30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Policy Making and Diplomacy

Feb 2, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 2, 2010 - Twenty-nine years ago today, less than two weeks after his inauguration, President Ronald Reagan rolled out the welcome mat at the White House for South Korean president and strongman Chun Doo Hwan, despite internal U.S. government concerns about Chun's poor human rights record. Over the previous year, Chun's regime had brutally suppressed the Kwangju student protests and thrown dissident leader Kim Dae Jung into prison.

Dec 10, 2009 | Briefing Book
"Each side took steps to ensure its own security which the other in turn perceived as threatening its security." -- Raymond L. Garthoff (Note 1) Washington, D.C., December 10, 2009 - Thirty years ago, on 12 December 1979, NATO defense and foreign ministers made a landmark decision designed to unify the alliance, but which also contributed to the collapse of dйtente and helped provide an agenda for the end of the Cold War. On the anniversary of the NATO "dual-track" decision that linked deployments of U.S.

Nov 18, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 18, 2009 - Secret messages from senior Soviet officials to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl after the fall of the Berlin Wall led directly to Kohl's famous "10 Points" speech on German unification, but the speech produced shock in both Moscow and Washington, according to documents from Soviet, German and American files posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive. Published for the first time in English in the Archive's forthcoming book, "Masterpieces of History," the documents include highest-level conversations between President George H.W.

Oct 13, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 13, 2009 - The election of the new Democratic Party government in Japan led by Yukio Hatoyama raises a significant challenge for the Obama administration: the status of secret agreements on nuclear weapons that Tokyo and Washington negotiated in 1960 and 1969.  For years, the  ruling Liberal Democratic Party claimed that there were no such  agreements, denying, for example, allegations that they had allowed U.S. nuclear-armed ships to sail into Japanese ports.  Nevertheless, declassified U.S.

Sep 30, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, September 30, 2009 - At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on “Advancing Freedom of Information in the New Era of Responsibility,” Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs reported on improvements in FOIA processing since the 2007 FOIA amendments went into effect, but said the most recent statistics demonstrated that excessive backlogs still plague the system. Citing requests as old as 17 years, Ms. Fuchs asked the Committee to look closely at FY 2009 data when it is reported to determine whether anything has improved. Ms.

Aug 25, 2009 | News
Washington D.C., August 25, 2009 - Today, the National Security Archive posted a side-by-side comparison of two very different versions of a 2004 report on the CIA's "Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities" by Agency Inspector General John Helgerson. Yesterday, the Obama administration released new portions of the report including considerably more information about the use of torture and other illegal practices by CIA interrogators than a version of the report declassified by the Bush administration in 2008. The report was first posted on the Web yesterday by the Washington Independent.

Jul 9, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., July 9, 2009 - Reflecting on the life of Robert McNamara, who passed away this week on July 6th, the National Security Archive is posting this recognition of the extraordinary role he played in driving scholarly and policy reassessments of some of the most important and contentious U.S. foreign policy events in the latter 20th century.

Jun 30, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, June 30, 2009 - The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) yesterday launched a historic Declassification Policy Forum to gather public input as part of an ongoing review of classification and declassification policy by the Obama Administration. The forum, hosted on the blog of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will run from June 29th to July 13th and will seek recommendations in four different issue areas.

Jun 10, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, June 10, 2009 - Last week the world lost a luminary scholar of diplomatic and international history with the passing of Ernest R. May, who served for 20 years on the National Security Archive's advisory board. In thinking about the immense and wide-ranging contributions that Ernest made during the course of a career that lasted over fifty years, a line from Wallace Stevens comes to mind: “Description is revelation.” (from his poem Description without Place).

May 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 26, 2009 - Today the National Security Archive publishes its fourth installment of the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, the man who was behind some of the most momentous transformations in Soviet foreign policy at the end of the 1980s in his role as Mikhail Gorbachev's main foreign policy aide. In addition to his contributions to perestroika and new thinking, Anatoly Sergeevich was and remains a paragon of openness and transparency, providing his diaries and notes to historians who are trying to understand the end of the Cold War.

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