National Security Archive

The National Security Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-governmental, non-profit research and archival institution located on the campus of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1985 to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive is an investigative journalism center, open government advocate, international affairs research institute, and is the largest repository of declassified U.S. documents outside the federal government.[1] The National Security Archive has spurred the declassification of more than 10 million pages of government documents by being the leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), filing a total of more than 50,000 FOIA and declassification requests in its nearly 30+ year history.

The National Security Archive
National Security Archive
AbbreviationThe Archive
Formation1985, United States
Type501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Legal statusFoundation
PurposeFreedom of Information, Journalism, Transparency, Open Government, Research
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
Parent organization
The George Washington University
WebsiteThe National Security Archive

Organization history and accolades

Nixon-Presley Meeting
Of all the requests made each year to the U.S. National Archives, one item has been requested more than any other: the December 21, 1970, photograph of Elvis Presley and Richard M. Nixon shaking hands during Presley's visit to the White House.
"Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US"
The declassified August 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief warning "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."

Journalists and historians founded the National Security Archive in 1985 to enrich research and public debate about national security policy.[1] The National Security Archive continues to challenge national security secrecy by advocating for open government, utilizing the FOIA to compel the release of previously secret government documents, and analyzing and publishing its collections for the public.

As a prolific FOIA requester, the National Security Archive has obtained a host of seminal government documents, including: the most requested still image photograph at the U.S. National Archives – a December 21, 1970 picture of President Richard Nixon's meeting with Elvis Presley;[2] the CIA's "Family Jewels" list that documents decades of the agency's illegal activities;[3] the National Security Agency's (NSA) description of its watch list of 1,600 Americans that included notable Americans such as civil rights leader Martin Luther King, boxer Muhammad Ali, and politicians Frank Church and Howard Baker;[4] the first official CIA confirmation of Area 51;[5] U.S. plans for a "full nuclear response"[6] in the event the President was ever attacked or disappeared; FBI transcripts of 25 interviews with Saddam Hussein after his capture by U.S. troops in December 2003;[7] the Osama bin Laden File,[8] and the most comprehensive document collections available on the Cold War, including the nuclear flashpoints occurring during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1983 "Able Archer" War Scare.[9]

Area-51-map (1)
The CIA's declassified map of Groom Lake/Area 51 disclosed to the National Security Archive thanks to a FOIA request.

In 1998, the National Security Archive shared the George Foster Peabody Award for the outstanding broadcast series, CNN's Cold War. In 1999, the National Security Archive won the George Polk Award,[12] for "facilitating thousands of searches for journalists and scholars. The archive, funded by foundations as well as income from its own publications, has become a one-stop institution for declassifying and retrieving important documents, suing to preserve such government data as presidential e-mail messages, pressing for appropriate reclassification of files, and sponsoring research that has unearthed major revelations." In September 2005, the Archive won the Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in news and documentary research.[11] In 2005, Forbes Best of the Web stated that the Archives is  "singlehandedly keeping bureaucrats’ feet to the fire on the Freedom of Information Act." In 2007, the Archive was named one of the ""Top 300 web sites for Political Science," by the International Political Science Association. In February 2011, the National Security Archive won Tufts University's Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award[10] for "demystifying and exposing the underworld of global diplomacy and supporting the public's right to know." Journalismdegree.org includes Freedominfo.org on its list of Best Sites for Journalists in 2012. From 2003–2014 the Archive has received 54 citations from the University of Wisconsin's Internet Scout Report recognizing "the most valuable and authoritative resources online."

Funding

The National Security Archive relies on publication revenues, grants from individuals and grants from foundations such as the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, for its $3 million yearly budget. The National Security Archive receives no government funding.[1] Incorporated as an independent Washington, D.C. non-profit organization, the National Security Archive is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt public charity.

