Tuesday, June 12, 2012

National Archives to Keep JFK Secrets until 2017

The National Archives (NARA) today turned down the request of a Washington non-profit public interest group to declassify secret records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in time for the 50th anniversary of that tragic event in 2013.

The request for release of the secret documents was made by the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), a Washington, D.C. non-profit public interest group in a letter signed by several of its board members and attorneys Mark Zaid, Charles Sanders and Prof G Robert Blakey, who served as the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

The letter made the point that the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination in 2013 will result in widespread discussion and news coverage, and that government documents related to the assassination should be made public in order for a fully informed discussion.

Here is the complete text of the response from the National Archives in a letter from NARA General Counsel Gary M. Stern to Assassination Archives and Research Center President Jim Lesar:

“I write in response to the letter of January 20, 2012, from you and five colleagues to David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, requesting that the National Archives and Records Administration review the remaining classified documents that were ‘postponed’ from public disclosure in accordance with the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 in time for the 50th anniversary of the assassination in November 2013.

“We share your passion and commitment to providing access to JFK assassination records as quickly as possible. As your letter recounts, the JFK Act established a rigorous process for declassification review and release that was administered by the Assassination Records Review Board until 1998. For any assassination records that were not released by the ARRB, subsequent release could be postponed until a date certain not to exceed 25 years from the enactment of the JFK Act, i.e., no later than 2017.

“The JFK Act Collection consists of a total of approximately 5 million pages, and less than 1% of the documents in the Collection are ‘postponed in full’ until 2017. I note that your letter states that in 2010, Assistant Archivist ‘Michael Kurtz revealed that the CIA continues to withhold approximately 50,000 pages of JFK assassination-related records.’ I would like to clarify that NARA has never counted, and thus does not know, the actual number of pages that are postponed in full. Dr. Kurtz accurately stated that ‘less than one percent’ of the total volume of assassination records was still being withheld; he also provided our rough estimate that the collection totals approximately five million pages. Thus, it appears that the 50,000 page number in your letter may have been derived by incorrectly calculating a full one percent of five million pages. All we do know is that the CIA withheld in full a total of 1,171 documents as national security classified (there is a small number of other agency documents also postponed in full, principally for law enforcement).

“Your letter asks NARA to submit these remaining 1,171 documents ‘currently withheld by the CIA’ for declassification review as part of the National Declassification Center's (NDC) project to complete the declassification of the ‘400 million page backlog’ identified in the President's December 29, 2009, Memorandum Implementing Executive Order 13526, by December 31, 2013. We recognize that, in a 2010 public forum. Dr. Kurtz stated that the postponed JFK assassination records would be included as part of the NDC project. However, as we have tried to explain before. Dr. Kurtz misspoke. Rather, because the postponed JFK assassination records have already been subject to a full and complete government-wide declassification review, they are not part of the 400 million page backlog of records that have yet to receive a final review.

“Because of the mandated December 31, 2013 deadline for our review and processing of the extremely large set of backlogged records, the NDC must target its efforts exclusively on records contained within that backlog. In addition, because we are limited in the resources we can assign to these special reviews, we try to balance historical impact, public interest, and extent of other government agency involvement in order to manage government-wide declassification resource constraints as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“As you know, the JFK Act authorized unprecedented powers for the ARRB, including the ability to overturn an agency decision on declassification, with the President as the only appeal authority. Although agencies did appeal ARRB decisions, President Clinton did not overturn any access determinations on appeal. The power wielded by the ARRB meant that more records were declassified and made available under the JFK Act than would have been released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or any currently applicable review provision of the prior or current Executive Order on Classified National Security Information.

“As previously mentioned, the 1,171 remaining postponed documents will be released in 2017, unless the President personally certifies on a document by document basis that continued postponement is necessary and that the harm from disclosure is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Moreover, as you point out, the JFK Act clearly intended for periodic releases prior to the 2017 date. To date all of the periodic release dates have been met, including in 2006, when the CIA made preemptory releases of all documents that were postponed from release until 2010. Thus, the only documents in the Collection that are still withheld in full for classification reasons are the 1,171 CIA documents that the ARRB agreed should not be released until 2017.

“We recognize that the remaining records are of high public interest and historical value, and we appreciate your stated desire not to have to wait five more years to obtain access to these records. Given this public interest, we have been consulting with the CIA to see if it would be possible to review and release any of these remaining documents in time for the 50"^ anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination in 2013. Although the CIA shares NARA's interest in wanting to be responsive to your request, they have concluded there are substantial logistical requirements that must take place prior to the release of these remaining records and there is simply not sufficient time or resources to complete these tasks prior to 2017. Accordingly, we will not be able to accommodate your request.

