One of the most important documents uncovered by my lawsuit Morley v. CIA is this photograph showing the previously unknown fact that CIA officer George Joannides received a medal after stonewalling JFK investigators about his assassination-related actions in 1963 and 1978.
I’ll talking about this photographs in oral arguments before a federal appellate court in Washington on March 19.
Along with the photo, the CIA was forced to disclose the citation on the Career Intelligence Medal, which commended Joannides for his performance in “diverse assignments of increasing responsibility at Headquarters, the domestic field, and overseas.”
Joannides’ assignment to Miami in 1962-64 was his only assignment in the domestic assignment. His most significant assignment at CIA headquarters was to serve as liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.
In short, Joannides received the Career Intelligence Medal, at least in part, for his actions as they related to the JFK assassination story.
Here is what is known about what he did.
‘…in the domestic field”
Joannides served undercover in Miami in 1962-64 as the chief of Psychological Warfare operations. His primary responsibility in 1963 was running the AMSPELL program, which funded the anti-Castro Cuban Student Directorate, a popular anti-Castro group.
In the summer of 1963 his agents in the AMSPELL had repeated contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald. They publicized and denounced Oswald’s pro-Castro activities, and even called for a congressional investigation of him. After JFK was killed, the AMSPELL assets publicized these contacts and published the first JFK conspiracy theory, claiming that Oswald and Castro were “the presumed assassins.”
In 1978, Joannides failed to tell the House Select Committee on Assassination about his role in running the AMSPELL program, an omission which HSCA counsel Robert Blakey constituted “obstruction of Congress,” a felony.
In a detailed sworn affidavit former HSCA investigator Dan Hardway explained how Joannides obstructed Congress’s investigation in 1978.
What did the CIA find praiseworthy about his performance?
No one outside the CIA is allowed to know because a five-page memo explaining why Joannides was given the medal remains classified “at the CONFIDENTIAL level in the interest of national defense and foreign policy.”
(Incidentally, the facts stated in this post are not disputed, even by die-hard defenders of the official theory of a lone gunman such as CIA historian David Robarge, CIA-endorsed scholar Max Holland, or dismissed Marquette University professor John McAdams. )