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ARRB Public Hearings, Press Releases, Reports

This is a collection of public hearings transcripts, press releases, and other reports issued by the Assassination Records Review Board during its tenure in the mid 1990s.

ARRB Public Hearings, Press Releases, Reports

This is a collection of public hearings transcripts, press releases, and other reports issued by the Assassination Records Review Board during its tenure in the mid 1990s.

ARRB Public Hearings, Press Releases, Reports

This is a collection of public hearings transcripts, press releases, and other reports issued by the Assassination Records Review Board during its tenure in the mid 1990s.

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...o?docSetId=1935

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A responsible, sober voice from the grave.

Suggestions For the Assassinations Records Review Board

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=145539&relPageId=1

By Philip H. Melanson - Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Archive, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

March 17, 1995

Prepared for delivery at Review Board Meeting of March 24, 1995, Boston, Massachusetts

In 1990 Praeger published my book Spy Saga: Lee Harvey Oswald and U.S. Intelligence. This analysis of Oswald's interactions and possible relationships with various intelligence agencies was an effort to clarify who and what he was. The work was produced largely from released files rather than from interviews or books and articles. It raised new questions and put some of the mysteries into sharper focus.

From 1984 to 1988 I worked with a small group of colleagues to end the total government secrecy that blanketed the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. We obtained release of all official files (federal, state and local) that were not lost or destroyed. In the Martin Luther King, Jr. case, I have used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as well as my own investigative efforts to obtain previously withheld files. I continue to work for the disclosure of all such files, including the approximately 450,000 pages of documents still sealed by Congress until the year 2028.

From these activities, I offer the Review Board some suggestions concerning files on Oswald and some problems, pitfalls and opportunities in pursuing the records held by various agencies. Due to constraints of time and space, the examples are selective, not exhaustive. I can provide the board with extensive lists of items, persons and types of files if it is deemed useful.

Spy Saga analyzed the then released files on Oswald and the assassination to a very different picture of the alleged assassin than the one offered by the

Warren Commission: that of an agent, agent-provocateur working with or for U.S. intelligence – from the Marine Corps to the Soviet Union to Cuban politics in the U.S. to the Texas School Book Depository. Recently released documents have shed further light on these matters. For example, one CIA document clearly indicates that Oswald was debriefed by the Agency en route to the U.S. from the Soviet Union, as I and other researchers had insisted. This single document refutes decades of official implausible denials proffered by the CIA to all official bodies which inquired about debriefing. The document exposes the Agency's policy of disassociating itself from Oswald, even to the point of providing totally inaccurate information.

The new releases provided by the Review Board will surely go far beyond exposing decades of cover-ups and disinformation regarding the links between Oswald and U.S. intelligence: they are likely to validate these links. The volume and import of the new files will make Spy Saga read like a Cliff Notes version of the life and times of Lee Harvey Oswald, and both history and democracy will be well served by this obsolescence produced by the public right to know.

  • All agency files relating to Oswald (local, state and federal) must be released as constituting records relating to the assassination.

[/size]

As the Board is aware, Lee Harvey Oswald is by far the most complex alleged assassin in U.S. history. He has been portrayed by various official reports and researchers as: an unstable malcontent, a loner-loser with no political affiliation beyond his own fantasies; an agent or pawn of the KGB, Cuban intelligence or U.S. intelligence. While these portraits are by no means equally valid, nor are they solely the product of the imagination of officials and authors. They arise from the complex, politically-charged, mysterious (albeit short) life of Lee Harvey Oswald: Russophile, Marine, defector (or fake defector) to the Soviet Union, with involvements in Cuban politics that seemed to go in both directions (pro and anti-Castro), with contacts whose actions or resumes were as espionage-laden as characters from a Le Care spy novel.

No such myriad portraits can be spun with even a shard of validity from the lives of Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray (although these alleged assassins are not without mysteries of their own). The unanswered questions of who and what Oswald was are central to the historical truth of President Kennedy's assassination, and they have been a focus of conflict, cover-ups and distrust of government agencies for over three decades.

The Warren Commission's answers to these questions – Oswald the line-assassin, the violence-prone malcontent-gave us such assassination-related records as the secondary-school grades, psychological profiles, Marine marksmanship data, disciplinary reports. Just as this portrait originates in the records and test-scores of Oswald's childhood and adolescence, the alternative portrait of Oswald as an activist with U.S. intelligence lies in his incredibly rich and extensive interactions with various agencies.