“Thank you for your interest in this matter. Please share this letter with the co-signatories to your letter, and let me know if you have any questions.” [END]


Anonymous said...

"“As previously mentioned, the 1,171 remaining postponed documents will be released in 2017, unless the President personally certifies on a document by document basis that continued postponement is necessary and that the harm from disclosure is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure. "


Andrew Gross said...

Cover up continues

50+years later!

Dale K. Myers said...

Cover up???? Get real. Millions upon millions of pages have been released to the public. Less than 1% remain classified for legal reasons. The notion that the 1,171 postponed documents will overturn that which we already know to be true based on the millions of pages of documents that have been released is absurd.

Steve said...


You assert that the withheld documents will not change what we know from other documents.

Without seeing the documents, what is your evidence for saying that?

The CIA claims logistical reasons, not "legal reasons", prevent the documents release.

Do you really believe that the CIA can't process 1100 pages before 2017 based on logistics?

Now that notion is absurd.

- Steve

Dale K. Myers said...

What I clearly asserted in an above response to another poster was: "The notion that the 1,171 postponed documents will overturn that which we already know to be true based on the millions of pages of documents that have been released is absurd." (emphasis added)

"...That which we already know to be true..."

Get it? If we already know something is true, then a subsequent document can only add detail to, or color that truth. It cannot offer a completely different "truth" that runs counter to that which is already known to be true.

As for the CIA's logistic reasons, the 1,171 pages in question have already been set for release by 2017. Attorney Jim Lesar and five colleagues sought to move the date up by five years - i.e., process the release 75% faster. The NARA and the CIA agreed this wasn't feasible.

Considering the speed at which the bureaucratic world works, this doesn't seem unreasonable to me. (Can anyone imagine going into the DMV and trying to get them to work 75% faster?) Perhaps your world experience is different.

Steve said...


Your point about the speed of bureacracy is well-taken.

However, we are talking CIA, not DMV. They have the resources to move much quicker.

The fact is, we don't know how those unreleased papers will inform our view.

They may add to, or negate prior information.

Many of the unreleased documents are files about individuals who, because of their areas of responsibility, may have known about a communist-agitating security risk like Oswald.

Such persons like Birch D. O'Neil and Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Egerter of James Angleton's CI/SIG, who controlled the Oswald file.

Or George Joannides, the handler for the DRE group.

Or David Atlee Phillips, who the Agency now admits was Maurice Bishop (see Daily Beast article by Glenn E. Carle, June 2012).

Or David Sanchez Morales, CIA covert operator who admitted involvement in killing JFK to his lawyer and best friend. [Gaeton Fonzi was hot on Morales's trail, and Phillips threw him off].

Or Thomas Arthur Vallee, a gun-toting former Marine caught threatening JFK in Chicago 3 weeks before Dallas, just as a Cuban sniper team was rolled up then lost.

All of these individuals have unreleased files. The release of these documents may completely change what we know about Oswald's connections, or they may not inform us at all.

It's really premature to say definitively either

However, they should be released with all due haste. Not in 2017.

Dale K. Myers said...

"...we are talking CIA, not DMV. They have the resources to move much quicker..." Thanks for the laugh.

I agree on waiting to see what the docs actually say before making further comment, but in the meantime, try not to get sucked into conspiracy speak (i.e., "...who the Agency now admits was Maurice Bishop..." - actually, Glenn E. Carle, a former CIA employee made the claim, not the CIA).

Steve said...


That is a fair point you make that Carle is a former employee.

In my opinion, he wouldn't make that statement without approval, nor is it "conspiracy speak" to believe so.

Why? Because Agency rules require all that publications by former employees be subject to review and approval.

Dale K. Myers said...

Glenn E. Carle, a former CIA employee, was writing a review of another former employees book. It was Carle who commented on the identity of Bishop, not former CIA analyst Brian Lattell, whose book Carle was reviewing.

I think we can agree that your previous post ("...the Agency now admits...") was misleading at best. The last post ("...Agency rules require all that publications...") is a bit of a stretch to include every word ever uttered in print (i.e., a book review) by a former employee. Did Carle reveal too much in his review of Lattell's work? Who knows. I for one prefer to wait for the document release in 2017.

