reply to post by shmuu
I've got a pile of declassified documents from CREST. Taking them is the idea of the exercise. The procedures at NARA are quiet entertaining. The
word "classified" has to be crossed out on every document you print BY YOURS TRULY. Oh, and pencil only. No pens allowed in NARA. Oh, don't bring
any paper to take notes. Let's not even mention a thumb drive.
So when you are done for the day, you take your papers to the librarian who verifies you did your crossing out of "classified", then the papers are
locked up in a document carrier of sorts. You take the carrier to a security desk which then unlocks it for you so you can take the papers out of the
building. So I guess the idea is nobody walks the halls with lose paper on them.
There are actually two levels of security. The first level is the usual magnetometer deal you've seen at every court house. On your first visit, once
past the first level of security you need to get a NARA photo ID and take a training course (death by Power Point). Once you have a NARA ID, you can
get past the 2nd level of security. At that point, nobody seems to be on your case, though I'm sure there are cameras following you. Not everyone in
NARA knows about CREST, so you really need to follow the instructions I posted. [Gp tp the 3rd floor, then the library, ask for CREST.]
Needless to say, someone else told me about this database, so basically I'm giving you the same info that was given to me, though the envelope deal
was something I wasn't told about.
Now the deal with CREST on the internet is you can at least search for the existence of the papers before taking your trip to College Park (MD), even
though you can't see the papers until you are on site.
College Park is a pleasant enough college town with of course no parking to be found anywhere. Some of the hotels in town share a bus that will take
you to NARA, though in spite of the NARA website warnings, I found plenty of parking at NARA. It's just in the town of College Park everything is
metered, and even then you are lucky to find a spot.
It's not a bad little geeky vacation. If you get bored with NARA, there is a DC Metro station in town, so you can visit all those DC museums.
I took a quick tour of NASA Godard visitors center while in town, but there isn't really much to see there.