Continued CIA Secrecy in the JFK Assassination
by Jacob G. Hornberger
In this week’s Libertarian Angle, I had the pleasure of having Jefferson Morley as my co-host. Morley runs JFKfacts.org, which I consider the absolutely best website for JFK assassination-related matters. It is timely, provocative, thought-provoking, and informative. Practically every day there is at least one new post, inevitably followed by a string of very intelligent comments. Morley is a former reporter for the Washington Post and the author of two great books: Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA and Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835.
Morley and I discussed continued secrecy, especially on the part of the CIA, in the JFK assassination. He pointed out that there is now a deadline of October 2017 to release thousands of CIA documents that were ordered to be released by the JFK Records Act, which was enacted in 1992.
Why weren’t these particular records released in the 1990s, like many others were? Apparently the CIA claimed that the release of records dating back half-a-century would threaten “national security.”
And guess what. Even the October 2017 deadline is not set in stone because someone inserted some fine print in the original JFK Records Act that entitles the CIA (and other government agencies) to ask the president in 2017 for another extension — on grounds of “national security.”
“National security” after 50 years? How could anything be more ridiculous? These documents should have been released back in the 1990s and even before. Even after the release of the Snowden documents, which the NSA said would threaten “national security,” the United States has still not fallen into the ocean and the terrorists have not taken over the federal government. By the same token, the release of 50-year-old CIA records relating to the Cold War and the Kennedy assassination aren’t going to result in a communist takeover of the U.S. government.
I have a chapter on secrecy in my new book Regime Change: The JFK Assassination, in which I detail some examples of where secrecy in the JFK assignation has inured to the benefit of the CIA and the rest of the national-security establishment.
One example involves a CIA agent named George Joannides, whose role came to light primarily through efforts by Morley.
Immediately after Kennedy was assassinated, a group in New Orleans called the DRE immediately initiated a publicity campaign to establish the communist bona fides of Lee Harvey Oswald.
What no one knew at the time was that the CIA had been funding the DRE and that the CIA agent charged with supervising the DRE was George Joannides. The CIA kept that information secret from the Warren Commission, perhaps because it was official Cold War national-security policy with respect to state-sponsored assassinations to blame them on a communist.
In the 1970s, owing to widespread skepticism among the American people of the Warren Report, the House Select Committee on Assassinations opened a new investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy. Two young investigators, Dan Hardway and Ed Lopez, were assigned to investigate CIA records relating to Oswald’s trip to Mexico City prior to the assassination.
At first the CIA was being extremely cooperative, perhaps under the assumption that the two young investigators didn’t know what they were doing. After it became apparent that they did know what they were doing, based in part by their request that the CIA produce specific documents, the CIA suddenly called Joannides out of retirement to serve as the CIA’s contact for Hardway and Lopez. At that point, all the friendly cooperation came to a screeching halt and Joannides embarked on course of obstruction. Once again, the CIA kept Joannides’ role with the DRE secret from the House Select Committee.
In the 1990s, the CIA, once again, kept Joannides’ role with the DRE secret from the Assassination Records Review Board. The chairman of the ARRB, federal Judge John R. Tunheim later said, “I think we were misled by the agency. The material should be released.” The former general counsel for the House Select Committee, Robert Blakey, went further. In a 2003 article at Salon, he accused the CIA of obstructing the committee’s investigation.
Here is a good story in the New York Times about the Joannides saga: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/us/17inquire.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Whenever the Kennedy assassination is raised, detractors immediately cry “Conspiracy theory!” I find that fascinating, not only because they yawn when presented with U.S. regime-change operations in foreign countries, including through assassination, but also when I discover that they haven’t familiarized themselves with the evidence that has come out about the JFK assassination, especially during the 1990s as a result of the JFK Records Act and the ARRB.
That’s why I decided to write my book Regime Change: The JFK Assassination — to serve as a primer for people who have not steeped themselves in the literature of the Kennedy assassination. Yesterday, one of FFF’s donors called me and told me that he knew virtually nothing about the JFK assassination and that he found my book a perfect primer for understanding the assassination.
Three days ago, someone posted the following comment on Amazon under Regime Change:
“The author takes a complicated subject and breaks it down into clear, cogent facts. He has a talent for common sense analysis of the most relevant theories based on the latest documentary evidence. Highly recommend this quick read.”
That’s a big compliment for me because that was precisely my goal in writing Regime Change.
On Wednesday of this week, Regime Change was #85 on Amazon’s List of Best-Selling Books on 20th-Century American History and #29 in Amazon’s List of Kindle Short Reads.
Meanwhile, my other book The Kennedy Autopsy is #33 on the first list. It’s been on that list since January. So has our other book, JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, which was #46 as of Wednesday.
I think the reason both books are Amazon best-sellers is because they focus on facts and evidence, not conspiracy theories. The Kennedy Autopsy, for example, details facts, many of which didn’t become public until the 1990s, that inexorably point to a false and fraudulent autopsy of President Kennedy’s body that was conducted by the U.S. military.
For decades, people have referred to a “botched” autopsy or to “incompetent” military pathologists. But the facts and evidence don’t point to a “botch” or to “incompetence. Instead, they point to a cover-up.
For example, consider the sworn testimony of Saundra Spencer, who I mention in both The Kennedy Autopsy and Regime Change. She was a Navy petty officer in charge of the White House Laboratory at the Naval Photographic Center in Anacostia, D.C. It would be difficult to find a more credible witness than Saundra Spencer. She testified before the ARRB in the 1990s that she developed official autopsy photographs that showed a big hole in the back of Kennedy’s head, which would imply an exit wound, which would imply a shot from Kennedy’s front. (The accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was situated in Kennedy’s rear.)
The problem? The official autopsy photograph in the records shows the back of Kennedy’s head to be intact. When shown the official photograph, Spencer told the ARRB that that was not the photograph she developed.
Also, during the 1990s the official photographer for the autopsy, John Stringer, was shown the official autopsy photographs. He denied under oath that the photographs he was shown were the photographs that he took.
Equally interesting, as I detail in Regime Change, another man, Robert Knudsen, claimed that he was the official photographer for the Kennedy autopsy. He was a White House photographer for President Kennedy. He was as credible as Saundra Spencer. But Stringer says that he, not Knudsen, was the official autopsy photographer and that he never even saw Knudsen at the autopsy.
How are such facts reconcilable with a “botch” or with “incompetence”? Indeed, how are they reconcilable with any innocent explanation? Why hasn’t an explanation for these anomalies ever been provided?
As I argue in Regime Change, a false and fraudulent autopsy can mean only one thing: cover-up. There is no other rational explanation. And once one comes to the realization that there has been a cover-up with the autopsy, the natural question arises: Who would the national-security state be covering up for and why?
The answers are provided in FFF’s trilogy of books on the Kennedy assassination: Regime Change: The JFK Assassination, The Kennedy Autopsy, and JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated. If you haven’t already bought them and read them, I hope you will do so. I believe you will find them interesting, thought-provoking, and troubling.