30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“It is the first time that senior officers have faced justice for crimes committed during a 36-year ‘dirty war’ against left-wing guerrillas that left 200,000 dead, most of them killed by the army …. For the first time, the army’s order of battle and methods are being revealed in public.  This evidence has been pieced together from declassified American documents by Kate Doyle, an analyst at the National Security Archive, an NGO in Washington DC, who has been called as a prosecution witness.”

- The Economist (2002)

“Drawing upon a trove of new documents, the authors provide a full length fascinating account of Nixon and Kissinger's madman nuclear threat making in 1969 against North Vietnam ... I didn't know any of this as I was copying the top secret Pentagon Papers that fall but if I had I would have given the Papers to the newspapers right away rather than two years later ... A gripping and essential read.”

- Daniel Ellsberg on Nixon’s Nuclear Specter (2015)

“A remarkable book about a remarkable scandal that shook American politics more than a quarter century ago. Byrne's riveting account is not only good history and an exciting tale of espionage and White House intrigue; it is a warning about the excesses of secrecy and partisanship in American foreign policy. It offers a rewarding look backward with lessons for looking forward.”

- Bruce Riedel, former intelligence officer and author (2014)

At bottom, Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War is a valuable addition to the literature on the post-détente “Era of Renewed Confrontation.” Despite its sensationalistic subtitle and occasional overreaches, this is a serious work that makes significant contributions to our collective understanding of a tense and perhaps alarming episode in Cold War history. Substantiating and widening the discussion with an accessible collection of declassified documents is a public service, and one for which students of history and concerned citizens owe a debt of gratitude to the National Security Archive, and to Jones in particular. Whether this book produces new converts or merely preaches to the choir, it is a vital resource that deserves to be read and evaluated.

- DiCicco on Jones, 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War', H-Diplo

Back Channel to Cuba, William LeoGrande’s and Peter Kornbluh’s timely, comprehensive, and meticulously researched study of the ebb and flow in U.S.-Cuban relations from the beginning of the Castro era to the eve of the reopening of diplomatic ties is an enormous contribution to our understanding of this convoluted subject as Washington and Havana move to develop a new equation.”

- Inscription for The Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy, presented to Peter Kornbluh by the American Academy of Diplomacy (2015)

“Over the years the archive has found that declassifying documents may alter the course of history as well as illuminate it.  A database on the Guatemalan military, assembled from declassified U.S. documents, wound up helping the truth commission examining human rights abuses in Guatemala to pursue its investigations despite resistance from Guatemalan authorities.”

- David Anderson, “Open Secrets,” Ford Foundation Report (2000)

“As profound as major foreign policy initiatives and fiascos… as trivial as pizza orders and office flirtations.” 

- The New York Times, review of White House Email (1995)

“The best testimony, well organized, undeniable evidence.”

- Sabrina Gullino, daughter of disappeared parents (Argentina), on court testimony by Carlos Osorio

“Governments at every level these days are providing less information about their inner workings, sometimes using fear of terrorism as an excuse.  But it’s precisely times like these that mandate citizens’ rights to check the efficiency of their government and hold those who fail accountable, open government advocates say.  The government itself won’t make it easy, so an increasing number of websites and data crunchers are stepping in to provide information about the inner workings of government …  Another trove of information is George Washington University’s National Security Archive, which contains thousands of documents acquired through patient Freedom of Information Act requests.”

- Ryan Singel, Wired.com (2004)

“This timely book weaves together thirty years of declassified documents with a gripping narrative of America’s involvement in the affair ... The evidence that Kornbluh has gathered is overwhelming. As Colin Powell recently remarked about the United States’ role in the Pinochet coup, ‘It is not a part of American history that we are proud of.’”

- The New Yorker, review of The Pinochet File (2005)

“The National Security Archive in Washington proved, as always, to be the principal and most accessible source of declassified materials, providing information that extends well beyond the collections of the presidential libraries; Thomas Blanton and William Burr provided special help and insight.” 

- James Mann, author (2009)

“Both Doyle and Peccerelli are indefatigable defenders of human rights who have played a seminal role in the fight against impunity in Latin America,” said Sebastian Faber, Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA). A determined and creative researcher-activist, Doyle has spent twenty years working tirelessly with Latin American human rights organizations and truth commissions — in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru— to obtain the declassification of U.S. government archives in support of their investigations.”

- Announcement of ALBA-Puffin International Award for Human Rights Activism awarded to Kate Doyle (2012)

“Blanton and the research organization he heads, the National Security Archive, have made it their mission to plant Freedom of Information Act requests all across the federal government to shed light on what agencies are doing in our name.”

- Linda P. Campbell, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (2008)

“The National Security Archive at George Washington University maintains a trove of declassified government papers, including voluminous files involving national security decision making during the Cold War.  Tom Blanton, the director, and his colleagues guided [research assistant] Gabriela and me through the archive’s collections, many of which are assembled and analyzed in thoughtful electronic briefing books.  William Burr, a senior analyst, has edited several invaluable collections about nuclear weapons policy during the Cold War.”

- Philip Taubman, author and former New York Times correspondent (2012)

“Specialists in U.S. national security policy, both scholars and journalists, will find the research collections of the Digital National Security Archive quite valuable. But anybody interested in revelations of government secrets and the prospects for future releases of official documents can use these sites with profit.”

- Chester J. Pach, Journal of American History, WebSite Review (2003)

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