“In this brilliant and disturbing book [Becoming Enemies], America’s foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1980s is told, for the first time, from deep inside the U.S. decision making apparatus of the Carter and Reagan administrations. It is a sobering tale of Washington’s misperceptions, ignorance and arrogance drawing on newly declassified documentation and oral testimony from key participants, who struggle to come to grips with how and why the U.S.
“President Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China was one of the greatest diplomatic coups in history. This heavily-researched documentary reveals an unknown story behind the one most journalists and historians think they know. To tell it, the producers had to find, sift, evaluate and codify thousands of declassified documents, both from the U.S. government and the secretive Chinese government too. Working in cooperation with the National Security Archive, the program’s researchers brought dry government files to life, revealing details that would have rattled the world at the time ...
“The National Security Archive's Nuclear Vault is an essential resource for scholars and policymakers interested in nuclear weapons and nonproliferation. There is no collection of documents and other information that is more extensive, better curated and accessible than the Nuclear Vault. Indeed, the Vault is a "single point of failure" -- our community could not replace a resource of such quality and depth.”
“The best testimony, well organized, undeniable evidence.”
“Carlos Osorio keeps records in his office that many people would kill to have. They are intelligence documents that reveal kidnappings, assassinations, tortures, and massacres of the recent past. … If Osorio has these it is because he works at the National Security Archive, an organization that investigates international issues drawing on confidential documents freed from the government of the United States. ...In ten years of work he has found that one really can never get used to uncovering the face of infamy.”
“[T]he world’s largest nongovernmental library of declassified documents.”
“I can't do anything but applaud this project ... Anything that can be done to educate people, all the better.”
“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 ...
“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.’
“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
"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."
"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."
“Politics of Illusion reads like a novel – and I devoured it as quickly as I might a Le Carre …. It must have been an amazing experience for the participants.”
“More detailed and more international examinations of these cases and new studies of others are needed. An organization that will galvanize future research is the National Security Archive, the invaluable Washington non-profit organization that uses the Freedom of Information Act to secure the declassification of U.S. government documents. When I interned at the Archive as a college sophomore, I had no idea how much I would later benefit from their work.”
“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.”