National Archives sued over sealed RFK records at JFK Library

Max Holland

The lawsuit was filed last week by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on behalf of author Max Holland. The records may well contain information related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

From the Boston Globe:

“The records, whose existence was first detailed by the Globe last year, cover sensitive intelligence operations overseen by [Robert] Kennedy during the presidency of his brother and Lyndon Johnson.”

“The contents of the requested boxes include subjects ranging from the Central Intelligence Agency to the minutes from meetings of the so-called ‘special group’ that RFK chaired, and his personal notes on Cuba.”

I asked Holland, via email, how he selected the documents he is seeking. He replied:

“I simply went through the finding aid as if everything were open, and identified anything that piqued my interest as possibly assassination-related and/or interest . . . as if I were in the JFKL [library] reading room doing research.”

I don’t agree with Holland on many aspects of the JFK story. I think the CIA’s publication of his work diminishes his credibility while usefully exposing the agency’s defensiveness on the subject. But I wholly support this lawsuit and commend him for filing it. These are important papers that by law belong in the public record. If it takes legal action by contrarian scholar and a conservative legal foundation to force the Kennedy family to obey the law, so be it.

The lawsuit: Holland v NARA


See also:

“JFK files ignored in Obama push to open records” (JFK Facts, May 14, 2013)

“Top 5 JFK files Brennan should make public” (JFK Facts, Feb. 5, 2013)





  1. Hans Trayne says:

    The outcome of this endeavor may put to rest some misconceptions that exist about JFK & RFK in regards to the CIA-mafia anti-Castro murder team (Operation 40 & ZR/Rifle). Some researchers credit Nixon & Dulles for the team’s creation while others credit JFK (Wikipedia does this in its brief on the Church Committee). Some report JFK was bankrolling the team (Judith Campbell Exner carrying cash from JFK to Sam Giancana)while others report JFK & RFK were trying to shut the team down. If it turns out JFK was secretly supporting the team, it would indicate his attempts to establish a communication between the US & Castro Cuban governments were not sincere.

    Max Holland took a lot of heat over his participation in “The Lost Bullet” because any attempt to start the assassination ambush before the clocks set by the WC or the HSCA automatically gives the SS agents more time to have responded, come to JFK’s aid & evaded the gunfire. 1963 Secret Service groupies have fought this idea tooth & nail but there is evidence in the butchered, edited witness home movies that support Max on this, regardless if the shot hit the Elm Street traffic light or not. Then Texas Governor Connally’s very 1st hospital interview on 27 November 1963 makes it quite clear the shooting began just after the parade car made the turn off Houston Street onto Elm Street. This complete filmed event is missing in it’s entirety from most witness amateur home movies (including the Zapruder film). The one home movie that does catch the turn is currently being studied globally for suspected censorship alterations.

    As far as the CIA endorsement of Holland, some have hope today’s Agency wants to come clean but doesn’t quite know how for fear of costly lawsuits (wrongful death & otherwise). Perhaps they will slip out some tidbits here & there? As Jim Morrison once said, ‘The future’s uncertain & the End is always near’.

  2. EconWatcher says:

    In Hans Trayne’s interesting comment, he mentions that “some have hope that today’s Agency wants to come clean.” Is there any factual basis for such a hope?

    It doesn’t make sense to me, from an institutional perspective. Then as now, the Agency would like to have as much discretion and as little supervision and restriction as possible. Any evidence that the Agency was complicit or negligent in the death of the president, even 50 years ago, would highlight the need for exacting oversight. I don’t see how anyone at the Agency would support that. What do they gave to gain?

    • Thomas says:


      Coming clean usually accompanies major regime change or revolution in a country and that isn’t happening here.

    • John Kirsch says:

      Nothing. Suggesting that the CIA wants to “come clean” (assuming it had a role in 11/22) is counterintuitive.