Program areas

The National Security Archive operates eight program areas, each with dedicated funding. The National Security Archive's (1) open government and accountability program receives support from the Open Society Foundations. The Archive's (2) international freedom of information program in priority countries abroad and in the Open Government Partnership has been supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The Archive's (3) human rights evidence program, providing documentation for use by truth commissions and prosecutions, received funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Archive's (4) Latin America program, with projects on Mexico, Chile, Cuba and other countries, is supported by the Ford Foundation, the Reynolds Foundation, and the Coyote Foundation. The Archive's (5) nuclear weapons and intelligence documentation program is supported by the Prospect Hill Foundation, the New-Land Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which also funds the Archive's (6) Russia/former Soviet Union program. The National Security Archive has a Russian-language page for their Russian programs. The Archive's (7) Iran program is supported by the Arca Foundation and through a partnership with MIT Center for International Studies. The Archive's (8) publications program, creating public access to declassified documents both online and in book formats, relies on publication royalties from libraries that subscribe to the Digital National Security Archive through the commercial publisher ProQuest.

Publications

The National Security Archive publishes its document collections in a variety of ways, including on its website, its blog Unredacted, documentary films, formal truth commission and court proceedings, and through the Digital National Security Archive, which contains over 50 digitized collections of more than 94,000 meticulously indexed documents, including the newly-available 'Targeting Iraq, Part I: Planning, Invasion, and Occupation, 1997–2004' and 'Cuba and the U.S.: The Declassified History of Negotiations to Normalize Relations, 1959–2016,' published through ProQuest.

National Security Archive staff and fellows have authored over 70 books, including the winners of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize, the 1995 National Book Award, the 1996 Lionel Gelber Prize, the 1996 American Library Association's James Madison Award Citation, a Boston Globe Notable Book selection for 1999, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2003,[10] and the 2010 Henry Adams Prize for outstanding major publication on the federal government's history from the Society for History in the Federal Government.

The National Security Archive regularly publishes Electronic Briefing Books [11] of newsworthy documents on major topics in international affairs on the Archive's website, which attracts more than 2 million visitors each year who download more than 13.3 gigabytes per day. There are currently over 500 briefing books available.

The National Security Archive also frequently posts about declassification and news on its blog, Unredacted.

Lawsuits

The National Security Archive has participated in over 50 Freedom of Information lawsuits against the U.S. government. The suits have forced the declassification of documents ranging from the Kennedy-Khrushchev letters during the Cuban Missile Crisis[12] to the previously censored photographs of homecoming ceremonies [13] with flag-draped caskets for U.S. casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In April 2017 the National Security Archive, with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for the release of the White House visitor logs in the federal District Court for the Southern District of New York on April 14, 2017. In 2017 the Archive was also s a co-plaintiff with CREW in a federal suit[14] against Donald Trump for alleged violations of the Presidential Records Act.

The National Security Archive has also settled two seminal lawsuits regarding the preservation of White House emails. The original White House e-mail lawsuit [15] against Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton found that e-mail had to be treated as government records, consequently leading to the preservation of more than 30 million White House e-mail messages from the 1980s and 1990s. The second White House e-mail lawsuit, filed in 2007 and settled in 2009,[16] sought the recovery and preservation of more than 5 million White House e-mail messages that were deleted from White House computers between March 2003 and October 2005.

As of October 2018, The National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and National Security Archive have a pending case[17] in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the Donald J. Trump administration's use of messaging applications that can delete conversations or records of conversations which goes against the Presidential Records Act. The suit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington et al. v. Trump et al., was filed on June 22, 2017. In March 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper rules that the act gives the president a "substantial degree of discretion" in deciding what should be preserved as a permanent records and it allows the president to destroy records that no longer have "administrative, historical, informational or evidentiary value." The case is currently under appeal.

Audits

Since 2002, the Archive has carried out annual FOIA audits that are designed after the California Sunshine Survey. These FOIA audits evaluate whether government agencies are in compliance with open-government laws. The surveys include:

