35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

About the National Security Archive

Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents ("the world's largest nongovernmental collection" according to the Los Angeles Times), leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets.

Articles about the Archive


‘Kicking and screaming’: 50 years of FOIA
By Philip Eil, July 1, 2016


Freedom of Information Act 50th Anniversary
C-SPAN, June 28,2016


Eyes Only: [redacted]
By Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, May 8, 2008







Open Secrets
By David C. Anderson, Ford Foundation Report, Summer 2000


“Among the world’s document buffs – a small but tenacious tribe of journalists, researchers and historians – the archive is legendary for its prolific and skillful practice of the art of the FOIA request.  ‘They craft the best FOIA requests around,’ says [Daniel] Metcalfe, the archive’s former adversary [at the Justice Department], who is now a law professor at American University.  ‘If anybody does it better, I haven’t seen it.’”

- Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, (2008)

“The fiercely independent National Security Archive ... has rendered yeoman service in the pursuit of historical truth.”

- A.G. Noorani, Frontline (India)


The National Security Archive timeline: 1985-2021