Former chief JFK investigator on CIA obstruction

“I now no longer believe anything the Agency [CIA] told the committee any further than I can obtain substantial corroboration for it from outside the Agency for its veracity…. “

— G. Robert Blakey, former Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, in an addendum to the web page for the Frontline episode “Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?”.

Blakey wrote this after learning that CIA liaison George Joannides had been case officer for an anti-Castro group whose members had contact with accused assassin Lee Oswald in 1963.

Blakey explained:

“We also now know that the Agency set up a process that could only have been designed to frustrate the ability of the committee in 1976-79 to obtain any information that might adversely affect the Agency. Many have told me that the culture of the Agency is one of prevarication and dissimulation and that you cannot trust it or its people. Period. End of story. I am now in that camp.”


To learn more, read:

 “5 Decades Later Some JFK FIles Still Sealed” (Associated Press, Aus. 18. 2013)

“Justice Dept. denies CIA officer was honored for coverup” (JFK Facts,Dec. 17, 2012)

“Court uphold public benefit of disclsoure about CIA officer in JFK story” (JFK Facts, June 19, 2013)

“CIA Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery” (New York Times, October 17, 2009)

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



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48 thoughts on “Former chief JFK investigator on CIA obstruction”

  1. This important development in the insight and outrage of Blakey does have a too little too late ring to it, but is welcome amid the chorus of rage that needs to be brought to bear on those bent on hiding the truth.
    The CIA is a contaminated absurdity peopled by traitors of the highest order who continue to defy a democracy’s rightful desire for truth and justice.
    A democracy could be better served without a CIA that has out stayed its welcome and over played its function. It is an organisation plagued by a shameful history, an obssession to save face, hide the truth of over 50 years ago and protect the legacy of traitors.

  2. Ramon F Herrera

    I was pleasantly surprised to find this (a fellow JFK Facts participant posted it):

    It is an 8-page open letter in which professor G. Robert Blakey blasts the CIA.

    It was written last year (2014) and our most esteemed host is mentioned several times.

    Jeff: Did you know about this development? Were you holding out on us? Too busy? Too modest? This is very significant!

    It is clear that the good professor has decided to slowly evolve and accept what the rest of thinking people know.

  3. I would look at Scott breckenridge office of legislative counsel for cia.

    He was the point man with Blakey. Blakey liked him because he had researched the cia mafia plots and knew the terrain, which matched blakeys pet theory. He was also deputy inspector general during the church
    Committee, and knew all the tender spots of the cia in this disastrous situation. He was not above the fray. Full of vitriol, he referred to Dan hardway as Saint Dan.

    1. Bill,

      Yes Scott Breckinridge is correct.

      The Joannides January 8, 1979 Annual Fitness Report “memo” (called a memorandum in lieu of a fitness report) was written and signed by S. D. Breckinridge. Both signatures are noted on the last page of the memo.


    1. Ramon F Herrera

      Nobody hired Joannides. He was *called* (recalled) out of retirement by his superiors at the CIA. That fact has never been questioned.

      The same thing was done with Angleton.

  4. “So my position about the agency is they didn’t cooperate with us, they affirmatively made an effort not to cooperate with us, and therefore everything that they told us is a lie. And all the statements in the report about cooperation, it’s just false. We were had.” G. Robert Blakey, 27 September, 2014

    Professor Blakey’s full address, THE HSCA AND THE CIA: THE VIEW FROM THE TOP may be read here:

  5. Antonio D'Antonio

    To all you good people,
    I just recently discovered JFK Facts and I want to commend all of you for keeping the discussions about the assassination alive and well!
    You are all very knowledgeable people and I look forward to reading your comments and discovering so much more information related to the JFK’s assassination.
    Thanks to all

  6. In 2011 I called Prof G. Robert Blakey – South Bend, Indiana

    I found him pleasant and generous with his time.

    The conversation(s) went something like this:


    Hello, Professor Blakey?

    -(Pause) Yes?

    Hi, my name is Max, can I talk to you for a minute?

    -I’m, -uh, actually, in a meeting, now’s not good, you can try me in an hour.

    (An hour & 1/2 later …)


    Professor Blakey?

    (Pause & no comment)

    This is Max, I called you, like, an hour ago and I’m hoping to talk to you for a minute –

    – Uh, ok, I only have 10 minutes.

    Terrific, looking back at the HSCA, it seems as though you were put in a very difficult and very, very political position.

    – I didn’t look at it as a political position at all. We were there to do a job.

