30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“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)

“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)

“A nice trove of documents was declassified and made public yesterday by the invaluable National Security Archive of George Washington University.”

- Michael Tomasky, in The Daily Beast (2012)

“At last, the Iran-Contra affair has a comprehensive history worthy of the scandal which, if the system had worked, should have landed many senior White House officials in the slammer. Malcolm Byrne has told this complex story in brilliant fashion.” 

- Seymour M. Hersh, on Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal (2014)

Masterpieces of History ... provides a fascinating array of sources from the late 1980s and early 1990, largely from Russian-language originals.  Experts who have seen these documents already at conferences or the archive itself, as I did in the course of writing my book 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, already know how valuable they are.” 

- Mary Elise Sarotte, University of Southern California

“Finally a well-researched and well-written account of our leaders’ dangerous nuclear brinksmanship across the high years of the Cold War. There’s much here that’s new and much that’s troubling – for today as well as yesterday.”

- Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb (2015)

“Using self-promotional claims from a product web site as a way to sum up the sense of its value should be avoided, but in this instance they are pretty accurate and worth noting: “In its totality, the DNSA offers the most effective research and teaching tool available in the area of U.S. foreign policy, intelligence, and security issues during this pivotal period of 20th century history, and into the 21st century.”

- Gail Golderman & Bruce Connolly, reviewing the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) in netConnect (2008)

“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)

“Utilizing a host of new material, Zubok and Pleshakov offer many insights into the causes and early years of the Cold War. Their well-written account will interest not just historians, but any reader who seeks a better understanding of why the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in costly and dangerous rivalry for more than four decades.” 

- Jack F. Matlock, former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, on Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War (1996)

“‘No one will be able to write the same way’ about Cuban-Soviet relations.”

- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education after taking part in a National Security Archive conference in Havana (2002)

“We don’t have words to thank you, our sister organization, and you personally [Carlos Osorio] for the effort, the dedication and over all the patience on this project which we thought would take so long to complete but is already in the final stages of finishing.”

- Rosa Palau, Deputy Director, “Archivo del Terror,” Supreme Court of Paraguay (2001)

“LeoGrande and Kornbluh’s exhaustive and masterful diplomatic history will stand as the most authoritative account of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations during the five decades of Cuban President Fidel Castro’s rule – at least until scholars gain better access to Cuban archives and officials.” 

- Richard Feinberg, review of Back Channel To Cuba in Foreign Affairs (2014)

“The National Security Archive at George Washington University maintains a trove of declassified government papers, including voluminous files involving national security decision making during the Cold War.  Tom Blanton, the director, and his colleagues guided [research assistant] Gabriela and me through the archive’s collections, many of which are assembled and analyzed in thoughtful electronic briefing books.  William Burr, a senior analyst, has edited several invaluable collections about nuclear weapons policy during the Cold War.”

- Philip Taubman, author and former New York Times correspondent (2012)

“The [National Security Archive’s] expertise has proved crucial in understanding the declassification process, in retrieving U.S. governmental documents, in interpreting them, and in locating possible witnesses. It is not an overstatement to say that the cooperation provided by the National Security Archive has made a dramatic difference to the investigation that I am conducting, and has boosted the pursuit of justice.”

- Assistant Prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo, heading an Italian investigation into human rights violations in the Southern Cone (2002)

“I congratulate you for your great contribution, documented, meticulously prepared, passionate and very useful to sort the most relevant documentary evidence proving the crime of conspiracy called Operation Condor.”

- Jamie Nuguer, lawyer and father of a disappeared child

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