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Wresting Secrets from the U.S. Government

The National Security Archive is a repository for intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Its contents include papers related to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Iran-Contra affair -- and, more recently, to pre-9/11 warnings about Osama bin Laden.

The archive, which is not connected to the federal government, is led by Director Tom Blanton, who filed his first Freedom of Information Act request in 1976, when he was a weekly newspaper reporter in Minnesota. His books include White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Computer Messages the Reagan-Bush White House Tried to Destroy.

Last month marked the National Security Archive's 20th anniversary; it is housed at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Over the years, it has won the release of thousands of classified documents. Among the awards the archive has won are a 2000 George Polk Award and a 2005 Emmy, for its documentary Declassified: Nixon in China.

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