30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

The Kissinger Transcripts provides a unique and fascinating look into Henry Kissinger’s personal conduct of diplomatic negotiations and diplomatic maneuver in his contacts with the leaders of China and the Soviet Union. These near-verbatim transcripts provide an unvarnished and candid record [and] the personalities and proclivities of Kissinger’s Chinese and Soviet partners come through fully. The Kissinger Transcripts is not only an important book, but a really good read.” 

- Raymond L. Garthoff, on The Kissinger Transcripts (1999)

“This volume opens the door to one of the most important yet largely neglected chapters of the Cold War in Europe – the Warsaw Pact. Mastny's provocative overview of its history should fire the interest of general readers as well as specialists; only a scholar with his breadth of knowledge of Eastern European history and languages could execute such a project. He and Byrne are to be congratulated for producing this monumental volume, with a trove of translated documents that is a major boon to both scholars and teachers.”

- William E. Odom (Lt. Gen.-retired), former Director, National Security Agency

“More detailed and more international examinations of these cases and new studies of others are needed.  An organization that will galvanize future research is the National Security Archive, the invaluable Washington non-profit organization that uses the Freedom of Information Act to secure the declassification of U.S. government documents.  When I interned at the Archive as a college sophomore, I had no idea how much I would later benefit from their work.”

- Samantha Power, 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning author of “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide

“I and all of my serious colleagues in the field of nuclear studies depend heavily on the astonishing work of the National Security Archive.  Bill Burr and company perform an indispensable service to our community by unpacking the legacy of the Cold War with vital documentation and historical interpretation, much of which is invaluable for understanding the present and future as well as the past.  The Nuclear Vault is a treasure-trove, and the intrepid organization that created and maintains it is a national treasure without which the field of nuclear studies and policy analysis would be impoverished.  It is absolutely vital to support the collection and analysis work at the Archive.”

- Bruce G. Blair, President, World Security Institute

“[T]he world’s largest nongovernmental library of declassified documents.” 

- Los Angeles Times (2001)

“I am happy that the cooperation between the National Security Archive in Washington and the Czech foundation ‘Prague Spring 1968’ has resulted in this voluminous collection of documents, which, I hope, will lead readers to a closer understanding of the dramatic events that the then-Czechoslovakia lived through three decades ago.”

- Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, on the volume The Prague Spring ’68 (1994)

“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)

“Even historic documents like the KGB surveillance reports that you have found on me and the other dissidents have a political impact in today’s Russia, since there is a new crackdown against civil society, and since our president [Putin] once served the KGB, so we need more such documents both from the history and from the present.”

- Ludmila Alexeyeva, co-founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, to Archive Russia programs director Svetlana Savranskaya in Washington D.C. (2006)

“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

“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)

Politics of Illusion reads like a novel – and I devoured it as quickly as I might a Le Carre …. It must have been an amazing experience for the participants.” 

- Frances FitzGerald, on Politics of Illusion (1998)

“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)

“The National Security Archive in Washington DC has long served as a fantastic resource for scholars of the Cold War. Its leaders and staff members, past and present ... have worked hard to collect documents at home and abroad and to make them available to scholars, often in English translation. The Archive has had to do so in the face of great reluctance, to put it mildly, by gatekeepers both American and foreign.”  

- Mary Elise Sarotte, University of Southern California (2011)

“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 [is] a private group devoted to prying documents out of the federal government’s files and making them public … The house that FOIA built and a mecca for documents buffs … Some of the documents are mind-numbingly boring, of course, but others are nothing short of astonishing.

- Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, (2008)

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