RESEARCH DOCUMENT : Archive FOIA Cable Shows Guantanamo Prosecutors Misleading Defense


Archive FOIA Cable Shows Guantanamo Prosecutors Misleading Defense

Published: Nov 11, 2019

Edited by Lauren Harper

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv

Judge Rules Against Government, Citing Archive Document from Haspel Case

Related Links

Gina Haspel CIA Torture Cables’ Dates and Times Declassified
October 18, 2018

Gina Haspel CIA Torture Cables Declassified
August 10, 2018

National Security Archive Sues CIA for Gina Haspel Torture Cables
April 27, 2018

Gina Haspel’s CIA Torture File
April 26, 2018

In the News

Judge Rules Prosecutors Misrepresented Evidence From C.I.A. Sites

The New York Times

Nov 8, 2019

Washington, D.C., November 11, 2019 – A military judge presiding over the Guantanamo trial of alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri cited a cable released to the National Security Archive as evidence that the system for handling classified CIA evidence at the detention camp’s national security trials is “flawed and unfair to the defense.” The current system allows prosecutors, working with members of the intelligence community, to decide what portions of evidence the defense needs for trial. Prosecutors, as Carol Rosenberg reports for the New York Times, “then redact portions of reports from the C.I.A. black sites or write summaries to substitute for the actual evidence.”

To reach his determination, Judge Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr. compared a December 1, 2002, cable that was released to the Archive last year in response to a FOIA lawsuit to a version of the same cable prosecutors provided al-Nashiri’s defense attorneys. Judge Acosta found “the comparison undermines any contention the redactions are narrowly tailored to a legitimate need to protect national security.”

The cable that was released to the Archive, which was authored under current CIA director Gina Haspel’s command, describes Day 17 of al-Nashiri’s torture session at a black site prison in Thailand. It states "HVTI [redacted, CIA contract psychologist James Mitchell] and linguist [redacted] strode, catlike, into the well-lit confines of the cell at 0902 hrs [redacted], deftly removed the subject’s black hood with a swipe, paused, and in a deep, measured voice said that subject – having ‘calmed down’ after his (staged) run-in with his hulking, heavily muscled guards the previous day – should reveal what subject had done to vex his guards to the point of rage." The cable provided to the defense was more redacted, and even omitted the word “catlike”, prompting Acosta to rule that some of the deletions made in the cables provided to the defense “could fairly be characterized as self-serving and calculated to avoid embarrassment.”

The Archive filed its FOIA request for the Haspel cable cited by Judge Acosta on April 16, 2018, after she was nominated by President Trump to be CIA director. Despite the clear public interest in the documents, the CIA denied the Archive’s request for expedited processing, and the Archive went to court on April 27. The U.S. Senate confirmed Haspel as CIA director on May 17 (by a vote of 54-45) on the basis of a record amassed almost exclusively in closed hearings, with no declassification or public release of information even remotely approaching that of previous CIA nominees.

David Sobel, FOIA expert and former Archive counsel, drafted and filed the initial Archive complaint in federal court; and the Archive’s pro bono counsel Peter Karanjia and Lisa Zycherman of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine took on the task of negotiating with the U.S. Attorney’s office over release of the documents.

RESEARCH DOCUMENT : Archive, CREW, Historians Sue Pompeo, State Department over Failure to Create Records


Archive, CREW, Historians Sue Pompeo, State Department over Failure to Create Records

Published: Nov 5, 2019

by Lauren Harper and Tom Blanton

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv

Impeachment Inquiry Shows No Notes for June 28 Ukraine Phone Call

Related Suit Seeks Court Review of White House Failure to Document Heads of State Meetings

FRA Complaint filed as of November 5, 2019

Notice of Designation of Related Civil Cases Pending

Ambassador Taylor’s testimony

Washington D.C., November 5, 2019 – The National Security Archive, together with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), sued Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Department of State today for violating the Federal Records Act by failing to create and preserve essential State Department records (see the complaint). The legal team representing the plaintiffs in the case is led by Anne Weismann and Conor Shaw of CREW, and pro bono counsel George Clarke and Mireille Oldak of Baker McKenzie.

Evidence from the House’s impeachment inquiry, including from Ambassador William Taylor, the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine under the Trump administration, and from former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, all speak to a pattern and practice of bypassing official record-keeping procedures at the State Department. In discussing a June 28 State-organized phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, Ambassador Taylor testified that, not only did the Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland exclude most of the regular interagency participants from the call, but that “Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call.” This is a direct violation of the State Department’s obligation under the Federal Records Act to document agency policies, decisions, and essential transactions.

