30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“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

“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)

“As profound as major foreign policy initiatives and fiascos… as trivial as pizza orders and office flirtations.” 

- The New York Times, review of White House Email (1995)

“I am happy that the cooperation between the National Security Archive in Washington and the Czech foundation ‘Prague Spring 1968’ has resulted in this voluminous collection of documents, which, I hope, will lead readers to a closer understanding of the dramatic events that the then-Czechoslovakia lived through three decades ago.”

- Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, on the volume The Prague Spring ’68 (1994)

“Subtly devastating .... The most revealing of the newest books [on Nixon] is Nixon’s Nuclear Specter by William Burr and Jeffrey P. Kimball ... Burr and Kimball neatly recreate the Vietnam dilemma that Nixon and Kissinger confronted: they couldn’t win, but they couldn’t face losing. Nixon’s Nuclear Specter is a detailed and careful account of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s fruitless efforts during 1969 to find an ‘honorable’ way out of Vietnam. As events that year unfolded, these authors demonstrate, honor had little to do with it .... Quite amazingly, Nixon and Kissinger, according to documents cited by Burr and Kimball, also ordered an unannounced, worldwide nuclear alert: an elaborate military exercise that put US strategic forces – missiles, missile-carrying submarines, and bombers – in a position of high readiness, as though the US was preparing to launch a nuclear attack.  These details were particularly fascinating for me because, as a young correspondent in Vietnam for most of 1969 and 1970, I knew nothing about any of this secret maneuvering.”

- Robert G. Kaiser, The New York Review of Books (2016)

“A rich and timely review of the background to the normalization recently achieved.”

- Studies in Intelligence, review of Back Channel to Cuba (2015)

“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.”

- Christian Tomuschat, CEH Commissioner (1998)

“This volume opens the door to one of the most important yet largely neglected chapters of the Cold War in Europe – the Warsaw Pact. Mastny's provocative overview of its history should fire the interest of general readers as well as specialists; only a scholar with his breadth of knowledge of Eastern European history and languages could execute such a project. He and Byrne are to be congratulated for producing this monumental volume, with a trove of translated documents that is a major boon to both scholars and teachers.”

- William E. Odom (Lt. Gen.-retired), former Director, National Security Agency

“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.”

- Javier Ciurlizza, Executive Secretary, Comision de la Verdad y Reconciliacion (Peru), (2003)

“Prados directly engages, and in many cases, demolishes, a host of shibboleths about the war. But this is no mere polemic. Rather, Prados’s powerfully presented and meticulously argued account, buttressed by a staggering amount of documentary evidence, meets the most exacting standards of scholarship. His sweeping history forms the capstone of more than three decades of careful research and measured reflection on the Vietnam War .... It may be the single most important book yet written on the Vietnam conflict.”

- American Historical Review, on Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War (2010 winner of the Henry Adams Prize) (2009)

“National Security Archive (NSA), Estados Unidos. Apoyo del Equipo de investigación solicitado a Carlos Osorio para la consulta de documentos de los Archivos desclasificados del Departmento de Estado de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica referidos a Uruguay y a casos de uruguayos desaparecidos en Argentina y Paraguay.”

- “Investigación Histórica sobre Detenidos Desaparecidos” report in Uruguay (2007)

“This remarkable book [A Cardboard Castle?] documents in fascinating detail the rise and fall of the Warsaw Treaty organisation – an alliance of unfree nations press-ganged into military collaboration over forty years.  How it came about, did its business, and eventually imploded is the story of my lifetime – and that of many others who were affected by it.  This is therefore not just a story for experts or historians – it is a chronology of significance and an era we must never forget".

- The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, NATO Secretary General, 1999-2003

“I have never read a book quite like this. Becoming Enemies is the latest product of the indispensable National Security Archive, the Washington non-profit that has given new meaning to the Freedom of Information Act.  They not only use their skills to get major U.S. policy documents declassified, but they take those documents and find innovative ways to illuminate important historical episodes.  This book is a living example.

“No one can emerge from this book without a sense of revelation.  No matter how much you may know about these tumultuous years, even if you were personally involved or have delved into the existing academic literature, you will discover new facts, new interpretations, and new dimensions on virtually every page.” 

- Gary Sick, Columbia University, review of Becoming Enemies (2012)

"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)

“The work of the National Security Archive has helped prevent this issue from being swept under the rug. The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History is a history we must not forget.”

- James Ridgeway, Village Voice (1993)

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