contra affair has a comprehensive history worthy of the scandal which, if the system had worked, should have landed many senior White House officials in the slammer. Malcolm Byrne has told this complex story in brilliant fashion.” 

- Seymour M. Hersh, on Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal (2014)

"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)

“Finally a well-researched and well-written account of our leaders’ dangerous nuclear brinksmanship across the high years of the Cold War. There’s much here that’s new and much that’s troubling – for today as well as yesterday.”

- Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb (2015)

“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)

“I also thank the many FOIA and open government groups, including OpenTheGovernment.org, the Sunshine in Government Initiative and the National Security Archive, who have advocated tirelessly for a fully-operational OGIS.”

- Senator Patrick Leahy (2009)

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