30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“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.”

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

“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.”

“The National Security Archive will help journalists, scholars, public-interest groups, even policymakers themselves, find national-security and foreign-policy information that has never been compiled in usable form before. A ‘Nexis’ of national security. A state-of-the-heart index to history.”

“Thank you for the assistance your organization has provided to the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  The support of Miss Tamara Feinstein, from the beginning of our work and during these days, has been extraordinarily helpful in the difficult task of analyzing and understanding the nature, scope and utility of the declassified documents …. Taking into account the short period of time the Commission has to perform its mandate, and the complexity of the information contained in those documents, the active and generous involvement of Miss Feinstein is crucial to our goals.”

“There are lessons for handling Iran's nuclear program in the declassified CIA self-analysis of its misreading of the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's reaction to U.N. inspections of his weapons-of-mass-destruction program. Equally interesting in the report is how Hussein misjudged the capability of international inspectors and the responses — sanctions and then military action — that would come from the United States and its allies. Are these errors that Iran may be making?

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.

“George Washington University’s excellent National Security Archive has just published a fascinating but hair-raising new account, based on newly declassified documents, of the incident in 1979 when Zbigniew Brzezinski, then Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, was awoken by one of those fabled 3am telephone calls and told that the Soviet Union had launched 250 nuclear missiles at the United States.  America had a matter of minutes to decide whether to launch a counter-strike.  Not a nice start to anyone’s day.  It was, of course, a false alarm ...

“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.

“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.”

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

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