Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Conscience Of An Archivist

Historian Maarja Krusten, who stopped working at the National Archives in 1990, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for materials about a fateful 1989 meeting she attended to discuss Richard Nixon's White House records. The file contained a memo describing an interview that an agent of the agency's inspector general's office had conducted with a top NARA official to learn more about the meeting. NARA's FOIA team had blacked out the official's name. But Krusten noticed an error:
[T]hey overlooked the initials of the interviewee on the last page. I redacted it myself and informed NARA of the oversight. I’m probably one of the few, perhaps the only, recipient of FOIA released material who went in and further redacted the item.

1 comment:

MK said...

Thanks for the link and the mention! Yeah, they had the interviewee's initials as part of the file name on the last page. I blacked out the initials and cautioned NARA that its FOIA staff needed to do so in any releases to other people.