Tag Archive for National Archives

The indispensable JFK source just got better

Check out the upgraded MaryFerrell.org. I didn’t think it could get better. But it has.

The site, created by Rex Bradford (co-founder of JFK Facts) has long been the indispensable source on the JFK assassination. With 1 million pages of JFK assassination records on line, the Mary Ferrell site exemplifies the reality that civil society, empowered by the Internet, is far far ahead of the government and the news media in promoting understanding of November 22. By contrast, the National Archives has a couple of hundred pages of JFK records online. Read more

National Archives puts the CIA on notice about JFK records

The National Archives responds to the wishes of the public.

That’s the good news from yesterday’s forum at the Archives building in Washington, D.C. In her lengthy and detailed statement, Martha Murphy, de facto chief of the JFK Assassination Records Collection, laid out the Archives’ plan for the release of thousands of pages of assassination-related records by October 2017.

In the past, JFK Facts has taken Archivist David Ferreiro and his staff to task for their passive position on the continuing stonewalling of the CIA, which retains more than 1,100 assassination-related records and has insisted on redactions of hundreds of thousands of other documents.

Now the Archives is taking a more proactive role. In her remarks at the forum, JFK archivist Martha Murphy made clear that the Archives is proceeding on the assumption that the CIA and other agencies will release all of their JFK records and remove all of redactions on JFK records, as mandated by law, in October 2017, unless specifically ordered by the White House. Under the terms of the JFK Records Act, federal agencies can only continue to postpone release of documents with the approval of the White House. By default the records will become public.

This is the appropriate public stance for the Archives to take because that is what the JFK Records Act requires. That’s rather different than the public position the Archives took two years ago. At a public forum in August 2013, Archives general counsel Gary Stern gratuitously told citizens demanding the enforcement of the JFK Records Act that there was no “conspiracy” to keep records out of public view. Stern also regurgitated the CIA’s absurd talking point that it didn’t have “the time or resources” to declassify JFK records.

JFK Facts pointed out that the agency somehow found the time and resources to declassify its records about the Katyn Forest massacre in Poland in 1941, a tragic and historically important event to be sure but one in which, unlike the tragedy of Dallas, no Americans lost their lives.

When the National Declassification Center’s blog asked for public suggestions for what records should receive priority when it came to declassification, the largest number of comments by far came from people urging the release of JFK records. The public’s overwhelming preference was ignored in favored of the CIA’s prerogatives.

When I expressed some bitterness about this state of affairs, well-placed Washington friends assured me the Archives was doing all that it could behind the scenes, that Ferreiro and Stern favored full disclosure, and that public criticism would accomplish nothing. I’m willing to believe that. I know Stern personally favors full disclosure, and I trust Ferreiro does too. All of that is beside the point.

The National Archives does not work for the CIA. The National Archives works for the American people and the JFK Records Act, passed in 1992, is clear: all government records must be “immediately” reviewed and released. For the CIA to say, two decades after the passage of that law, that it lacks the “time and resources” to come clean about the murder of a sitting president was not only extraordinarily revealing about the agency’s everyday contempt for the memory of President Kennedy. It was — and is — an evasion of the law.

The National Archives deserves credit for putting the CIA (and other) agencies on notice that it expects compliance with the law by October 2017. This doesn’t mean the CIA cannot and will not seek postponement of some records. If there is no public attention to the issue, I think they probably will.

 

 

 

 

National Archives details plans for JFK disclosures in 2017

The National Archives is getting serious about a big JFK records data dump in October 2017, according to officials who spoke at a public meeting in Washington today.

At the 25:00 mark in this video Martha Murphy of the National Archives outlines plans for declassification of still-classified JFK files in 2017.

A JFK Facts reader was there and filed this report.

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POLITICO is the latest to pick up on JFK Facts story

POLITICO has picked up on a story that I first reported on JFK Facts in May 2013.

In a Magazine story headlined, “Was RFK a JFK Conspiracy Theorist?” (Spoiler alert: Yes), former New York Times reporter Phil Shenon writes: Read more

On JFK records, Archivist Ferriero defers to CIA, ignores public

David Ferriero, U.S. Archivist

“We drive openness, cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation’s democracy through public access to high-value records,” writes David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, in the Third Open Government Plan released yesterday.

The report makes clear what “high value records” the public wants to see. When the Archives sought input in April about the government’s declassification priorities, nineteen commenters called for release of JFK assassination records. That was almost 40 percent of all comments received and more than double the number of comments on any other subject. (See p. 42 of the report.)

So what did Ferriero do?

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How Oliver Stone prompted Warren Commission staffers to favor full disclosure — 30 years later

via “Book Excerpt: the Hearing With Oliver Stone: A Heroic Moment for Our Protagonist” — HowardWillens.com.

“Stone’s movie, [David] Belin’s speech, and the likelihood of congressional action prompted several commission lawyers to discuss how we might best respond to the movie and support legislation making assassination records public ….”

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Why Obama’s declassification campaign faltered

From the invaluable Bryan Bender at the The Boston Globe: “Some experts contend that the only way to ensure public access is for the president to give broader declassification powers to the National Archives.”

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Is the government hiding something about JFK’s assassination?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes. See our authoritative list of the Top 7 JFK files the CIA still keeps secret.

You can do something about it.

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National Archives solicits comments on the opening of JFK records

The National Declassification Center has once again requested public comment on topics for priority declassification in opening up of government records to the public.

One JFK Facts reader has submitted the comment below:

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CIA trainer: ‘We all know we classify too much’

In case you missed it, JFK activist Karl Golovin got a retired CIA counterintelligence officer, Willam Nolte, to say on camera that the agency’s extreme overclassification of 1,100 ancient JFK assassination records does “great harm to the historical record.”

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#HowtosolveJFK: Join the Twitter bomb attack on JFK secrecy

Franquis Vegas

An invitation from a Facebook friend named Franquis Vegas.

She calls it Operation Liberate Joannides Files Twitter Bomb and it’s going on through Feb. 8.

The theory is JFK “information wants to be free” but government secrecy prevents it.

So inundate the National Archives with Tweets telling them to free our history.

This is how fans save their favorite TV shows. Can social media free the JFK files?

 

Archives seek to modernize FOIA (good luck with that)

The National Archives is talking about Modernizing FOIA. They’re looking for:

“people who are passionate about FOIA and are willing to devote time and energy to this effort. If you are interested in putting forward your name (or someone else’s), please let us know as soon as you can. We hope that you will consider getting involved in this effort to improve FOIA!”

The spirit is impressive. Whether FOIA can be modernized so as to bring greater freedom of information to U.S. national security agencies is another question.

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#HowtoSolveJFKin2014: Declassify the RFK papers now

A faithful reader calls attention to one practical step the U.S. government can take in 2014 to contribute to public understanding of the JFK assassination story: declassify the papers of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy from 1963-64.

The blog of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) is seeking comment on declassification priorities for the National Archives.

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Open The Government picks up on call for JFK disclosure

Open The Government, a coalition of public interest groups advocating open government policies, is highlighting the National Security Archive’s blog post calling for prioritizing the declassification of the CIA’s secret JFK assassination files. Read more

In defense of the National Archives

Peter Kornbluh, Cuba scholar at the non-profit National Security Archive, objects to yesterday’s post criticizing the National Archives for its stance on secret JFK files.

“This criticism of NARA General Counsel, Gary Stern, seems a classic case of shooting the messenger–and in this case an ally for transparency on this issue,” Kornbluh writes.

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