Steve said...


I was "misleading at best"? How about "at worst"?

Unfortunately for your argument, it is not a stretch to say "all publications" are reviewed and approved by CIA, including book reviews like Glenn E. Carle's where he said David Atlee Phillips was Maurice Bishop.

Please see the following article on the Agency's website:


Paragraph three states that book reviews by former employees - such as Glenn E. Carle - are reviewed and approved before they are published by the CIA's Publication Review Board.

Now, that doesn't mean that the PRB knew who Maurice Bishop was, or the significance of that pseudonym to the JFK case.

As you noted, Carle may or may not have revealed too much.

However, what is undisputed is that his novel revelation that Phillips was Bishop was reviewed and approved by the CIA.

As an aside, why are you content to wait until 2017 for new information, given your continuing studies in this are?

Correction: In my last post, I meant to write "that all publications", not "all that publications".

- Steve

Dale K. Myers said...

Let's cut to the chase: You're right - the CIA does review book reviews written by former employees in order to hold them to their "contractual obligation--to protect sources and methods of collection and analysis." However, you are wrong, as I stated at the onset of this sidebar on Maurice Bishop, that the CIA had "admitted" that David Atlee Phillips had used Maurice Bishop as a pseudonym based on Glenn E. Carle's review of the Brian Lattell book. The CIA doesn't "admit" anything when approving or disapproving the writings of former employees. As paragraph 8 of your own citation on CIA rules and regs shows, "...Permission to publish cannot be denied solely because information may be embarrassing to CIA or critical of it, or inaccurate. People have a right to their opinions, and they have a right to be wrong. (emphasis added

In short, Glenn E. Carle has a right to say anything he wants - no matter whether what he says is right or wrong - so long as it doesn't conflict with his contractual obligations as a former CIA employee. The CIA takes no side and admits nothing. I pointed out that your claim that "the Agency now admits [that David Atlee Phillips] was Maurice Bishop" was what I call "conspiracy speak" - i.e., the desire by conspiracy theorists to ordain as fact that which is unsubstantiated or unproven. Your reference to the CIA Publication Review Board's rules and regs neither substantiates or proves your claim. In fact, it underscores the very point I was making - the CIA has "admitted" nothing.

As to my level of contentment regarding the release of 1,171 CIA documents before 2017, I would have preferred that everything had been laid bare for all the world to see fifty years ago. I realize, of course, that that's a rather naive position to take. The world turns slowly. Frankly, I'm grateful that we'll see them at all, thanks to the ARRB. I've waited this long; five additional years doesn't seem that long to me.

But even that said, I don't for a minute believe that whatever is released next year or five years from now will completely answer the burning questions about the issue of conspiracy. Everyone knows the real substantive information was never written down.

Anonymous said...

Well there are issues of conspiracy. There is another shooter, probably 2 more. The 1st shot was the que for the 2nd and 3rd. The initial percussion draws everyone's attention to turn away from the fatal frontal shots. Oswald may not have fired even one shot. When I see video of Oswald 45 years later, he just looks like an operator that was part of a plan gone wrong. Skull fragments will not project on the trunk of the car from a shot from the rear. JFK's head moves backward from a frontal shot, period. The Texas AG has enough evidence to open an unsolved murder in Dallas , Nov 22nd , 1963.

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous - If you had read the millions of pages that are already available, and have been available for the better part of 50 years, you would know that the basis for your conspiracy argument is false. Rather than wait for the 2017, why not take time to educate yourself? Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

More cover up...ok who is still alive that they are waiting to die so they can release the rest of the documents?
Read the book J Edgar Hoover, even he was totally corrupt as is most government institutions and cities etc...Not all the documents are released Dale....but there are still over 1000 that are not and I did do my research, they will not release those until 2017.

Anonymous said...

Is not any official ACT or Executive Order or postponment of release of these documents OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? Should not Justice prevail?

Dale K. Myers said...

No, postponing release is not an obstruction of justice - it's the law. Justice prevails when we follow the laws set down to protect the rights of citizens. Your right to know does not subvert other rights. The presumption in your question is that the documents being withheld are being withheld illegally - something you don't know to be true. If you have evidence to the contrary, file a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

And what happens in 2017 if the President determines "on a document by document basis" that release of this information might not be in the nations best interests?

There may be information that remains classified beyond 2017. At least that's how I would read this.


Dale K. Myers said...

That's correct. They could still postpone certain documents indefinitely.

