Who was George Joannides and why is his story important?

Joannides, now deceased, was an undercover CIA officer, whose actions provides strong evidence that certain Agency personnel manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald for propaganda purposes before and after President Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

George Joannides, chief of CIA covert operations in Miami in 1963, also had a residence in New Orleans.

Declassified CIA records show that Joannides obstructed two official JFK investigations by not disclosing what he knew about contacts between his Cuban agents and Kennedy’s accused killer. Most records of his activities in the summer of 1963 are still classified.

Conspiratorial speculation aside, his story demonstrates the CIA is capable of keeping JFK assassination secrets, even 50 years later.
There is no evidence Joannides was involved in a plot to kill the president. He was not a “rogue officer.” As recipient of the agency’s Career Intelligence Medal, he retired from the CIA in 1981 with the esteem of colleagues, family, and friends. Whatever he did in 1963, he did at the behest of his superiors.
His story continues to emerge. In a federal court filing earlier this month, the CIA acknowledged for the first time that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans during his tenure running secret anti-Castro operations in Miami 1962-64. Oswald lived in New Orleans from April to September 1963.
To this day, the CIA will not disclose the nature or purpose of Joannides’s residence in New Orleans — for reasons of “national security.”
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Not a theory: The George Joannides story

21 comments

  1. SEB says:

    http://fff.org/2013/11/15/why-wont-the-cia-release-the-joannides-files/
    Jacob Hornberger does good work at FFF, as you have posted in the past. This is an important story.

  2. Mark Groubert says:

    Go get ‘em, Morley!

  3. George Simmons says:

    For me, George Joannides and the events surrounding him are a important issue in the JFK assassination story because it shows a level of deceit by the CIA which cannot simply be explained away by national security.
    That deceit started before the assassination and continues today. It appears to centre around Oswalds liasons with the DRE.
    It started with the Oct 10 cable which omitted Oswalds fracas with the DRE.
    This deceit continued with the failure of the CIA to reveal to the WC or HSCA their sponsorship of the DRE.
    The deceit reaches new levels when the CIA case offcer for the DRE, George Joannides, is made CIA liason to the HSCA without disclosing his role in 1963 to them. So we have the CIA intentionally misleading an official investigation into the murder of the president.
    We can’t be sure what all this means because the CIA are still illegally witholding certain files. But one possible reason could be that Oswalds liasons with the DRE were part of a CIA covert operation. Did Oswald know he was part of this operation, and what was its purpose?
    For me, getting to the bottom of what George Joannides was doing in 1963 could lead us to the truth regarding the assassination.

    • John Kirsch says:

      Your list of the CIA’s record of deceit on 11/22 reminds me of the CIA’s record of interfering with the internal affairs of other countries, to the point of trying to assassinate foreign leaders. Yet the defenders of the CIA say that the agency would never be involved in an assassination attempt against a sitting U.S. president because that would be …. illegal.

  4. joe scrote says:

    To Quote James Angleton

    “You know how I got to be in charge of counterintelligence? I agreed not to polygraph or require detailed background checks on Allen Dulles and 60 of his closest friends… They were afraid that their own business dealings with Hitler’s pals would come out. They were too arrogant to believe that the Russians would discover it all. . . . You know, the CIA got tens of thousands of brave people killed. . . We played with lives as if we owned them. We gave false hope. We – I – so misjudged what happened.”

    I asked the dying man(Angleton) how it all went so wrong.

    With no emotion in his voice, but with his hand trembling, Angleton replied: “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other. Outside of their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and I loved being in it… Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Carmel Offie, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.” Angleton slowly sipped his tea and then said, “I guess I will see them there soon

    Joseph Trento 1985 interview with James Angleton

    • Luis Juarez says:

      All those old guys were complete wackos! Ted Shackley had Cleveland Cram go through all the CI files after wacko Angleton was kicked out to see what the hell he was doing from his hole. Between Helms and Hoover I don’t know who was the bigger fraud!

    • Photon says:

      How about any proof that Joannides had even heard of Lee Oswald before Nov. 22, 1963. Not speculation but cold ,hard physical evidence.

      • Jason L. says:

        Oswald had clear links to Bringuier, and since Joannides was linked to DRE, I’d say this is pretty good evidence that Joannides was aware of Oswald (or should have been, if he was doing his job competently, which by all accounts, he was). You’re being disingenuous if you think this is pure speculation.

        • Photon says:

          Bringuier never met Joannides nor received a nickel from him.
          Prove me wrong and post some real evidence that Joannides had any idea what the DRE chapter in New Orleans was doing or even cared.

          • Jason L. says:

            He was the CIA case officer for DRE and had a residence in New Orleans during the time Oswald was there. Bringuier publicly called for a government investigation of Oswald during this period. It’s pretty disingenuous to demand that people on this board post evidence about Joannides’ activities in New Orleans, considering the CIA is withholding the info! What we know right now is certainly intriguing.

          • Mitch says:

            Didn’t you see Mr. Morley’s post that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans at the time that he was the case officer to the DRE? How could he not care what people he managed were up to? Have you ever managed an organization?

            How could you categorically state that Bringuier never met or took money from Joannides? It isn’t important, I just don’t know how you could demonstrate such certainty. And I thought you were interested in clear evidence and sound arguments…

  5. Alexander Joannides says:

    Uncle George was a mysterious character, I will ask his kids about doing an interview with Mr. Morley

    • leslie sharp says:

      If this is a legitimate comment, I applaud and encourage your efforts. Growing up in the midst of secrets, I can empathize with the challenges confronting your cousins. I wish you and your family much courage.

  6. paulc says:

    Wasn’t Joannides also a liason for the CIA to the HSCA? I think this factoid should accompany most stories about Joannides, since it also shows how and why the CIA could might have maintained an-ongoing ability to disrupt official investigations.

    • leslie sharp says:

      A significant line of questioning would include who recruited Joannides when he was working at the Greek Embassy in their information division? It was during a time that Frank Wisner of the OPC and Al ULmer had served back to back stints as Chief of Station in Athens.

  7. Brad Milch says:

    Jeff, as I follow your progress on the release of the Joannides records I believe the Joannides New Orleans residence factors in heavily in why the CIA won’t release the records. Something about the residence connects to Lee Oswald during a time frame when Lee Oswald connects to Guy Bannister, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw & Operation Mongoose. If Joannides was operating a safehouse for Operation 40/ZR-RIFLE operatives alone the CIA would release it because the public knows about those operations already. Joannides residence & purpose is too hot to handle IMO.

    • Photon says:

      But under oath he denied it.

      • Gerry Hemming Jr. says:

        Under oath let’s see who’s changed stories over the years. Anne Goodpasture, David Phillips, E Howard Hunt, Richard Helms so what is your point in that statement. The CIA sending a potential witness in as a liason.

      • Jason L. says:

        Another CIA agent confirmed that Phillips had used the Bishop alias, however. Other people interviewed suggested that Bishop and Phillips weren’t the same person, but that Bishop worked for the CIA.

        So even if Bishop is not Phillips, it seems that Bishop was probably associated with the CIA, so his being spotted with Oswald is still of relevance, even if Bishop is not Phillips.

        One thing is pretty clear when you read the HSCA Veciana – Bishop materials: lots of people affiliated with the CIA lied to the investigators.

      • PBR says:

        Meaningless. Richard Helms also denied key facts under oath. Unfortunately for Helms, and fortunately for record, when he was subsequently exposed as a liar he was charged with perjury. Here was the chief of the government agency that was most closely linked to anti-Castro operations in the 1960s. Given this precedent, to put store in Vecciana’s denial would seem to be a tad foolhardy.

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