  • The Ashcroft Memo: "Drastic" Change or "More Thunder Than Lightning"? [18]
  • Justice Delayed is Justice Denied [19]
  • A FOIA Request Celebrates Its 17th Birthday: A Report on Federal Agency FOIA Backlog [20]
  • Pseudo-Secrets: A Freedom of Information Audit of the U.S. Government's Policies on Sensitive Unclassified Information [21]
  • File Not Found: 10 Years After E-FOIA, Most Federal Agencies are Delinquent [22]
  • 40 Years of FOIA, 20 Years of Delay [23]
  • Mixed Signals, Mixed Results: How President Bush's Executive Order on FOIA Failed to Deliver [24]
  • 2010 Knight Open Government Survey: Sunshine and Shadows [25]
  • 2011 Knight Open Government Survey: Glass Half Full [26]
  • 2011 Knight Open Government Survey: Eight Federal Agencies Have FOIA Requests a Decade Old [27]
  • Outdated Agency Regs Undermine Freedom of Information.[28][29]
  • Half of Federal Agencies Still Use Outdated Freedom of Information Regulations [30]
  • Most Agencies Falling Short on Mandate for Online Records [31]
  • Saving Government Email an Open Question with December 2016 Deadline Looming [32]

Rosemary Award

Every year the National Security Archive nominates a government agency for the Rosemary Award for worst open government performance. The award is named after President Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, who erased ​18 12 minutes of a crucial Watergate tape. Past "winners" include the Department of Justice, the Federal Chief Information Officer's Council, the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, the Air Force, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the Secret Service, the White House and the CIA.[33]

Conferences

The Archive has organized, sponsored, or co-sponsored a dozen major conferences. These include the historic conferences held in Havana in 2002 and in Budapest in 1996 respectively. For the Havana conference, which took place during the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuban president Fidel Castro and former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara discussed newly declassified documents showing that US president John F. Kennedy, in meetings with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's son-in-law Adzhubei in January 1962, compared the US failure at the Bay of Pigs to the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The Budapest conference of 1996, carried out by the Archive's "Openness in Russia and East Europe Project" in collaboration with Cold War International History Project and Russian and Eastern European partners, focused on the 1956 uprising was a featured subject at an international conference which the Archive, CWIHP, and the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung organized in Potsdam on "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe." Oxford University historian Timothy Garton Ash called the conference "not ordinary at all.... this dramatic confrontation of documents and memories, of written and oral history...."[34]

Other noteworthy conferences the National Security Archive took part in include a conference held in Hanoi in 1997, during which Defense Secretary Robert McNamara met with his Vietnamese counterpart, Gen. Võ Nguyên Giáp, and a series of conferences on U.S.-Iranian relations.

In December 2016 the Archive, with the Carnegie Corporation, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Carnegie Endowment, hosted a conference on the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar nuclear threat reduction legislation, which helped secure post-Soviet nuclear weapons. The conference, attended by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar as well as other Nunn-Lugar veterans including Russians, Kazakhs, and Americans, was held in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the U.S. Senate and discussed the future of mutual security and U.S.-Russian relations.

Board

Based at George Washington University's Gelman Library, the Archive operates under an advisory board that is directed by the Archive's Executive Director, Thomas Blanton, and is overseen by a board of directors.

Board of Directors
  • Chair: Sheila S. Coronel (Director, Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University; former Director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism)
  • Vice Chair: Nancy E. Soderberg (Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Northern Florida; former Vice President, International Crisis Group; former U.S. Alternate Representative to the United Nations; former Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; former Staff Director, National Security Council; appointed Chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board in January 2012)
  • Secretary: Edgar N. James, Esq. (Partner, James & Hoffman; pro bono litigator on behalf of the Archive)
  • Treasurer: Nancy Kranich (Former Associate Dean of Libraries, New York University; Former President, American Library Association)
  • Michael Abramowitz (President, Freedom House; former Director, National Institute for Holocaust Education of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; former White House Correspondent and National Editor of The Washington Post)
  • Vivian Schiller (Chief Digital Officer, NBC News; former President, National Public Radio; former Senior Vice President, The New York Times Company; former Senior Vice President, The Discovery Times Channel)
  • Cliff Sloan (Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, United States Department of State, 2013–2014; General Counsel of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, 2000–2008)
  • President: Thomas S. Blanton (Director, National Security Archive)
Advisory Board