  3. John Kirsch says:

    One of the many mysteries about 11/22 is why Oswald (or whoever the shooter was) didn’t fire at JFK as his limo was negotiating the sharp turn onto Elm. The car was huge and there must have been a moment or 2 when it was virtually stationary. Whoever the shooter was, they would (presumably) have been at a high enough angle to be able to shoot over, not through, the windshield, providing a clear, unobstructed shot. In his new book, “The Third Bullet,” Stephen Hunter speculates that the shooter in the TSBD (who he says was Oswald) might have worried that shooting under those circumstances would give away his position, since the distance, according to Hunter, would only have been about 75 feet. But not firing then meant that Oswald had to wait until the motorcade turned all the way on to Elm and was headed away from him, albeit slowly. Another mysterious, or surprising thing, is that the fatal shot was, apparently, the last shot, taken when the target was at its greatest distance from Oswald. Hunter’s theory is that this final shot was made by a second, far more expert, shooter in the Dal-Tex Building. I found the scenario believable.

    • Thomas says:

      IF it was a lone shooter I think he wouldn’t shoot from the front because (like you said) it would give away his position and there would be return fire from the secret service.

      • John Kirsch says:

        That was basically what Hunter said — the Secret Service agents would have quickly determined where the firing had come from and, at that distance, they could have returned the fire and had a good chance of hitting Oswald, or whoever the shooter was. Either that or Oswald choked as he looked through the cheap scope on his mail-order rifle and saw the president coming directly at him, then recovered and managed to fire the fatal shot as the presidential limousine moved away from him on Elm. That makes sense to me too. True, the Marines considered Oswald a less-than-stellar marksman but he did know which end of a rifle to point at the target. Or maybe, as Hunter says, it was the second shooter who fired the fatal shot. If there was a conspiracy, is it plausible to think that the mastermind, whoever that was, would have trusted Oswald to fire the fatal shot?

  4. Hans Trayne says:

    Interesting comments from all. About the Agency ‘coming clean’, some people have told me they feel this is slowly being accomplished through the likes of E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession & those claiming to have seen the “other” Zapruder film. Nothing directly from any active Agency operative but thru disclosures by ‘non-connectives’.

    Those of us that spend time analyzing the spectator ambush films for visual indications of deceptions all feel that whoever made the alterations knows what was changed in the films & photos & why. It wasn’t one person that accomplished all that work. Since so many feel LBJ & Hoover orchestrated JFK’s murder the easiest way for the Agency to ‘come clean’ is to feed the suspicions of those who feel the Agency was not involved in the ambush of President Kennedy.

    For example, When Max Holland’s endeavors in “The Lost Bullet” were initially discussed on the Internet an underlying fact that gets overlooked in the HSCA & WC clocks of the ambush becomes evident: pushing the beginning of the ambush back to JFK’s car sandwiched in between the reflecting pool & the front doorway of the TSBD gives a 6th floor shooter (and a Dal-Tex shooter) an opportunity to take out both the Pre4sident & Vice President with 2 quick shots (they were both mere yards apart). LBJ is forgotten completely in the attack scenarios originally conceived by the WC and revised (debunked) by the HSCA. max Holland brought him back into focus with ‘The Lost Bullet’ & the question of why LBJ wasn’t a gunshot victim was staring us all in the face. What dedicated terrorist would let an opportunity to hurt the US slide by? This upset a good many LBJ-Hoover-WC groupies. Some are still complaining about it to this very day.

    I truly hope all the agencies that have been under suspicion for decades release what they have to the public (unaltered documents, films, photos, audio etc.)& let the chips fall where they may. I realize this is probably never going to happen but I do have hopes. When babushka lady’s film and the scenes cut out of all the spectator films are released as “garage sale/flea market” discoveries I, and others, will view it as an Agency quietly “coming clean” without disturbing its foundation. Why would anyone want to carry the burden of sins committed by predecessors no long living?

    Would such disclosures affect black operations? One thing a global public shares in common is a sad state of helplessness to prevent black operations & seek justice for its victims.

