AP exposes sealed JFK assassination files

George Joannides, chief of CIA covert operations in Miami in 1963 whose files remains secret a half century later.

From the Associated Press, via the Washington Post, a JFK assassination story that is informative, balanced and timely. It begins:

“Five decades after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot and long after official inquiries ended, thousands of pages of investigative documents remain withheld from public view. The contents of these files are partially known — and intriguing — and conspiracy buffs are not the only ones seeking to open them for a closer look.”

The article, by AP reporter David Porter, describes my lawsuit for the JFK files of deceased CIA officer George Joannides and reports on the 1,100 JFK files still withheld from public view by the agency. It provides valuable perspective with quotes from informed sources. On a subject that often attracts sensational or foolish coverage, AP provides serious journalism. Let’s hope other news organizations follow suit.

Highlights of the story include:

Burt Griffin, a Warren Commission staffer who is now judge, says the CIA’s decision not tell the Commission about Joannides’ financial relationship with Oswald’s antagonists among the Cuban exiles was “an act of bad faith.”

Anthony Summers, author of “Not in Your Lifetime,” one of the best JFK books, says:

“There is no question that in various ways the CIA obfuscated, but it may be they were covering up operations that were justifiable, benign CIA operations that had absolutely nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination,”

“But after 50 years, there is no reason that I can think of why such operations should still be concealed,” Summers said. “By withholding Joannides material, the agency continues to encourage the public to believe they’re covering up something more sinister.”

Bob Blakey, former general counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) who dealt with Joannides when he served as the CIA’s liaison to the HSCA, is quoted as saying, “If I’d known Joannides was the case officer for the DRE, he couldn’t have been liaison; he would have been a witness,”

Blakey added: “Do I think I was snookered, precisely like the Warren Commission was? Yes.”

As I told Porter, “I think the CIA should obey the law. I don’t think most people think that’s a crazy idea.”

Read the whole story here.


Background on Morley v. CIA.

“CIA still cagey about Oswald mystery” (New York Times, October 16, 2009)

“Morley v. CIA: why I sued for JFK assassination records” (JFK Facts, Feb. 23, 2013)

“Federal judges hear arguments about CIA JFK assassination records” (JFK Facts, Feb. 26, 2013)

“Court upholds the benefits of disclosure about CIA officer in JFK story” (JFK Facts, June 19, 2013)




34 thoughts on “AP exposes sealed JFK assassination files”

  1. Re: Pat Speer’s detailed web account is this overview of Paraffin Testing:

    Nitrates and Nitrite are used in farm and horticultural fertilizers; used as a food additive. They are in tap and drinking water and are all across the environment. ‘Even given off as brake pad residue. That’s why Courts in the 1970’s stopped accepting Paraffin Nitrite tests as positive evidence of someone using a firearm. The tests fail to produce finite results of a person firing a gun ‘when the same residue could have come from common sources. Just handling a weapon, not firing it, can leave traces of Nitrites on the skin. It can best explain why police tests on Oswald found both positive and negative results for hands and cheek and why other authorities had similar difficulties after the fact.

    Remove any entity with less than objective testing approaches from the equation and you are left with no definitive gun residue evidence.

    1. Was happy to see this comment here. Researched this matter concerning nitrate and paraffin tests and got the same answer. Paraffin tests were often given to give the accused a bit of a scare. Thinking it was an accurate test of whether or not they had fired a rifle, pistol etc. , they would confess to the crime. It was used as a bluff and often worked. The test itself could prove nothing really definite.

  2. Negative paraffin test on face for one, timing of lunch room with officer Baker, two, lack of anyone identifying Oswald in the window, three, I could go on and on and on, I don’t believe anyone could look at the complete available evidence and not have anydout. unless you have a long standing and entrenched belief of Oswalds guilt WITH NO ACTUAL PROOF.

    1. Apparently you didn’t know that FBI agents repeatedly fired the rifle found on the sixth floor with negative poet-firing cheek paraffin tests.The test had too many false positives and false negatives to be useful. Except to misinformed conspiracy buffs.

      1. Sorry, Photon, but you are completely wrong. Oswald’s paraffin test was subjected to NAA testing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in December 1963 and January 1964. This was a much more sophisticated measure than available to the Dallas police and showed to a high degree of certainty the absence of nitrates on Oswald’s cheek. Both the FBi and Dr Vincent Guinn conducted live fire tests with Mannlicher Carcano rifles and both independently verified that the rifle left “unambiguous positive tests every time.” (see Breach of Trust pp 209-211)

        1. Not true. Guinn had nothing to do with paraffin tests, he was a mass spectrometer by trade. His work with Carcano ammunition occurred in the 1970s, not 1964. You left out what he is famous for- concluding that the fragments in Connolly’s wrist were chemically identical to the Magic Bullet and came from that bullet.

          1. Guinn did tests related to the paraffin cast, including firing rifles to measure residue on the cheek. A separate FBI group also tested the rifle. “Unambiguous results” – cheek positive for nitrate every time. Oak Ridge Lab analyzed Oswald’s paraffin cast and found no nitrate on cheek. Gerald McKnight covers this in detail in “Breach Of Trust”. Warren Commission was not initially told of these tests, and J Lee Rankin took steps to downplay their significance.