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "About the National Security Archive". The National Security Archive.
  2. ^ "The Nixon-Presley Meeting". The National Security Archive.
  3. ^ Thomas Blanton. "The CIA's Family Jewels". The National Security Archive.
  4. ^ Nate Jones (25 September 2013). "FOIA Request Filed for National Security Agency Watch List that Included "Threats" MLK, Muhammad Ali, and Senator Church". Unredacted.
  5. ^ Jeffrey T. Richelson (15 August 2013). "The Secret History of the U-2 — and Area 51". The National Security Archive.
  6. ^ William Burr (12 December 2012). "U.S. Had Plans for "Full Nuclear Response" In Event President Killed or Disappeared during an Attack on the United States". The National Security Archive.
  7. ^ Joyce Battle (1 July 2009). "Saddam Hussein Talks to the FBI". The National Security Archive.
  8. ^ "The Osama Bin Laden File". The National Security Archive. 2 May 2011.
  9. ^ Nate Jones (7 November 2013). "Able Archer 83 Sourcebook". The National Security Archive.
  10. ^ "The Pinochet File A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability". The New Press. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01.
  11. ^ "Electronic Briefing Books". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  12. ^ Robert Pear (January 7, 1992). "The Cuba Missile Crisis: Kennedy Left a Loophole". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Return of the Fallen". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  14. ^ "CREW and National Security Archive v Trump" (PDF). 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  15. ^ "National Security Archive/White House E-Mail". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  16. ^ "Untold Story of the Bush White House Emails". Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Archived from the original on 2014-01-06.
  17. ^ Saul, Josh (June 22, 2017). "TRUMP SUED FOR DELETING TWEETS AND WHITE HOUSE USE OF ENCRYPTED MESSAGING APPS". Newsweek.
  18. ^ Michael Evans (2003-03-14). "FOIA Audit – Press Release". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  19. ^ Michael Evans (2003-11-17). "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  20. ^ "Press Release: A FOIA Request Celebrates Its 17th Birthday". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  21. ^ "Press Release – Pseudo-Secrets: A Freedomf of Information Audit of the U.S. Government's Policies on Sensitive Unclassified Information". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  22. ^ Thomas Blanton (March 12, 2007). "File Not Found: 10 Years After E-FOIA, Most Federal Agencies are Delinquent". The National Security Archive. Archived from the original on 2013-09-08.
  23. ^ "40 Years of FOIA, 20 Years of Delay". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  24. ^ "Mixed Signals, Mixed Results: How President Bush's Executive Order on FOIA Failed to Deliver". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  25. ^ "The National Security Archive : Sunshine and Shadows:The Clear Obama Message for Freedom of Information Meets Mixed Results". Gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  26. ^ "Glass Half Full - The Knight Open Government Survey 2011". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  27. ^ "Eight Federal Agencies Have FOIA Requests a Decade Old, According to Knight Open Government Survey". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  28. ^ "Freedom of Information Regulations: Still Outdated, Still Undermining Openness". .gwu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  29. ^ Josh Hicks (December 4, 2012). "Agencies lag on transparency, report says". The Washington Post.
  30. ^ "Half of Federal Agencies Still Use Outdated Freedom of Information Regulations". nsarchive2.gwu.edu.
  31. ^ "Most Agencies Falling Short on Mandate for Online Records". nsarchive2.gwu.edu.
  32. ^ "Saving Government Email an Open Question with December 2016 Deadline Looming - National Security Archive". nsarchive.gwu.edu.
  33. ^ "Federal Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council Wins Rosemary Award". National Security Archive.
  34. ^ "Praise and Comments about the Openness Project". The National Security Archive.

External links

Coordinates: 38°54′03″N 77°02′47″W / 38.9007°N 77.0463°W

Able Archer 83

Able Archer 83 is the codename for a command post exercise carried out in November 1983 by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As with Able Archer exercises from previous years, the purpose of the exercise was to simulate a period of conflict escalation, culminating in the US military attaining simulated DEFCON 1 coordinated nuclear attack. Coordinated from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) headquarters in Casteau, Belgium, it involved NATO forces throughout Western Europe, beginning on November 7, 1983, and lasting for five days.

