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Declassification Diplomacy: Trump Administration to Turn Over Trove of Declassified Records to Argentina on Human Rights Violations Committed During Military Dictatorship

Documents like this one pertaining to the fate of Ana Maria Pérez will be among those in the upcoming release. Photo courtesy of Berta Elvira Sanchez.

Published: Mar 24, 2019

by Carlos Osorio

For further information, contact Carlos Osorio:
202-994-7061 or cosorio@gwu.edu

National Security Archive Hails Forthcoming Transfer of Formerly Secret Intelligence Records

Washington D.C., March 24, 2019 - On the 43rd anniversary of the military coup in Argentina, the Argentine government of Mauricio Macri has announced that the Trump Administration will provide “the largest delivery of declassified documents, in size and file quality, to another nation”—formerly secret U.S. records relating to human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. The official transfer of the records is planned for mid-April during a visit by Argentina’s minister of justice, Germán Garavano, to Washington D.C.

The turnover of formerly secret U.S. intelligence records—the collection will include CIA, FBI, NSC, and Defense Intelligence Agency documents—will culminate a special U.S. government declassification project authorized three years ago today by then-President Barack Obama during a visit to Buenos Aires, and implemented by the Trump administration.

In support of the Argentina declassification project, the National Security Archive hailed the forthcoming documents transfer. “We praise the Trump administration as well as President Macri for their concrete contribution to the cause of truth and human rights,” said Carlos Osorio, Director of the National Security Archive’s Southern Cone Documentation Project.

“With great expectations, Argentina awaits this documentation which will provide valuable support for the process of truth, justice and memory,” noted a statement released today by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“This is the largest amount of information that the United States has ever transferred to another country,” President Macri tweeted today. “These documents will play a fundamental role in advancing justice for still unresolved issues of the past, one of the darkest periods of Argentine history.”

Osorio said that the National Security Archive would analyze the documentation and post a selection of the most significant and revealing records after the U.S. transferred the documents to Argentina.

In anticipation of the final release of records, the National Security Archive today posted a sampling of previously declassified, but heavily redacted, FBI records which reflect the potential value of the forthcoming declassification. Among them are detailed reports from the FBI’s legal attaché in Buenos Aires on repressive operations conducted by military security agents during the dictatorship. The declassification of similar records, according to Osorio, could provide evidence for victims, investigators, prosecutors and judges to pursue still unresolved human rights crimes in Argentina.



(chronological order)*

*These documents were identified and described with the help of
undergraduate students from the College of William & Mary as part of a
research internship led by Professor Silvia Tandeciarz and assisted by
Johanna Weech. We would like to acknowledge the following students:
Arianna Asfari, Emily Jackson, Pedro Ramos, Isabella Dickens-Bowman,
and Johanna Weech (Spring 2018); Lauren Bauer, Grayson Cox, Emily Kate
Earls, Brianna Ferebee, Molly Keck, Megan Leu, and Johanna Weech
(Spring 2019).