Even before he was linked to the crime of the century, Oswald was very unique in terms of the official interest he generated. How many young men in their early twenties would have (or should have had) so many agencies hold paper on them ranging from minor to major (prior to the assassination)? Given his political history and agency responsibilities and interests, the list includes the following organizations: the State Department, Marine Corps, Selective Service, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, military intelligence (Army and Navy), New Orleans Police. Federal-agency field offices should be queried about files: not only CIA headquarters but the Dallas and New Orleans field offices and European stations handling Soviet matters. In addition, documents on Oswald may reside in the files of federal and local intelligence agencies under the rubric of the political organizations he joined or communicated with prior to the assassination. These groups were targeted for surveillance, if not infiltration, by more than one agency: Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party U.S.A., Fair Play for Cuba Committee, American Civil Liberties Union. Such files could help to clarify how Oswald was viewed: as a subversive leftist or a source or agent-provocateur.

The disclosure spotlight should be focused on some of the agencies which have not been center stage during official investigations, a stage dominated by the FBI, CIA and Secret Service:

- Naval Intelligence, Marine Corps and the Pentagon (Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union).

- Army Intelligence (Cuban politics in the U.S.; San Antonio office had a pre-assassination file on Oswald).

- Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Oswald's purchase of guns and ATF's pre-assassination of an Oswald look-alike in Dallas).

In the King case, for example, the FBI and CIA were thought to be the primary agencies surveying King, and, therefore, they might have knowledge pertaining to his assassination. But in 1993 a reporter using the Freedom of Information Act obtained documents showing that Army Intelligence had a surveillance and tactical presence both before and during King's assassination. The Army's domestic spying on King appears to be equal to, if not greater than, the other two agencies. Yet official investigations have failed to probe this presence.

What follows are some suggestions for the successful implementation of full disclosure, based on my experience with various agencies.

II. The Board should develop its own, independent expertise concerning agency files, rather than relying exclusively on agency expertise and search efforts.

As we are all aware, intelligence files are often arcane and even deceptive advertently or purposefully). Agencies vary greatly in their information sub-cultures, because federal standards regarding secrecy, disclosure and custodial accountability are too general and incomplete to provide uniformity.

The Board's efforts to solicit input from experts familiar with the intricacies of the JFK case if commendable. I would also suggest that it draw upon experts, researchers or authors familiar with the information system and culture of each agency. While he former and later groups of experts overlap to some degree, they are quite distinct. This expertise will enable the Board to assist agencies in the disclosure process by providing clues, insights and rubrics that will enrich the breadth and competence of the agency's own search for its records.

A relevant example comes from the disclosure of FBI files on the Robert Kennedy assassination. In the mid 1970's, in response to an FOIA request for its RFK assassination file, the Bureau produced over 3,000 pages, some of enormous evidentiary significance. In 1984 I was co-requestor of Bureau case files via a richly detailed, six-page, single space letter drafted by our attorneys in consultation with authors who had written about the Bureau and worked with its files, with academic researchers and even with ex agents. The result was over 32,000 pages of previously unreleased documents – a tenfold increase from the Bureau's earlier search for records.

In addition to outside experts, the Board should solicit or subpoena agency employees who complied or used the files, especially former employees whose tenure was contemporaneous with the events of the JFK case. Present custodians may not be aware of the informational practices or priorities of those who developed and worked with the files.

This also applies to the hide-and-seek games that intelligence agencies have been known to play with their most sensitive files. At the request of my working group, former Los Angeles Police officer Mike Rothmiller provided a sworn affidavit to a Los Angeles grand jury revealing the existence of a super secret LAPD file on Senator Kennedy's assassination. The file was known only to the elite members of the department's Organized Crime Intelligence Unit (in which Rothmiller served). It was kept not at police headquarters but at a hideaway at Los Angeles International Airport.

In 1990 I interviewed an ex-CIA officer whose bona fides had been established by a network news organization. When I showed him the 134 pages of Agency documents on Dr. King that I had obtained under the FOIA, he revealed that there were hundreds of cables regarding surveillance of King, cables he had personally sent, read and filed. Then he recalled that Agency surveillance of King was so "sensitive" that he and his colleagues housed their documents in the "Western hemisphere" file, which contained data on Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion. He explained that this provided a national security cover for the domestic spying activities and would also remove the file from the CIA's Office of Security (in charge of domestic operations) so that "outsiders" could not access it. To my knowledge, this revelation was unknown to any of the official investigations into Dr. King's assassination.

