In 2003 I sued the Central Intelligence Agency with the help of Washington D.C. attorney James Lesar. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), We sought public release of the files of a deceased undercover officer who was involved in the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
In the new Kindle ebook, Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation, I tell the story of the epic 16-year legal saga that followed. It’s a brisk read, funny, disturbing and revealing about where the rest of the JFK assassination story is hidden: in the CIA’s archives.
The hero of the story is Lesar, a dogged litigator taking on high-powered Justice Department lawyers. The villain is a judge named Brett Kavanaugh.
On the second day of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the Supreme Court nominee’s legal record is under close scrutiny. While far from is most important ruling, his last signed opinion as an appellate court judge provides a window into his judicial philosophy.
In a split decision on July 9, Kavanaugh’s vote decided my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for certain JFK assassination files. As fellow judge Karen Henderson pointed out in a stinging dissent, the majority decision ignored precedent and invented mandate.
Substantively, Kavanaugh’s decision undermined a key feature of FOIA law and strengthened the CIA and other agencies that want to keep embarrassing secrets out of the public record–even when they are more than 50 years old. That’s why I’m appealing the decision.
The last opinion signed by Brett Kavanaugh before his nomination to the Supreme Court dealt a blow to a key provision of the Freedom of Information Action: compensation for successful litigant.
On July 9, Kavanaugh joined a 2-1 majority decision inMorley v. CIAthat held that the government did not have to pay my court costs because the CIA had acted reasonably and there was no benefit to the information obtained.
In a powerful dissent, Judge Karen Henderson rebuked Kavanaugh and Judge Gregory Katsas for ignoring precedent and inventing mandate.
“Although I support Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, I am greatly dismayed that he played this role denying Jeff Morley’s suit. The real culprit, as we all must admit, is the CIA itself which has been relentless in their perpetration of the coverup for over half a century. Judge Henderson’s well-reasoned dissent in this case puts me at odds with Kavanaugh on this most important historic subject.”