30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“First, in speaking to the LBJ library folks, the researcher who is most aggressive in pursuing the PP [Pentagon Papers], John Prados, will most likely find the "declassified" occurrence of the page pretty quickly.  So please advise everyone that if they insist on maintaining the redaction, Prados will likely scope out the "declassified" page very quickly.  As you can tell by his NPR appearance, Prados will parade this discovery like a politician on the 4th of July.”

- Text from U.S. interagency communication regarding the decision to declassify the last eleven classified words in the Pentagon Papers (2011)

“I can't do anything but applaud this project ... Anything that can be done to educate people, all the better.”

- Former CIA Director Richard Helms on the National Security Archive, quoted in USA Today (1987)

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.” 

- Frances FitzGerald, on Politics of Illusion (1998)

“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)

“The proceedings of the conference [at Musgrove] and the documents – Soviet, American, and East European – together create a rare volume and significant pool of evidence ... The hosts succeeded in creating an atmosphere of tolerance for every opinion, an honest approach to any detail of a problem in any of its twists and turns, which provoked the kinds of spontaneous thoughts, reminiscences, and discourses that the participants themselves probably could never have ‘planned’ beforehand.”

- Anatoly S. Chernyaev, former senior Gorbachev adviser (1998)

“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)

“The essays in this volume offer important historical perspectives on one of the most enduring challenges for U.S. foreign policy: ensuring stability on the tumultuous Korean peninsula. The authors are all acknowledged experts in their fields and offer up insightful studies of various aspects of the Korean security dilemma.”

- Mary Ann Heiss, Kent State University, on Trilateralism and Beyond (2012)

“Without the support of the National Security Archive, the historic mission of the Panama Truth Commission could have been diminished and even frustrated ….”

- Alberto Almanza, President, Comision de la Verdad de Panama (2001)

"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." 

- Lars Schoultz, author, on Back Channel To Cuba (2014)

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.

- Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, (2008)

“The conference held at the Musgrove plantation on Georgia’s southeast coast in 1998 illuminated one of the most important periods in 20th century history: the liberation of the countries in Eastern Europe from Soviet control .... The National Security Archive rendered a service to historians and the public as a whole when it gathered declassified source material from both Soviet and American archives and invited scholars and several former officials to examine the historical evidence, comment on it, and discuss its implications .... The National Security Archive has once again helped us reach a more reliable understanding of the past in order better to deal with the problems of the present, and of the future.”

- Jack F. Matlock, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow (1998)

“‘We are forensic historians,’ states Peter Kornbluh, who directs the project on declassifying secret U.S. government records on Chile at the National Security Archive.  The documents that they have declassified shed light on human rights violations committed by the dictatorships of the Southern Cone, including Argentina. ‘We don’t unearth buried bodies,’ says Kornbluh, ‘but rather information about them.’”

- Pagina 12 (Argentina), (2005)

“Outside of government, the National Security Archive at George Washington University maintains the world’s largest library of declassified material and has used it to build a detailed set of online volumes called The September 11th Sourcebooks.  Drawing from documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and from individual scholarly research, the sourcebooks provide fascinating primary data and analysis on Afghanistan, U.S. foreign policy, bioterrorism, and U.S. policy against terrorism.”

- National Journal (2001)

“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

"Nate Jones of the George Washington University’s National Security Archive has done a superlative job [in Able Archer 83] of drawing together primary-source material that paints a compelling picture of this terrifying crisis, helped considerably by the outstanding scene-setting in his colleague Tom Blanton’s foreword .... The National Security Archive has done a great service to the people of the United States and anyone who wishes to learn from its history by obtaining the release of so many highly classified documents central to this story, in particular the PFIAB Report ... This is a book that should not be missed by historians, national-security experts, or any person interested in the fate of the earth."

- Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr.

- Thomas Graham on Jones, 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War', Nonproliferation Review

Pages