Morley v. CIA in Review

James DiEugenio has published a lucid review of my ebook, Morley v. CIA. It starts like this:

Recognizing the significant contributions to JFK research made by mainstream journalist Jefferson Morley, Jim DiEugenio reviews his recent e-book, Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation, and traces the history of George Joannides involvement with the CIA and the DRE dating back to the time of the JFK assassination and beyond.

Kennedys and King

DiEugenio picks up on a couple of points that I think are key to the JFK story in 2021.

Buy the Book: Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation, by Jefferson Morley

The implications of my reporting on a CIA officer (George Joannides) who ran the Cuban exile group that generated propaganda about Lee Harvey Oswald before and after JFK was killed, and who, fifteen years later, deceived congressional investigators about his covert activities in the fall of 1963, was a little too provocative for senior editors at the Washington Post.

They just didn’t want to deal with a JFK assassination story, which amounted to prudent careerism manifested by a difference in news judgment. Nobody had ever gotten ahead in Washington by challenging the CIA’s account of JFK’s assassination…The truth was, I had a good story that didn’t serve the newsroom’s collective agenda. (Morley, p. 18)

DiEugenio makes one mistake when he says Bob Woodward vetoed an early version of the Joannides’ story. That is not the case. Woodward liked the story and said it met his threshhold for publication. But he was not a Post newsroom decision-maker at that point. He was a roving senior editor. Other editors vetoed the story, not Woodward.

Morley v. CIA is an unusual book, he notes. That’s because I’m not pushing a theory or demanding you agree with me. My story illuminates how the legal system obstructs the continuing investigation of JFK’s assassination by concealing relevant documents with bizarre, extreme, and suspicious claims of secrecy.

Morley has written an unusual book. I don’t recall one like it dealing with the JFK case. It seems to me more than just a profile of a FOIA lawsuit. It tells us about problems with not just the JFK case, but through that with the press and our court system. Both of which weighed in on the side of secrecy.

At the end of sixteen years of litigation, Judge Brett Kavanaugh switched his position on the merits of my case.

In the end, Kavanaugh reversed his initial vote on the fees. In 2013, he agreed with Lesar. In 2018, he did not. The main issue that changed was that he was now on the verge of attaining his life’s ambition as a member of the Federalist Society. (Morley, p. 55) As the author writes, Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court was sealed with a “decision that can only be described as arbitrary, self-serving, and detrimental to the spirt of the Freedom of Information Act.”

The justice of my plea in Morley v. CIA was vindicated by a powerful dissent from Judge Karen Henderson.

The author includes Kavanaugh’s decision along with Karen Henderson’s in his appendix to the book. Henderson dissented and her opinion pretty much takes apart Kavanaugh’s in every way. And make no mistake, this is an important issue, for the simple reason that it is difficult for a private individual to take on the FBI or CIA on his own. And the people who file these cases are usually not those of extreme wealth (e.g. the late Harold Weisberg). This is what keeps the scales a bit more even and what helps secure an open government. But once one gets a judge like Leon, who defers to the judgment of the CIA, and one like Kavanaugh, who saw his future beckoning, past precedents were forgotten. Henderson’s dissent is very much worth reading.

Buy the Book:

Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation, by Jefferson Morley

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