30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

“The work that you have done is immaculate. We thank you very much for all you have done and are doing for the cause of human rights.”  

- Walter De Leon, lawyer in the case against former Uruguayan President Bordaberry, to Carlos Osorio

“The innovative approach of critical oral history yields penetrating insights into how policy-makers and officials understood events at the time and in hindsight.” 

- Nigel J. Ashton, London School of Economics

“There are lessons for handling Iran's nuclear program in the declassified CIA self-analysis of its misreading of the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's reaction to U.N. inspections of his weapons-of-mass-destruction program. Equally interesting in the report is how Hussein misjudged the capability of international inspectors and the responses — sanctions and then military action — that would come from the United States and its allies. Are these errors that Iran may be making? The 16-page report, first disclosed 13 days ago by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, concludes with some findings relevant to the Iran situation.”

- Walter Pincus, The Washington Post (2012)

“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)

“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)

“This remarkable book [A Cardboard Castle?] documents in fascinating detail the rise and fall of the Warsaw Treaty organisation – an alliance of unfree nations press-ganged into military collaboration over forty years.  How it came about, did its business, and eventually imploded is the story of my lifetime – and that of many others who were affected by it.  This is therefore not just a story for experts or historians – it is a chronology of significance and an era we must never forget".

- The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, NATO Secretary General, 1999-2003

“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)

“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)

“ ... [I]n recognition of your decades of demystifying and exposing the underworld of global diplomacy and supporting the public’s right to know and of your pursuit of a more accountable and just world.”

- Text of the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership (2011)

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

“‘No one will be able to write the same way’ about Cuban-Soviet relations.”

- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education after taking part in a National Security Archive conference in Havana (2002)

“The [truth] commission [on East Timor] relied on more than 4,500 pages of recently declassified documents collected by the Washington-based National Security Archive, a nonprofit research group, which posted a 119-page portion of the commission’s 2,500-page report on its Web site Tuesday.”

- Colum Lynch, The Washington Post (2006)

“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 volume [The 1956 Hungarian Revolution] is important precisely because the documents speak for themselves. Thanks to judicious selection from an impressive array of sources, the volume reflects the very real complexities of 1956 .... The 120 top-level, formerly secret records ... provide us today with the unusual opportunity to watch the revolution unfold from a variety of perspectives ... It is an important achievement.”

- Charles Gati, Johns Hopkins University

“Th[is] volume constitutes an unparalleled resource of primary documentation on the events of 1968, which is of inestimable value for future researchers, and equally valuable for classroom use and for a broader attentive public.”

- H. Gordon Skilling on The Prague Spring (1998)

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