The inside and outside experts can help with another pathway to full disclosure: tracking documents from documents, files from files, by using numbers, cryptonyms, cc's, routing slips, etc. Previously released documents on Oswald and the assassination are replete with such jots and references: hieroglyphics to the lay person, pathways to paper to the experts.

Interagency communications provide another window onto what files might, or should exist. The intelligence units of major metropolitan police departments had an extensive, working relationship with the CIA in the era of the assassination. Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence Unit files might provide some insights into the CIA's files. In the RFK case I have used FBI files to track documents in the Los Angeles Police and District Attorney's office files. In the King case I used a Memphis Police intelligence Unit report on the assassination to broaden my FOIA request to the federal agencies.

III. A proactive approach to locating records may produce major historical/disclosure dividends for the Review Board.

While it is understood that this Board is not an investigative body and is faced with constraints of time and money, the history of the three cases (JFK,MLK, RFK) suggests that the discovery of records (broadly defined) can benefit from attention to private sources and to missing material. In fact, the Board's very visible approach to its task-public hearings, media cooperation – has already created the foundation for such an approach. For a variety of reasons, some very important documents and I private hands or in obscure public locations outside the purview of records custodians:

- The acoustical tape by which the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded the presence of a second gun in the JFK case was in the possession of a Dallas Police intelligence officer.

- I was given selected documents relating to the surveillance of Dr. King during the time of his assassination. The entire file was officially listed as destroyed in a fire at Memphis Police headquarters, but a former police intelligence officer had some (or all ) of the documents.

- A large cardboard box containing some of the most important items possessed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office on the Robert Kennedy case (including the official, filmed reenactments and audio tapes of interviews with key witnesses) was discovered in a storage closet at a branch office by an employee who had seen media accounts that disclosure of the DA's files was taking place at headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. The Review Boards's stature, mission and visibility create the possibility of such finds, and the Board and its staff should encourage and facilitate such "donations" by any means at their disposal.

Secondly, the review board might devote some of its scarce resources to pursuing a few of the key items allegedly lost, missing or destroyed while in official custody (in most cases, without any official accounting or accountability):

- The photo of Oswald (or an imposter) taken at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City by the CIA. If it is Oswald, it strengthens the Warren Commission version; if it is an imposter, it is window onto a conspiracy. Its mysterious, convoluted chain of possession included the private safe of the retired Mexico City station chief.

- Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who allegedly had just killed the President, had ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba. As the nation's law-enforcement and intelligence agencies sought to handle the political and national security crisis, Oswald was repeatedly interrogated by various local, state and federal agents. Yet, not one audio-tape is acknowledged to exist. Is it at all credible that during the weekend Oswald remained alive in jail, no one from FBI, CIA, Secret Service or DPD thought to, wanted to, preserve the tone and substance of the accused's responses to interrogations? This in a crime which some of them perceived as leading to international military conflict?

- Army Intelligence failed to provide the Warren Commission with its file on Oswald despite a specific request. It told FOIA requestors that no file could be located. It told the House Select Committee that the file was destroyed in 1973 as a matter of "routine" housekeeping. The Review Board's subpoena power should be used to pursue the possibility that the file does exist and to hold custodians accountable for such alleged destruction. This is an instance that threatens not only the preservation of JFK assassination records but the viability of the public right to know.

IV. Some important assassination record will be entangled with other records which agencies will seek to withhold on grounds of national security or the protection of intelligence sources, methods and operations. The assassination records can and should be disentangled and released rather than withheld, as agencies have tended to do.

Here is a prime example of the problem. Alpha-66 is a CIA sponsored anti-Castro Cuban group that has long been a subject of interest, if not suspicion, by many serious researchers and some official investigators. The group detested President Kennedy and openly defied his ban on raids launched against Cuba from U.S. soil.

As I document in Spy Saga, Alpha-66 was in Dallas at the time of the assassination, headquartered at a house on Harlendale Street. It was well armed (illegally so). Its leader was described in a Secret Service document as "violently anti-Kennedy." He had been mistaken for Lee Harvey Oswald in two separate incidents – one documented in FBI files, one in Dallas Police files. The CIA failed to report the group's presence to the Secret Service, as protective procedure required, even though CIA case officers attended the Dallas meetings. The CIA has been consistently recalcitrant in refusing to provide documents or data concerning this group, which had motive and means to assassinate President Kennedy.