BB said...

Does anyone know specifically who is being protected by with-holding the files until 2017?

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I'll be dead before the files are released.

Anonymous said...

Dallas police chief Jesse Curry had the advantage of seeing the limo for himself when it was parked outside Parkland hospital. He went to his grave thinking the evidence was there could have been another man. The blood splatter on the trunk if the limo was too splattery for it not to have been caused by gunfire apparently.

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous, Reality check time - Jesse Curry never at any time said that "the evidence was there could have been another man," as you claim in your post. He did tell reporters in the late 1970s that he never ruled out the idea of a second gunman; he simply never had proof anyone but Oswald killed Kennedy. And neither does anyone else.

Unknown said...

Please Dale it has been 51 years everyone who prob had something to do with it is dead or almost how can it harm any body. Release the dang files or better yet the government should just release the names of the killers because everyone knows oswald did not shoot alone or if any except for you.

Dale K. Myers said...

Debra - The CIA files aren't being withheld because they name the real killers. They are being withheld according to law to protect the identity of sources and methods. Apparently, you don't realize that these same files were examined by the ARRB in 1993 and deemed not to contain any "smoking gun." But what does that matter to the millions of people who know for "a fact" that Oswald didn't do anything? Thanks for the chuckle.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dale, you dreamer, if Oswald fired alone it's an open shut case. Oswald 3 shots lone nut that's it. Why is there thousands of classified docs that won't be released due to "national security"? There itself is a red flag. Surely we are not waiting 55 years to hear Oswald acted alone. Wake up n smell the roses head out of the clouds son.

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous - All of the documents in question were reviewed by the ARRB and deemed to have been withheld according to the law (i.e., they reveal sources and methods or identities of individuals questioned). There is no smoking gun. Get it?

Unknown said...

Too many unanswered questions to be cut an dry. Where is his brain? Why wasnt the autopsy done at Parkland as it was legally suppose to be? Why was a Dr. who never performed an autopsy be for selected to do his first on the leader of the free world? Why was the coffin that left Parkland not the same one that came off Air Force one? Why was the hole in the front of JFK's head masked by obvious cuts put there? You doubters are either offsprings of ostriches OR youre stupid as hell.

Dale K. Myers said...

Seriously, Robin? The questions you posed have been answered hundreds of times before. Try a basic Internet search next time. The answers are easy to find.

Anonymous said...

You are a disinformation asset or just gullible and believe anything that the government states. Why do you take to ridicule with anyone who states something that you don't agree with; or maybe that the government or specifically the CIA doesn't agree with? There are facts that the lone nut solution doesn't explain. And it doesn't matter how long supporters of the lone nut theory argue for it. Saying that it has been proven doesn't explain anything. I just ask a couple of question as an example; why was the parade route change shortly before Nov 22 to bring the motorcade right by the Texas School Book Depository Building? It is a fact that the Dallas Morning News published the route as running down Main St. and not Elm. How did Oswald know of the change if he was truly just a lone nut? Also how was Oswald viewed on the lunch room just before the motorcade was supposed to arrive, get upstairs to the sixth floor, set up and make 3 magnificent shots and then hide the gun after wiping it clean of prints and then race down stairs and not be out of breath before the officer confronted him? He also wasn't either seen nor heard by Sandra Styles nor Victoria Adams who went down the same stairs immediately after the shots. Also please don't just say this has been proven too; actually give an answer, if you can.

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous - I had to laugh at the irony of your unflattering post in which you assert that I am "...a disinformation asset or just gullible and believe anything that the government states..." followed by five questions that have been asked and answered hundreds of times in the past. Apparently you're better at barbs than doing a basic Internet search. I've got about thirty seconds I'm willing to devote to your questions so if you need more, you'll have to look elsewhere: (1) The parade route wasn't changed; (2) the exact route was published on Nov 19; (3) everyone at the TSBD knew the motorcade would pass the building by Friday morning; (4) Oswald had no alibi for the time of the shooting and even admitted being on one of the upper floors at the time the shots were fired during questioning Sunday morning, Nov.24; (5) Styles and Adams' testimony precludes that they headed down the staircase immediately after the shots (Styles says it was several minutes after). Next time, do your own homework.

Martin said...

You've been on this page for 3 years, how often do you check this site for one person to freak out at for believing something that most of the population believes. Stop complaining and start looking at the supporting details of these conspiracies. Sure some are crazy, for Pete's sake some people believed that the Vatican killed him and even more believed that aliens did it! But open your eyes and look, the government is holding out for everyone involved to be gone.

