Here’s President Trump’s order on JFK files, otherwise known as Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies. Read more
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As a lot of researchers predicted, President Trump has failed to deliver on his tweet promise of October 26. “All JFK files released ahead of schedule,” he said back then.
From today’s National Archives press release about the JFK files, we learn the reality: thousands of JFK files are still secret and and their release is now way behind schedule–three years behind.
Trump six months ago.
JFK Files are released, long ahead of schedule!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2017
The President has determined that all information that remains withheld under section 5 must be reviewed again before October 26, 2021 to determine whether continued withholding from disclosure is necessary.
Of all the fascinating and weird things about the JFK assassination story, the veil of official secrecy that still surrounds the subject a half-century later is one of the most fascinating and weird. Read more
The CIA shadowed Martin Luther King during his stay at a Miami hotel in July 1966 with the help of a spy whose identity still remains a secret a half century later.
The revelation is found in a 48-page file on King, portions of which were made public late last year, along with thousands of JFK assassination files.
President Trump has ordered all federal agencies to release the rest of their JFK-related files by April 26, a directive which covers the agency’s King file as well.
Trump’s order, issued last October, exempts from disclosure only “the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living.” So if the CIA’s spy is deceased, his or her name is supposed to be made public this week.
“Surveillance was a joint effort of IDEN A [the spy] and local ODENVY [CIA’s code name for the FBI],” according to a cable from the chief of the agency’s south Florida station. The surveillance took place in July 1966 when King and two associates stayed at a Miami airport hotel.
While the FBI’s surveillance of King is notorious, much less is known about the CIA’s interest in the civil right leader. Such eavesdropping violated the agency’s charter barring operations on U.S. soil.
The cable describes the spy as a “cleared and witting contact,” meaning he or she had a working relationship with the agency at the time. Approximately five lines of text that identify the spy have been blanked out in the document released to the National Archives in November 2017.
The spy listened in on King’s conversations from an adjacent hotel room for six hours.
“References were made to the Florida Gubernatorial Race, a trip to Bimini [an island in the Bahamas] and several miscellaneous sex experiences,” the cable reported.
After King and associates checked out the next day, the CIA’s spy searched their rooms, according to the cable. The informant found a phone message in a trash can asking King to call Harry Wachtel, a New York lawyer who served as King’s legal counsel.
The CIA’s spy claimed, inaccurately, that Wachtel was “an identified member of the Communist Party.” In fact, the FBI only had a report that Wachtel once had been active in the National Lawyer Guild, a leftist organization that some charged was a communist influenced.
The spy also found an envelope bearing the name of an unmarried woman who supposedly stay in the hotel room.
It seems likely that the CIA spying on King’s private life and is hiding the results. Nine of the next ten pages in the King file are completely classified, along with the spy’s name.
The memo supports the idea that the CIA worked with the FBI to obtain defamatory information about the civil rights leader less than two years before he was slain in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
You can read the CIA’s partially declassified King file here.
Phil Shenon has a long piece in The Guardian excavating the sad story of Charles Thomas, a U.S. diplomat who investigated Lee Harvey Oswald’s actions in Mexico in the 1960s. Thomas was rebuffed by top CIA officials, including counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Thomas was denied an expected promotion and later committed suicide.
The story illuminates a central mystery of the JFK assassination story but not quite in the way than Shenon proposes.
Peter Dale Scott, author of Dallas ’63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House, is skeptical: Read more
I spoke with J. Pat Brown, executive editor of Muck Rock, the non-profit, collaborative investigative news site.