Friday, June 09, 2006

NARA Sleuth

The Amateur Sleuth Who Gave the Archives a Red Face

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 8, 2006; Page A21

The scandal over missing documents that rocked the National Archives this spring came to light not because of the digging of an investigative reporter or a timely leak by a concerned federal insider.

Instead it was Matthew M. Aid, an amateur researcher and historian, who figured out that for at least six years the CIA and the Air Force had been withdrawing thousands of records from the public shelves -- and that Archives officials had helped cover up their efforts.

"I'm a 48-year-old part-time historian who just accidentally stumbled onto something," Aid said in a recent interview. "I like things neat. And when I started getting the runaround from people at the Archives about why this stuff wasn't available, that's when I started getting angry. . . . They would not give me an explanation. Alarm bells started going off when that happened."

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