The FRA lawsuit comes on the heels of a related Presidential Records Act case that the Archive, CREW, and SHAFR filed in May 2019 to compel the White House to create and preserve records of the President’s meetings with foreign leaders. The PRA suit was filed after news reports indicated that no such records existed for at least five meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and a meeting with Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

On October 1, after reports that a July 25 telephone call with President Zelenskyy was receiving unorthodox treatment, the plaintiffs filed a motion in federal court asking for a temporary restraining order to compel the White House to preserve records of foreign leader phone calls and meetings with the president. The Justice Department opposed the motion and in the first round of conversation with the judge, refused to provide any assurances that such records were being saved. It took 24 hours for the Justice Department to provide the court a notice of voluntary preservation. As a result, on October 4, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the White House to preserve all records relating to meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders, as well as all records on White House practices and policies for creating and keeping such records, and in doing so, memorialized in a formal court order the six categories of information the Plaintiffs sought to preserve.

“Sworn testimony by Ambassador Bill Taylor, a Vietnam vet, West Point grad, career diplomat, and top U.S. representative in Ukraine, let Congress know his State Department colleagues ordered no records kept of a key U.S.-Ukraine conversation, right in the middle of a secret hold on U.S. aid to Ukraine,” remarked Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive. “This was wrong. The records laws place an obligation on the State Department to document its policies and decisions, and the same goes for the White House.”

"Secretary Pompeo should not be engaging in document-dodging. The Secretary has a legal obligation to keep records of the ‘essential transactions’ of the State Department," said Lauren Harper, the National Security Archive’s director of public policy. "Conversations with foreign heads-of-state have to rank at the top of that list, so our lawsuit seeks to hold the Secretary to the letter of the law."

The documents

FRA Complaint filed as of November 5, 2019

2019-11-05

Notice of Designation of Related Civil Cases Pending

2019-11-05

RESEARCH DOCUMENT : Archive, CREW, Historians Ask Federal Judge to Preserve Head of State Records


Archive, CREW, Historians Ask Federal Judge to Preserve Head of State Records

Published: Oct 1, 2019

by Tom Blanton

For more information, contact Tom Blanton,
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv

Plaintiffs Seek Restraining Order for White House Files on Foreign Leader Calls, Meetings

Washington D.C., October 1, 2019 – The National Security Archive together with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) today filed a motion in federal court for a temporary restraining order to compel the White House to preserve records of foreign leader phone calls and meetings with the president, and records of White House record-keeping practices and policies.

The motion cites the new revelations from the whistleblower complaint filed with the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General that the White House had restricted access to presidential transcripts of calls and meetings such as the controversial July 25, 2019 call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, and that such records were placed into a “codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive – rather than national security sensitive – information.”

The plaintiffs had originally filed suit in May 2019, with pro bono representation from the firm of Baker McKenzie, after repeated media accounts of White House failure to keep records of highest-level meetings, including at least five discussions between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and another with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The case is pending before Federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Case No. 19-cv-1333 (ABJ).

After the latest revelations of problematic White House record keeping, CREW’s chief FOIA counsel, Anne Weismann, repeatedly wrote the Department of Justice asking for assurances that all relevant information would be preserved pending the resolution of this lawsuit, but Justice declined to do so, saying any such assurances “clearly implicate privileged legal advice.”

Today’s motion cites “the palpable risk that presidential records will be lost to Plaintiffs and the American people,” and argues that “to hold the President immune from any lawsuit seeking to make him accountable for his recordkeeping violations would, however, fly in the face of the text and the purpose of the PRA [Presidential Records Act], its historical context, and the congressional record.”

Archive Director Tom Blanton said, “By all accounts, White House record keeping is a mess, but federal courts have ducked the issue to date, citing separation of powers and some limiting precedent from the Reagan and Bush era White House e-mail cases that we brought. Yet even that precedent empowers the courts to look into White House policies and practices. And all precedent requires the White House to preserve its relevant information while a lawsuit is pending.”

Read the documents

Document 01

Motion of Temporary Restraining Order. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 02

Memorandum in Support of Temporary Restraining Order. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 03

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit A. Whistleblower Complaint submitted to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, August 12, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 04

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit B. White House Memorandum Summarizing the July 25 phone call between President Trump and President Zelenskyy, Declassified September 24, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 05

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit C. Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, August 26, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 06

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit D. Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson letter to Chairman Adam Schiff and Ranking Member Devin Nunes of Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the U.S. House of Representatives, September 9. 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 07

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit E. Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson letter to Chairman Adam Schiff and Ranking Member Devin Nunes of Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the U.S. House of Representatives, September 17. 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 08

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit F. Letter from Anne Weismann to Kathryn Wyer, September 20, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 09

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit G. Letter from Kathryn Wyer to Anne Weismann, September 23, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 10

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit H. Letter from Anne Weismann to Kathryn Wyer, September 25, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

Document 11

Temporary Restraining Order Exhibit I. Letter from Kathryn Wyer to Anne Weismann, September 27, 2019. Filed October 1, 2019.

