30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“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.”

- Washington Journalism Review (1987)

“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)

“It is the first time that senior officers have faced justice for crimes committed during a 36-year ‘dirty war’ against left-wing guerrillas that left 200,000 dead, most of them killed by the army …. For the first time, the army’s order of battle and methods are being revealed in public.  This evidence has been pieced together from declassified American documents by Kate Doyle, an analyst at the National Security Archive, an NGO in Washington DC, who has been called as a prosecution witness.”

- The Economist (2002)

“The Nuclear Vault is a model website. It now gathers all – or almost all (I don't know what else lurks on the Archive's website that hasn't been pulled over and/or reconfigured for the Nuclear Vault) – of the nuclear history on the website. ... It looks so good one wants to linger on it and explore it ... Finally, the electronic briefing books, the heart of the scholarship, are easy to access, intuitive to choose among, and immensely interesting and useful – the electronic source on nuclear history ... In addition, the context provided by Burr and others is essential. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable these briefing books are, and how very good it is that the Archive's nuclear scholarship and other nuclear information is housed all together in The Nuclear Vault.”

- Lynn Eden, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

“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, which contains thousands of documents acquired through patient Freedom of Information Act requests.”

- Ryan Singel, Wired.com (2004)

“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

“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. William Burr, another Yoda of FOIA, using that legislative tool like a light-saber to cut through the fog of secrecy that surrounds nuclear weapons and nuclear war strategy.”

- Ron Rosenbaum, author (2011)

“It is gratifying that my February 2006 memo has now been released.  Thank you for your contribution to that.”

- Philip D. Zelikow, former State Department Counselor and National Security Council, e-mail to Malcolm Byrne (2012)

“After eight months of research in the Mexican national archives [on the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968], the National Security Archive has found records documenting the deaths of 44 people: 34 are named, and 10 more remain unidentified.  Based exclusively on declassified Mexican intelligence files, the Archive wants to continue gathering evidence about the 44 (accounted for up to now) victims  and to this end launched a new website Monday, where families, friends and colleagues of the victims can register additional names, documents and photographs: http: muertosdetlatelolco.blogspot.com.”  

- Prensa Latina (2006)

“The National Security Archive is a wonderful resource in general—dogged, aggressive, fair, and with mad organizational skills.”

- Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

“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)

“Both Doyle and Peccerelli are indefatigable defenders of human rights who have played a seminal role in the fight against impunity in Latin America,” said Sebastian Faber, Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA). A determined and creative researcher-activist, Doyle has spent twenty years working tirelessly with Latin American human rights organizations and truth commissions — in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru— to obtain the declassification of U.S. government archives in support of their investigations.”

- Announcement of ALBA-Puffin International Award for Human Rights Activism awarded to Kate Doyle (2012)

“The [truth] commission [on East Timor] relied on more than 4,500 pages of recently declassified documents collected by the Washington-based National Security Archive, a nonprofit research group, which posted a 119-page portion of the commission’s 2,500-page report on its Web site Tuesday.”

- Colum Lynch, The Washington Post (2006)

“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 ... ”

- Emmy Award Citation (2005)

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