Throughout 2013, I reported on the latest developments in Morley v. CIA, my long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the JFK files of deceased CIA operative George Joannides,
Picked up by dozens of news organizations, the Joannides story was one of three 2013 journalistic scoops from JFK Facts that made national news.
In my coverage I explained why I filed the lawsuit, recounted the Feb. 25 hearing before U.S. Court of Appeals, and reported on the appellate court’s favorable ruling in June. In November, I revealed that the CIAacknowledged for the first time in a court filing that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans while serving as the chief of the psychological warfare branch of the CIA’s MIami station in 1963-64.
The last disclosure implicated Joannides ever more deeply in the JFK story
In the summer of 1963, his assets among anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans had repeated contact with Lee Oswald, later accused of killing JFK, a fact the Warren Commission never learned. Fifteen years later, Joannides thwarted congressional investigators who wanted to know more about Oswald and the anti-Castro Cubans. In 1981, he received a medal for his career service to the Agency. He died in 1990.
Here’a how the story spread in the mainstream media:
Associated Press reporter David Porter followed up on the story and interviewed me extensively for his August 17 story, “Five Decades Later, Some JFK Files Still Seated.”
From the story:
“This is not about conspiracy, this is about transparency,” said Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter and author embroiled in a decade-long lawsuit against the CIA, seeking release of the closed documents. “I think the CIA should obey the law. I don’t think most people think that’s a crazy idea.”
Porter’s story appeared in at least thirty news sites in the United, States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including the Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and England’s Daily Mail. At least eight of the sites that ran the story also published a photograph, obtained under court order, which showed Joannides receiving a CIA medal in 1981.
On Nov. 21, Judge John Tunheim and Thomas Samoluk, formerly of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), wrote in the Boston Herald that the CIA’s “inaccurate representations” had prevented the ARRB from reviewing and releasing the Joannides files.
Fox News picked up the story. On Nov. 22, Fox’s Washington correspondent James Rosen asked “What’s in the CIA’s secret JFK files?” and answered that question by focusing on the Joannides story.
Rosen quoted Larry Sabato, University of Virginia professor and a JFK author about the significance of the Joannides files.
“The fact that they [the CIA] appointed George Joannides to be the liaison between the CIA and the House Select Committee on Assassinations tells me that they consciously were determined to withhold information from this second major investigation of the Kennedy assassination,” Sabato told Fox News this week.
On Nov. 25, Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe interviewed Judge Tunheim who said that ‘the CIA’s treachery” had obstructed the ARRB’s ability to declassify the Joannides files.
“I think they should release them now because they clearly have become relevant to the assassination,” Tunheim told the Globe.
This news coverage has established the Joannides files as some of the importance JFK assassination records that the government has not yet made public.
My attorney Jim Lesar incorporated these news stories into a November court filing to support his argument that the government is required to pay my court costs for withhold9ing material of ‘public benefit.”
Judge Richard Leon will rule on the court costs issue in coming months.
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