When researchers brought the group to the attention of the Rockefeller Commission, it queried the Agency. The CIA's response exceeded irresponsibility and entered the realm of the preposterous:

"[The CIA had] no record of any CIA contact with an anti-Castro group in Dallas. No Cuban organization is listed in the 1963 Dallas telephone directory. Dallas city map and the 1963 crisis cross directory reveal no street name Harlendale."

Beyond the ludicrous notion that he way to locate a terrorist group is in the phone book (perhaps the yellow pages under "commandos" or "assassins"). Harlendale Street in Dallas is a major thoroughfare that is impossible to miss (unless you work for the Agency).

Clearly, records pertaining to the Dallas Alpha-66 group are important, assassination-related records. The fact that Alpha-66 is still in operation cannot be allowed to prevent their release. In 1980, for example, a five-man assassination team sent to kill Castro was captured in Cuba. Alpha-66 help a press conference in Florida, claiming full responsibility and promising to try again (the fact that our government took no action has led many analysts to conclude that the group's CIA ties may still be intact). As recently as 1992, the group's members have paraded through Miami in fatigues to protest the death sentences levied by Castro against their comrades. The possible role of Alpha-66 in Dallas should not remain concealed in secrecy and unresponsiveness simply because the group continues to exist with overt or tacit CIA support.

Conclusion

These suggestions regarding the scope of assassination –related records and their successful full disclosure are offered in the spirit and context of the Review Board's historic mission, as well as the difficulty of its task. That our government has squandered the trust of its citizens with a shameful display of three decades of lies, cover-ups, destruction of evidence, and that it failed to produce historical truth in one of the watershed political events of the century, is distressing. In contrast, the creation of a civilian review board with full powers to decide the boundaries of government secrecy is not only hopeful but revolutionary in its potential impact on the public right to know.

However, in order to realize the possibilities for repair of public trust and of democratic ideals, the Board will have to overcome many obstacles: the complexity of agency information systems, the ongoing cover-ups confronted by every official investigation, the web of secrets that surround many of the records (secrets whose volatility is in no way eliminated by the passing decades) and resistance from secrecy minded bureaucrats disturbed by the Board's very existence and its sweeping powers.

The stakes are enormous for the historical truth of President Kennedy's assassination and for the health of our democracy. I am confident that legions of responsible, sober experts stand ready to assist in this lofty enterprise, and I hope that the Board will draw upon them at every stage of its work.

Edited by William Kelly
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A responsible, sober voice from the grave.

Suggestions For the Assassinations Records Review Board

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=145539&relPageId=1

By Philip H. Melanson - Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Archive, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

March 17, 1995

Prepared for delivery at Review Board Meeting of March 24, 1995, Boston, Massachusetts

In 1990 Praeger published my book Spy Saga: Lee Harvey Oswald and U.S. Intelligence. This analysis of Oswald's interactions and possible relationships with various intelligence agencies was an effort to clarify who and what he was. The work was produced largely from released files rather than from interviews or books and articles. It raised new questions and put some of the mysteries into sharper focus.

From 1984 to 1988 I worked with a small group of colleagues to end the total government secrecy that blanketed the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. We obtained release of all official files (federal, state and local) that were not lost or destroyed. In the Martin Luther King, Jr. case, I have used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as well as my own investigative efforts to obtain previously withheld files. I continue to work for the disclosure of all such files, including the approximately 450,000 pages of documents still sealed by Congress until the year 2028.

From these activities, I offer the Review Board some suggestions concerning files on Oswald and some problems, pitfalls and opportunities in pursuing the records held by various agencies. Due to constraints of time and space, the examples are selective, not exhaustive. I can provide the board with extensive lists of items, persons and types of files if it is deemed useful.

Spy Saga analyzed the then released files on Oswald and the assassination to a very different picture of the alleged assassin than the one offered by the

Warren Commission: that of an agent, agent-provocateur working with or for U.S. intelligence – from the Marine Corps to the Soviet Union to Cuban politics in the U.S. to the Texas School Book Depository. Recently released documents have shed further light on these matters. For example, one CIA document clearly indicates that Oswald was debriefed by the Agency en route to the U.S. from the Soviet Union, as I and other researchers had insisted. This single document refutes decades of official implausible denials proffered by the CIA to all official bodies which inquired about debriefing. The document exposes the Agency's policy of disassociating itself from Oswald, even to the point of providing totally inaccurate information.

