30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“Declassified US files have revealed that an anti-communist Cuban, who has applied for asylum in the United States but is wanted by Venezuela for the bombing of a Cuban airliner 29 years ago, spent years on the CIA payroll.  CIA and FBI files, published by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, revealed US investigators believed Luis Posada Carriles was involved in the 1976 bombing plot in Venezuela of the Cubana Airlines jet in which 73 passengers died, including teenage members of a Cuban fencing team.”

“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.”

“We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for the work undertaken by the Guatemala Project of the National Security Archive on our behalf.  Since the inauguration of the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) of Guatemala in August of 1997, the Archive’s Kate Doyle and Carlos Osorio have labored to provide us with an extraordinary collection of United States declassified documents organized specifically around issues of concern to the CEH.  They have also provided their invaluable analytical and technical assistance.”

“A nice trove of documents was declassified and made public yesterday by the invaluable National Security Archive of George Washington University.”

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

“All the reviewers in this roundtable laud Byrne’s book. James Hershberg considers it ‘the standard work’ on the scandal. Kyle Longley praises it as ‘the best work on the topic and likely will be for many years.’ Andrew Bacevich commends it as an ‘extraordinarily detailed account’ that will come as close as any study can to being ‘the last word’ on Iran-Contra for a long time to come. This is a roundtable, in short, in which all the reviewers agree that Byrne has written an exceptional book.”

“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.”

“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

“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, whi

“In this well-written, carefully documented, and important study [Spying on the Bomb] Jeffrey Richelson describes how and why a succession of nations, beginning with Nazi Germany in World War II, have secretly sought to build nuclear weapons.” 

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.” 

“This excellent collection of documents pulls together what’s been learned about this event since the Cold War did in fact end … in a manner foreshadowed by what had happened in 1953.  It is an indispensable new source for the study of Cold War history.”

“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.

“Among the world’s document buffs – a small but tenacious tribe of journalists, researchers and historians – the archive is legendary for its prolific and skillful practice of the art of the FOIA request. ‘They craft the best FOIA requests around,’ says [Daniel] Metcalfe, the archive’s former adversary [at the Justice Department], who is now a law professor at American University. ‘If anybody does it better, I haven’t seen it.’

“Russia has reverted to authoritarian type, yet there are opportunities for human rights cases and accountability in the European context.  We need from you any US documents you can retrieve on Chechnya and the enormous human cost of those wars.  Such information is called ‘state secrets’ in Russia.”

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