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.