Saturday, June 14, 2008

CIA Response On Joannides Delayed Again


Back in April, journalist Jefferson Morley reported that the CIA refused to cough up any records related to the secret operations of deceased undercover officer George Joannides in response to Morley’s lawsuit to secure such records.

A three-judge appellate court panel ruled in December 2007 that the agency had to search its files for records of Joannides' secret operations in 1963, when he served undercover in Miami running "psychological warfare" operations against the government of Fidel Castro. The court also ordered the CIA to explain why 17 reports on Joannides' secret operations in 1962-1964 are missing from the National Archives by April 30, 2008.

In the April hearing before Judge Richard Leon, the CIA provided no written explanation of its actions despite the earlier court order. Afterwords, agency attorney John Truong claimed orally that a search of files on Joannides operations found no records responsive to Morley’s 2003 Freedom of Information Act request.

Judge Leon ordered the CIA to explain its actions in writing to the court by June 11, 2008.

At a hearing last Wednesday, June 11, the CIA asked the court to extend the deadline for their respond. Mr. Morley and his counsel Jim Lesar did not oppose the motion for extension, which was then granted by Judge Leon.

The CIA now has until July 2, 2008 to respond in writing to the appellate court's 2007 ruling.

Meanwhile, a group of independent assassination researchers organized by New York attorney Charles J. Sanders have sent a joint letter to Congressman Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking the representative to establish oversight hearings regarding implementation and enforcement of the JFK Records Act.

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