Tags: Castro-Cuba | JFK | Records | NSA

Remaining JFK Records Could Prove Controversial to Nation's Spy Agencies

By    |   Monday, 25 May 2015 10:14 AM

The remaining records concerning the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy are to be made public by October 2017, by law, but the release of those records is not guaranteed and may not happen if agencies such as the CIA and FBI appeal to the then-sitting president.

"We have sent letters to agencies letting them know we have records here that were withheld," Martha Murphy, head of the National Archives' Special Access Branch, told Politico. While no agencies have requested a waiver quite yet, some have "gotten back to ask for clarification" while seeking more information.

The JFK Records Act of 1992 mandated that the files be made public in 25 years, while allowing agencies to make an appeal, and some scholars, JFK conspiracy theorists, and researchers believe the records never will surface if the appeals are made.

The records are said to include details about the inner workings of the CIA's foreign assassination team, as well as the role of late CIA officer David Atlee Phillips, who was accused of committing perjury when asked about his agency's ties with Oswald by the House Select Committee on Assassinations and late in life blamed the death of JFK on "rogue" CIA officers.

Murphy said the National Archives wants to do all it can to make the records open and available to the public "and that is my only goal. there are limits to my powers and the president of the United States has the right to say something needs to be held for longer."

There are many questions still disputed, including whether assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who defected to Russia in 1959, acted alone, as the Warren Commission ruled, and if U.S. officials knew about the plot.

The documents will "provide a beautiful snapshot of Cold War America and the intelligence community," said Murphy, who has reviewed some of the secret paperwork.

Most of the documents have been made made public, but 3,600 have been "withheld in full" primarily because of information that was considered security classified. Murphy said there is also personal privacy, tax, and grand jury information and because some of the documents reveal "the identity of an unclassified confidential source."

The largest share of the unreleased documents include 1,100 involving the CIA, with the second-largest part involving the FBI, Murphy said. The other documents include Warren Commission documents and information from the House Committee on Assassinations, which investigated the JFK killing during the 1970s and ruled it was part of a conspiracy.

Some the documents though, involved controversial figures, including E. Howard Hunt, who ran the group that broke into the Watergate Hotel in 1972 and who led the CIA's botched Bay of Pigs invasion 10 years earlier. Hunt claimed, just before his death in 2007, that he knew of a plot by CIA affiliates to murder Kennedy.

The archivists are also researching some 606 pages about Phillips, who played a role in activities against Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro.

But researchers don't see records being released on Phillips.

"It may have nothing to do with JFK but about other assassinations," said Kennedy researcher and founder of JFKfacts.org, who has sued the CIA for more information. "They still don't want to open that window and let everyone look in. I expect the worst."

The withheld files also include 2,224 pages about the CIA's investigation of Soviet KGB officer Yuri Nosenko, who defected to the United States after the JFK assassination and said he saw KGB files on Oswald.

The paperwork also includes depositions made before the Church Committee, including testimony on plots to assassinate Castro.

"The principal question we were trying to pursue was who ordered the assassination of Castro and five other leaders around the world — was it the president or the attorney general?" Former Sen. Gary Hart, a member of the Church Committee.

The records being processed by the National Archives include files that were "heavily redacted" while being released over the years, said Murphy, including the CIA's history of its Mexico City station, which Hunt opened in 1950.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the agency is working with the National Archives, but would not comment on circumstances that would lead the CIA to seek a waiver.

Murphy said she is hesitant to say the documents won't reveal new information about the assassination itself, but still, she wants the agencies that are being consulted to decide what they want.

"We want this to go as smoothly as possible," she said. "We don't want them to wait until the last minute. It is our interest to know the status of the records as soon as possible because we are going to begin scanning them."

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The remaining records concerning the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy are to be made public by October 2017, by law, but the release of those records is not guaranteed and may not happen if agencies such as the CIA and FBI appeal to the then-sitting...
JFK, Records, NSA
Monday, 25 May 2015 10:14 AM
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