News Archive - Feb 2007
Open Letter to Archivist Published
Feb 21, 2007: An open letter to US Archivist Allen Weinstein has been published in the New York Review of Books, regarding the dismissal of Jeff Morley's FOIA lawsuit for records pertaining to CIA records on George Joannides (see Unredacted Episode 2, an interview with Jeff Morley and Jim lesar, for more information on the Joannides story). The letter was signed by 21 persons including authors, experts, and former investigators, among them the Mary Ferrell's Rex Bradford. The text of the letter follows:
To the Editors:
The following open letter has been sent to Allen Weinstein, archivist of the United States and head of the National Archives and Records Administration, regarding the recent dismissal of my lawsuit to gain access to the records of a CIA officer that are believed to be relevant to John F. Kennedy's assassination. According to a 1992 law, the government is required to declassify records relating to the assassination.*
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Dear Mr. Weinstein,
We the undersigned are published authors on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and former members of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). We call on you to resolve doubts about whether the JFK Records Act of 1992 is being enforced. Those doubts are raised by Judge Richard Leon's September 29, 2006, dismissal of the lawsuit seeking release of records about deceased CIA officer George Joannides.
At issue are the records Joannides generated in 1963 when he served as the chief of the Psychological Warfare branch of the CIA's Miami station. We called for release of these records in letters published here in August 2005 and December 2003. Judge Leon's ruling ignores the consensus that the material is relevant to the historical record of Kennedy's assassination.
Judge Leon's decision serves to hide from public view government records that would shed light on what a decorated CIA officer learned of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before Kennedy was killed and why that same officer concealed what he knew from Congress in 1978.
We urge you to take action to reverse the corrosive effects of this decision.
The agency's position, upheld by the courts, is that it will not search the Joannides files for JFK records. This obtuse posture is inconsistent with the law, which mandates immediate review and release of all JFK records.
We request that the Archives designate an independent expert to review the CIA's operational files on Joannides. Any JFK-related material should be declassified with the exception of living sources and genuinely sensitive national security information.
With its unanimous approval of the 1992 JFK Records Act, Congress sent a message that the American people want full disclosure on this key event. That is the imperative and we urge you to act on it.
G. Robert Blakey, former counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA)
Jefferson Morley, journalist
Anna Nelson, former member, Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB)
Jeremy Gunn, former counsel, ARRB
Gary Cornwell, former deputy counsel, HSCA
Scott Armstrong, founder, National Security Archive
Rex Bradford, senior analyst, Mary Ferrell Foundation
Vincent Bugliosi, former LA District Attorney
Don DeLillo, novelist, Libra
Paul Hoch, JFK researcher
David Kaiser, historian, Williams College
Michael Kurtz, historian, author, The JFK Assassination Debates
James Lesar, attorney
John Newman, historian, University of Maryland
Gerald Posner, author, Case Closed
Anthony Summers, coauthor, Not in Your Lifetime
Oliver Stone, director, JFK
Robbyn Swan, coauthor, Not in Your Lifetime
David Talbot, founder, Salon.com
Gordon Winslow, retired archivist for the Clerk of Court, Dade County, Florida
David Wrone, historian, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
New Film of JFK Motorcade
Feb 20, 2007: A newly discovered home movie shows Kennedy's motorcade on Main Street in Dallas roughly 90 seconds before the assassination in Dealey Plaza. The film was donated to the Sixth Floor Museum by amateur photographer George Jefferies and his son-in-law, Wayne Graham. The film also shows some brief footage of the Texas School Book Depository building after the shooting.
David Ferrie's Plane Located
Feb 19, 2007: David Ferrie's Stinson Voyager airplane has been located, according to a story in the Noblesville Indiana Daily Times. Researcher Steven Roy located the plane's current owner, Don Roberts, and found that Roberts' plane was indeed marked with aircraft number 8293K. Ferrie, who figures in many accounts of the JFK assassination, owned the plane from 1947 to 1967, which spans the time both he and Lee Oswald were involved in the Civil Air Patrol.
Changes to Freedom of Information Act Discussed
Feb 15, 2007: National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs (pictured at left) told the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives yesterday that changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) were needed to overcome lengthy delays in the current process, and to avoid the imposition of unnecessary fees on requesters. The National Security Archive also reported on its website details of a recent CIA proposal which was "likely to discourage FOIA requesters while imposing new administrative burdens both on the Agency and the public."