U.S. Attorney walks back a JFK story

U.S Attorney Ron Machen changes the government’s story.

Why would the U.S. government change its story about the actions of an undercover CIA officer involved in the events that led to the assassination of President Kennedy?

That’s the question raised by the latest court filing by U.S. Attorney Ron Machen in the case of Morley v. CIA.

In November, I reported that Machen had disputed my claim that two CIA records showed that Joannides had traveled to New Orleans in April and May 1964. He asserted that the undercover CIA man had merely maintained a residence there.

“New Orleans is clearly listed as Joannides’ place of residence when on home leave, and the form does not put him in New Orleans on the dates cited by Plaintiff,” Machen stated in a Nov. 11 sworn court filing.(See p. 14)

George Joannides, chief of CIA covert operations in Miami in 1963, also had a residence in New Orleans.

As I reported Joannides and his family actually lived in Miami in 1962-64; his address was listed in the 1963 Miami phone book.

Three weeks later, Machen changed the government’s story. In opposing the introduction of Judge Tunheim’s remarks about the CIA’s “inaccurate representations” about Joannides into the court record, Machen denied that Joannides had lived in New Orleans.

He stated:

“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 p. 2.)

In sum, the government’s position now is that Joannides maintained a home residence in New Orleans but did not travel or live there.

What’s going on here?

Machen’s first statement would seem to be the more accurate one. Here’s the relevant portion of the “home residence” record, dated April 1, 1964.

The question is why Machen is now denying under oath what he once asserted under oath: that Joannides had a residence in New Orleans?

I don’t know. Only the U.S. Attorney can answer that question.

Both of Machen’s statements cannot be correct. One of the statements has to be inaccurate. You could say that the chief law enforcement officer in the nation’s capital has apparently made a false statement, under oath, about a CIA officer involved in the JFK assassination story.

The presence of CIA undercover operations officers in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 remains a highly sensitive issue for the U.S. government, even a half century after the fact.




CIA admits undercover officer lived in New Orleans (Nov. 11, 2013)

 5 Decades Later Some JFK FIles Still Sealed (Associated Press, Aus. 18. 2013)

Justice Dept. denies CIA officer was honored for coverup (JFK Facts,Dec. 17, 2012)

Court uphold public benefit of disclsoure about CIA officer in JFK story (JFK Facts, June 19, 2013)

CIA Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery (New York Times, October 17, 2009)

Morley v. CIA: Why I sued the CIA for JFK assassination records (JFK Facts, Feb. 23, 2013)


16 thoughts on “U.S. Attorney walks back a JFK story”

  1. the government also said that Morley’s statements are “are unsupported and inaccurate”. How does one support the claims if the government is hiding the documents?

    Moreover, the paper claims that “all of the JFK assassination-related records provided to Morley are located in the publicly available collection at NARA.” Gee- if they were available, why would Jeff be incurring legal fees to review them…

  2. Obviously none of the above posters have ever been in the service. Legal residence in Federal Service has nothing to do with where you actually live. While serving in the Armed Forces my legal residence was Florida- even my license plates had “DMV” , not a specific county- because while it was my state of residence I did not physically live in the state . Any veteran knows the difference.
    Jeff, where is the evidence that Joannides was ever physically in New Orleans during the period mentioned? Apparently none. Did you know that thousands of American Federal workers are legal residents of states where they do not live, do not own property, or even visit?
    The ” home residence” listing means absolutely nothing as to Joannides whereabouts from 1962 to 1964.

    1. But why did Machen change his story, Photon? And if Joannides is so innocent, why all the game playing shenanigans and secrecy surrounding his files?

      1. I don’t believe that he changed his story. Jeff has assumed that ” home residence” means that Joannides MUST have gone to New Orleans during the period mentioned. As I stated the “home residence” might have nothing to do with where Joannides actually was; we know that he and his family were living hundreds of miles away at the time. In general the significance of “home residence” is as an address that the Federal government will ship your belongings to upon separation from Federal employment.
        Despite Jeff’s assumption, there is no physical evidence whatsoever that Joannides was anywhere near New Orleans during the time Jeff claims he was.

    2. Photon,

      I was in the army and, as you say, had a home or legal residence that was a fiction for all practical purposes. It was a fiction (my mother’s house) because I had no residence apart from where I was living in the army. The CIA is not the army. Please tell us, if you can, exactly how the army and the CIA are alike or different in terms of home or legal residence for a CIA officer who is assigned here and there.

      1. Actually for CIA people it can get REALLY WEIRD. CIA has infiltrated the military, as Fletcher Prouty wrote about in his 1960 classic, “The Secret Team.” Some agents use their parents’ address, as Valerie Plame wrote in her book. People I knew who just worked in offices (in Langley and in the old barracks in D.C. (when those WW2 buildings were still standing on the Mall) just had home addresses. One kid I knew whose dad was CIA didn’t even tell his children who he really worked for. He had a cover job which my friend assumed his dad had, until dad spilled the beans when the son was 21. Anyway, the CIA is not monolithic, is in places you wouldn’t expect it to be: academia, private industry, the military, and of course the State Dept. and countless other agencies, as Phillip Agee has documented. So addresses can be real or bogus. It’s not a one-size-fits-all determination.

        1. Doesn’t your post completely destroy Jeff’s assumption that his ” home residence” has any real significance?

          1. Yes. And it’s weird that the official, Machen, went to such an effort to change his story.

            It’s more important to establish where Joannides and others were in the organization and as to activities prior to the assassination. That is why the files should be released.

  3. Thomas Joseph

    I suppose to an agency that has its own air force & routinely targets victims globally with drone attacks simple lying is the least of its concerns. They can pull off what average citizens cannot. The more that agency tries to hide what George Joannides was all about the more of a mystique it builds about him. The special award he was given after his HSCA shenanigans indicates he wasn’t simple rank & file; to the people running the show he was special. What he was so special about is why the CIA if fighting you tooth & nail, Jeff. Stay on it!

  4. Jonathon,

    anything a lawyer puts into a brief is essentially, but not actually under oath. what I mean to say is that an attorney’s signature on a pleading is, by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of civil Procedure, a certification by the person signing, that the facts stated therein are supported by evidence and true to the best of the attorney’s knowledge. You can’t be brought to trial for perjury, but you can be disbarred if you lie in a brief.

  5. Machen:

    “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 p. 2.)”

    Jeff, I’m not second-guessing you or your lawyer, but if I were in your shoes, I’d demand in court that Machen produce admissible evidence to back up his claim that your claims “are false and inaccurate.”

    Machen has gone out on a limb here by making assertions of fact. No reasonable judge is going to accept and weigh such assertions absent presentation of supporting evidence subject to cross-exam. I’d say Machen has played a losing card.

  6. Could this action be a last attempt by officials to prevent the entire “CIA wasn’t involved in JFK’s assassination” house of cards from collapsing in a scandalous mess? Stay tuned…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top