Management of intelligence archives of fallen authoritarian regimes

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University of Alabama Libraries

This thesis poses the question: What happens to intelligence archives when authoritarian regimes collapse? These files have both personal privacy and national security connotations that separate them from most archival material. As countries make the transition towards democracy, what can be done and are there any lessons learned from historical examples? Three cases have been examined: the Soviet Union's KGB, East Germany's Stasi, and Apartheid South Africa's NIS. This research examines how the files were handled by the regimes while they were in power, what happened during the transition, and the status of the archives after the transformation of government. The research finds that while some outcomes are positive or negative, the decisions and the situations are not clear-cut. Not all information can be released as a country becomes a democracy, while information can be obtained from nations that restrict their democratic reforms. These cases provide examples of the decisions that leaders and archivists could make to open these files to citizens. Although each country is unique in how a government will be run, this work offers additional perspectives on what policies could be in place for other countries in the future.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Library science