The 1983 exercise introduced several new elements not seen in previous years, including a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, and the participation of heads of government. This increase in realism, combined with deteriorating relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and the anticipated arrival of Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe, led some members of the Soviet Politburo and military to believe that Able Archer 83 was a ruse of war, obscuring preparations for a genuine nuclear first strike. In response, the Soviet Union readied their nuclear forces and placed air units in East Germany and Poland on alert. The apparent threat of nuclear war ended with the conclusion of the exercise on November 11.Historians such as Thomas Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive, and Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College, have since argued that Able Archer 83 was one of the times when the world has come closest to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Other incidents that also brought the world close to such a war include the Soviet nuclear false alarm incident that occurred a month earlier and the Norwegian rocket incident of 1995.

CREW and National Security Archive v. Trump and EOP

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and National Security Archive v. Trump and EOP, No. 1:17-cv-01228 (D.D.C. 2017), is a case pending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the archivist National Security Archive, allege that the defendants, President Donald Trump and elements of the Executive Office of the President, are in violation of the Presidential Records Act by deleting electronic messages on Twitter and using other electronic messaging applications without required archival records.

Chuck Hansen

Chuck Hansen (May 13, 1947 - March 26, 2003) was the compiler, over a period of 30 years, of the world's largest private collection of unclassified documents on how America developed atomic and thermonuclear weapons.

Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962 (Spanish: Crisis de Octubre), the Caribbean Crisis (Russian: Карибский кризис, tr. Karibsky krizis, IPA: [kɐˈrʲipskʲɪj ˈkrʲizʲɪs]), or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union initiated by American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.In response to the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961 and the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to Cuba's request to place nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro in July 1962, and construction of a number of missile launch facilities started later that summer.

The 1962 United States elections were under way, and the White House had for months denied charges that it was ignoring dangerous Soviet missiles 90 miles (140 km) from Florida. The missile preparations were confirmed when an Air Force U-2 spy plane produced clear photographic evidence of medium-range (SS-4) and intermediate-range (R-14) ballistic missile facilities. The US established a naval blockade on October 22 to prevent further missiles from reaching Cuba; Oval Office tapes during the crisis revealed that Kennedy had also put the blockade in place as an attempt to provoke Soviet-backed forces in Berlin as well. The US announced it would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and returned to the Soviet Union.

After several days of tense negotiations, an agreement was reached between US President John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a US public declaration and agreement to avoid invading Cuba again. Secretly, the United States agreed that it would dismantle all US-built Jupiter MRBMs, which had been deployed in Turkey against the Soviet Union; there has been debate on whether or not Italy was included in the agreement as well.

When all offensive missiles and Ilyushin Il-28 light bombers had been withdrawn from Cuba, the blockade was formally ended on November 21, 1962. The negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union pointed out the necessity of a quick, clear, and direct communication line between Washington and Moscow. As a result, the Moscow–Washington hotline was established. A series of agreements reduced US–Soviet tensions for several years until both parties began to build their nuclear arsenal even further.

Family Jewels (Central Intelligence Agency)

The Family Jewels is the informal name used to refer to a set of reports that detail activities conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Considered illegal or inappropriate, these actions were conducted over the span of decades, from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. William Colby, who was the CIA director in the mid-1970s and helped in the compilation of the reports, dubbed them the "skeletons" in the CIA's closet. Most of the documents were publicly released on June 25, 2007, after more than three decades of secrecy. The non-governmental National Security Archive had filed a FOIA request fifteen years earlier.

Gelman Library

The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, simply referred to as the Gelman Library, is the main library of The George Washington University, and is located on its Foggy Bottom campus. The Gelman Library, the Eckles Library on the Mount Vernon campus and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library in Ashburn comprise the trio known as the George Washington University Libraries. The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library and the Jacob Burns Law Library also serve the university. The Gelman Library is a member of the Washington Research Library Consortium and the Association of Research Libraries.