    It’s my understanding, the HSCA found conspiracy probable due to acoustic evidence-

    – No, you’re wrong. There was enough evidence to find probable conspiracy even without acoustical evidence.

    Like what?

    – Witnesses and witness reaction. There was SM Holland standing on the overpass. There’s the Zapruder film.

    -There was 1 – 2, 3 – 4 shots. The first two coming from the rear.

    After all these years, Lone Nut or Conspiracy. Does it matter?

    – No. Well, it matters for history.

    Did the Committee find evidence that Oswald & Ruby knew each other?

    – No we didn’t. And I don’t believe they knew each other and it doesn’t matter even if they did. There are some that say they saw them together at the strip club. Frankly, I don’t believe it.

    Regarding the intelligence agencies stonewalling of your commitee, specifically, Joannides, do you think it implicates the intelligence community?

    – No, not at all. There’s no reason to think, just because they stonewalled us, that they had anything to do with conspiracy.

    What about the other things, like discrediting conspiracy theorists like Mark Lane?

    – Well, right. All these things add up and make us wonder why? We found no evidence that suggested the CIA had anything to do with the assassination. Look, if they did have anything to do with the assassination they wouldn’t leave anything behind anyway.

    What about the Mexico City recordings and photos?

    – Those things aren’t evidence of conspiracy.

    As sad as the assassination itself was, what seems almost as sad to me, is it’s historical aftermath. Whether it was the cabal, mafia, or a lone nut, it just seems so sad that we still wonder.

    – Look, a completely sane, rational person can believe Lone Nut. We found some evidence of mafia conspiracy on a local level, not a commission level. We know this because, nationally, we were wiretapping them. We would have heard some chatter.

    With hindsight, after all these years, & you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, do you still believe these (mafia) forces were behind the assassination?

    – (No Answer)

    Professor Blakey?

    … (No Answer – Pause – then ”click.”)

    Professor Blakey?

    1. I guess Blakey didn’t want to answer that question. Maybe we should cut him some slack.

      As David Ferrie purportedly said in ‘JFK’:

      “They’ll get to you too. They’ll destroy you. They’re untouchable man.”

      John Kennedy had the courage but then he was the POTUS.

      1. Ramon F Herrera

        [Gerry Simone:]

        “I guess Blakey didn’t want to answer that question.”


        Professor Blakey wrote two books with the purpose of answering that question.

        He was placed there for one reason: He is expert on organized crime (was in a meeting with Bobby the morning of the fatal day), and when you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail. That works for some people, anyway.

    2. I have no reason to doubt your report of the conversation with Blakey and it perhaps clarifies Blakey’s view. His view being that the CIA are untrustworthy but didn’t kill/cover up the assassination of Kennedy. This is an untenable arguement because you can’t know what an untrustworthy organisation has done, when they are controlling the information supply.

      I think Robert Blakey is very clever and his ego got the better of him when deciding to make the above statement. He couldn’t face the Joannides revelation leaving the impression he had been duped. I guess he thinks his statement polishes up his reputation a bit. It doesn’t , it does History a great disservice.

  7. Blakey was brought in to replace Richard Sprague, an honest investigator.

    Blakey knew his role. Which was to continue the cover-up.

    Now he’s complaining the CIA was clumsy in the cover-up attempt.

    Are expletives permitted here? I’ll assume not. Blakey was a dumb dupe, a willing tool, an agent of dishonesty.

    My anger at Blakey knows no boundaries. Here was a man empowered to uncover facts, and he blinked. He should resign as a law professor.

  8. NOW G Robert Blakey decides he has been duped ? Hows come many who were not a part of the second JFK assassination were not FOOLED as easily as Blakey ? Unless Blakey had an AGENDA ?

    1. I wonder of some of these folks are concerned about how history will view them when they are gone. Let’s say it becomes clear to future generations that there was in fact a conspiracy, it’s possible people like Blakey don’t want to be seen as being duped or being part of a cover up.

    2. Robert Blakely was a pragmatist working under a deadline. His job was to put out a report.

      Dan Hardway gave an excellent presentation at the Wecht Conference about being in the trenches of the HSCA investigation. He pointed out that his mentor Bob Blakely encouraged his digging into the files of CIA operations officers who were stonewalling them at every turn. Professor Blakeley never held him back.

      The shelf life of the HSCA
      forced some compromises. It now appears more nuanced then “Blakely screwed up.” It certainly takes great courage to admit he was wrong years later.

