30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“Journalists occasionally receive well- or not-so-well-intentioned leaks about past or present official misdeeds.  Once in a while – less so these days – a congressional investigation or a commission unearths long-buried truths about government-gone-bad.  But when it comes to consistently forcing important secrets out of the US government no journalist or investigator rivals the National Security Archive, a nonprofit outfit based at George Washington University.”

- David Corn, The Nation (2005)

“‘We are forensic historians,’ states Peter Kornbluh, who directs the project on declassifying secret U.S. government records on Chile at the National Security Archive.  The documents that they have declassified shed light on human rights violations committed by the dictatorships of the Southern Cone, including Argentina. ‘We don’t unearth buried bodies,’ says Kornbluh, ‘but rather information about them.’”

- Pagina 12 (Argentina), (2005)

“It’s time we used the ‘information age’ to our advantage in reclaiming our democracy from the secret-keepers.” 

- Jesse Ventura, former Minnesota governor, recommending the National Security Archive in his book 63 Documents The Government Doesn’t Want You To Read (2011)

“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)

"‘This thing about eyeball-to-eyeball, it never was. That confrontation never took place,’ said Kornbluh, who is a Cuba analyst at the nongovernment National Security Archive, which has spent decades working to get missile crisis documents declassified.”

- Peter Orsi, Associated Press (2012)

“It is absolutely excellent work that you have done, and I do hope you will keep me informed of any similar publications in the future; they are an invaluable addition to any collection of documents on the genocide in Rwanda.”

- James Smith, The Holocaust Centre (U.K.), (2006)

“The proceedings of the conference [at Musgrove] and the documents – Soviet, American, and East European – together create a rare volume and significant pool of evidence ... The hosts succeeded in creating an atmosphere of tolerance for every opinion, an honest approach to any detail of a problem in any of its twists and turns, which provoked the kinds of spontaneous thoughts, reminiscences, and discourses that the participants themselves probably could never have ‘planned’ beforehand.”

- Anatoly S. Chernyaev, former senior Gorbachev adviser (1998)

“I have compiled this list with the assistance of researchers at the indispensable National Security Archive, a non-profit group that has published more than half a million government documents.”

- Michael Dobbs, The Washington Post (2007)

“George Washington University’s excellent National Security Archive has just published a fascinating but hair-raising new account, based on newly declassified documents, of the incident in 1979 when Zbigniew Brzezinski, then Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, was awoken by one of those fabled 3am telephone calls and told that the Soviet Union had launched 250 nuclear missiles at the United States.  America had a matter of minutes to decide whether to launch a counter-strike.  Not a nice start to anyone’s day.  It was, of course, a false alarm ... [But] if you want to give yourself a fright, read the archive’s new documents.”

- The Economist (2012)

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

- A.G. Noorani, Frontline (India)

“Under the request of the Brazilian Minister of Justice Tarso Genro … we would like to follow our dealings about the presentation of a Brazilian Government official request of declassification of secret documents that may exist in the U.S. National Security Archive about the repression during the Brazilian Dictatorship (1964-1985).” 

- Paulo Abrão Pires Junior, President of the Amnesty Commission of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice (2009)

“The National Security Archive's Nuclear Vault is an essential resource for scholars and policymakers interested in nuclear weapons and nonproliferation.  There is no collection of documents and other information that is more extensive, better curated and accessible than the Nuclear Vault.  Indeed, the Vault is a "single point of failure" -- our community could not replace a resource of such quality and depth.” 

- Jeffrey Lewis, New America Foundation

“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)

“There is no publication, in any language, that would even approach the thoroughness, reliability, and novelty of this monumental work .... For the first time in modern Hungarian history, and almost uniquely in the history of modern Europe, we are able to learn from original sources how exactly the decisions were taken that led first to the decline of the Stalinist system in Hungary, then to demonstrations for freedom and against the Soviet occupation .... [The 1956 Hungarian Revolution] will change forever our views of what happened in Hungary between 1953 and 1963.”

- István Deák, Columbia University, review of The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

“Declassified US files have revealed that an anti-communist Cuban, who has applied for asylum in the United States but is wanted by Venezuela for the bombing of a Cuban airliner 29 years ago, spent years on the CIA payroll.  CIA and FBI files, published by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, revealed US investigators believed Luis Posada Carriles was involved in the 1976 bombing plot in Venezuela of the Cubana Airlines jet in which 73 passengers died, including teenage members of a Cuban fencing team.”

- ABC News World News Tonight (2005)

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