Comes a note from a well-informed source about the late Russ Holmes, the man in charge of the CIA’s JFK archives. Holmes was one of the best-informed people in the U.S. government about the JFK assassination records. From his record collection, there may yet emerge new revelations about the assassination of JFK in 2017.
Tending to the CIA’s records related to JFK’s murder was Holmes’ calling. According to a memo written by Jeremy Gunn, general counsel of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), Holmes inquired obtaining a position with the Review Board on March 28, 1995. The ARRB was set up to locate and declassify all of the government’s assassination-related files.
“Holmes was the person at CIA responsible for managing JFK assassination records during the HSCA investigation and thereafter for responding to FOIA requests,” Gunn noted. Holmes ceased work as a career officer in 1979 but was contracted back until he was let go in 1992 His final separation from CIA was due to “downsizing.” but one CIA memo described the parting of the ways as “controversial,” with no explanation given.
A memo written by Barry Harrelson of the agency’s Historical Review Group describes Holmes’ collection as follows: “most files deal with requests from the HSCA investigation (1976-1979), but the file includes folders relating to the Rockefeller Commission, Church Committee, and [JFK-related] FOIA requests.”
(Here’s the declassified Russ Holmes Work File.)
Holmes’ files also contain reference tools (index to names requested by HSCA; the inventory of Mexico City Chief of Station records, etc) and work files from other components of the agency. Some of the files contain hand written notes and rough drafts of memos. Seventy four of the folders were reviewed by HSCA staffers. One file contains the original signature sheets covering CIA records requested and reviewed by HSCA staffers.
Harrelson goes on to say “The JFK work files or ancillary files are not sequestered material and were not part of the original CIA JFK collection.They were maintained as a separate work file by staff employees responsible for the JFK collection.They were created for reference and background purposes in response to JFK assassination requests and investigations. The contents are primarily duplicates and previously reviewed material, but there are some unique items that can be considered subject to the JFK Act.”