Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version

Spring 2005

Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 27, Number 1, Spring 2005. ISSN 0196-7134


2005 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


I started having second thoughts about giving a paper on the subject of working with classified documents almost as soon as I agreed to do it. In the first place, I'm not editing classified documents-or any kind of documents, for that matter-now. I used to, though: for over a quarter of a century I edited the papers of Dwight David Eisenhower at Johns Hopkins University. My duties there included handling all matters of classification and declassification, as well as physical, personnel, and information security.

Four years ago, as we were proofreading the index for the final set of Eisenhower volumes, I left to take a position at the Library of Congress. Arriving on Capitol Hill with my still-valid Top Secret and COSMIC clearances, I again found myself dealing with these matters-but from the other side of the counter. Where I had once been a supplicant, begging and pleading for the release of classified documents, I soon found myself a guardian of secrets, nuggets of information supposedly too sensitive to be given to my former peers and colleagues. The job of classified documents officer is not a happy task.