Sen. Carper Reacts to Concerns About Security and Preservation Efforts by the National Archives

WASHINGTON – Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), released the following statement in response to recent reports issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that found significant problems with the National Archives’ oversight, management, and information security efforts as well as media reports that Federal Agents raided the home of a former National Archives employee:


"I am deeply concerned by the Government Accountability Office’s reports that found that some of America’s most precious documents and artifacts are at risk of being stolen, improperly preserved, damaged or destroyed. The items in jeopardy are more than just pieces of paper, collectibles, or electronic files – they are priceless links that connect us to our nation’s history and help tell the story of America. So I am sure it is unsettling to the American people – as it is to me – that the monumental task of preserving these valuable artifacts is not always being performed to the standards we all should expect.


"The Government Accountability Office has shown that Congress needs to examine whether the National Archives can effectively ensure that agencies are properly preserving what the law requires that they preserve.  Furthermore, we must make certain that the individuals we hire to protect these documents are properly trained, equipped and monitored in order to better safeguard our nation’s most precious historical treasures. 


"Complicating this effort is the fact that the National Archives’ latest initiative, preserving records electronically, has faced serious challenges and been questioned by many experts as to whether or not it will be effective.  Like all federal agencies, the National Archives must maintain vigorous oversight over the billions of dollars they spend on IT investments to ensure that they are spent effectively.   Finally, the Government Accountability Office’s report noting cracks in the National Archives’ computer firewall highlights persistent weaknesses in our national cyber security system.  This latest report reminds us that our national security and our national heritage are both threatened by a cyber attack due to faulty network protection.


"We must take these audits seriously and take steps to ensure that the documents and artifacts detailing America’s history remain properly protected and preserved for generations to come."