            Later work by Guinn on bullet fragment identification is a separate matter entirely, and that work has been discredited. Robert Blakey, who relied on Guinn’s matching fragments during the HSCA, has now stated that Guinn’s work was “junk science” (matching bullet fragments, not the work with the paraffin cast).

          2. It is amazing that you regurgitate a claim that has been debunked on the past. Guinn had nothing to do with paraffin tests in 1964; he never worked for the FBI or Warren Commission in 1964.
            Your source is based on a an article written by a reporter during the House hearings. That reporter completely mixed up Guinn’s 1978 testimony with the 1964 investigation.
            Can’t you do better than that?

          3. Guinn contacted John Gallagher of the FBI in late February 1964, to discuss tests Guinn had independently done using Mannlicher-Carcano rifles to measure nitrate deposits left on the hand and cheek.This conversation is recounted in an FBI memo from R.M. Jevons to Ivan Conrad dated February 27, 1964. This is reported in Gerald McKnight’s “Breach Of Trust” (p 211). McKnight goes on for several well-documented pages about the FBI and the paraffin casts, and how the Warren Commission assisted in covering the whole matter up.

          4. Your comment is in error. The claim that Gallagher was contacted by Guin is absolutely false and is based on an erroneous New Yofk World Telegram article of August 27, 1964. Special Agent Gallagher even wrote a letter to the AEC requesting information on how such a mistaken assumption got to the press. In 1978 Guinn testified under oath that he never worked for the FBI or Warren Commission in 1964.The “Breach of Trust” claimi is clearly an error but the author was too lazy to verify the source. As apparently you are .

          5. Guinn even wrote a letter to the New York World Telegram on 25 September, 1964 calling the article the most atrocious reporting he had ever seen and accused the paper of making up false stories.
            Again,this is nothing new and jeffc’s claims were conclusively rebuffed in 1978.

          6. Photon – I passed on what is reported in Gerald McKnight’s book. He cites FBI reports from February 1964, not newspaper articles from later on. As part of a chapter exploring the gradual development of the single bullet theory, McKnight spends several pages revealing that the FBI engaged in a great deal more time and effort trying to invalidate the Oswald paraffin casts than had ever been previously revealed. McKnight also demonstrates how the Warren Commission carefully orchestrated testimony to hide the FBI’s work, and to present the notion that the paraffin casts were not important.

            If you wish to challenge McKnight’s scholarship, you are free to do so. But you will have to do better than what you’ve provided so far.McKnight does not claim that Guinn “worked” for the FBI, as Guinn was working for General Dynamics at the time. That Guinn contacted Gallagher in early 1964 is confirmed by FBI documentation from that February. If you wish to debunk, then you need to turn your attention to those communications.

          7. What FBI documentation? What proof? Virtually every conspiracy buff who believes in the paraffin myth refers to this one source- McKnight’s “Breach of Trust”. So where is confirming information aside from this book? We have documented evidence from the two individuals involved with this hoax that McKnight’s version is false- including contradictory testimony by Guinn himself under pain of perjury. Wher is this memo from R.M. Jevon’s? Even if McKnight could produce it, where is the proof of authenticity? You give McKnight’s fable credibility because you want to believe it, not because there is any evidence aside from a 1964 article in a failed newspaper. None.
            But just look at this rationally. On Nov. 22 the temperature in Dallas was 68 degrees in the shade. Jackie Kennedy looked forward to entering the triple underpass because it was so hot ( post assassination interview).
            Lee Oswald left the TSBD rapidly after walking down stairs, he rapidly walked about a block away to catch a bus, got off the bus, walked to a taxi stand,got out and walked several blocks to his rooming house,got into a witnessed altercation with a police officer, walked several blocks to a theater, got into a fight with police while getting arrested- WITHOUT BREAKING INTO A SWEAT?
            And then nine hours later he had the paraffin test. And you believe that it would be positive on his face with the number of sweat glands present?

          8. My God, I just came across this. Photon knows nothing of the NAA tests of the paraffin casts but has invented all sorts of nonsense so he can pretend there’s no there there. He gives false information about Vincent Guinn, to boot.

            The truth about all this stuff is in here:


            And no, I don’t claim the truth is that the NAA tests were conclusive evidence for Oswald’s innocence. They did, however, suggest he did not fire a rifle…It seems clear, moreover, that this is why they were buried.

  3. The CIA, when it comes to the Kennedy Assassination, needs to be treated for what it is, a suspect.
    A suspect with the motivation and the means.

    Any investigation that does not do this is fatally flawed. Accordingly, the CIA should not be able to decide which documents to release. It is a ludicrous situation.

  4. Great article, Oswald is the accused gunman because he never was tried in a court of law. I can accept all explanations of possible CIA cover ups and other agenciy screw ups . I cannot understand how anyone who has actually read all evidence and reports on shooting cannot accept the fact that Oswld WAS shooting a rifle from the TSBD.

