Politico’s Bryan Bender follows up on WhoWhatWhy’s scoop about still-secret JFK records with a resounding “maybe.”
Asked whether there might be any significant revelations about Kennedy’s unsolved murder, Martha Murphy, head of the Archives’ Special Access Branch, told POLITICO last year, “I’ll be honest. I am hesitant to say you’re not going to find out anything about the assassination.”
A federal appellate court has again rejected the arguments of the Central Intelligence Agency in a long-running lawsuit over ancient but still-sensitive CIA files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
James Lesar, veteran FOIA litigator, prevailed over the CIA attorneys for a third time.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel in Washington D.C. unanimously denied the CIA’s claim that there is no “public benefit” to the disclosure of long-suppressed records of a deceased CIA officer involved in the events that led to the death of the liberal president on November 22, 1963.
“Where that subject is the Kennedy assassination, an event with few rivals in national trauma and in the array of passionately held conflicting explanationsshowing potential public value is relatively easy,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Stephen Williams.
The records were forced into public view by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that I brought against the CIA in 2003. The records revealed for the first time that the officer received a Career Intelligence Medal in 1981, two years after stonewalling congressional investigators about what he knew of contacts in 1963 between accused assassin Lee Oswald and CIA-funded anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans.
In my previous article, I discussed how the FBI withheld its informant and asset files from the ARRB, even though the JFK Records Act mandates that all “assassination-related files” be provided to the American public. Here are some additional files that have been withheld by the FBI and other agencies.
Encoded files: I don’t think the “ten page encoded teletype” that Hosty mentions was sent from Dallas to Headquarters has ever been released to the public. (Hosty, Assignment: Oswald, p 36).
Many of the Cuban operational files in 1963 are heavily encoded. Although the FBI must have an unencoded version, it hasn’t been provided to the public.
Photo evidence: If the “LILYRIC files” that still exist would be provided, we would know if Oswald actually ever entered the Soviet consulate or whether it is some kind of cover story.
Audio evidence: Tapes from Mexico City taken by the LIFEAT audio tap operation from 1963 have still not been provided.
Transcripts: Also unprovided are most of the transcripts from the tapes made in Mexico City – we have small bits but not the entire transcripts by any means.
The CIA had full knowledge that a man calling himself Oswald was in Mexico City and had visited the consulates, yet there is no record of the NSA receiving copies of the transcripts or tapes recording Oswald’s visit.
NSA knows the 11/22 story – it lagged the friendship between terrorist Jean souetre and Dallas resident
Laurence Anderson when Jean Herve of French intelligence flagged it back in April 1963. (For those with good memories the late-70s discovery that Souetre was in Dallas during 11/22/63 and communicating with Anderson caused a minor sensation in the research community.)
Military intelligence files: Researcher Bill Kelly has prepared a formal request for numerous “119 (after-action) reports” regarding Oswald that were never provided to the ARRB.
FBI radio log for 11/22. A very important time clock, to my knowledge absent from the records. We have the Dallas police log after much fussing, why not the FBI?
White House Communications Agency tapes: These include not just the Air Force tapes that chronicle the return of JFK’s body to Washington, but the Secret Service tapes of 11/22 and much more. All of this is missing, and without a good explanation known to me.
134 and 137 informant reports: As mentioned in my previous article, the FBI refuses to turn these files over as a matter of policy.
For example, we don’t have the informant files for the Marina Oswald wiretap.
THE ARRB WARNED THAT THESE PROBLEMS HAD OCCURRED OR WOULD OCCUR
The ARRB wrote in its final report that it had problems obtaining various documents, as “the sunset enabled government agencies that were not inclined to cooperate to simply try to outlast the Board.”
The ARRB said NARA, the FBI, and the CIA should enter into a memorandum of understanding to ensure continued compliance with the JFK Act. To my knowledge, such an MOU has never been created.
“This week, 52 years ago, John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Memorial Album sold an astonishing 4 million copies in its first six days of availability, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. …It cost 99 cents a copy.”
From The Advocatee — Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a fun obituary of an unrepentant crook with a delicious name, Frenchy Brouillete.
Marcello’s name cropped up in various JFK assassination theories, and a House Select Committee report in 1979 mentioned “credible associations relating both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby to figures having a relationship, albeit tenuous, with Marcello’s crime family or organization.” In the Randazzo book published last year, Brouillette describes Ruby — who killed presumed Kennedy assassin Oswald — as “another Marcello family goombah.
On September 27 and 28, 1963, a man calling himself Lee Oswald visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet embassy in Mexico City. He was seeking visas to visit both countries. As Oswald was a former defector to the Soviet Union who was planning on traveling with his Russian-born wife, he immediately attracted the interest of CIA officers and FBI agents in the Mexican capital.
And so the FBI began searching for Oswald–while President Kennedy was still alive, a story that was withheld from the Warren Commission and is ignored in virtually every book about JFK’s assassination.
There is a ten year strategy to digitize all of the 120 billion pages of government documents in the National Archives by 2024. The scan plan refers to it as “our moon shot“.
Ambitious, but possible. The Archivist, David Ferriero, has to set priorities, and he will listen to public opinion about how to do so. As the most-used records in the Archives, the JFK records should get top priority. Read more