“It’s like ‘CSI,’ only it’s in records,” says Neil Carmichael, the supervisory archivist. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
The work, says Jeanne Schauble, is “esoteric,” all about arcane rules and layers of document review. She holds the rather Orwellian title of director of the Initial Processing and Declassification Division at the National Archives, which means she leads the beleaguered team of archivists faced with the task of making open government real.
“The United States has the most open government in the world,” says Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, “but it also has the most secretive government in the world, if you measure it by the production of new secrets.”