2019-10-01

RESEARCH DOCUMENT : Imminent Threat to Guatemala’s Historical Archive of the National Police (AHPN)


Imminent Threat to Guatemala’s Historical Archive of the National Police (AHPN)

Published: May 30, 2019

Update for Guatemala Police Archive under Threat posting

Edited by Kate Doyle

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv

Morales Government Tightens Grip on Massive Human Rights Records Trove

Washington, D.C., May 30, 2019 – The National Security Archive joins our international and Guatemalan colleagues in calling for the protection of the Historical Archive of the National Police (AHPN) of Guatemala, which faces new threats to its independence and to public access to its holdings.

In a press conference on Monday, May 27, Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart signaled his intent to assert his agency’s control of the AHPN including the prospect of new restrictions on access to the archived police records and possible legal action against “foreign institutions” holding digitized copies of the documents. Degenhart made his statements as a crucial deadline approached to renew an agreement that for a decade has kept the archive under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The agreement now appears to be in jeopardy.

The hollowing out of the AHPN is taking place at a time when justice and human rights initiatives are broadly under siege in Guatemala and follows months of uncertainty for the celebrated human rights archive, which has been institutionally adrift since its long-time director, Gustavo Meoño Brenner, was abruptly dismissed in August 2018.

Since its discovery in 2005, the AHPN has played a central role in Guatemala’s attempts to reckon with its bloody past. Its records of more than a century of the history of the former National Police have been relied upon by families of the disappeared, scholars, and prosecutors. The institution has become a model across Latin America and around the world for the rescue and preservation of vital historical records.

* * * * *

Historical Background and Current Threat to the AHPN

by Kate Doyle

In a press conference Monday, May 27, Interior Minister of Guatemala Enrique Degenhart signaled his intent to assert his agency’s control of the country’s Historical Archive of the National Police (AHPN). He claimed that existing law required new restrictions on access to the archived police records and warned “foreign institutions” holding digitized copies of the documents that the government was considering legal action against them. Degenhart made his statements as a crucial deadline approached to renew an agreement that for a decade has kept the archive under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The agreement now appears to be in jeopardy.

The comments follow months of uncertainty for the celebrated human rights archive, which has been institutionally adrift since its long-time director, Gustavo Meoño Brenner, was abruptly dismissed in August 2018. In the wake of Meoño’s departure, the Culture Ministry and the Guatemalan office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – responsible for administering international donations to the AHPN – instituted drastic cuts to the archive’s budget and personnel. The two agencies agreed to eliminate the position of director in favor of a “technical liaison” and hired a trained archivist with no human rights experience to fill it. They dismissed all but one member of the investigative staff dedicated to locating and analyzing police records containing information about illegal State terror campaigns during the 1970s and 80s.

The hollowing out of the Historical Archive of the National Police is taking place at a time when justice and human rights initiatives are broadly under siege in Guatemala. The attacks come from every branch of government. In January 2019, President Jimmy Morales ordered the closing of CICIG, the UN-sponsored commission that for over a decade helped prosecute cases of corruption and organized crime. Congress has offered several versions of an amnesty bill aimed at releasing from prison scores of former Army, police, and paramilitary members found guilty of grave human rights crimes and crimes against humanity. Although none of the bills has passed yet, they hang like Damocles’ sword over victims of human rights crimes and their families. And in March a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Attorney General Thelma Aldana – known during her term in office for major anti-corruption and human rights prosecutions – accusing her of embezzlement and other crimes. Aldana has categorically denied the charges but the move quashed her hopes to compete as a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for June 16.

Since its discovery in 2005, the Historical Archive of the National Police has played a key role in Guatemala’s attempts to reckon with its bloody past. It holds the files of more than a century of the institutional history of the former National Police, including millions of pages that chronicle the State’s repressive policies against Guatemalan citizens during the 36-year armed internal conflict (1960-96). Its records have been used by families of the disappeared to research the fate of their loved ones, scholars have drawn on the collection to examine the history of guerrilla warfare and brutal counterinsurgency policies, and prosecutors have incorporated records as evidence into some of the most important criminal human rights cases tried by Guatemalan courts.

