Tuesday, March 21, 2006

History eroding--Two Quotes

The greatest of human inventions is the library, a vast repository of collective memory far larger than any single mind can hold….So long as one's narrative survives, one's ideas and versions of history are passed along, like genetic code, to ensuing generations. Control what goes into the library, what becomes the available record, and you control what the future thinks" (The Persistence of Memory, Tony Eprile).

From the New York Times
Feb. 21 -- In a seven-year-old secret program at the National Archives, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years, including some already published by the State Department and others photocopied years ago by private historians.

The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 previously declassified pages began in 1999, when the Central Intelligence Agency and five other agencies objected to what they saw as a hasty release of sensitive information after a 1995 declassification order signed by President Bill Clinton. It accelerated after the Bush administration took office and especially after the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to archives records….

Anna K. Nelson, a foreign policy historian at American University, said she and other researchers had been puzzled in recent years by the number of documentspulled from the archives with little explanation.

''I think this is a travesty,'' said Dr. Nelson, who said she believed that some reclassified material was in her files. ''I think the public is being deprived of what history is really about: facts.''