More on Russ Holmes, the CIA’s JFK assassination archivist

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.

Russ Holmes, CIA's JFK archvist

Russ Holmes, CIA’s JFK archivist

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.”

It this “separate work file” where the CIA’s remaining 1,100 secret JFK records are stashed. Politico says the scheduled release of the records in October 2017 “may embarrass the CIA.”

Here are the top 7 JFK assassination files the CIA still keeps secret.


  1. Mark says:

    Ignorant question. So the WC files will not be released until 2039. Is that correct?

  2. Alan Dale says:

    So Russ Holmes sought to come out of retirement to “assist” the AARB?

    I wonder if he had a regular poker night with Scott Breckenridge and George Joannides.

  3. I just watched the video of Dr. Wilshire giving a brief press conference where he announced the death of Lee Harvey Oswald. Dr. Wilshire stated the bullet had gone through Oswald’s liver, kidney, a part of the heart and the spleen.

    Has ever been any good research on this? After Oswald was shot, he was brought back into the station as the police arrested Jack Ruby. I think there was an ambulance already in the parking lot–but the police did not bring Oswald out for about another 10 or 15 minutes. The hospital should have been only 5-10 minutes away.

    Was there a complete autopsy done on Lee Harvey Oswald? Have those records ever been released?
    I’m just surprised the police didn’t clear the whole entire parking lot before they wheeled Oswald out to the ambulance–he had already been shot once, why would they take the risk of another shooting?

  4. Bogman says:

    Amazing that the files still under wraps relate to the most suspicious characters and topics around the assassination.

    Case still open.

  5. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Just a WAG. I’d venture a guess at something probably no one can prove but, Holmes worked with Joannides during the HSCA? If Joannidies was most likely involved with the DRE in the summer of 63 from his residence or safe house in New Orleans, where was Holmes at that time? It may be irrelevant, but it could be interesting to pursue.
    Forgive my ignorance but the work file confuses me.
    E.G. #13, “11/22/63 surprising photograph from the assassination of Kennedy”. It says open and unclassified.
    Is this stuff that’s been released or not?
    What is this particular surprising photograph of?

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