February 15, 2001
Contact: Giuliana Bullard, 703-532-1477
Steven Garfinkel Named Chair of War Crimes Records Group
Susan Cooper, 301-713-6000
COLLEGE PARK, Md., Feb. 15 -- U.S. Archivist John Carlin named Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) Director Steven Garfinkel chair of the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG). He is replacing Dr. Michael J. Kurtz who after more than two years with the IWG stepped down from the position to continue his work as Assistant Archivist for Records Services.
Carlin said, "Under the leadership of Michael Kurtz, the IWG has directed twelve Federal agencies in the largest U.S. effort ever to declassify records on a single-subject. In less than two years, the group has already overseen the declassification of nearly 3 million pages of records. Before the IWG completes its work, we anticipate that these agencies will declassify millions of additional pages on or relevant to war crimes or war criminals."
"Michael helped the IWG establish a remarkable record of success and is raising the bar of expectation for public disclosure and governmental accountability."
Carlin said, "I am confident that Steven Garfinkel will successfully build on this foundation. I am very pleased that he agreed to bring his valuable in-depth knowledge of declassification issues to the task."
Garfinkel will continue with ISOO, where he has served as Director since 1980. In this position, he is responsible to the President for policy oversight of the Government-wide security classification system and the National Industrial Security Program. Garfinkel led the drafting of the current legal foundations for the security classification and industrial security systems. Under Executive Order 12958, executive branch agencies have declassified almost one billion pages of permanently valuable records. Garfinkel has garnered numerous awards and Presidential commendations for his Federal service, which began in 1970.
The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act created the IWG to oversee declassification and public release of U. S. Government records related to war criminals and crimes committed by the Nazi government and its allies during World War II. In enacting the "Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000," the Congress renamed the IWG, extended its mission through 2003, and emphasized the need to find, review and declassify U.S. Government records pertaining to Japanese Imperial Government war crimes and war criminals. The IWG public members are former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, Thomas Baer, and Richard Ben-Veniste. The IWG Web site address is www.nara.gov/iwg.