FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 25, 2008
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697
History Associates President Speaks to Public Interest Declassification Board
History Associates president Brian W. Martin recently spoke on behalf of professional historians at an open meeting of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB). PIDB is an advisory committee established by Congress to promote public access to documentary records relating to significant US national security decisions and activities. Earlier this year the board issued a report entitled Improving Declassification, advising President Bush on various issues relating to the declassification of historic records. The board’s March 17 meeting-scheduled to coincide with “Sunshine Week,” a national initiative to promote discussion about open government and freedom of information-sought public comment on the issues and recommendations outlined in Improving Declassification.
The American Historical Association invited Dr. Martin to appear before the board based on History Associates’ more than two decades of practical experience engaging the government’s declassification processes. In his comments, Dr. Martin supported the PIDB’s call for establishing a National Declassification Center within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to guide and facilitate the declassification of historical records. Dr. Martin cautioned the board not to allow its efforts to declassify “national security decisions” to delay the release of historical information critical to the rights and interest claims of individuals or the scholarly interests of historians. Rather, he encouraged the board to focus on its broader mandate to pursue the timely declassification and release of all records of enduring value. Dr. Martin also welcomed the board’s plans to explore how NARA’s Electronic Records Archives program and the efforts of other agencies are addressing the challenges of declassifying digital records. Finally, Dr. Martin supported the board’s recommendations related to more efficient coordination of reviews of classified information and controlled unclassified information, and the board’s call for NARA to receive the appropriations necessary to eliminate the archival processing backlog that currently delays the release of declassified materials by a factor of years.
For a copy of Improving Declassification, please visit http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/improving-declassification.pdf.
About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit www.historyassociates.com.