Press/Journalists

Media Alert
January 8, 2009

National Archives to Open 9/11 Commission Textual Materials

WHAT:  The National Archives will open more than 150 cubic feet of records of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting” of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and recommend how to prevent such attacks in the future.

On January 14th at 9 AM EST, Memoranda for the Record (summaries of 709 interviews conducted by the Commission), series descriptions, and folder title lists will be available online . These records include information on the terrorists, past terrorist events, al Qaeda in general, and related subjects. The records also include information concerning the emergency responses to the attacks in New York City and Washington, DC.

WHO:  Steven Tilley, Director of the National Archives Textual Archives Services Division, will brief the media about the review process and content of the records.

WHEN:  Wednesday, January 14, 2009
9 AM (EST) on the web at 9/11 Commission Memoranda for the Record (MFRs)
9 AM (EST) – Briefing
9:15 AM (EST) – Records opening
** Members of the press who need to obtain researcher cards should arrive at 8:30 am, or obtain their cards in advance of the opening. ***

WHERE:  West Research Room, National Archives Building
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408
Please use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.

Please Note:  No artificial light may be used in the Research Room.

Background

When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records to the National Archives. Before it closed, the Commission voted to encourage the release its records to the fullest extent possible in January 2009. Because the Commission was part of the legislative branch, its records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The records that will open on January 14th represent 35% of the Commission’s archived textual records. Review and processing focused on the portion of the collection that contains unique documents created by the Commission and those that reveal the most about the scope of the investigation and the internal workings of the Commission and its staff. The arrangement of the records reflects the organization of the Commission with series consisting of front office files, team files, and files of individual staff members. Due to the collection’s volume and the large percentage of national security classified files, the National Archives staff was unable to process the entire collection by January 2009. The National Archives will continue to process materials.

These records have been screened for personal privacy and national security. Summaries of the interviews with New York City First Responders are closed under an agreement reached between New York City and the Commission. Graphic personal details concerning the victims of the attacks have been withheld.

Other Information

All researchers, including the media, must have a valid National Archives researcher card prior to gaining access to the records. Researcher cards may be obtained at the National Archives Building with a photo ID. Clean research room rules apply. Laptop computers and scanners are permitted.

The National Archives facility in Washington, DC, does not currently provide wireless access to the internet. Limited power is available. (Please charge computers before arriving.)

For those who do not have Internet access, on the day of the opening the Public Affairs office will distribute DVDs containing summaries of the 709 interviews. The National Archives New York City Regional Archives, located at 201 Varick Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10014, will also distribute these DVDs.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.

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