Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Online Declassified Document Archives (Link List)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's recent decision to create an online repository of all of the Freedom of Information Act documents it has collected over the years got me to thinking about other such efforts in both the government and private sectors.

Archives such as the EFF's are full of primary source documents and are excellent teaching and research resources. Here is the list of such archives I could think of off the top of my head:

EFF's FOIA Document Archive. Primarily designed to "shed light on controversial government surveillance programs, lobbying practices, and intellectual property initiatives."

George Washington University's National Security Archive. One of the oldest and best sources for formerly classified documents and expert analysis of their impact/import to historical events.

Federation Of American Scientists' Secrecy Project. While not always FOIA generated, the FAS keeps tabs on the policies and practices surrounding classified information and often posts primary source documents relevant to intelligence community operations.

Wikileaks. Actually, this is NOT FOIA generated as the material here often has not yet been de-classified or authorized for distribution. Still, very much worth knowing about.

CIA Reading Room. Most people do not know that the various intelligence agencies in the US often maintain a FOIA reading room on their websites (I list the CIA here as a particularly good, but by no means the only, example).

The National Archives' Checklist. From an intelligence and classified documents standpoint, this is a hit or miss kind of thing. I always find something interesting but I always wish it were a bit easier or that I could find a bit more.

Do you have any others? List 'em in the comments!


Phil said...

In the UK, there's, which lets you make FOI requests and browse previous requests and their responses.

Pat said...

Judicial Watch has an Open Records Project. Not sure how reliable they are, but they've posted quite a few documents. FYI.

Disrupting Jihad said...

Hi Kristan,
Another excellent archive is
also, though not necessarily FOIA, is the well known leak site

Krishna Mungur
Open Source Intelligence Analyst

Leah said...

Was anyone having trouble with the Wikileaks link? I cannot get it to open and the web address appears in numerical style.

Kristan J. Wheaton said...

Phil, Pat and Krishna,

Thanks for the additional sites. All good catches!


I am having the same problem with the Wikileaks site. The nature of that site means that it is often embroiled in some sort of controversy and it has been taken down or blocked by various countries/services, etc. Of course, it could just be that its servers are down.

Right now there is at least one recent report that suggests that someone or something in Australia is currently blocking the site, for example. If you are interested in the site in general, I refer you to the Wikipedia entry on Wikileaks as it seems to be reasonably well done.


Anonymous said...

Not exactly in the same classification, but useful: