30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

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

- Wired, on White House Email (1995)

“ ... [I]n recognition of your decades of demystifying and exposing the underworld of global diplomacy and supporting the public’s right to know and of your pursuit of a more accountable and just world.”

- Text of the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership (2011)

“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)

“Evocative, illuminating, insightful:  This volume [Masterpieces of History] is a brilliant collection of documents, conversations, and essays.  It is absolutely indispensable for understanding the end of the Cold War.” 

- Melvyn Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of History, University of Virginia (2010)

“I have compiled this list with the assistance of researchers at the indispensable National Security Archive, a non-profit group that has published more than half a million government documents.”

- Michael Dobbs, The Washington Post (2007)

“Specialists in U.S. national security policy, both scholars and journalists, will find the research collections of the Digital National Security Archive quite valuable. But anybody interested in revelations of government secrets and the prospects for future releases of official documents can use these sites with profit.”

- Chester J. Pach, Journal of American History, WebSite Review (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)

“An important and very revealing contribution to a better understanding of a particularly critical phase in the Cold War.  The documents provide a sense of intimacy to the complex interactions between American and Soviet decision makers as well as an insight into the internal communist debates.”

- Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor

“The National Security Archive in Washington proved, as always, to be the principal and most accessible source of declassified materials, providing information that extends well beyond the collections of the presidential libraries; Thomas Blanton and William Burr provided special help and insight.” 

- James Mann, author (2009)

“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)

“Forty years have now passed and we have become forty years older.  Had we not told our children the truth about what happened in 1956, they could not tell their children either.  Our grandchildren, however, will unearth the truth for themselves.  From archival sources and written memorials.  From facts.  Mercilessly.  Out of the desire for knowledge.  Without having lived in that age and breathed the air of those days.  It may well be that the story they reconstruct will be more accurate than our own version.  Hosts of young researchers abroad and in Hungary are working on that narrative already – as typified by the editors of this extraordinary volume – and I am sure that they will sincerely answer the prevailing questions of “why” and “how”.  With this outstanding volume, the scholars at the 1956 Institute in Budapest and the National Security Archive in the United States are helping to lead the way in this important historical exercise.”  

- Árpád Göncz, former President of Hungary, on the book The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

“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.”

- Chester J. Pach, Ohio University, H-Diplo review of Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal (2016)

“By seeking greater government openness and accountability in one of the most sensitive areas of U.S. national security policy, the National Security Archive epitomizes the very activities that make up the life blood of democracy.”  

- Robert S. Norris, Natural Resources Defense Council

“A pioneering and illuminating assessment of the role and influence of secret intelligence in the twentieth century which contains much of importance that more conventional histories of international relations leave out.” 

- Christopher Andrew, on A Century of Spies (1995)

At bottom, Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War is a valuable addition to the literature on the post-détente “Era of Renewed Confrontation.” Despite its sensationalistic subtitle and occasional overreaches, this is a serious work that makes significant contributions to our collective understanding of a tense and perhaps alarming episode in Cold War history. Substantiating and widening the discussion with an accessible collection of declassified documents is a public service, and one for which students of history and concerned citizens owe a debt of gratitude to the National Security Archive, and to Jones in particular. Whether this book produces new converts or merely preaches to the choir, it is a vital resource that deserves to be read and evaluated.

- DiCicco on Jones, 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War', H-Diplo

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