30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“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

“The ‘nuclear vault’ is the informal name given to a division of the privately funded National Security [Archive], now housed in the library of George Washington University on H Street.  The [Archive],  founded two decades ago, has devoted itself to getting millions of pages of top secret, classified national security documents declassified, primarily through the Freedom of Information Act.  The nuclear vault, the repository for an astonishing compilation of confidential declassified discussions about the bomb, has been presided over for two decades by Dr. William Burr, another Yoda of FOIA, using that legislative tool like a light-saber to cut through the fog of secrecy that surrounds nuclear weapons and nuclear war strategy.”

- Ron Rosenbaum, author (2011)

“Any presentation of the events that took place in Poland in 1980-1982 faces an extremely arduous task … Undoubtedly, the medium that could best describe the past and ourselves – the way we were at the time – consists of the pertinent documents. This is the reason I consider From Solidarity to Martial Law to be a highly successful effort at depicting the events of 25 years ago. These documents also enable us to perceive the path we have traversed since that time when – prior to Gorbachev and Reagan – we created the first fissure in the system of communist captivity.”

- Lech Wałęsa, former leader of Solidarity and president of Poland (2007)

“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)

“Thank you for sending me a summary of the Musgrove Conference on U.S.-Soviet Relations.  I found the analysis and comments very useful.  As the project proceeds, I would welcome continuing assessments.  Congratulations on such a successful conference.”

- Former President Jimmy Carter, letter to James Blight (1994)

“Forty years have now passed and we have become forty years older.  Had we not told our children the truth about what happened in 1956, they could not tell their children either.  Our grandchildren, however, will unearth the truth for themselves.  From archival sources and written memorials.  From facts.  Mercilessly.  Out of the desire for knowledge.  Without having lived in that age and breathed the air of those days.  It may well be that the story they reconstruct will be more accurate than our own version.  Hosts of young researchers abroad and in Hungary are working on that narrative already – as typified by the editors of this extraordinary volume – and I am sure that they will sincerely answer the prevailing questions of “why” and “how”.  With this outstanding volume, the scholars at the 1956 Institute in Budapest and the National Security Archive in the United States are helping to lead the way in this important historical exercise.”  

- Árpád Göncz, former President of Hungary, on the book The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

“This is a splendid contribution to recent history.” 

- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., on Politics of Illusion (1998)

“The Archive’s help and support allowed me to make The Nature of the Game more than just another thriller.  The Archive’s work in revealing truth behind government and political spin is vital for our global culture.”

- James Grady, author (2011)

“Thank you for the assistance your organization has provided to the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  The support of Miss Tamara Feinstein, from the beginning of our work and during these days, has been extraordinarily helpful in the difficult task of analyzing and understanding the nature, scope and utility of the declassified documents …. Taking into account the short period of time the Commission has to perform its mandate, and the complexity of the information contained in those documents, the active and generous involvement of Miss Feinstein is crucial to our goals.”

- Javier Ciurlizza, Executive Secretary, Comision de la Verdad y Reconciliacion (Peru), (2003)

“Agradecimientos: Al National Security Archive (NSA) que por medio de un Convenio firmado con la Corte Suprema de Justicia, posibilitó la instalación del equipo informático y la conexión de Internet en la oficina.”

- Centro de Documentacion y Archivo Para La Defensa de los Derechos Humanos in Paraguay (2007)

“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)

“Despite denials by the Brazilian government that Araquaia guerrillas existed and that human rights violations had occurred during the twenty-year military dictatorship, a declassified US government document detailed the plans for a “bloody” revolution.  Additional evidence was also uncovered, including a taped conversation of President Geisel discussing his plans for eliminating the guerrillas. (Document from the National Security Archive).”

- Equipo Argentino de Antropologica Forense (2005)

“LeoGrande and Kornbluh's exhaustive and masterful diplomatic history [Back Channel to Cuba] will stand as the most authoritative account of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations during the five decades of Cuban President Fidel Castro's rule.”

- Foreign Affairs (2015)

“Carlos Osorio keeps records in his office that many people would kill to have.  They are intelligence documents that reveal kidnappings, assassinations, tortures, and massacres of the recent past.  … If Osorio has these it is because he works at the National Security Archive, an organization that investigates international issues drawing on confidential documents freed from the government of the United States.  ...In ten years of work he has found that one really can never get used to uncovering the face of infamy.”

- El Comercio (Peru), (2005)

“[Critical oral history architect James] Blight has made a ‘massive and uniquely valuable contribution’ to the historical literature.”

- Philip D. Zelikow, former State Department Counselor and National Security Council staff member (2002)

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