Tag Archive for ARRB

CIA’s ‘inaccurate representations’ blocked release of key JFK files, investigators say

John Tunheim

Federal judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Boad

[Reposted from December 2013, this news report is relevant to the oral arguments in Morley v. CIA  that will be heard in Washington federal court on March 19, 2018.]

Two members of an independent civilian review panel that oversaw the release of the government’s JFK assassination files say the CIA misled them about the records of deceased undercover officer George Joannides.

In a piece for the Boston Herald, Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) and Thomas Samoluk, former deputy director of the ARRB, said this: Read more

My JFK debate with CIA historian David Robarge

In a November 2017 post for the Washington Decoded blog, the chief historian of the CIA, David Robarge, joined the discussion of the causes of the assassination with JFK researchers.

As I said in my first comment on Robarge’s review of The Ghost, I take his criticism as a compliment. Clearly, my book has struck a nerve with the CIA and those who defend the widely disbelieved theory that a lone gunman killed President Kennedy for reasons known only to himself.

That nerve is the still-unexplained role of Angleton, the legendary counterintelligence chief, in the events leading up to the gunfire in Dealey Plaza.

In his review, Robarge asks

if Angleton was using Oswald for the limited purpose of helping him conduct the molehunt, then why blame him for an ‘epic’ counterintelligence failure by not stopping Oswald?

Let me explain by responding to Robarge’s comments on  four of the most important findings in The Ghost.

1) Angleton and JFK’s assassination

James Angleton

James Angleton testifies

Robarge says that I claim “Angleton and the CI Staff supposedly were, or should have been, preoccupied with Oswald.” He says, “Morley denies that he ever wrote that, but then how can he declare that Angleton’s “pre-assassination interest in Oswald” “indicates his “culpability in the wrongful death of President Kennedy?”

Here’s how. Robarge and I agree that Angleton opened an Office of Security file on Oswald in November 1959, an unusual procedure intended to assist Angleton in the mole hunt. The CIA did not share Angleton’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald with the Warren Commission, the Rockefeller Commission, the Church Committee, or the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

Why this material evidence was withheld from investigators is not hard to guess. To admit that senior CIA officers had been following the suspected assassin for four years would have opened the agency up to legimitate questions and investigation. Angleton and others might well have have lost their jobs. So the CIA fed a lie to the Warren Commission–we didn’t know much about Oswald–and the story stayed buried for decades. When the truth could be denied not longer, it was downplayed.

In a 2013 article for a CIA journal, Robarge acknowledged that the CIA had not informed the Warren Commission about its plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro and described this deception as a “benign cover-up.”

I’m not alone in wondering how any CIA coverup in the murder of a sitting president could qualify as “benign,” but I agree with Robarge that it was a cover-up.

The CIA’s failure to disclose Angleton’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald also qualifies a cover-up, which Robarge also seems to view as benign. I’m not so sanguine.

To summarize what I wrote in The Ghost:

Every piece of paper about Lee Harvey Oswald that came into the CIA between 1959 and 1963 was routed into a file controlled by Birch O’Neal, chief of the mole-hunting Special Investigations Group.

As the ex-Marine made his way from Moscow to Minsk to Fort Worth to New Orleans to Mexico City to Dallas, Angleton’s mole hunters in the SIG were informed at each step of the way. And, to repeat a point that Robarge does not care or dare to dispute, as of November 15, 1963, Angleton knew Oswald was in Dallas.

(See my recent Daily Beast piece “CIA Spyhunters Knew Oswald Was in Dallas.“)

And when Oswald was arrested for killing JFK a week later, the CIA concealed the nature of Angleton’s interest–the mole hunts–from the FBI and the Warren Commission.

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The return of JFK Facts podcast

After a long hiatus, the JFK Facts podcast has returned!  This week Alan and I talk about the important keynote speech of Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review, at the CAPA conference in Washington last month. Tunheim talked about the JFK issues of 2017


We also talked about: Read more

Judge Tunheim says JFK files were ‘probably unlawfully withheld’ by CIA

Judge Tunheim

Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board.

At a Washington press conference Thursday, Judge John Tunheim called for the release of all the government’s files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy later this year.

Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Incredibly enough, thousands of pages of government files related to his murder remain secret, 54 years later.

“It’s time to release them all,” Tunheim said. “There’s no real reason to protect this information.”