Dale K. Myers said...

I've been looking under every rock for the big conspiracy for nearly forty years, Martin, and have yet to find anything that amounted to a conspiracy to murder JFK. But, I'll keep looking.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your diligent and patiently stated answers Dale. Everything you have stated has either been backed by fact or an answer easily found by quick research, as opposed to unsubstantiated conspiracy.
Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for these documents to release. Love everything about this case.

I believe this was an inside job.

Jack said...

It's way pass time to put this five decades old fairytale to rest. Oswald made for an ideal scapegoat, but the truth of the matter is precisely why these records have been sealed in the first place.

Spiro said...

They kept the documents secret in order to see how the public reacts... They've kept them secret for this long so they can re-write them and give us the opposite of what us Americans think what happened that tragic day. No reason to keep them classified if what they say happened, happened....they the government will never tell us the truth... Why would they so that we know our government is corrupt? Either way it was tragic what happened to JFK... It should never have happened and I'm sure Oswald was not the only person involved... As he said he was a patsy....

Mr. Hemming said...

Oswald is a fairy tale. The president was murdered, but documents must be sealed? Please stop the madness. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I think we know enough to determine that Oswald was involved and probably was the lone shooter. For me the question has always been was he part of a wider conspiracy. There is so much that is wrong about the evidence presented that only add fuel to the fire. My issue is that we have so many far fetched conspiracy theories (LBJ, Israel, CIA, FBI, Secret Service etc etc etc) that it makes anyone who thinks a conspiracy took place look like a crank. There must be more to this story, sadly we will never know.

Candie reardon said...

I feel that JFK's murder was committed by all agencies above mentioned. Yes Oswald did it, but he was such a nut case, he did it for nothing other than being famous (look at me, look at me🍼🍼) but the government orchestrated the whole thing. Then Jack ruby kills Oswald before he spills his guts. This death was most definitely a conspiracy. For what? We will never know the truth. And why would we believe the release would be the truth, when it's coming from the same branch that killed him? The Kennedy family has had more than enough of their tradgeties. We will never know the truth and the active parties involved are either dead or near dead. Let's leave this family alone because the real killers won't pay for it. Sad. I like to remember him as the most iconic, best, and most interesting president ever

Anonymous said...

The real tragedy is that even the family dont like to discuss the matter (or what is left of it) Jaqueline Kennedy didnt speak or allowed her views to be known until after her death. Caroline Kennedy has donated a great deal of items to the national archives and has also but conditions on there usage or indeed viewing. I think that as a family they feel 100% that their husband, father, brother, uncle, grand father was murdered but as Americans they dont want the drama played out any further. Whilst both the Government and the family stay silent and do nothing to assist in the investigation we will never know the truth. As for the time that has transpired between the murder and modern day, we are still seeing 94 year old Nazis being jailed for war crimes as long as 2 weeks ago. There is always hope that justice will be done

Unknown said...

It's been 50 years and they're still hiding information, this isn't absurd.

Anonymous said...

What is funny, is the fact that just because you do an Internet search or read some released documents, that you obviously know the truth. When in reality, if you knew our government or the way it worked, then you would realize that they only release and let you see what you need in order to beleive what they want you to beleive. Do you really think that if they were in on it or there were multiple shooters, that they would just hold that information and release it later? Of course not, they covered all of that up 50 years ago and have been doctoring and destroying evidence and documents the whole time so that it fits with what you "need" to know. They have been doing it for years and are masters at it. Welcome to the real world.

Unknown said...

At this point what does the truth due, if in fact it was a conspiracy. No one will be left to convict, most of the adults during that time are by far way to old to start a revolution. The kids and young adults of this generation have been trained to only care about what happens to themselves. Remember for the past 53 years the government and media has trained the rest of society to believe conspiracy theorist are crazy and nuts. I believe though, this will prove what the government was able to do and Cover up then, imagine what it does now. For example look at 9/11.

Anonymous said...


Your idea of de-bunking the Kennedy conspiracy is like the Nixon argument over the 28-minutes missing that didn't change anything... Some, like you, would speculate that since a large percent of the records are released, it is impossible that the over 1700 held documents would conceal a smoking gun...

Why not re-construct ALL persons in the car? Why only two people? Shouldn't the focus be on ALL persons rather than a few...

I think you are mis-leading people intentional for your handler.