The new releases provided by the Review Board will surely go far beyond exposing decades of cover-ups and disinformation regarding the links between Oswald and U.S. intelligence: they are likely to validate these links. The volume and import of the new files will make Spy Saga read like a Cliff Notes version of the life and times of Lee Harvey Oswald, and both history and democracy will be well served by this obsolescence produced by the public right to know.

  • All agency files relating to Oswald (local, state and federal) must be released as constituting records relating to the assassination.

[/size]

As the Board is aware, Lee Harvey Oswald is by far the most complex alleged assassin in U.S. history. He has been portrayed by various official reports and researchers as: an unstable malcontent, a loner-loser with no political affiliation beyond his own fantasies; an agent or pawn of the KGB, Cuban intelligence or U.S. intelligence. While these portraits are by no means equally valid, nor are they solely the product of the imagination of officials and authors. They arise from the complex, politically-charged, mysterious (albeit short) life of Lee Harvey Oswald: Russophile, Marine, defector (or fake defector) to the Soviet Union, with involvements in Cuban politics that seemed to go in both directions (pro and anti-Castro), with contacts whose actions or resumes were as espionage-laden as characters from a Le Care spy novel.

No such myriad portraits can be spun with even a shard of validity from the lives of Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray (although these alleged assassins are not without mysteries of their own). The unanswered questions of who and what Oswald was are central to the historical truth of President Kennedy's assassination, and they have been a focus of conflict, cover-ups and distrust of government agencies for over three decades.

The Warren Commission's answers to these questions – Oswald the line-assassin, the violence-prone malcontent-gave us such assassination-related records as the secondary-school grades, psychological profiles, Marine marksmanship data, disciplinary reports. Just as this portrait originates in the records and test-scores of Oswald's childhood and adolescence, the alternative portrait of Oswald as an activist with U.S. intelligence lies in his incredibly rich and extensive interactions with various agencies.

Even before he was linked to the crime of the century, Oswald was very unique in terms of the official interest he generated. How many young men in their early twenties would have (or should have had) so many agencies hold paper on them ranging from minor to major (prior to the assassination)? Given his political history and agency responsibilities and interests, the list includes the following organizations: the State Department, Marine Corps, Selective Service, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, military intelligence (Army and Navy), New Orleans Police. Federal-agency field offices should be queried about files: not only CIA headquarters but the Dallas and New Orleans field offices and European stations handling Soviet matters. In addition, documents on Oswald may reside in the files of federal and local intelligence agencies under the rubric of the political organizations he joined or communicated with prior to the assassination. These groups were targeted for surveillance, if not infiltration, by more than one agency: Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party U.S.A., Fair Play for Cuba Committee, American Civil Liberties Union. Such files could help to clarify how Oswald was viewed: as a subversive leftist or a source or agent-provocateur.

The disclosure spotlight should be focused on some of the agencies which have not been center stage during official investigations, a stage dominated by the FBI, CIA and Secret Service:

- Naval Intelligence, Marine Corps and the Pentagon (Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union).

- Army Intelligence (Cuban politics in the U.S.; San Antonio office had a pre-assassination file on Oswald).

- Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Oswald's purchase of guns and ATF's pre-assassination of an Oswald look-alike in Dallas).

In the King case, for example, the FBI and CIA were thought to be the primary agencies surveying King, and, therefore, they might have knowledge pertaining to his assassination. But in 1993 a reporter using the Freedom of Information Act obtained documents showing that Army Intelligence had a surveillance and tactical presence both before and during King's assassination. The Army's domestic spying on King appears to be equal to, if not greater than, the other two agencies. Yet official investigations have failed to probe this presence.

What follows are some suggestions for the successful implementation of full disclosure, based on my experience with various agencies.

II. The Board should develop its own, independent expertise concerning agency files, rather than relying exclusively on agency expertise and search efforts.

As we are all aware, intelligence files are often arcane and even deceptive advertently or purposefully). Agencies vary greatly in their information sub-cultures, because federal standards regarding secrecy, disclosure and custodial accountability are too general and incomplete to provide uniformity.

