30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

The National Security Archive [is] a private group devoted to prying documents out of the federal government’s files and making them public … The house that FOIA built and a mecca for documents buffs … Some of the documents are mind-numbingly boring, of course, but others are nothing short of astonishing.

- Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, (2008)

Back Channel to Cuba, William LeoGrande’s and Peter Kornbluh’s timely, comprehensive, and meticulously researched study of the ebb and flow in U.S.-Cuban relations from the beginning of the Castro era to the eve of the reopening of diplomatic ties is an enormous contribution to our understanding of this convoluted subject as Washington and Havana move to develop a new equation.”

- Inscription for The Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy, presented to Peter Kornbluh by the American Academy of Diplomacy (2015)

“Even historic documents like the KGB surveillance reports that you have found on me and the other dissidents have a political impact in today’s Russia, since there is a new crackdown against civil society, and since our president [Putin] once served the KGB, so we need more such documents both from the history and from the present.”

- Ludmila Alexeyeva, co-founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, to Archive Russia programs director Svetlana Savranskaya in Washington D.C. (2006)

The Pinochet File should be considered the long awaited book of record on U.S. intervention in Chile. . . . A crisp compelling narrative, almost a political thriller.” 

- Los Angeles Times

The Chronology is an extremely valuable work and will be immensely useful during the televised Congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.”

- Peter Jennings, ABC World News Tonight (1987)

“There is no publication, in any language, that would even approach the thoroughness, reliability, and novelty of this monumental work .... For the first time in modern Hungarian history, and almost uniquely in the history of modern Europe, we are able to learn from original sources how exactly the decisions were taken that led first to the decline of the Stalinist system in Hungary, then to demonstrations for freedom and against the Soviet occupation .... [The 1956 Hungarian Revolution] will change forever our views of what happened in Hungary between 1953 and 1963.”

- István Deák, Columbia University, review of The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

"Nate Jones of the George Washington University’s National Security Archive has done a superlative job [in Able Archer 83] of drawing together primary-source material that paints a compelling picture of this terrifying crisis, helped considerably by the outstanding scene-setting in his colleague Tom Blanton’s foreword .... The National Security Archive has done a great service to the people of the United States and anyone who wishes to learn from its history by obtaining the release of so many highly classified documents central to this story, in particular the PFIAB Report ... This is a book that should not be missed by historians, national-security experts, or any person interested in the fate of the earth."

- Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr.

- Thomas Graham on Jones, 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War', Nonproliferation Review

“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)

“This book reopens the vitally important argument over Ronald Reagan's presidency — particularly, as Malcolm Byrne asserts with his use of many newly available documents, that Reagan was not passive, but "the driving force" behind the unconstitutional and embarrassing scheme to ignore congressional legislation by secretly sending arms to an enemy (Iran) in order to give the proceeds to help preserve embattled Central American dictatorships. Valuable also is Byrne’s analysis of the effects of the Reagan administration's questionable use of presidential powers in shaping pivotal foreign policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”

- Walter LaFeber, Cornell University, author (2014)

“An elegantly written treasure trove of fascinating, forgotten, and previously unrevealed history. For those seeking to understand the roots of modern enmity between the U.S. and Iran, Becoming Enemies is a truly unique and wonderful resource.”

- Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“[The Chronology is] the most comprehensive, authoritative, objective and useful summary of the Iran-Contra affair available.  It makes the pieces fall into place and brings the individual players into focus.”

- Bob Woodward, The Washington Post (1987)

“I am especially grateful for the work of the National Security Archive ... [It] is a national treasure.”

- Eric Schlosser, author

“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)

“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)

“For that matter, you will learn more about who wins and who loses in the real business of politics, which is governance, from the public interest truth-tellers of Washington than you will from an established press tethered to official sources. The Government Accountability Project, POGO, the Sunlight Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Center for Responsive Politics, the National Security Archive, CREW, the Center for Public Integrity, just to name a few – and from whistleblowers of all sorts who never went to journalism school, never flashed a press pass, and never attended a gridiron dinner.”

- Bill Moyers, InTheseTimes.com (2008)

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