    1. Oswald is the accused gunman because a mountain of evidence points to his guilt and after 50 years not a shred of evidence has been revealed that implicates anybody else.
      I can’t see how anybody who has actually read the evidence ( not the crackpot claims of people with no connection with the case or non-existent proof that something that did happen is impossible) can come to any conclusion except that Lee Oswald shot JFK by himself. There is no evidence that he was in a conspiracy or was influenced by other forces, but as you can’t prove a negative you can’t say with absolute certainty that he wasn’t part of a conspiracy. But you need proof to claim that he was in a conspiracy, proof that doesn’t exist .In general sociopaths don’t join conspiracies.

      1. What about the photo of an ‘Oswald’ impostor in Mexico City? Have you seen it? Here is a link so you can see it: http://www.ctka.net/2009/ten_point_program.html
        Scroll down to item #6 to see the photo.

        Your statement “In general sociopaths don’t join conspiracies.” can be contradicted just by looking at the Lincoln assassination conspirators. I don’t think many people would consider Louis Powell (aka Louis Paine) to have been of very sound mind.

      2. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

        Photon, you constantly post derogatory, deceiving or false information on this site. The normal term for such internet behavior is called “Trolling”. You have been called out more than once on this site with facts, which I notice you then evade.

        “not a shred of evidence has been revealed that implicates anybody else.”

        “non-existent proof”

        “crackpot claims of people”

        However, this is behavior I see very often from people who support the Lone Nut theory. So many constantly ignore facts presented to them and make derogatory comments to any potential conspiracy. This is called personal bias and prejudice, not objectivity.

    2. “We don’t have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody’s yet been able to put him in the building with a gun in his hand.” Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry

      District Attorney Henry Wade admitted much the same thing. Hoover told LBJ the case against Oswald was “not very very strong”. The Warren Commission’s “proofs” do not stand up to scrutiny, and in two cases rely heavily on witnesses its own staff lawyers recommended strongly against using.

      The basis for most latter day claims of Oswald’s guilt rely on texts which serve solely as prosecution briefs, and which also wither under examination. The so-called overwhelming case against Oswald is primarily a bluff.

  5. H.P. Albarelli Jr.

    “The CIA should obey the law”… a novel [and not wholly original] sentiment, but the JFK assassination is but one example of *countless* others where the Agency ignores the law and does as it pleases. To think that articles like this will change the CIA’s behavior is rather short sighted. It will take a whole lot more to alter things.

    1. Just a follow-up.

      Listened over the weekend to Oswald’s very strange appearance on Latin Listening Post:


      When Stuckey charges him with never having visited the Latin American countries Oswald is speaking of, LHO says something like: “Well, I have been to Mexico on occasion. . .”

      Really. This interview occured in mid-August of ’63, the month before his Mexico Mystery Tour. I’ve never come across any prior visits by him. Is there evidence for this? What was he doing there?

      Thanks again!

  6. This is significant step forward regarding the involvement of the mainstream media in the case. Well done Jeff and keep up the sterling efforts.

  7. I saw this article by an Associated Press journalist. I read the article & realized this could be it. The one article in the main stream press that blows the doors off of the “lone assassin” story once & for all. This article is about 98% accurate and is the REAL DEAL.

    Thank you Jefferson Morley for providing some of the information that the reporter used.

    Maybe we should look for something serious to occur in the news to wipe the significance and timeliness of this article. This one article may be enough to loosen some papers up.

  8. In that Washington Post article, this statement about the acoustics evidence, in reference to the HSCA finding that another shot came from the front (the grass and fence area) struck me as being questionable:

    “Subsequent analyses have cast doubt on the acoustic evidence, and the issue is considered unresolved.”

    This statement is made by the writer but then there is no follow up as to which “subsequent analyses” he/she in the AP is referencing. I’d like to point out that I have “subsequent analysis” that DOES point to other shots fired (Donald Byron Thomas, “Hear No Evil” Mary Ferrell Press, 2010). It seems to me that the AP is either misinformed or has something in the acoustics evidence that I don’t know about.

    A follow up on the acoustics evidence should be reported, and reported accurately.

    1. I believe what happened was the the HSCA presented their findings to the Justice Department to follow up. The Justice Department went and found their own “expert” to check into the acoustics evidence, he said the evidence didn’t hold up, and so nothing was done. (and that’s where it was left until Stone’s “JFK” a decade later).

      In my mind, the acoustics evidence may well be the real deal, but there was enough about it for the other side to cast doubt and reasonable suspicion – such that it couldn’t stand as primary evidence of a conspiracy, which is how the HSCA presented it. The HSCA already had other jaw-dropping evidence – such as most if not all the medical personnel seeing wounds which do not match the autopsy photos and x-rays, or the investigation into Mexico City. In both cases, the HSCA classified the information and did not refer to it in their Final Report. In fact, that Report states precisely the opposite about the wounds: that what most personnel saw matched the autopsy photos. A blatant misrepresentation if not a lie.

      Nowadays, because of the ARRB releases, most of the primary evidence used to nail Oswald has been completely impeached. This has yet to filter out into the mainstream, but it gradually will.

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