Allen Weinstein: Commended by the NYT





Documents wind up missing from public archives for many reasons. Sometimes they're shelved or labeled incorrectly, or lost, and sometimes they're even stolen. But at the National Archives, documents have been disappearing since 1999 because intelligence officials have wanted them to. And under the terms of two disturbing agreements — with the C.I.A. and the Air Force — the National Archives has been allowing officials to reclassify declassified documents, which means removing them from the public eye. So far 55,000 pages, some of them from the 1950's, have vanished. This not only violates the mission of the National Archives; it is also antithetical to the natural flow of information in an open society.

As time passes, the need for secrecy, which should always adhere to a very strict standard, usually diminishes. Apparently the C.I.A. wants to turn back the hands of time.

The new director of the National Archives, Allen Weinstein, rightly put a stop to this nonsense as soon as he heard about it. But he will need to do more than just abrogate these suspect agreements with the C.I.A. and the Air Force. He will need to figure out how they came about in the first place. The former director, John Carlin, has said he knows nothing about them. They appear to have been signed only by the assistant archivist. ...




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