The Board's efforts to solicit input from experts familiar with the intricacies of the JFK case if commendable. I would also suggest that it draw upon experts, researchers or authors familiar with the information system and culture of each agency. While he former and later groups of experts overlap to some degree, they are quite distinct. This expertise will enable the Board to assist agencies in the disclosure process by providing clues, insights and rubrics that will enrich the breadth and competence of the agency's own search for its records.

A relevant example comes from the disclosure of FBI files on the Robert Kennedy assassination. In the mid 1970's, in response to an FOIA request for its RFK assassination file, the Bureau produced over 3,000 pages, some of enormous evidentiary significance. In 1984 I was co-requestor of Bureau case files via a richly detailed, six-page, single space letter drafted by our attorneys in consultation with authors who had written about the Bureau and worked with its files, with academic researchers and even with ex agents. The result was over 32,000 pages of previously unreleased documents – a tenfold increase from the Bureau's earlier search for records.

In addition to outside experts, the Board should solicit or subpoena agency employees who complied or used the files, especially former employees whose tenure was contemporaneous with the events of the JFK case. Present custodians may not be aware of the informational practices or priorities of those who developed and worked with the files.

This also applies to the hide-and-seek games that intelligence agencies have been known to play with their most sensitive files. At the request of my working group, former Los Angeles Police officer Mike Rothmiller provided a sworn affidavit to a Los Angeles grand jury revealing the existence of a super secret LAPD file on Senator Kennedy's assassination. The file was known only to the elite members of the department's Organized Crime Intelligence Unit (in which Rothmiller served). It was kept not at police headquarters but at a hideaway at Los Angeles International Airport.

In 1990 I interviewed an ex-CIA officer whose bona fides had been established by a network news organization. When I showed him the 134 pages of Agency documents on Dr. King that I had obtained under the FOIA, he revealed that there were hundreds of cables regarding surveillance of King, cables he had personally sent, read and filed. Then he recalled that Agency surveillance of King was so "sensitive" that he and his colleagues housed their documents in the "Western hemisphere" file, which contained data on Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion. He explained that this provided a national security cover for the domestic spying activities and would also remove the file from the CIA's Office of Security (in charge of domestic operations) so that "outsiders" could not access it. To my knowledge, this revelation was unknown to any of the official investigations into Dr. King's assassination.

The inside and outside experts can help with another pathway to full disclosure: tracking documents from documents, files from files, by using numbers, cryptonyms, cc's, routing slips, etc. Previously released documents on Oswald and the assassination are replete with such jots and references: hieroglyphics to the lay person, pathways to paper to the experts.

Interagency communications provide another window onto what files might, or should exist. The intelligence units of major metropolitan police departments had an extensive, working relationship with the CIA in the era of the assassination. Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence Unit files might provide some insights into the CIA's files. In the RFK case I have used FBI files to track documents in the Los Angeles Police and District Attorney's office files. In the King case I used a Memphis Police intelligence Unit report on the assassination to broaden my FOIA request to the federal agencies.

III. A proactive approach to locating records may produce major historical/disclosure dividends for the Review Board.

While it is understood that this Board is not an investigative body and is faced with constraints of time and money, the history of the three cases (JFK,MLK, RFK) suggests that the discovery of records (broadly defined) can benefit from attention to private sources and to missing material. In fact, the Board's very visible approach to its task-public hearings, media cooperation – has already created the foundation for such an approach. For a variety of reasons, some very important documents and I private hands or in obscure public locations outside the purview of records custodians:

- The acoustical tape by which the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded the presence of a second gun in the JFK case was in the possession of a Dallas Police intelligence officer.

- I was given selected documents relating to the surveillance of Dr. King during the time of his assassination. The entire file was officially listed as destroyed in a fire at Memphis Police headquarters, but a former police intelligence officer had some (or all ) of the documents.

- A large cardboard box containing some of the most important items possessed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office on the Robert Kennedy case (including the official, filmed reenactments and audio tapes of interviews with key witnesses) was discovered in a storage closet at a branch office by an employee who had seen media accounts that disclosure of the DA's files was taking place at headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. The Review Boards's stature, mission and visibility create the possibility of such finds, and the Board and its staff should encourage and facilitate such "donations" by any means at their disposal.