    1. Mr. Hardway, yours is an insight that must be considered by all who search for the truth. How did any of us – or our loved ones – deal with the days leading to and following the assassination? And how have we as a nation processed the unfolding evidence behind the assassination?

      A “search for the guilty” is futile unless we recognize the role of the collective in the cover up at the very least. Gullibility, laziness, apathy all contributed.

      And how do we now stere the investigation without descending into a witch hunt?

      I hope that Mr. Blakely does not become a victim of that hunt, and I’m equally saddened that Lee Harvey Oswald served as the scapegoat.

      Now everybody seems to have their own opinion
      Who did this and who did that
      But as for me I don’t see how they can remember
      When they weren’t where it was at

      As Peter Dale Scott suggests, any level of denial of events like 11.22.63 contributes to the success. No one individual can be held to account until we all accept our unique roles in the failure to restore our democracy in the aftermath of the assassination of Kennedy. Have we reaped the democracy we deserved?

  9. @Jonathan “Shorter Blakey: The CIA made me do it.”

    I got a tickle of that comment. It’s snarky, but in a good way!

  10. On the topic of Blakey, has Bobby Ray Inman been questioned about the Career Intelligence Medal he presented to Joannides in 1981 as Deputy Director of the CIA under Director William Casey? I can’t find any reference to that possibility.

    Also, were there extenuating circumstances that prevented Casey from presenting the medal, was it standard operating procedure that the deputy handled such ceremonies, or did Casey recuse himself deliberately?

    1. I called Inman about the Joannides medal and showed him the photo. He said he had no recollection of the event or the man. He said he gave many such awards. I’m not sure I believe him but there you have it.

      1. Thank you.

        The critical issue is whether or not he would admit to the significance of Joannides’ relationship to Oswald when confronted with your findings.

        I retrieved my Inman file and reviewed the history of International Signal in particular where he was member of the board. Given his most recent board membership with Eric Prince’s Xe Services it appears that he has no compunction about the privatization of military efforts. I wonder if he had a similar attitude during his early career.

        1. Leslie, I interviewed Inman just as the Iraq war was getting underway. He was adamant at the time that while contractors were useful for doing laundry and providing for meals, etc., he said he would very uncomfortable seeing them in military roles or even guarding Karzai. I’m surprised to see that he was on the board of Xe. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he wanted to have some small bit of oversight over them. I’ll see if I can dig up the transcript for you.

          1. Thanks, I would be very interested. And I too give Inman the benefit (fwiw to him!) and allow that he might be providing a form of oversight. However, given his past involvement with ISC, I’m doubtful.

            I’m sure you’ve read the articles online about International Signal and James Guerin? Interesting that their activities dovetailed with the Iran-Iraq war, arming Hussein. We all know how that went.

            He also sat on the board of East Texas based Temple-Inland, a major shareholder in the NY Times. The founder of T-I was the political god-father of Charlie Wilson of Afghan fame.

  11. What would you recommend be done to Blakey? A stoning in the plaza? Or would you like to have an open dialogue with him during which you could, yes, confront him, but also present him with the volumes of circumstantial evidence that stem from the Joannides revelation and see where that leads? Perhaps that is already be taking place.

    And while I agree, the philosophical debate is endless, a significant step in this ‘battle’ if you will is to understand the realities of so many of that generation who from an early age were indoctrinated – whether thru family affiliations, education and ambition, patriotic zeal or military contract – to serve democracy which as it turns out was little more than a cloak for economic enterprise.

    I say we cut them all some slack when they get on board. Confession is for the confessional, reparation is a whole other matter.

    1. “What would you recommend be done to Blakey?” For my part, nothing.

      He still shows no interest in discovering the truth about the assassination; he never has, quite to the contrary. He would be a cipher except for the position in which he had the chance to make difference and declined the opportunity.

      I say, withhold praise until he steps up to the plate and says, “I am a truth seeker.” That’s all.

      1. The entire investigation has been about Incremental steps and perhaps Blakey now holds a key to a significant one. His acknowledgement in essence suggests that the Joannides information would have made a difference to the committee, and wouldn’t that fact create a wedge and trump other arguments that the CIA might posit pertaining to the release of significant documents?

        Also, I don’t read praise of Blakey into anything that has been posted here, rather a suggestion that a pragmatic approach might best capitalize on his reaction to the Joannides revelation.

        1. I’d be that the people who are still most angry with Blakey are those who read Gaeton Fonzi’s ‘The Last Investigation’ and who were ready to throw the book across the room every time Fonzi mentioned another Blakey concession to the CIA or limiting of the investigation.