The seven-story library building contains over two million volumes. Gelman Library is constructed in the Brutalist architectural style of the 1970s. It features a concrete façade punctuated by windows that are divided by projecting vertical slabs. For most of the year, parts of the library are open 24 hours day, seven days per week for use by students, faculty and staff. The library's seventh floor is home to the National Security Archive, a research institution that publishes declassified U.S. government files concerning selected topics of American foreign policy. It was a National Security Archive Freedom of Information Act request that eventually made the Central Intelligence Agency's so-called "Family Jewels" public.The seventh floor is also home to the Special Collections Research Center, Kiev Library, and Global Resources Center. Special Collections offers researchers a wide array of primary and secondary resources, as well as a large Washingtonia collection. Specializing in Hebrew and Judaica, the Kiev Library houses the leading collection of modern Judaica, rare books, maps, and archival materials related to Judaic studies among universities in the Washington, D.C. area. The Global Resource Center possesses numerous sources focusing on the twentieth century to present day that analyze political, socio-economic, historical, and cultural aspects of countries and regions from around the world.

The base floor of Gelman features a Starbucks. The library is at the corner of 22nd and H Streets and is adjacent to Kogan Plaza.

With the death of Estelle Gelman on October 23, 2009, the library honored a promise made to the Gelman family to rename the Melvin Gelman Library with its new name, the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library. On September 28, 2010, a small family gathering with remarks by President Steven Knapp celebrated Estelle Gelman's life and formally rededicated the building.

In 2010, students have made improvements to the Gelman Library a major target of their advocacy efforts at the university.

Gina Haspel

Gina Cheri Haspel (née Walker, October 1, 1956) is an American intelligence officer serving as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since 2018. She is the first woman to hold the post on a permanent basis and was previously the Deputy Director under Mike Pompeo during the early presidency of Donald Trump.She became Acting Director following Pompeo's resignation to become United States Secretary of State and was nominated by President Donald Trump to become the official Director of the CIA. On May 17, 2018, she was confirmed as the Director of the CIA, making her the first female Director of the CIA in history. She was officially sworn as Director of the CIA on May 21, 2018. She was also the second female Deputy Director of the agency.Haspel has attracted controversy for her role as chief of a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 in which prisoners were tortured with so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques", including waterboarding. At that time, the Bush Administration considered the techniques legal based on a set of secret, now-rescinded legal opinions that expansively defined executive authority and narrowly defined torture. Haspel's involvement in enhanced interrogation techniques was confirmed in August 2018 when a Freedom of Information lawsuit by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive brought to light CIA cables either authorized by or written by Haspel while base chief at the Thailand black site. The cables describe acts of deliberate physical torture of detainees, including waterboarding and confinement.

Israel–South Africa Agreement

The Israel–South Africa Agreement (ISSA) was a secret defence co-operation agreement signed in 1975 between Israel and the government of South Africa.The agreement covered many different areas of defence co-operation at a time when both countries were unable to source weapons and defence technology freely on the international market, primarily because of arms embargoes in place at the time due to apartheid.

Jeffrey T. Richelson

Jeffrey Talbot Richelson (31 December 1949 – 11 November 2017) was an American author and academic researcher who studied the process of intelligence gathering and national security. He authored at least thirteen books and many articles about intelligence, and directed the publication of several of the National Security Archive's collections of source documents.

Richelson earned his PhD in political science from the University of Rochester in 1975 and taught at the University of Texas, Austin and American University. Richelson was a senior fellow with the National Security Archive.

Luis Posada Carriles

Luis Clemente Posada Carriles (February 15, 1928 – May 23, 2018) was a Cuban exile militant and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. He was considered a terrorist by the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Government of Cuba, among others.Born in Cienfuegos, Posada Carriles fled to the United States after a spell of anti-Castro activism as a student. He helped organize the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and after it failed, became an agent for the CIA. He received training at Fort Benning, and from 1964 to 1967 was involved with a series of bombings and other covert activities against the Cuban government, before joining the Venezuelan intelligence service. Along with Orlando Bosch, he was involved in founding the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, described by the FBI as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization". Posada and CORU are widely considered responsible for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. Posada later admitted involvement in a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots. In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term. He denied involvement in the airline bombing and the alleged plot against Castro in Panama, but admitted to fighting to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba.In 2005, Posada was held by US authorities in Texas on the charge of being in the country illegally: the charges were later dismissed. A judge ruled he could not be deported because he faced the threat of torture in Venezuela. The US government refused to repatriate Posada to Cuba, citing the same reason. His release on bail in 2007 elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The US Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was "an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks", a flight risk and a danger to the community. The decision was also criticized within the US; an editorial in the Los Angeles Times stated that by releasing Carriles while detaining a number of suspected terrorists in Guantánamo Bay, the US government was guilty of hypocrisy.Posada died in May 2018 in Florida. He is considered "a heroic figure in the hardline anti-Castro exile community" in Miami. Reporter Ann Louise Bardach called him "Fidel Castro's most persistent would-be assassin, while Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive has referred to him as "one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history" and the "godfather of Cuban exile violence."