Secondly, the review board might devote some of its scarce resources to pursuing a few of the key items allegedly lost, missing or destroyed while in official custody (in most cases, without any official accounting or accountability):

- The photo of Oswald (or an imposter) taken at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City by the CIA. If it is Oswald, it strengthens the Warren Commission version; if it is an imposter, it is window onto a conspiracy. Its mysterious, convoluted chain of possession included the private safe of the retired Mexico City station chief.

- Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who allegedly had just killed the President, had ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba. As the nation's law-enforcement and intelligence agencies sought to handle the political and national security crisis, Oswald was repeatedly interrogated by various local, state and federal agents. Yet, not one audio-tape is acknowledged to exist. Is it at all credible that during the weekend Oswald remained alive in jail, no one from FBI, CIA, Secret Service or DPD thought to, wanted to, preserve the tone and substance of the accused's responses to interrogations? This in a crime which some of them perceived as leading to international military conflict?

- Army Intelligence failed to provide the Warren Commission with its file on Oswald despite a specific request. It told FOIA requestors that no file could be located. It told the House Select Committee that the file was destroyed in 1973 as a matter of "routine" housekeeping. The Review Board's subpoena power should be used to pursue the possibility that the file does exist and to hold custodians accountable for such alleged destruction. This is an instance that threatens not only the preservation of JFK assassination records but the viability of the public right to know.

IV. Some important assassination record will be entangled with other records which agencies will seek to withhold on grounds of national security or the protection of intelligence sources, methods and operations. The assassination records can and should be disentangled and released rather than withheld, as agencies have tended to do.

Here is a prime example of the problem. Alpha-66 is a CIA sponsored anti-Castro Cuban group that has long been a subject of interest, if not suspicion, by many serious researchers and some official investigators. The group detested President Kennedy and openly defied his ban on raids launched against Cuba from U.S. soil.

As I document in Spy Saga, Alpha-66 was in Dallas at the time of the assassination, headquartered at a house on Harlendale Street. It was well armed (illegally so). Its leader was described in a Secret Service document as "violently anti-Kennedy." He had been mistaken for Lee Harvey Oswald in two separate incidents – one documented in FBI files, one in Dallas Police files. The CIA failed to report the group's presence to the Secret Service, as protective procedure required, even though CIA case officers attended the Dallas meetings. The CIA has been consistently recalcitrant in refusing to provide documents or data concerning this group, which had motive and means to assassinate President Kennedy.

When researchers brought the group to the attention of the Rockefeller Commission, it queried the Agency. The CIA's response exceeded irresponsibility and entered the realm of the preposterous:

"[The CIA had] no record of any CIA contact with an anti-Castro group in Dallas. No Cuban organization is listed in the 1963 Dallas telephone directory. Dallas city map and the 1963 crisis cross directory reveal no street name Harlendale."

Beyond the ludicrous notion that he way to locate a terrorist group is in the phone book (perhaps the yellow pages under "commandos" or "assassins"). Harlendale Street in Dallas is a major thoroughfare that is impossible to miss (unless you work for the Agency).

Clearly, records pertaining to the Dallas Alpha-66 group are important, assassination-related records. The fact that Alpha-66 is still in operation cannot be allowed to prevent their release. In 1980, for example, a five-man assassination team sent to kill Castro was captured in Cuba. Alpha-66 help a press conference in Florida, claiming full responsibility and promising to try again (the fact that our government took no action has led many analysts to conclude that the group's CIA ties may still be intact). As recently as 1992, the group's members have paraded through Miami in fatigues to protest the death sentences levied by Castro against their comrades. The possible role of Alpha-66 in Dallas should not remain concealed in secrecy and unresponsiveness simply because the group continues to exist with overt or tacit CIA support.

Conclusion

These suggestions regarding the scope of assassination –related records and their successful full disclosure are offered in the spirit and context of the Review Board's historic mission, as well as the difficulty of its task. That our government has squandered the trust of its citizens with a shameful display of three decades of lies, cover-ups, destruction of evidence, and that it failed to produce historical truth in one of the watershed political events of the century, is distressing. In contrast, the creation of a civilian review board with full powers to decide the boundaries of government secrecy is not only hopeful but revolutionary in its potential impact on the public right to know.

However, in order to realize the possibilities for repair of public trust and of democratic ideals, the Board will have to overcome many obstacles: the complexity of agency information systems, the ongoing cover-ups confronted by every official investigation, the web of secrets that surround many of the records (secrets whose volatility is in no way eliminated by the passing decades) and resistance from secrecy minded bureaucrats disturbed by the Board's very existence and its sweeping powers.

