Where federal judges will hear oral arguments about CIA JFK files.
On Monday morning March 19 my attorneys Jim Lesar and Dan Alcorn and I will appear at the Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse in Washington for oral arguments in my long-running lawsuit, Morley v. CIA.
The issue before the three-judge panel: has there been a “public benefit” from the lawsuit’s disclosure of long-secret documents about deceased CIA officer George Joannides? Read more
In a new sworn declaration filed in federal court, former JFK investigator Dan Hardway tells the story of how the CIA stonewalled him and other investigators for the House Select Committee of Assassinations in 1978.
Hardway’s first-person story is the most vivid and powerful account of how the CIA obstructed Congress’s attempt to investigate JFK’s assassination in 1978 since Gaeton Fonzi’s book, The Last Investigation. Hardway adds new detail to the story Fonzi told by detailing the obstructionist tactics of George Joannides that he personally experienced.
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Jefferson Morley’s new ebook, CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, available on Amazon, provides the fullest account yet of the JFK records that the CIA is still concealing in 2016 and why they should be made public in October 2017.
Thanks all the positivity on the court’s decision. I think Bill S. has quoted the essence of the decision, which is good news for FOIA requesters everywhere. What’s gratifying is the court’s rather commensensical affirmation that people who want to know more about the CIA and the events of November 1963 are acting reasonably.
In addition, this court has previously determined that Morley’s request sought information “central” to an intelligence committee’s inquiry into the performance of the CIA and other federal agencies in investigating the assassination. Morley v. CIA, 508 F.3d 1108, 1118 (D.C. Cir. 2007). Under these circumstances, there was at least a modest probability that Morley’s request would generate information relevant to the assassination or later investigations.”
Unfortunately,, the archaic appellate process has delivered us back into the tender mercies of the oft-reversed Judge Leon. We are exploring possible remedies. If you have expertise in federal appellate court procedures, maybe you have some ideas.
A federal appellate court has again rejected the arguments of the Central Intelligence Agency in a long-running lawsuit over ancient but still-sensitive CIA files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
James Lesar, veteran FOIA litigator, prevailed over the CIA attorneys for a third time.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel in Washington D.C. unanimously denied the CIA’s claim that there is no “public benefit” to the disclosure of long-suppressed records of a deceased CIA officer involved in the events that led to the death of the liberal president on November 22, 1963.
“Where that subject is the Kennedy assassination, an event with few rivals in national trauma and in the array of passionately held conflicting explanationsshowing potential public value is relatively easy,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Stephen Williams.
The records were forced into public view by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that I brought against the CIA in 2003. The records revealed for the first time that the officer received a Career Intelligence Medal in 1981, two years after stonewalling congressional investigators about what he knew of contacts in 1963 between accused assassin Lee Oswald and CIA-funded anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans.
“Jeff, for what it’s worth, I have appeared before Judge Leon several times. I have found him to be fair, honest and willing to step outside the box in needed. I would not prefer any other judge on that court, except perhaps Ricky Roberts.”
The brief, written by my attorney Jim Lesar, challenges the CIA’s contention that the disclosures forced by Morley v. CIA have no “public benefit.” Understandably worried about the agency’s credibility on the JFK story, the CIA’s lawyers are essentially arguing that the lawsuit is frivolous.
The decision was affirmed by Judges Douglas Ginsburg and Sri Srinvasan.
I’m the plaintiff and I have added my comments:
Morley contends that some of the documents turned over—a couple of travel records and a photograph and citation relating to a career medal once received by Joannides—shed some light on President Kennedy’s assassination, but the value of these documents is at best unclear.
Morley: If the CIA wants to clear up the story of George Joannides’ secret operations in 1963, it is free to do so at any time. I hope they will do so before October 25, 2017 when the JFK Records Act mandates the release of the agency’s still-secret JFK assassination-related records.
Morley’s request had potential public value. He has proffered—and the CIA has not disputed—that Joannides served as the CIA case officer for a Cuban group, the DRE, with whose officers Oswald was in contact prior to the assassination.
Morley: No one is much surprised that the CIA sees no “public benefit” in talking publicly about certain covert operations in late 1963. That’s politically understandable in Langley. It is not legally acceptable in the context of JFK, says the court.
Where that subject is the Kennedy assassinationan event with few rivals in national trauma and in the array of passionately held conflicting explanationsshowing potential public value is relatively easy.
Morley: This is not a controversial proposition. Full JFK disclosure has public value. The CIA disagrees but the law and Judge Williams and common sense say otherwise.