A Justice Department official denied in a federal court filing last month that undercover officer George Joannides received a CIA medal for deceptive actions related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 49 years ago but the claim cannot be verified.
Retired CIA officer George Joannides (left) received the Career Intelligence Medal from deputy CIA director Bobby Ray Inman on July 15, 1981. (Photo credit: CIA)
“The CIA has consistently challenged the notion that a career award could be seen as explicit or tacit approval of any one assignment in Joannides’s 30-year career,” asserted Ronald Machen, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, in a brief filed on Nov. 21 in the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Machen’s brief is the government’s latest legal salvo in my decade-old (today) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit over JFK assassination records. At issue are ancient but still-sensitive U.S. government documents related to the murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
In recent years, the CIA has grudgingly acknowledged that Joannides served as the Miami-based handler of a Cuban exile group whose members who had a series of encounters with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald three months before JFK was killed.
The agency also acknowledges that Joannides served as the CIA’s principal coordinator with the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978 but did not disclose his role in the events of 1963 to investigators.
“That concealment has fueled suspicion that Mr. Joannides’s real assignment was to limit what the House committee could learn about C.I.A. activities,” wrote reporter Scott Shane of the New York Times in 2009. Read more
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.
The answer: certain employees of the U.S. government’s Central Intelligence Agency, otherwise known as the CIA.
It is not a theory that the CIA is still keeping secrets about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
It is a documented fact.
Here is what is known about seven key JFK files — containing more than 3,000 pages of material — that the CIA is keeping out of public view on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death.
There is a body of documents that the CIA is still protecting, which should be released. Relying on inaccurate representations made by the CIA in the mid-1990s, the Review Board decided that records related to a deceased CIA agent named George Joannides were not relevant to the assassination. Subsequent work by researchers, using other records that were released by the board, demonstrates that these records should be made public.
Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Asssasination Records Review Board (ARRB) and Thomas Samoluk, former deputy director of the ARRB.
As Jacob Hornberger notes in his blog for The Future of Freedom Foundation, this very basic question about the assassination of President Kennedy cannot be answered in 2013 — thanks to the Agency’s obfuscations, based on far-fetched claims of “national security.”
Throughout 2013, I reported on the latest developments in Morley v. CIA, my long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the JFK files of deceased CIA operative George Joannides,
Picked up by dozens of news organizations, the Joannides story was one of three 2013 journalistic scoops from JFK Facts that made national news.
In my coverage I explained why I filed the lawsuit, recounted the Feb. 25 hearing before U.S. Court of Appeals, and reported on the appellate court’s favorable ruling in June. In November, I revealed that the CIAacknowledged for the first time in a court filing that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans while serving as the chief of the psychological warfare branch of the CIA’s MIami station in 1963-64.
How and why I started investigating the JFK assassination story and what I learned along the way:
“The issue isn’t conspiracy. Its transparency.”
The most-read stories on JFK Facts for the week of Dec. 12-19 were:
Judge Richard Leon, who yesterday challenged the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program, has been hearing my FOIA lawsuit, Morley v. CIA, for the last ten years.
The Times says Judge Leon has a record of wrestling with the government — but not so much when it comes to secrecy claims for ancient JFK assassination records held by the CIA.
Last week, Joseph Lazzaro of International Business Times followed up on a JFK Facts story with some historical perspective.
The most-read stories on JFK Facts for the week of Nov. 28-Dec.5 were:
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