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Larry Hancock

2017 JFK document releases

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We had an extensive panel discussion relating to this at the recent JFK Lancer November in Dallas conference.  Rex Bradford has offered up his presentation on this - which was given at the conference - and made it available on the Mary Ferrell Foundation site.  I think many will find it educational in regard to what to expect late next year.

http://www.maryferrell.org/pages/Featured_Mark_the_Date.html

 

 

 

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Wow, Larry thanks for the update!

From a layman's view. I've never quite understand how this process works. Do they only respond to specific documents or groups of documents that are requested?

Obviously as they say, there are no smoking guns there.  I assume it was once very easy  to destroy documents that could be very damaging, but  it's almost impossible for obfuscating agencies to cross reference everything so we get these little grains of clues and are left to schlep out the rest? 

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There several different ways that documents get archived - for some decades now there have been formal guidelines in place for many types of agency and service documents to be saved internally and ultimately to go into the national archives.  That means that all sorts of documents are routinely and continually filed and stored at NARA.

Of course agencies and services maintain their own records themselves for long periods in organizational and headquarters storage - or even their own historical archives (with their own retention schedules and guidelines) and you can obtain them directly from them via FOIA. In many instances with older documents the agency/service will also be happy to tell you the material has already been released and sent to NARA - and send  you on your way to them for help in locating it.

Still, if you can be precise on what you want, where an agency or service might look for it and if no personnel or security restrictions are placed on them you may eventually get documents via FOIA. What is internally saved (and where) and what is not varies a great deal - the FBI became good at archiving headquarters documents but many field office collections were routinely destroyed to save space.  In the military, you might expect headquarters files to be more available but in many instances its the organizational level of files that were preserved and HQ files just seem to have gone away - at least as far as the military history offices can determine.

The JFK records are different in that several huge, related sets of documents were collected in the different official investigations and those collections were archived at NARA. The JFK Records act required the collection of other pertinent documents that could be discovered - or which had not been collected previously - and designated the rules for archiving them at NARA and releasing all the JFK records by a given point in time. That included removing redactions that were no longer necessary. Of course each agency or service can still appeal both documents and redactions based on security issues.

All that is a gross over simplification and no doubt others will correct and elaborate  - but hopefully it defines the playing field a bit.  Rex does a far better job in his overview but its important to realize the upcoming 2017 release has to do with records already collected and that the release of those documents can be appealed by whatever agency created them in the first place.  There is no new wave of documents coming directly out of the agencies or services themselves, its a matter of releasing what has already been collected at NARA.  At least that's my understanding. 

Its always risky trying to describe such a complex process, I'll leave it to others to critique or elaborate. 

 

 

 

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Larry - Is this 2017 doc release supposed to be the final one?

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It is Paul, that is what is called for in the JFK records act.  Now it is possible that down the line agencies could go ahead and remove redactions or even release individual documents as they waive national security concerns - but that would be strictly voluntary on their part.  And of course this release is just for JFK records, the MLK records from the HSCA are still being held based on Blakey's directions and the lack of any Congressional effort to direct their release.

Of course none of this prohibits going after records outside the JFK collection at NARA but that is an individual fight document by document.  And there is always the point that the agencie's own retention guidelines may release security controlled sometime documents down the road - but that could be a very long wait. Twenty second century historians, take note. 

Anyway, that's the way I understand it - someone else may have a better insight.

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Included in this release:

A summary of an interview by Gaeton Fonzi of RR McKeown with reference to WC CE-1689.

-things that make you go Hmmmmm.

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Good point Chris,  I didn't mean to imply that there are not some very interesting documents in this release and a number of groups are making plans to get in, study them quickly and spread the word.  Rex even makes the point that MFF will be soliciting input on priority documents and also priority redactions in already released documents.  In some cases removal of some level of redaction in certain hot documents could be as important as brand new releases.

 

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1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

Good point Chris,  I didn't mean to imply that there are not some very interesting documents in this release and a number of groups are making plans to get in, study them quickly and spread the word.  Rex even makes the point that MFF will be soliciting input on priority documents and also priority redactions in already released documents.  In some cases removal of some level of redaction in certain hot documents could be as important as brand new releases.

 

Hey Larry I wasn't trying to stir anything up. We know there's going to be some really good stuff in this batch though I'm kind of anxious to see if they do petition the new President to withhold some more things. My fingers crossed.

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No problem Chris, actually it occurred to me that I might have seemed to dismissive.  All of our speakers pointed out not only documents on the list but documents with extensive redaction that are also very significant.  The really interesting thing is that for a change we will have a good idea what to look for rather than just having everything dumped on us - or worse yet filtered into existing files as with an earlier release.

On the down side, I can't help but think there will be a number of appeals and we won't know about them until we parse through and see what doesn't show up after October.

 

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16 hours ago, Chris Newton said:

 

Hey Larry I wasn't trying to stir anything up. We know there's going to be some really good stuff in this batch though I'm kind of anxious to see if they do petition the new President to withhold some more things. My fingers crossed.