The AHPN also offers a wealth of documentation on the country’s social history, the history of public order, and the role of the police. Over the years, it has become a model across Latin America and around the world for the extraordinary achievement of its staff and management in rescuing the enormous, abandoned collection, and for its professional work since then in preserving the records, guaranteeing public access, and undertaking research of vital, contemporary relevance.

But for all its achievements, the Police Archive has existed in a precarious legal and fiscal status since its discovery almost 14 years ago. As a repository for the historical records of a former government security force, it functioned by definition under the authority of the State; yet except for the office of the Human Rights Prosecutor (Procuradoría de Derechos Humanos—PDH) – which found the neglected archive in 2005 and managed it until 2009 – the State never took leadership in overseeing the AHPN nor any financial responsibility for its operations. Instead, funding for the archive came from foreign governments – including millions of dollars from the United States – and international organizations, and flowed primarily through the UNDP. That funding dropped precipitously in recent years, as the attention of many governments drifted on to other countries and other priorities.

More complicated still, when the archive was discovered, the State entity with direct authority over it was the Interior Ministry, which controls the country’s security forces, their properties and their records. Recognizing the potential danger of that position, the PDH and the AHPN – under former director Meoño – worked with the government of then-President Álvaro Colom to negotiate the archive’s transfer from the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Culture and Sports, already the institutional home for the country’s General Archives of Central America (national archives). The transfer was effected by way of a signed agreement in 2009, conveying to Culture the physical records and the land on which the AHPN sat, a small territory inside a huge police base in Zone 6 of Guatemala City. The agreement terminates on June 30 of this year and must be renegotiated and re-signed to continue.

Even with the agreement in force, the problem remained that the AHPN as an institution was never formally accredited through any instrument under Guatemalan law, rendering it permanently vulnerable. Now the government is moving in on that vulnerability. Current Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart is one of Jimmy Morales’s closest advisers. He has aided the president’s campaign to shutter CICIG and aggressively backed efforts to arrest former Attorney General Aldana. His remarks on Monday concerning the Police Archive are the strongest indication yet that the government intends to intervene forcefully in AHPN operations and functions.

Degenhart referred to the collection as the “Historical Archive of the National Civil Police” – incorrectly imposing the name of the security force he heads for the National Police, which was abolished in 1997 by the peace accords for its role in assassinating, disappearing and torturing Guatemalan citizens during the conflict. He bristled at questions from journalists about his authority over the AHPN, saying, “The fact that the Interior Ministry through the National Civil Police does not participate in the management of its own archives is totally inconceivable.”

Degenhart repeatedly invoked Guatemala’s access to information law during his remarks (Ley de Acceso a la Información Pública, the Guatemalan version of the Freedom of Information Act) – not to promote open access to the police records but rather to insist that the records of the AHPN contain “restricted information” defined by the law and must be “protected” (in other words, withheld). Included in his concept of information restricted under the law was the “identification of persons,” which merited “special treatment.” Degenhart made no reference to Article 24 of the access to information law, which states that “In no instance can information related to the investigation of the violation of fundamental human rights or crimes against humanity be classified as confidential or reserved.

The Interior Minister also made a point of lambasting the AHPN’s decision to provide the Swiss government and the University of Texas at Austin with complete digitized copies of the police records. Former director Meoño and other senior staff made the move years ago both to ensure that a back-up copy existed in the event of an attack on the archive and to make access to the collection possible from outside Guatemala. Although Degenhart was vague about the Police Archive’s immediate future, he was abundantly clear about the government’s intention to alter the sharing arrangements.

“What I can tell you for sure is that we will not permit the massive exit of those archives outside the country,” he stated. When a journalist asked why, he answered: “Because it is sensitive information concerning national security, protected by the Law on Access to Public Information. There cannot be foreign institutions that hold a complete set of the archives.” He warned that the government was preparing legal action to challenge the agreements.

The AHPN is not the only archive serving human rights purposes under attack in Guatemala. Guatemalan media outlets reported in late March that both the chief of the General Archive of the Supreme Court – Rossana Aracely Alvarado Cortez – and the head of the Court’s Information System – Daniel Girón – were pressured to resign by Justice Department (Organismo Judicial) officials. Among the documents under Alvarado’s care were records gathered by Guatemalan tribunals in preparing cases for trial, including expert reports, witness statements and evidentiary material. Since the tribunals include the special, “high risk” courts that take on corruption and human rights cases, the lack of a director could make the archive vulnerable to interference.

A senior employee of the Justice Department reached for comment on the forced resignations called them “the destruction of justice” and a direct attack on the institution.

