Scott Armstrong is an investigative journalist and the executive director of the Information Trust, which facilitates freedom of expression in the US and abroad, improves the quality of public empiricism, increases accountability in government through access to information and reforming abuses of government secrecy. He is presently working on an examination of government data mining technology used by intelligence contractors investigating private citizens. He also directs a project using epidemiological forensics to control medical costs.
Armstrong has been active in the news media response to America’s first Official Secrets Act, passed in October 2000, which was vetoed by President Clinton in November 2000 and a second Congressional effort to to enact an Official Secrets Act in 2001. Armstrong and former CIA General Counsel Jeffrey Smith co-chaired the Dialogue between the Media and the Intelligence Community on Unauthorized Disclosures, in which senior media and national security officials meet to mitigate damage from leaked information without resorting to legislation or to executive branch policies impinging on the 1st Amendment. Armstrong is a consultant to the Aspen Institute on the continuation of “The Dialogue.” Armstrong has collaborated with a national news media organizations and their legal counsel on the accuracy of reporting, access to national security information and on the verification and protection of confidential source information.
Armstrong was a staff writer for The Washington Post, the author or editor of several books on national security policy issues and the co-author with Bob Woodward of The Brethren, a narrative account of the Supreme Court from 1969 through 1976. He assisted Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward as a researcher/writer on The Final Days. As a senior investigator for the Senate Watergate Committee, his 1973 interview of Alexander Butterfield revealed the Nixon taping system. Armstrong is working on a book on American national security policy in the Persian Gulf.
Armstrong’s reporting with Bill Moyers and Sherry Jones on a PBS Frontline special “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” on the Iran/contra affair won on an Emmy and a DuPont Silver Baton. Armstrong’s reporting and commentator has appeared on ABC News, CBS News, CNN and National Public Radio as well as in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Armstrong founded the National Security Archive, a private, non-profit research institute that provides comprehensive government documentation to journalists, scholars, congressional staffs, present and former public officials, other public interest organizations and the public. He has prosecuted numerous public interest lawsuits, including Armstrong v. Bush, Armstrong v. Reagan, and Armstrong v. Clinton, enjoining the destruction of White House and NSC emails and The Nation v. the Department of Defense which sought broader access for reporters during Gulf war military operations. Armstrong was an expert witness in numerous libel cases and on the impact of news media coverage on venue decisions in five federal cases, including the Oklahoma bombing trial. Armstrong was the first director of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a whistleblower organization protecting employees reporting fraud under the False Claims Act.
Armstrong helped organize four conferences reconstructing the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis with the Kennedy School at Harvard and the Watson Center at Brown,, in which Fidel Castro, Andre Gromyko, Anatoly Dobrynin, the Kennedy Executive Committee (Ex-Comm) of the NSC and ranking Soviet and Cuban officials participated.
At American University, he convened an international conference on Free Expression and the Global Media which brought Salman Rushdie to the US for the first time after a death fatwa. He has taught journalism courses for editors and senior correspondents from Belgium, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, India, Ireland, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore South Africa, various states of the former Soviet Union, Sweden, the UAE and the UK.
In 1999, Armstrong organized baseball diplomacy games between the Cuban National team and the Baltimore Orioles in Havana and Baltimore. He has facilitated free expression exchanges for Cuban writers and journalists.
He earned a BA (Philosophy cum Laude) from Yale University and spent a year at Harvard Law School. Armstrong is happily married to Barbara J. Guss, an Early Childhood Intervention specialist. They have 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.