30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

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

“Forty years have now passed and we have become forty years older.  Had we not told our children the truth about what happened in 1956, they could not tell their children either.  Our grandchildren, however, will unearth the truth for themselves.  From archival sources and written memorials.  From facts.  Mercilessly.  Out of the desire for knowledge.  Without having lived in that age and breathed the air of those days.  It may well be that the story they reconstruct will be more accurate than our own version.  Hosts of young researchers abroad and in Hungary are working on that narrative already – as typified by the editors of this extraordinary volume – and I am sure that they will sincerely answer the prevailing questions of “why” and “how”.  With this outstanding volume, the scholars at the 1956 Institute in Budapest and the National Security Archive in the United States are helping to lead the way in this important historical exercise.”  

- Árpád Göncz, former President of Hungary, on the book The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

“The ‘nuclear vault’ is the informal name given to a division of the privately funded National Security [Archive], now housed in the library of George Washington University on H Street.  The [Archive],  founded two decades ago, has devoted itself to getting millions of pages of top secret, classified national security documents declassified, primarily through the Freedom of Information Act.  The nuclear vault, the repository for an astonishing compilation of confidential declassified discussions about the bomb, has been presided over for two decades by Dr. William Burr, another Yoda of FOIA, using that legislative tool like a light-saber to cut through the fog of secrecy that surrounds nuclear weapons and nuclear war strategy.”

- Ron Rosenbaum, author (2011)

“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)

“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)

"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)

“After eight months of research in the Mexican national archives [on the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968], the National Security Archive has found records documenting the deaths of 44 people: 34 are named, and 10 more remain unidentified.  Based exclusively on declassified Mexican intelligence files, the Archive wants to continue gathering evidence about the 44 (accounted for up to now) victims  and to this end launched a new website Monday, where families, friends and colleagues of the victims can register additional names, documents and photographs: http: muertosdetlatelolco.blogspot.com.”  

- Prensa Latina (2006)

“It is absolutely excellent work that you have done, and I do hope you will keep me informed of any similar publications in the future; they are an invaluable addition to any collection of documents on the genocide in Rwanda.”

- James Smith, The Holocaust Centre (U.K.), (2006)

“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)

“‘We are forensic historians,’ states Peter Kornbluh, who directs the project on declassifying secret U.S. government records on Chile at the National Security Archive.  The documents that they have declassified shed light on human rights violations committed by the dictatorships of the Southern Cone, including Argentina. ‘We don’t unearth buried bodies,’ says Kornbluh, ‘but rather information about them.’”

- Pagina 12 (Argentina), (2005)

"The National Security Archive plays a vital role in the field of nuclear weapons policy research. Through the vigorous use of the Freedom of Information Act and through monitoring new releases at the National Archives, its analysts seek the declassification and dissemination of some of the most important secrets in the nuclear weapons field.  These findings gain wide exposure on the Archive’s extraordinary 'Nuclear Vault', its site for the electronic briefing books and other document collections that are so valuable to scholars of nuclear policy, military history, and foreign policy."

- Robert S. Norris, Natural Resources Defense Council

“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)

“LeoGrande and Kornbluh's exhaustive and masterful diplomatic history [Back Channel to Cuba] will stand as the most authoritative account of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations during the five decades of Cuban President Fidel Castro's rule.”

- Foreign Affairs (2015)

"‘This thing about eyeball-to-eyeball, it never was. That confrontation never took place,’ said Kornbluh, who is a Cuba analyst at the nongovernment National Security Archive, which has spent decades working to get missile crisis documents declassified.”

- Peter Orsi, Associated Press (2012)

“Using freedom of information law and extracting meaningful details from the yield can be an imposing, frustrating task.  But since 1985, the non-profit National Security Archive has been a FOILer’s best friend, facilitating thousands of searches for journalists and scholars.  The archive, funded by foundations and income from its own publications, has become a one-stop shopping center for declassifying and retrieving important documents, suing to preserve such government data as e-mail messages, pressing for appropriate reclassification of files, and sponsoring research that has unearthed major revelations .... We are pleased to present this special 1999 George Polk Award to the National Security Archive ... for piercing self-serving veils of government secrecy, guiding journalists in search for the truth and informing us all.”

- George Polk Award citation (2000)

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