Some 3,500 JFK documents remain secret, according to the National Archives data base,

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What the JFK review board recommended for 2017

Between 1994 and 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reviewed and declassified millions of pages of JFK records, contributing immensely to the history of the JFK’s murder, his presidency, and the Cold War.

The board’s final report also laid down the law  to any government agency that wants to continue withholding JFK documents past October 26, 2017. Read more

Top CIA photoanalyst talks about the Zapruder film

From Shane O’Sullivan, director of the excellent documentary, Killing Oswald,

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Comment of the week

Steve Stirlen – February 29


There is a HUGE problem for the LN side with Mr. Gunn and his comments about the WC failing to do its job and it is now TOO late to know the truth. Allow me to help. Read more

Dale Myers on the state of the JFK case

By setting up a series of straw men, adopting a supercilious tone, and ignoring new evidence, Dale Myers manages to unpleasantly restate the official theory of a lone gunman in a way that makes it less convincing than ever.

Fifty-two long years, and still nothing to exonerate Oswald or uncover the so-called “true conspirators.”

Source: JFK Files: Fifty-two years of coming to terms with Oswald

Myers is correct on one point: there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that any specific named individual conspired to kill President Kennedy. This factual statement also applies to Lee Oswald.

Enforce the JFK Records Act: Collect the foreign records about the assassination

Kerry In Cuba

Secretary of State John Kerry opens the U.S. Embassy in Havana on August 14, 2015.

The 1999 Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board singled out President Clinton’s State Department of a lack of cooperation asserting it “obviously did not consider pursuit of foreign records about the Kennedy assassination to be a priority,“and “more of a hindrance than help“.

David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS), has an ongoing duty to ensure that all assassination records are obtained before the provisions of the JFK Act fully expire.  Write his blog and tell him the State Department needs to come into compliance with the law. Read more

CIA may still have photos of Oswald in Mexico City

One mystery of JFK assassination story is why accused assassin Lee Oswald was not photographed when he visited the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Mexico City two months before President Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

Mexico City mystery man

The CIA thought he was Lee H. Oswald.

The CIA had three photographic surveillance bases to take pictures of visitors to the Embassy. Oswald visited the Embassy at least twice in an unsuccessful effort to obtain a visa. But the CIA says no photograph of Oswald was taken.

The photo to the right, which CIA personnel in Mexico City mistakenly linked to Oswald, depicted a man who was never conclusively identified.

In 1978 investigators from the House Select Committee on Assassinations Read more

A creative legal approach to clarifying the JFK story

Civl rights attorney Bill Simpich

A new legal approach to cracking the JFK assassination puzzle from civl rights attorney William Simplich.

“He considers the assassination cases to be a poorly understood area of civil rights violations. To preserve cold cases, he is preparing a proposed JFK Preservation of Evidence Act that would be applicable in both of these areas of the law and administered by a citizen panel similar to the ARRB.”

via JFK Lancer.

What Newsweek avoids: Fifty plus one: the unfinished JFK story

On the 51st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy we can see how Americans revisit this traumatic event, a political wound with resulting cultural scars, and we find an unfiinished story, a wound unhealed.

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What was Operation Northwoods? Was it connected to JFK’s assassination?

Operation Northwoods was a Pentagon plan to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1963 through the use of deception operations. First disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1997, the  Northwoods plans are among the most significant new JFK documents to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK” movie.

Operation Northwoods envisioned U.S. intelligence operatives staging violent attacks on U.S. targets  and arranging for the blame for the mayhem to fall on Fidel Castro and his communist government. The idea, wrote one planner, was to creates a “justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba,” by orchestrating a crime that placed the U.S. government “in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government” in Cuba.

These plans included the use of violence on American soil against American citizens.

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ARRB chairman says JFK investigation riddled with ‘too many holes’

John R. Tunheim, the federal judge in Minnesota who served from 1994 to 1998 as the chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), says in a television program to be aired this month that while the Warren Commission “did a thorough job,” the investigation of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 was “somewhat primitive” and riddled with “too many holes.”

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Former JFK investigator: Don’t hold your breath for 2017

As general counsel for the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the mid-1990s, Jeremy Gunn had unparalleled access to the government’s records on the JFK assassination. Last year he gave an interesting talk about “Seeking the Truth in the Kennedy Assassination” at the Center for Global Humanities at the University of New England in Portland, Maine.

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