Another archive under stress is the collection of records of the former “Presidential General Staff” (Estado Mayor Presidencial—EMP), located inside the General Archive of Central America, Guatemala’s national archives. During the armed conflict, the EMP was a military intelligence unit serving the Chief of State, which became a notorious instrument of repression and violence. Some of its files were rescued and copied by human rights groups after President Alfonso Portillo dissolved the EMP in 2003, and the collection moved to the national archives in 2012. According to a recent column in El Periódico, the staff managing the EMP files was laid off in March. “As a result,” wrote author Manolo Vela Castañeda, “beginning in April, the cataloguing work has stopped and there is no one to attend to information requests…”

In response to the government’s actions, a broad collective of AHPN supporters have come forward to defend the Police Archive. Following Meoño’s dismissal in 2018, a civil society advisory group of Guatemalan human rights leaders, scholars, lawyers, and justice reform experts mobilized and have been a constant presence in discussions about the archive’s future. Hundreds of international allies of the AHPN – including historians, human rights groups, and archivists from around the world – signed a letter calling for the archive’s protection last summer. The National Security Archive sent this analyst for two weeks of meetings and talks with key stakeholders last October. And the widely respected Spanish archivist, Dr. Antonio González Quintana, wrote a comprehensive report on the Police Archive that assesses its current status and outlines a detailed strategy to strengthen the AHPN in the future. The report was delivered to the UNDP in February.

More recently, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, Archives Without Borders, the Guatemalan Association of Friends of UNESCO, and the Myrna Mack Foundation among many other organizations have issued statements protesting the government’s interference in the AHPN. On May 16, Human Rights Prosecutor Jordan Rodas Andrade submitted a legal complaint to the courts against the Ministries of Culture and Interior to force them to renew the agreement guaranteeing a continuation of its occupation of the police base in Zone 6 and the preservation of its documents.

The National Security Archive joins our international and Guatemalan colleagues in calling for the protection of the Historical Archive of the National Police of Guatemala. Specifically, the National Security Archive demands with our colleagues:

  • Protection of the archive’s irreplaceable trove of records from physical damage and political interference
  • Preservation of secure, digitized copies with the Swiss government and University of Texas at Austin
  • Renewal of the lease that permits the archive to remain in its original space
  • Improvement in the information system that hosts the 23 million document images scanned to date
  • Guarantees of the public’s ability to consult the records without restriction through its Access to Information Unit
  • And continuation of the archive’s support for human rights justice through investigations and analysis.

RESEARCH DOCUMENT : National Security Archive Sues DIA for Able Archer 83 Document


National Security Archive Sues DIA for Able Archer 83 Document

Lieutenant General Leonard H. Perroots.

Published: Feb 28, 2019

Briefing Book #666

Edited by Nate Jones

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv

DIA Director Perroots’ “Parting Shot” Warned of Nuclear Danger

DIA Claims Targeted Request for Three Boxes “Unusual”

Washington, D.C., February 28, 2019 – The National Security Archive today filed a FOIA lawsuit to compel the Defense Intelligence Agency to release documents likely containing a letter from former DIA director Leonard Perroots, warning of the danger caused by the 1983 NATO nuclear exercise Able Archer 83. The Archive filed suit after receiving no substantive response to the FOIA request six months since filing the request and being told our “unusual” request is 1,133rd within the DIA’s glacial and growing queue.

As the Archive’s pro bono attorneys, John S. Guttmann and Hilary T. Jacobs of Beveridge & Diamond, state in the complaint, “If Plaintiff’s request can be described as ‘unusual’ in any way, it is only ‘unusual’ in how easy it makes it for DIA to efficiently respond to its request by seeking only three pre-located boxes.”

The letter in question was written by Lieutenant General Leonard Perroots, who served as the Assistant Chief of Staff of Intelligence at Ramstein Air Base during Able Archer 83 (see links in left column). According to a declassified President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board report, Able Archer 83 tested new procedures for releasing nuclear weapons, including “pre-exercise communications that notionally moved forces from normal readiness … to a General Alert.”

In response to the exercise, the Soviet military initiated a “major mobilization” of their forces, including placing Soviet nuclear-capable air forces in Germany and Poland on heightened alert, conducting over 36 intelligence flights, and transporting nuclear weapons from storage sites to launch pads by helicopter. According to the PFIAB report, the Soviet response was “unparalleled” and had only previously been observed “during actual crises.”

After Perroots observed the signs of elevated Soviet military alert, he chose not to respond in kind, thus averting further escalation during this “War Scare.” According to the PFIAB report, Perroots and other officers in charge of the Able Archer 83 exercise deescalated the risk “by doing nothing in the face of evidence that parts of the Soviet armed forces were moving to an unusual level of alert.” The report credits his decision to act “correctly out of instinct, not informed guidance” for ending the nuclear tension.

