ROCKVILLE, Md. – Law enforcement officials won’t say what materials were taken from the home of a retired National Archives employee that was searched earlier this week.
The U.S. Marshals Service searched Leslie Waffen’s Rockville home for eight hours and left with two truckloads of material.
Inspector General for the National Archives and Records Administrations Paul Brachfeld says investigators and U.S. Marshals executed a sealed warrant at the home, so he cannot discuss the case.
Waffen worked at the Archives for 40 years, and was in charge of the Archives’ extensive audio and film collections.
Waffen has not been arrested nor charged with any crime.
Sources familiar with his work say Waffen – who retired in June – was extremely knowledgeable, and was seen as ‘the man to go to’ for his expertise on the Archives’ audio collections.
His wife, Nan Allendorf Waffen, is not an Archives staffer, but has a background in film and has worked on feature films and documentaries as a film researcher.
While Brachfeld says he cannot talk about ongoing investigations, he is eager to talk about the problem of theft from the Archives collections.
NARA even has a page dedicated to detailing missing items and urges the public to keep their eyes open.
People who steal historic documents and materials are often motivated by greed, and will try to sell the items, even putting them up for sale on the Internet on websites like eBay.
As the Inspector General, Brachfeld has been pushing for additional security at the Archives. A recent GAO report criticized a number of federal agencies, including the Archives, for weaknesses in security systems.
A recent GAO report criticized a number of federal agencies, including the Archives, for weaknesses in security systems. One source familiar with operations at the Archives facilities in the region says security remains a problem: Workers are not routinely searched when leaving as they are at other agencies.
Brachfeld has been pushing for tighter controls of documents.
His office investigated the high profile case of missing 9/11 documents when former White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger admitted to sneaking the documents out of the Archives and destroying them in 2003. Berger eventually entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge and paid a fine.
When he delivers speeches, Brachfeld often tells the audience, “You are now my sentinels, you can help recover missing documents.”
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Brittany TurnerProject Assistant”To Preserve and Protect: Security Solutions for New York’s Historical Records” NYS ArchivesCEC, Room 9D58Albany, NY 12230 (PH) 518-473-0130(FX) 518-486-1647(CELL) 916-384-6735 www.archives.nysed.govwww.nyshrab.org/about/about_projects_security.shtml