Norman J.W. Goda

Norman J. W. Goda (born 1961) is an American historian who specialises in the history of the Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He is a professor of history at the University of Florida where he is the Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies.Goda is the author of several book on the international policy of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the Cold War. He also serves as a historical consultant for the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group of the United States National Security Archive, tasked with reviewing the previously classified intelligence documents of the World War II period and its aftermath.

Operation Condor

Operation Condor (Spanish: Operación Cóndor, also known as Plan Cóndor; Portuguese: Operação Condor) was a United States–backed campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents, officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America. The program, nominally intended to eradicate communist or Soviet influence and ideas, was created to suppress active or potential opposition movements against the participating governments' neoliberal economic policies, which sought to reverse the economic policies of the previous era.Due to its clandestine nature, the precise number of deaths directly attributable to Operation Condor is highly disputed. Some estimates are that at least 60,000 deaths can be attributed to Condor, roughly 30,000 of these in Argentina, and the so-called "Archives of Terror" list 50,000 killed, 30,000 disappeared and 400,000 imprisoned. American political scientist J. Patrice McSherry gives a figure of at least 402 killed in operations which crossed national borders in a 2002 source, and mentions in a 2009 source that of those who "had gone into exile" and were "kidnapped, tortured and killed in allied countries or illegally transferred to their home countries to be executed . . . hundreds, or thousands, of such persons—the number still has not been finally determined—were abducted, tortured, and murdered in Condor operations." Victims included dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, students and teachers, intellectuals and suspected guerillas. Condor's key members were the governments in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. Ecuador and Peru later joined the operation in more peripheral roles.The United States government provided planning, coordinating, training on torture, technical support and supplied military aid to the Juntas during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. Such support was frequently routed through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods was a proposed, and almost implemented, false flag operation against the Cuban government that originated within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States government in 1962. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other U.S. government operatives to commit acts of terrorism against American civilians and military targets, blaming them on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The plans detailed in the document included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The proposals were rejected by John F. Kennedy.Communists led by Fidel Castro had taken power in Cuba in 1959, which aroused the concern of the US military due to the Cold War. The operation proposed creating public support for a war against Cuba by blaming it for terrorist acts that would actually be perpetrated by the U.S. Government. To this end, Operation Northwoods proposals recommended hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate the Cuban government. It stated:

The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.

Several other proposals were included within Operation Northwoods, including real or simulated actions against various U.S. military and civilian targets. The operation recommended developing a "Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington".

The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to the Secretary of Defense. Although part of the U.S. government's anti-communist Cuban Project, Operation Northwoods was never officially accepted; it was authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then rejected by President John F. Kennedy. According to currently released documentation, none of the operations became active under the auspices of the Operation Northwoods proposals.

Orlando Bosch

Orlando Bosch Ávila (18 August 1926 – 27 April 2011) was a Cuban exile, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization". Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called Bosch an "unrepentant terrorist". He was accused of taking part in Operation Condor and several terrorist attacks, including bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner on 6 October 1976 in which all 73 people on board were killed, including many young members of a Cuban fencing team and five North Koreans. The bombing is alleged to have been plotted at a 1976 meeting in Washington, D.C. attended by Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, and DINA agent Michael Townley. At the same meeting, the assassination of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier is alleged to have been plotted. Bosch was given safe haven within the US in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, who in 1976 as head of the CIA had declined an offer by Costa Rica to extradite Bosch.

