The latest legal brief in Morley v. CIA

Joannides medal
Retired CIA officer George Joannides (left) received the Career Intelligence Medal in 1981, two years after misleading House investigators about what he knew about Lee Oswald. (Photo credit: CIA)

Here’s the latest legal brief that I have filed in my Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking long secret CIA records relevant to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The brief, written by my attorney Jim Lesar, challenges the CIA’s contention that the disclosures forced by Morley v. CIA have no “public benefit.” Understandably worried about the agency’s credibility on the JFK story, the CIA’s lawyers are essentially arguing that the lawsuit is frivolous.

The CIA’s problem is that more than 30 news organizations worldwide disagree. New sites ranging  from New York Times to the Dallas Morning News to the Huffington Post to the UK’s Daily Mail covered the lawsuit and the resulting disclosures.

In fact the lawsuit forced the CIA to disclose a series of facts about the JFK story that were previously unknown.

1) The documents I obtained via litigation showed that undercover CIA officer George Joannides received a medal, in part for his work as the case officer for the Cuban Student Directorate in 1963. The group, funded by Joannides, published the first JFK conspiracy theory within 48 hours of President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.

In ruling in favor of the CIA last year, Judge Richard Leon stated that  the citation for the medal didn’t necessarily refer to Joannides’ service in Miami in 1962-64 or to his assignment as liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.

As Lesar points out:

“This ignores the language of the citation itself, which praises Joannides for his performance of ‘diverse assignments of increasing responsibility at Headquarters, the domestic field and overseas.’… The District Court does not dispute that Joannides’ service in Miami in 1962-64 was his only assignment in the “domestic field,” and that Joannides liaison duties with the House Select Committee on Assassinations were the culmination of his responsibilities at Headquarters.” (p. 17)

So the language of the citation clearly refers to Joannides’ actions in 1963 and in 1978 when he covered up material facts in the death of the president. He was honored for those actions.

2) The lawsuit forced the CIA to make public a photograph of Joannides receiving the medal in 1981.  The editors of the Times, the Daily Mail and at least six other news sites published the photo, which had never been seen before.

3) The lawsuit forced a government attorney to acknowledge, under oath, that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans in 1962-64, at the very time members of the Cuban Student Directorate had a series of encounters with accused assassin Lee Oswald.

The CIA says that Joannides’ New Orleans residence has only a “tenuous” connection to the JFK story. At the same time the agency’s lawyers  argue all  information about Joannides’s work in New Orleans must be withheld from public view for reasons of “national security.”

The District Court ruling is expected later this year or early next year.








13 thoughts on “The latest legal brief in Morley v. CIA”

  1. Joannides residence in New Orleans also coincides with Carlos Bringuier’s Warren Commission testimony April 7-8, 1964, (WC10H32)as well as Orestes Peña’s on July 7, 1964(WC11H346), both taken by Wesley Liebeler.

  2. Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, the CIA man in that photo with Joannides and the former head of the NSA and I think the former head of Naval Intelligence too, told me in a 2009 interview that he would go to his grave thinking that Fidel Castro killed JFK.

    This year in Sept at the LBJ Library’s CIA event, I asked Inman and the CIA panel if anyone them thought that Lyndon Johnson or the CIA murdered JFK.

    Inman was the first to respond, as he denied both propositions, and then he ended by saying we should examine any other connections Oswald may have had, as he Inman implied the possibility of a broader conspiracy in the JFK assassination. Again, I think he was referring to Castro.

    Former CIA chief and Bush family associate Porter Goss then responded by saying that Bill O’Reilly’s book is the final word on the JFK assassination.

    1. Lyndon Johnson has been dead for over four decades; simplistically, if he was the force behind the assassination why wouldn’t the CIA be willing to ‘pin it on him’ for lack of a better term?

      I assumed the question posed here is why the CIA argues that releasing the files in question continues to pose a national security threat. Is it methods they are worried about? Surely methods have advanced since 1963 even if the agenda hasn’t. So doesn’t that leave us with human intelligence and ongoing operations? From there isn’t it logical to search for the living and / or operations related to the living to determine what or who continues to be threatened by revelation of files from the ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s? I named Bobby Inman as one such individual who might fall into the category considering his lead director role with a highly controversial private defence contractor in the Middle East. Obviously George H.W. Bush (and descendants) is another. How many others and/or their families might fall into this category?

      However, if the current keepers of the keys to CIA files are arguing nothing other than the reputation of the United States as the paragon of democracy must be protected at all costs, I think the world is ready for a bit of humility from America. Revealing the conspiracy would be a start.

      1. Why wouldn’t CIA folk be willing to pin the JFK assassination on LBJ? E. Howard Hunt sure did, but he was doing so in confidence with his son Saint John Hunt. But the real reason CIA men can’t adequately talk JFK assassination truth is because Lyndon Johnson led and micromanaged a US intelligence/military intelligence operation to murder the sitting president.

        That is embarrassing to admit.

  3. “Continuity of a Coup d’Etat”

    Lacing on one’s shadow boxing gloves because this legal challenge cannot be considered a legitimate match, can we pursue precisely who or what the CIA believes might pose a national security threat in the pursuit of the investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy. For example, Bobby Ray Inman is still living, Inman awarded Joannides a medal of honour in the midst of the HSCA investigation; does anyone other than the CIA think Inman might not be a symbol of continuity?

    “Retired Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, 79, who’s legendary intelligence career includes serving as the vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, director of the National Security Agency, and most recently as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will lead the board of directors for Xe Services, formerly Blackwater USA.”

  4. I believe the time has come for the CIA to release all information on the JFK assassination But, why does the CIA continue to hold on to information which has no meaning unless they are protecting officers involved with foreign assassination plots. Time to put out all facts on JFK assassination and let the public see the whole truth about how our government operated their foreign policy and used the Mob to do their work. Peter Russo October 5, 2015

  5. Jeff, for what it’s worth, I have appeared before Judge Leon several times. I have found him to be fair, honest and willing to step outside the box in needed. I would not prefer any other judge on that court, except perhaps Ricky Roberts.

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