  12. I agree with Leslie, and believe in redemption, and the possibltiy that GRB can come clean by lending his considerable weight to releaseing the remaining sealed JFK assassination records and in any future attempt to obtain legal justice. GRB is still in the game. McNamara is no longer playing.

    1. Blakey has not written a mea culpa and has not even sought to explain why he fudged the medical evidence and tried to bury certain HSCA findings til the end of time. All he’s said recently is he doesn’t now trust the CIA.

      Let’s not turn this discussion into one about Old Testament Justice or New Testament Redemption. Besides, Blakey’s not even close to being worthy of Redemption, in that he’s confessed no sin — merely naivete; which is a little hard for this former army C.I. officer to swallow.

  13. Mr. Blakey, you were to smart to be so dumb from 1975-1979. Now that your old and small you say “they (CIA) mislead the committee”. You know it when it was happening. As Mr. Angleton said, “If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.”
    Mr. Blakey, YOU are now “one” of those people.

    1. With all due respect, what is the point in clamoring for high profile individuals with possible influence to accept that there was a conspiracy, then meeting them with such responses?

      1. In my book, Blakey is a lot like Robert McNamara, who late in life expressed remorse for his role in the Vietnam war. Too little, too meaningless, far too late.

        1. Totally agree. A harsh assessment of Blakey is justified. The reality of it is there was much pressure to lie and cover up the JFK assassination. Look what happened to Oliver Stone in 1991 with all the savage media attacks on the movie “JFK.” Many people in government/media decided to “go with the flow” and the Big Lie.

          Blakey was one of them.

        2. My point is that Blakey is still in a position to testify that they were mislead which certainly impacts public opinion and would certainly affect a trial.

          McNamara on the other hand was indeed too late and could not roll back a war.

          I’m not advocating for the man himself but for the process through which he can influence. Your approach sounds like a bit of Old Testament justice to me which does not serve any agenda and is something John Kennedy most likely would have shunned.

          1. Blakey has spent a lot of time crowing that only the mafia killed JFK and that is garbage. If he believes it fine, but it is garbage.

            And after his CIA revelations, if Blakey has an honest brain, he should be reconsidering his take on the JFK assassination.

          2. Good post. We need all the friends we can get. Especially those who have firsthand experience of CIA intransigence.

        3. Bobby Mac was JFK’s SecDef, too. How did he feel about JFK’s decisions towards Vietnam and whether or not we should send ground soldiers in?

  14. James Angleton sums up his career in the CIA in a 1985 interview with author Joseph Trento

    [Joseph Trento, “The Secret History of the CIA,” (2001) pp. 478-479]

    “You know how I got to be in charge of counterintelligence? I agreed not to polygraph or require detailed background checks on Allen Dulles and 60 of his closest friends.” His monologue would stop only for a sip of tea or a violent fit of coughing. “They were too arrogant to believe that the Russians would discover it all.” The real problem Angleton concluded, was that “there was no accountability. And without real accountability everything turned to shit.”
    All the trappings of Angleton’s legend were gone by this time, except for his love of exotic tea. But now, this man who had struck fear into most of his colleagues- this man who had been able to end a CIA career with a nod or a phone call- unassuming house in Arlington seemed empty. “You know, the CIA got tens of thousands of brave people killed… We played with lives as if we owned them. We gave false hope. We – I – so misjudged what happened.”
    I asked the dying old man how it all went so wrong.
    With no emotion in his voice, but with his hand trembling, Angleton replied: “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other. Outside of their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and loved being in it …. Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Carmel Offie, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.” Angleton slowly sippled his tea and then said, “I guess I will see them there soon.”

    [Joseph Trento, “The Secret History of the CIA,” (2001) pp. 478-479]

  15. Shorter Blakey: The CIA made me do it. The CIA made me fake the medical evidence. The CIA made me willfully ignorant of the glaring flaws of the Warren Report. The CIA made me pin the assassination on the mafia.

    1. LBJ, CIA, military intelligence, Texas oil executives were behind the JFK assassination. Hoover covered it up so quick and was so close to the other perps, he was probably in on it, too. Every public “investigation” into the JFK assassination has been corrupted and that includes the HSCA.

      Blaming it on the mafia is a cop out.

    2. The CIA made me fake the medical evidence.

      And you know the “medical evidence is faked” how?

      You really ought to read the authentication of the autopsy photos and x-rays in HSCA volumes 6 and 7, and the analysis in volume 7.

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