30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Testimonials

The Chronology is an extremely valuable work and will be immensely useful during the televised Congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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 ....

“This has been an extraordinarily impressive event. I felt for the first time in this morning’s session that I understood Soviet decision-making in the Cuban missile crisis better than in any other event since 1941.” 

“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".

“An important contribution came from Thomas S. Blanton and the National Security Archive in Washington, which provided key historical documents and analysis.  I am also grateful to Anne Hessing Cahn for access to her collection of papers at the [National Security Archive]. Svetlana Savranskaya guided me with precision and patience through Cold War memoirs and documents.”

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.” 

“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.”

“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.” 

“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.”

“Extraordinary primary documents on this and other SALT matters can be found in the Digital National Security Archive, “U.S. Nuclear History, 1969-1976: Weapons, Arms Control, and War Plans in an Age of Strategic Parity.”

“The conference held at the Musgrove plantation on Georgia’s southeast coast in 1998 illuminated one of the most important periods in 20th century history: the liberation of the countries in Eastern Europe from Soviet control .... The National Security Archive rendered a service to historians and the public as a whole when it gathered declassified source material from both Soviet and American archives and invited scholars and several former officials to examine the historical evidence, comment on it, and discuss its implications ....

"The National Security Archive plays a vital role in the field of nuclear weapons policy research. Through the vigorous use of the Freedom of Information Act and through monitoring new releases at the National Archives, its analysts seek the declassification and dissemination of some of the most important secrets in the nuclear weapons field.  These findings gain wide exposure on the Archive’s extraordinary 'Nuclear Vault', its site for the electronic briefing books and other document collections that are so valuable to scholars of nuclear policy, military history, and foreign policy."

The Pinochet File should be considered the long awaited book of record on U.S. intervention in Chile. . . . A crisp compelling narrative, almost a political thriller.” 

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