Perroots rose to serve as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1985 to 1988. In 1989, he wrote a letter as a “parting shot before retirement” to US intelligence agencies –in all likelihood including the DIA– requesting further investigation into Able Archer 83 and stating his concerns with the intelligence community’s inadequate treatment of the Soviet Union’s response. Eventually, the PFIAB took up Perroots’ suggestion, writing a report which concluded, “In 1983 we may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger,” and that “Soviet military leaders may have been seriously concerned that the US would use Able Archer 83 as cover of launching a real attack.”

In 2018 the National Security Archive identified the likely location of the Perroots correspondence as being within three specific boxes of documents held at the Washington Records Center in Suitland, Maryland, sometimes described as the real-life equivalent of the “Indiana Jones Warehouse.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has long failed to live up to its Freedom of Information Act requirements. According to the most recent federal reporting, the DIA’s oldest pending FOIA request is over fourteen years old and the average “complex” FOIA request has been pending at DIA for 656 days. (The DIA deems 97.8 percent of all FOIAs as “complex.”) When FOIAs are finally processed by DIA, they are usually over-redacted. These redactions include the relatively recent use of statutory exemption 10 USC 424 markings to censor material which was previously available to the public.

Unless the DIA revamps and improves its FOIA processes, requesters will increasingly turn to the courts to force the agency to comply with the law.

The National Security Archive’s lawsuit against the Defense Intelligence Agency for Perroots’ “parting shot before retirement” which warned of the danger of Able Archer 83.

The Standard Form 135 (SF 135) specifying the likely location of Perroots’ “parting shot.”

The PFIAB’s account of Perroots’ “parting shot.”

A comparison of the previous DIA declassification and its new overuse of the 10 USC 424 statutory exemption.

Documents

Document 1

Complaint. National Security Archive v. Defense Intelligence Agency, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, February 28, 2019.

2019-02-28

Source: FOIA request

Document 2

Exhibit A. FOIA request filed by the National Security Archive to Defense Intelligence Agency, August 15, 2018.

2018-08-15

Source: FOIA request

Document 3

Exhibit B. DIA FOIA acknowledgment letter, August 21, 2018.

2019-08-21

Source: FOIA request

Document 4

Exhibit C. DIA status update, November 26, 2018.

2018-11-26

Source: FOIA request

Document 5

Exhibit D. DIA, Annual Freedom of Information Act Report (FY 2017).

2017-00-00

Source: FOIA Request

Document 6

The Soviet “War Scare,” President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, February 15, 1990, Top Secret.

1990-02-15

Source: FOIA request

RESEARCH DOCUMENT : “Choice” Magazine Names “Digital National Security Archive” an Outstanding Academic Title for 2018


"Choice" Magazine Names "Digital National Security Archive" an Outstanding Academic Title for 2018

Washington, D.C., January 7, 2019 – Choice Magazine, the publishing arm of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), has named the Digital National Security Archive an “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2018. The annual award goes to publications deemed especially worthy of attention from academic librarians seeking to build research collections.

The Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) is the Archive’s flagship publication series featuring declassified documents obtained through in-depth archival research and targeted requests under the Freedom of Information Act. It was launched in 1989 and includes 54 collections as of the end of 2018. It is published by the academic publisher ProQuest.

Curated by foreign policy specialists with guidance from former officials and top academic experts, the materials are indexed by librarians using extensive item-level metadata and an in-house database of over 100,000 controlled authority terms.

Documentation consists of White House records, international summit meeting transcripts, top-level briefing papers, CIA assessments and covert action reports, military planning documents, State Department telegrams, and other high-level, previously classified materials resulting in what the Washington Journalism Review has called “a state-of-the-art index to history.”

Researchers can easily browse or search and identify specific records via multiple points of access (title, date, origin, destination, keyword, etc.), and go straight to facsimiles of the individual records. Transcriptions of difficult-to-read items are provided, as are separate versions of materials that have been excised differently by government authorities at various times.

Topics range from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the war on terrorism, Afghanistan to Iraq, Argentina to the Philippines, and presidential directives to military uses of space. (A full listing of titles appears below.)