Project FUBELT

Project FUBELT (also known as Track II) is the codename for the secret Central Intelligence Agency operations that were to prevent Salvador Allende's rise to power before his confirmation and to promote a military coup in Chile.The highlights of Project FUBELT are cited in declassified US government documents released by the National Security Archive on September 11, 1998, 25 years after the coup, as well as in papers uncovered by a 1975 congressional inquiry.

CIA memoranda and reports on Project FUBELT include meetings between United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and CIA officials, CIA cables to its Santiago station, and summaries of secret action in 1970, detailing decisions and operations to undermine the election of Salvador Allende in September 1970 and to promote a military coup.

In November 1970, the US National Security Council issued National Security Decision Memorandum 93, which replaced FUBELT.

Right-wing paramilitarism in Colombia

Right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia are paramilitary groups acting in opposition to revolutionary Marxist-Leninist guerrilla forces and their allies among the civilian population. These paramilitary groups control the large majority of the illegal drug trade of cocaine and other substances and are the parties responsible for most of the human rights violations in the latter half of the ongoing Colombian Armed Conflict. According to several international human rights and governmental organizations, right-wing paramilitary groups have been responsible for at least 70 to 80% of political murders in Colombia per year. The remaining political murders are often committed by leftist guerrillas and government forces.

The first paramilitary groups were organized by the Colombian military following recommendations made by U.S. military counterinsurgency advisers who were sent to Colombia during the Cold War to combat leftist political activists and armed guerrilla groups. The development of more modern paramilitary groups has also involved elite landowners, drug traffickers, members of the security forces, politicians and multinational corporations. Paramilitary violence today is principally targeted towards left-wing insurgents and their supporters.

Tlatelolco massacre

Following a summer of increasingly large demonstrations in Mexico City protesting the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, armed forces of Mexico opened fire October 2, 1968 on unarmed civilians, killing an undetermined number, likely in the hundreds. It occurred in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City. The events are considered part of the Mexican Dirty War, when the government used its forces to suppress political opposition. The massacre occurred 10 days before the opening of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

The head of the Federal Directorate of Security reported that 1,345 people were arrested. At the time, the government and the media in Mexico claimed that government forces had been provoked by protesters shooting at them, but government documents made public since 2000 suggest that snipers had been employed by the government. According to US national security archives, Kate Doyle, a Senior Analyst of US policy in Latin America, documented the deaths of 44 people; however, estimates of the actual death toll range from 300 to 400, with eyewitnesses reporting hundreds dead.

Vasili Arkhipov

Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov (Russian: Василий Александрович Архипов, IPA: [vɐˈsʲilʲɪj ɐlʲɪkˈsandrəvʲɪtɕ arˈxipɔːf], 30 January 1926 – 19 August 1998) was a Soviet Navy officer credited with casting the single vote that prevented a Soviet nuclear strike (and, presumably, all-out nuclear war) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such an attack likely would have caused a major global thermonuclear response which, as Noam Chomsky described, could have destroyed much of the world. As flotilla commander and second-in-command of the diesel powered submarine B-59, only Arkhipov refused to authorize the captain's use of nuclear torpedoes against the United States Navy, a decision requiring the agreement of all three senior officers aboard. In 2002 Thomas Blanton, who was then director of the US National Security Archive, said that Arkhipov "saved the world".

Vela Incident

The Vela Incident, also known as the South Atlantic Flash, was an unidentified double flash of light detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite on 22 September 1979 near the Prince Edward Islands off Antarctica. Due to the characteristics of the light signal, along with other circumstantial evidence, it has been theorized that the flash was the result of an undeclared nuclear test carried out jointly by South Africa and Israel. Though the origin of the flash was not conclusively determined, and several alternative explanations were proposed, in 2016 researchers from George Washington University's National Security Archive noted that the debate over the origin of the South Atlantic Flash has shifted in recent years to the side of a man-made weapon test. In 2018, a new study claimed that it is highly likely that it was a nuclear test, conducted by Israel.While a double-flash signal is characteristic of a nuclear weapons test in the atmosphere, it has been suggested that the signal could have been caused by a meteoroid impacting the Vela satellite. All of the previous 41 double flashes detected by the Vela satellites were confirmed to be nuclear explosions. Some information about the event remains classified.

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