Two documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and published for the first time today further underline how closely the intelligence community has held information related to Cuba’s potential role in the killing, indicating that the NSA for decades has kept secret its efforts to monitor Cuban agents’ communications in the aftermath of the event.
Emails show that that the NSA is refusing to entertain requests from private citizens about whether the agency stored their metadata, the excellent Jason Leopold reports in The Guardian.
“The emails provide a rare look inside the development of a ‘neither confirm nor deny policy,’ known as a ‘Glomar response,’ and the back-and-forth discussions that took place at the highest levels of the agency,” Leopold writes.
JFK and the ‘Glomar response’
The CIA used the “Glomar response” to fend off my lawsuit for records related to the secret operations run by deceased CIA officer George Joannides in Miami and New Orleans in 1963-64. In court filings, agency officers would neither confirm nor deny that Joannides participated in any particular operation, acknowledging only that he worked undercover in the Miami station in 1962-64.
This form of artful dodgery can make it hard for the U.S. government to keep track of its story.
Last November 11, Ron Machen, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, submitted a sworn statement in federal court asserting that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans during his 1963-64 assignment to the Miami station. Referring to a document that the lawsuit forced the CIA to disclose, Machen wrote: “New Orleans is clearly listed as Joannides’ place of residence when on home leave.”
What Machen didn’t know — and what I immediately pointed out in a post for JFK Facts — is that Joannides’s family lived in Miami at the time, raising questions the CIA really, really, really does not want to answer:
Why did Joannides maintain a residence in New Orleans in 1963-64?
Was he running an operation involving pro-Castro activist Lee Harvey Oswald and members of the Cuban Student Directorate, an anti-Castro organization that Joannides funded with CIA money?
Never mind. Three weeks later, in another sworn declaration to Judge Richard Leon, Machen tried to retract his admission that Joannides had lived in New Orleans.
“Morley’s claims of … purported new information that Joannides ‘traveled to’ or ‘lived’ in New Orleans during which time he ‘monitored’ Oswald are false and inaccurate,” he stated in a Dec. 3 court filing (see page 2).
So, if both of Machen’s sworn statements are true, Joannides had a place of residence in New Orleans — yet never traveled or lived there.
How Joannides managed that feat of espionage remains unknown.
Confused? You’ve been Glomared!
By the way, the term “Glomar” refers to the Glomar Explorer, a secret unmanned submarine that the CIA used to try to recover a Soviet submarine that sank in the Pacific Ocean in the 1970s. Not wanting to let the Soviets know about the unique underwater craft, the agency chose to neither confirm nor deny its existence, thus giving birth to the “Glomar response.”
“Despite heavy competition, Clapper’s ‘No, sir’ lie to Senator Ron Wyden’s question: ‘Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?’ sealed his receipt of the dubious achievement award, which cites the vastly excessive secrecy of the entire U.S. surveillance establishment.”
“We hear a lot reasons why things can’t be made public, that the NSA needs to surveil to stop people from attacking America. We hear a lot of explanations like that. What if we took all that secrecy away from the Kennedy assassination. What would we see?”
Last week’s post about the possibility of NSA targeting JFK Web sites for “cognitive infiltration”–and the NSA’s refusal to respond to questioning–was the most popular story of the week, followed closely by Rick Bauer’s recollections of his friend David Ferrie.
Gail Raven’s ever-popular recollections about her friend Jack Ruby fell to third place.
JFK Facts is the only website that defends the free speech rights of people interested in JFK’s assassination by asking the necessary questions about possible interference by the online covert operations of the NSA.
Judge Richard Leon, now famous for ruling that the NSA’s mass surveillance program is probably unconstitutional, is now considering the final issue in the Morley v. CIA: whether the government has to pay my court costs for 10 years of litigation.
A three-judge panel on the DC Court of Appeals ruled last June that Leon had erred in his September 2012 decision that the government did not have to pay court costs. The appellate court remanded the case to Leon and instructed him to apply a four-part test of the “public benefit” of the material released.
This one from Jeffrey Mason in Waldorf, Maryland. Formerly a researcher at the Center for Defense Information in Washington, Mason writes in SoMdNews.com
“The American people need to push Eric Holder, Barack Obama and the Congress to push for public release of these records that already are scheduled to be revealed in 2017 but might be delayed yet again unless we act now.”