  5. Bob Truitt says:

    If Lee Oswald shot JFK while facing him (prior to or at the turn) wouldn’t that be contrary to WC & HSCA folks who say LHO wanted to be caught? That LHO left instructions for his wife for WHEN he got caught not IF he got caught? That LHO was just a little, skinny, Marxist who passed out pro-Cuba literature and this deed would allow him to take down a strong American President?
    How would those WC folks have warmed to the likes of Allen Dulles and friends to be on a jury for circumstanceal evidence for their personal case. And of course, the Dallas City, Dallas County, & FBI didn’t obtain evidence like they were going to a trial some day. The fix was in. Everyone knows it even those who say the opposite. It’s called denial. Oswald even hired that one Hispanic man in New Orleans to help him pass out literature; like he could afford that.

  6. Bob Truitt says:

    Sorry, a little bit more. Secret Service return fire? If LHO was a that good a shot he would have been able to pick off (murder) 3 or 4 of those SS men standing/sitting still in that car. I think Hunter needs to rethink some things. PS. John Kirsch, one thought about your comment if I may… if LHO “choked” when he saw the President face to face and he couldn’t fire the weapon, then the stress response had been activated and I doubt if he could have even held a weapon let alone fire one. But your thoughts have been right on!

    • John Kirsch says:

      actually i’ve just been passing on what hunter said in his book, or at least what i gathered from what he said. as far as the notion of oswald “choking” as the presidential limo came right at him — it’s just speculation on my part but that doesn’t seem implausible to me. it’s one thing to think about shooting the president. (if oswald did.) it’s another thing to actually do it, to see the president coming right at you in his limo, with all his guards and the other cars in the limo. if oswald was sitting there with his rifle aimed at the motorcade, it must have been an overwhelming moment for him. as far as the stress response you mention, you may well be correct. on the other hand, it also seems plausible to me that oswald (if you accept him as the shooter for the sake of argument)realized he was letting his moment of “glory” slip away and started firing, almost in a panicked way, as the presidential limo crept away from him down elm. none of what i’ve said means that i believe oswald fired the fatal shot. i’m just doing a “what if,” based largely on hunter’s book, which i recommend.

    • John Kirsch says:

      In my prvs post, this sentence “it’s another thing to actually do it, to see the president coming right at you in his limo, with all his guards and the other cars in the limo.” should, obviously, end with the word “motorcade.” Also, if there was a conspiracy, it’s hard to believe that whoever was in charge would have trusted Oswald to get the job done.

      • John Kirsch says:

        If Oswald (assuming, again, that he was the shooter in the TSBD) intentionally waited until the president’s limo was headed away from him down Elm, that suggests that Oswald wanted to make his position less clear than it would have been if he had fired at JFK as the motorcade came directly at Oswald down Houston Street. His use of a rifle (unique in the annals of U.S. presidential assassinations) also suggests that he wanted to fire from a place of relative concealment. And that in turn suggests that he wanted to be able to get away. And indeed he left the building as soon as he could. But his actions after that point are puzzling. He must have known that he was about to become the most hunted man in the world, as Stephen Hunter says in his new book. Yet Oswald didn’t try to flee the city, to put as much distance as he could between himself and the scene of the crime. To me, the actions of the person who fired the shots don’t jibe with the actions of the person who fled the scene. Which leads me to suspect that Oswald did not act alone. His knowledge of that fact, gained perhaps at the last minute, helps explain his otherwise inexplicable decision to return to his rooming house, a place where he must have known the police could find him. Maybe Oswald had some semblance of an escape plan when he arrived for work that morning, then frantically made his way to the rooming house to get his gun when he realized that he had been set up.

  7. Jay says:

    Nobody saying Oswald did not shot at JFK but the fatal bullet came from the front right side of limo. The ultimate proof is that part of JFK skull were recuperate by Jackie on the trunk of the car and carried by Jackie at the hospital . Now M.Holland try to contredic that !!!???

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