Archivist of the U.S. Creates Holdings Protection Program

In one of his first major acts since assuming the position, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero recently announced the creation of the NARA Holdings Protection Program and the appointment of a team to staff the initiative.

Eric Peterson was appointed as the team leader. Most recently, Mr. Peterson was the Special Security Officer for the Naval Information Operations Command in Suitland, MD, where he was responsible for loss prevention and classified programs. Mr. Peterson will lead a seven-member team composed of archives specialists, loss prevention specialists, and a trainer.

Over the past few years, NARA has been embarrassed by highly-publicized incidents of theft of its holdings. The most famous was the theft of documents from the National Archives by President Clinton’s former National Security Advisor Samuel R. (Sandy) Berger. Berger eventually pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Documents.

In March 2009, NARA discovered an external hard drive containing copies of Clinton Administration Executive Office of the President (EOP) data was missing from a NARA processing room. Despite the posting of a $50,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the hard drive, it remains missing.

The NARA Holdings Protection Program will serve as a nationwide resource developing and administering policies to enhance holdings protection of original records, regardless of their format to reduce the loss of and aid in the recovery of holdings while ensuring ready access for research by all stakeholders. The team will work with individual offices within the National Archives in Washington, DC, the regional archives and records centers, and the 13 Presidential libraries.

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