Over the years, DNSA has received praise from a variety of academic and library sources. Some examples:

"I am especially grateful for the work of the National Security Archive … The Archive is a national treasure. Its digital collections proved invaluable to my research.” (Eric Schlosser, author)

“Extraordinary primary documents … can be found in the Digital National Security Archive.” (Michael Krepon, Arms Control Wonk)

“Specialists in U.S. national security policy, both scholars and journalists, will find the research collections of the Digital National Security Archive quite valuable.” (Chester J. Pach, Journal of American History)

“A magnificent achievement …. It is inconceivable that any serious student of the crisis, the nuclear age, the Kennedy Administration, or U.S.-Soviet relations in the post-war era would begin a study without the benefit of the Archive’s work in the Cuban missile crisis." (James G. Blight, (formerly) Harvard University)

“These documents provide unprecedented insight into the making of American foreign policy that only the Pentagon Papers have done before. They are a must for every journalist and academic who seeks to understand the inside story of foreign policy” (Raymond Bonner, former correspondent, The New York Times)

In 2017, the book The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations that Ended the Cold War by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton won the same award. The volume is part of the National Security Archive Cold War Reader series published through Central European University Press.

Choice has been in publication for more than half a century. It publishes 600 reviews of books and digital content per month, identifying the best new and serves over 2,400 institutions worldwide.

DNSA publications to date:

  • Afghanistan: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1973-1990
  • Argentina, 1975-1980: The Making of U.S. Human Rights Policy
  • Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962
  • Chile and the United States: U.S. Policy toward Democracy, Dictatorship, and Human Rights, 1970–1990
  • China and the United States: From Hostility to Engagement, 1960-1998
  • U.S. Intelligence and China: Collection, Analysis, and Covert Action
  • CIA Family Jewels Indexed
  • CIA Covert Operations: From Carter to Obama
  • CIA Covert Operations: Year of Intelligence
  • CIA Covert Operations: Johnson to Kennedy
  • Colombia and the United States: Political Violence, Narcotics, and Human Rights, 1948-2010
  • Cuba and the U.S.: The Declassified History of Negotiations to Normalize Relations, 1959-2016
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited: An International Collection of Documents, From Bay of Pigs to Brink of Nuclear War
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: 50th Anniversary Update
  • El Salvador: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1984
  • El Salvador: War, Peace, and Human Rights, 1980-1994
  • U.S. Espionage and Intelligence: Organization, Operations, and Management, 1947-1996
  • Death Squads, Guerrilla War, Covert Operations, and Genocide: Guatemala and the United States, 1954-1999
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community after 9/11
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community: Organization, Operations, and Management, 1947-1989
  • Iran: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1980
  • The Iran-Contra Affair: Making of a Scandal, 1983-1988
  • Targeting Iraq, Part I: Planning, Invasion, and Occupation, 1997-2004
  • Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. Policy and the Prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994
  • Japan and the United States: Diplomatic, Security, and Economic Relations, 1960-1976
  • Japan and the United States, Part II: Diplomatic, Security, and Economic Relations, 1977-1992
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  • Electronic Surveillance and the National Security Agency: From Shamrock to Snowden
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  • U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, Part I: 1954-1968
  • U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, Part II: 1969-1975
  • U.S. Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction: From World War II to Iraq

RESEARCH DOCUMENT : Guatemala Police Archive under Threat


Guatemala Police Archive under Threat

Published: Aug 13, 2018

Edited by Kate Doyle

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv

Repository of historic human rights evidence faces government crackdown

SIGN THE PETITION

LİNK : https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/dc.html?doc=4755258-Document-Pro-AHPN-English

Petition from organizations and individuals supporting the Historical Archive of the National Police

English version

The National Security Archive is collecting institutional and individual signatures and will HELP coordinate the international response. To sign, send your name (individual or institutional) to kadoyle with the subject line “AHPN signature.”

Versión en español

El Archivo de Seguridad Nacional está recopilando firmas institucionales e individuales y ayudará a coordinar la respuesta internacional. Para firmar, envíe su nombre (individual o institucional) a kadoyle con el subject line "Firma AHPN".

Washington, D.C., August 13, 2018—Guatemala’s renowned Historical Archive of the National Police (AHPN) is in crisis after its director Gustavo Meoño Brenner was abruptly removed in one of a series of recent actions orchestrated by the Guatemalan government and a United Nations office. The actions also placed the AHPN’s remaining staff of more than fifty people on temporary contract, and transferred oversight for the repository from the country’s national archives, where it had functioned since 2009, to the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Meoño learned of his removal on Friday, August 3, when a convoy of government vehicles pulled up in front of the Police Archive, and officials from the Culture Ministry and the Guatemalan office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) entered, demanding that he leave. “The operation was executed with all the characteristics of a commando strike,” one press account reported.