The stakes are enormous for the historical truth of President Kennedy's assassination and for the health of our democracy. I am confident that legions of responsible, sober experts stand ready to assist in this lofty enterprise, and I hope that the Board will draw upon them at every stage of its work.

If Kenneth Smith's story checks out, he would be a must, as far as follow-up goes. He testified in Dallas, Texas.

See Below

ARRB Public Hearing, Dallas, 18 Nov 1994

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...mp;relPageId=77

Kenneth Smith -

To follow-up here real quick, my name is Kenneth Smith, and I had the privilege of just stopping up in Washington, in-between assignments and looking at Mr. Oswald's file, which was very difficult to locate, being it was in a boxcar running around in the Peoria, Illinois, area, and the essence of what I was told to check on with Oswald was the U-2.......

Now getting back to me personally, I collaborated with Mr. Schweiker under his intelligence investigation committee. I transported documents and liasoned and discussed matters

of the Kennedy assassination with him under congressional privilege starting in 1972 up until the time he ran for President with Mr. Reagan, at which time they felt, because of political considerations, it would be unfair for me to go ahead say anything with him.

In other words, that is when he officially lost his committee assignments as far as the people who felt I had the right to discuss matters with him.

I had the privilige to talk with Mr Kennedy when I was at Fort Mona Signal School......I attended the Geneva Disarmament Conferences that was started at the end of the Nixon Administration. The gist of what happened on this follow-up was this, there was an attempt on President Kennedy's life in Venice, Italy. My job to make it simple was a nuclear football. I worked on NATO codes for nuclear weapons. Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense, insisted these codes be strengthened. I came into this job. Mostly Warrant Officers reported to me on intelligence. Because of this, I found the situation in Venice, Italy which developed, and when I got out of the service, I was asked by Military Headquarters in Stuttgaart, Germany, when I came back to the States to Fort Harrison, to divulge what I knew. This came down through the chain of military intelligence.

I had to call the District Court in Dallas, and I might be your phantom witness one of these days, about security precautions on the Kennedy assassination. I did a lot of work and tried very hard to convince Mr. Kennedy, through the chain of command, not personally but it ended up at the White House. Jack Palance, you know of the Film Guild did a follow-up with me in Jenkins, Kentucky and we looked into all this one time, which I intend to publish on.

In 1982, I intended to publish my book but no go. They didn't want me to publish it.

So that is the reason I feel I have the right to come here now and tell you that I want to go ahead and publish my book as long as it doesent jeopardize national security.

Now States Rights is where I am held in. I obtained a Federal authentication through Marshall University and the dean of the college at Marshall University, at the time and prior to the time Kennedy was killed. Now my Congressman was Ken Heckler, he is now West Virginia's Secretary of State. He advised me of the procedures that I was to go through with this so that later I could publish what I knew about this prior knowledge. National security estimates are looked at six months and two weeks. Now this was brought up on C-SPAN, so I am not telling any tales out of school, by the way. At the beginning of the William Gates confirmation hearings, there was an agent that went into how you go about, if you're an agent

and you feel somebody's life is in jeopardy. I talked to him on the phone and explained my situation to him, but I didn't have no way to explain what happened.

I went through the same procedures that an agent of the CIA would have went through, and I didn't work for the CIA, I worked for military intelligence, I worked for Navy Intelligence, I have made trips behind the Iron Curtain. But the gist of it is, to make a long story short here today, the FBI knew that there was a plot to kill Kennedy in Dallas and I have been held in limbo under States Rights. I had to go to Charleston, West Virginia, which is my state capital and appear at the beginning of the Warren Commission hearings for approximately a day- and-a-half altogether. I was there more than that, but my testimony would amount to a day-and-a-half, and I have never been able to publish on any of this follow up investigation.

..........But there was prior knowledge. I was with the military. The military said, after thirty years, we are not hiding nothing, as long as it don't have to do with national security. Stuttgaart, Germany was my battalion headquarters. I was under the authority of the Provost Marshall, Heidleberg, Germany.

Robert: As to whether the above is credible, I can state JFK did go to Italy circa June 1963, and Reagan did briefly ally himself with Senator Schweiker in the time frame Mr. Smith alludes to...I am not aware of his Warren Commission testimony, but that does not mean he didn't testify, or was led to believe his testimony was being taken, arguably.

Edited by Robert Howard
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