Isn't it pretty much a given that CIA will petition to withhold or outright refuse to release the 2017 stuff? I mean they sent George Joannides to the HSCA "illegally" and they still won't release his files. Aren't Joannides records included in the 2017 scheduled release?

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Tom, I don't think that is a given since they will actually have to appeal each document now in the JFK collection at NARA to withhold it.  Of course the Joannides material is something rather special since it involves a CIA officer and suggests some pretty obvious shenanigans by the CIA in regard to the HSCA - regardless of what might be indicated about Oswald.  My guess is those documents do  contain some mention of Oswald.  There has to be something in there that continues to convince judges it has national security implications and I can't fathom what it would be if that's not it.  We have tons of DRE material already so it either has to be Oswald related or contain some suggestion of a JFK threat ..IMHO.

But more specifically, were not the Joannides documents identified separately under FOIA? If so and if they were never part of the JFK collection at NARA then that makes a big difference and it remains a matter of court decisions.  Someone else may have a much more accurate response on that.   

Certainly none of the real documents gurus at the conference suggested that all the CIA docs in the NARA JFK collection would be challenged for release in 2017; I think it will be on a case by case basis. And as with the Joannides documents, they would be telegraphing the importance of any document they do appeal as being something very special.  On a side note I suspect much of our discussion is missing the importance of what must be in the Joinnides documents and what the CIA fight over them implies. Jeff clearly has a real tiger by the tail there but it keeps fading into the background for some reason. 

Edited by Larry Hancock

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7 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

Of course the Joannides material is something rather special since it involves a CIA officer and suggests some pretty obvious shenanigans by the CIA in regard to the HSCA - regardless of what might be indicated about Oswald.  My guess is those documents do  contain some mention of Oswald.  There has to be something in there that continues to convince judges it has national security implications and I can't fathom what it would be if that's not it.

But more specifically, were not the Joannides documents identified separately under FOIA? If so and if they were never part of the JFK collection at NARA then that makes a big difference and it remains a matter of court decisions.  Someone else may have a much more accurate response on that.   

On a side note I suspect much of our discussion is missing the importance of what must be in the Joinnides documents and what the CIA fight over them implies. Jeff clearly has a real tiger by the tail there but it keeps fading into the background for some reason. 

Hi there, Larry. Thanks for the response, and I hope all is well with you and yours.

IMO, the blatantly illegal act of placing GJ as the CIA rep to the HSCA indicates his knowledge of the DRE and other Cuban groups was an absolute necessity. If not, couldn't others who actually met the stated criteria for this position have functioned as adequate roadblocks? My speculation is that GJ was put there because he had a personal interest in protecting his own actions as much as protecting CIA.

I believe that an LHO/CIA connection must be indicated as there doesn't seem to be any reason for CIA's flat out refusal to follow court orders re Morley's FOIA. It appears that CIA still exerts far too much power, and/or is being protected by someone who has the ability to control the courts. In reality of course, it doesn't work this way, but shouldn't CIA's refusal to follow a court order be grounds to take it to the Supreme Court, Congress, or the President? I'm not aware that it was taken to any of them and was rejected...

It *must* be big, and that IMO strongly implies CIA complicity in the assassination.

Do you have any idea why this didn't become a part of CIA's 2017 documents once it became known? If it was unknown, doesn't that mean CIA *illegally* withheld it from the ARRB? IF it is not part of the 2017 release then apparently the court system will simply ignore it without repercussions.

Is the fact that CIA willfully obstructed a Congressional investigation enough of a reason to deem it a National Security issue? i.e. 'It would be bad for the country if the public lost confidence in the intelligence community.' Certainly we have Supreme Court judges who would go along with this to protect past, present and  future illegal gov't activities...

Are you aware of any informed discussion as to how Trump will react to releasing the 2017 stuff?

Thanks for any thoughts,

Tom

 

Edited by Tom Neal

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Yeah I saw Joannides wasn't listed.

Tom , who knows? Trump certainly has a conspiracy theorist contingency and has opened the door a bit with his Rafael Cruz allegations. He does express non mainstream views and would like to embarrass the MSM. There are people are expecting Trump to be an advocate of open and honest government. We'll see.

Larry, Thanks for the detailed response and the time you've taken.

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13 hours ago, Tom Neal said:

...but shouldn't CIA's refusal to follow a court order be grounds to take it to the...

Tom, I assume there would need be an AG/DOJ that had the guts to do the distance. The HSCA found that there was a high probability that JFK had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. Shamefully, no follow-up action was taken so that remarkable revelation was left to just blow in the wind. If they ignore and refuse to investigate the fundamental evidence then I have no confidence that they'd take any action on any other part of it.

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10 hours ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

Trump certainly has a conspiracy theorist contingency

Trump's cabinet is a bundle of buffoons (with the exception of Mad Dog Mattis - who is scary as hell). Now if they named "Dr." James Fetzer as AG then we'd get some real conspiring done.

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