The unexpected move threatens to jeopardize the stability of the AHPN’s enormous collection of fragile National Police documents. Since their discovery in an abandoned and deteriorating state on a Guatemala City police base in 2005, hundreds of volunteers and paid employees have cycled through the AHPN under Meoño’s leadership to clean, organize, scan, and make public over twenty million pages of the estimated 8 linear kilometers of paper records. A UNDP employee with no experience in archival management has been named to replace Meoño as director.

Historically, the UNDP played an important role in the creation of the Police Archive. Its Guatemala office administered millions of dollars in donations granted to the AHPN by foreign governments and the United Nations. The office provided technical assistance, political advice, and administrative support. It was also a frequent ally to the AHPN during several difficult periods in the course of the archive’s growth and development.

Yet in a press release issued on the Sunday after Meoño’s ouster, the UNDP failed to explain its decision to push the long-time director out, beyond stating that his contract had ended and would not be renewed. The release is written in bland, bureaucratic language that provides no detailed plans for the future management of the Police Archive beyond ensuring that it is “strengthened in its institutionality and sustainability.”

For the National Security Archive, Meoño’s abrupt removal, the decision to shift oversight of the AHPN out from under the careful stewardship of Ana Carla Ericastillo – director of the national archives of Guatemala – to the untested Ministry of Culture and Sports, and the UNDP’s refusal to provide dozens of long-time staff members with reasonable working contracts are deeply troubling developments.

The National Security Archive has an association with the Historical Archive of the National Police that goes back to the AHPN’s beginning. The Archive’s Kate Doyle and Carlos Osorio had the privilege of visiting the site of the massive Police Archive just weeks after it was discovered in July 2005. They witnessed firsthand the awesome task that faced Meoño and his colleagues to rescue a treasure trove of historic documentation that was rotting with mold after years of neglect. Doyle went on to advise the AHPN project, bringing professional archivist Dr. Trudy Peterson conduct an initial assessment of the collection, and then worked with the AHPN to develop investigative skills to identify evidence of human rights abuses. Today, Doyle serves on the AHPN’s International Advisory Board.

In 2010, Doyle participated as an expert witness in the first criminal human rights proceeding in Guatemala to draw on Police Archive records as legal evidence for the prosecution. The trial of two former police agents for the forced disappearance of labor leader Edgar Fernando García, and a second trial in 2013 of their superiors – including the former chief of the Guatemalan National Police, Col. Héctor Bol de la Cruz – represented a breakthrough in human rights justice in Guatemala. Led by Meoño, the extraordinary work of the Historical Archive of the National Police made those prosecutions – and the many others that followed – possible.

Indeed, it may be the Police Archive’s crucial contributions to human rights trials that caused the government of President Jimmy Morales to seek to control the repository and fire its director. Besides the Fernando García case, AHPN records played a central role in trials of former army and police officers for the 1980 deadly burning of the Spanish Embassy, and the 1981 abduction, torture and rape of Emma Molina Theissen and forced disappearance of her 14-year-old brother Marco Antonio, among others. AHPN documents also form the heart of evidence in the as-yet-untried “Death Squad Dossier” investigation, concerning the mass forced disappearance of almost 200 citizens over the course of 18 months at the height of the country’s internal conflict.

Those cases, along with the 2013 genocide trial of ex-dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, enraged powerful military intelligence and operational officers who were behind the scorched earth counterinsurgency campaigns of the 1980s. They have sought to harass, intimidate, and shut down the human rights and justice organizations contributing to the prosecutions ever since. President Morales himself has also attacked the international investigative body that helped strengthen human rights prosecutions and fight corruption, known as CICIG. Since taking power, Morales’ government and the Congress his party controls have tried to shut down CICIG and kick out its commissioner, Iván Velásquez, without success.

So it is possible that the government crackdown on the Historical Archive of the National Police is another effort to halt the process of human rights justice in Guatemala and punish its defenders. What is still utterly unclear is why an agency of the United Nations is joining in that effort.

Since Gustavo Meoño’s dismissal, friends of the Police Archive – among them, civil society groups, human rights defenders, academics, lawyers, religious organizations, and international supporters – have come together to demand an explanation for the hasty and still unjustified actions taken by the UNDP and the Guatemalan government. Last week, they issued a statement calling for answers from those two entities and demanding that the AHPN’s documents be safeguarded, its investigative work continue, and its Advisory Boards be reactivated to help guide the Police Archive in the coming period.

The National Security Archive joins our colleagues in Guatemala and internationally in calling for clarification of these latest developments on the part of the government and the UNDP. The precious holdings of the Historical Archive of the National Police must be protected and continue to serve the causes of human rights, accountability and justice in Guatemala.