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AARC Letter to Archivist


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The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), in a letterdated January 20, 2012, requested that the National Archives and the CIA release some 50,000 pages relating to the JFK assassination that remain withheld in full from the public, as well as an undisclosed number of partially deleted records. The letter maintains that release of such records well before the 50th anniversary of the assassination on November 22, 2013, is essential to having a full and robust national discussion of this event and its significance. The working group that produced the AARC's letter consisted of three AARC Board Members and two leading attorneys who have a profound interest in the subject. The letter was also signed by Professor G. Robert Blakey, the former Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

In short, the AARC has advised NARA and the CIA that fifty years of secrecy is enough. The working group is currently discussing how best to develop a plan of action to get NARA and CIA to expedite disclosure of the withheld records. Stay tuned. Note: The majority of the over 1 million pages of records in the MFF's Document Archive come from the files of the AARC, whose President Jim Lesar along with other members have worked tirelessly and successfully for release of JFK assassination records over the decades.

For PDF copy of letter see: www.aarclibrary.org/notices/AARC_Letter_to_National_Archives_12-01-20.pd

For digital copy of letter see: JFKcountercoup: AARC Letter to US Archivist

AARC

Assassination Archives and Research Center

Jim Lesar, President

January 20, 2012

United StatesArchivist David S. Ferreiro

Dear Mr. Ferreiro:

In 1992, Congress passed the “President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992” (“JFK Act”) which requires “the expeditious public transmission to the Archivist and public disclosure of” all records designated as assassination relate. The clear design of the legislation was to declassify and release to the public as many of the records as possible, holding back only a few of the most highly-classified documents until 2017. At that time the only way in which a record could continue to be withheld would be if the President of the United States personally approved the continued withholding of specific records under mandated strict standards. The legislative motivation behind the JFK Act was to enable the American public to review as many as possible of the entire original body of more than 5 million government pages pertaining to the assassination to allow full scholarly and historical analysis of it, and to assess its impact by and on the historical events surrounding it.

Yet despite the passage of nearly 20 years since the Act was passed, it was only recently that scholars learned that there are not just a few CIA records missing from the public records, but approximately 50,000 pages which remain classified. (The volume of partially withheld pages is unknown but is also quite substantial.) This contravenes both the letter and spirit of the JFK Act and is unacceptable as a matter of law.

Enforcement of the JFK Act’s disclosure mandate originally repose in a five-member panel of citizens, the Assassinations Records Review Board (“ARRB”). Upon demise of the ARRB, the Act delegated NARA to carry out its provisions “until such at time as the Archivist certifies to the President and to Congress that all assassination records have been made available to the public…” 1. The Act further provides that “all postponed orredacted records shall be reviewed periodically by the originating agency and the Archivist consistent with the recommendations of the Review Board….”

Continued: www.aarclibrary.org/notices/AARC_Letter_to_National_Archives_12-01-20.pdf

And/or JFKcountercoup: AARC Letter to US Archivist

Edited by William Kelly
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Bill, thanks for posting the letter.

All forum members and truth seekers should read attorney Jim Lesar's letter to U.S. Archivist David Ferreiro requesting the release of JFK related files prior to 2017.

As an example of the troublesome behavior of federal agencies obfuscation in the JFK case, Lesar provides a good brief discussion of CIA operative George Joannides, who ran the DRE, a Cuban exile group that clashed with Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963.

Joannides was brought out of retirement in 1978 to serve as the Agency's liaison with the HSCA, without disclosing his prior operational relationship with the DRE, a group under investigation by the HSCA.

Amazingly, according to a CIA court brief in 2010, Joannides was working "undercover" in his role as document facilitator to the HSCA. Exactly how covert action was appropriate for a Congressional investigation was not further described in the CIA's brief.

Journalist Jefferson Morley, with Lesar and the AARC's help, has fought in federal court with the CIA for the release of the Joannides records since 2003.

In my opinion, Jim Lesar and the AARC's appeal to NARA represents the most reasonable and realistic approach for the prompt release of those withheld documents, absent any political interest in these matters.

Everyone should support and applaud their unrelenting and valiant efforts, and look forward to the documents unredacted release.

Edited by Steve Rosen
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It would be great if members here wanted to follow up by sending a letter to Rep. Darryl Issa asking for an oversight hearing.

The contact info can be found on our Facebook page http://www.facebook....ps/jfkactlobby/

Another letter is being prepared that everyone can sing on.

Of course the Archivist of the USA is not going to release the records on his own, but must have the support of the President.

While Obama made open government and transparency the hallmark of his administration on his first day in office, his track record is spotty.

FOIA panelists say Obama has far to go in transparency

http://www.rcfp.org/...go-transparency

RachelBunn

Date: January 23, 2012

Despite President Barack Obama's promise for moretransparency in government, the administration has a long way to go, accordingto experts at a open government conference held in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

An estimated 100 journalists, watchdog group employees,media lawyers and government representatives attended the day-long"Transparency in the Obama Administration" conference hosted by theAmerican University Washington College of Law.

Panelists said much of the issue regarding transparencyinvolved the culture within government agencies, not the goals and policies setforth by the president. However, the administration's failure to enforce agencycompliance with the Freedom of Information Act and other policies, such asthe OpenGovernment National Action Plan — a plan to expand transparency andimprove FOIA through technology and public participation — does raise concerns,panelists said.

"Yes, they have made modest reforms around the edges, but onthe big questions, it's hard to see how they've staked out any ground differentthan their predecessors," said Michael Isikoff, national investigativecorrespondent at NBC New and a panelist.

Franklin Reeder, senior Obama/Biden transition team memberand former director of the White House Office of Administration, said the factthat the Obama administration issued a memorandum concerning transparency onthe president's first day in office signified its importance to theadministration.

Amy Fuller Bennett, assistant director atOpenTheGovernment.org said she agreed that Obama's National Action Plan was abold move and more far-reaching than open government advocates had expected.Still, she said, the policies and plans are "playing around" the system — aFOIA system many panelists said is not working.

"I don't think you'll find a reporter in Washingtonthat thinks FOIA is an effective reporting tool," said Fred Schulte, seniorreporter for iWatch News at the Center for Public Integrity.

Many journalists often find the issues concerning FOIArequests hinder their ability to perform investigative work for stories.

Newspapers are forced to "pry information" from thegovernment, said panelist Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The ReportersCommittee for Freedom of the Press. The costs associated with this, particularlylegal costs, she said, are making many news organizations "gun shy" to petitionthe government for information.

"They're checking things out when they perceive there is anissue, and they are still being shut down," Dalglish said. "On a local level,what this means is they have stopped making requests."

Panelists said it costs the government more to classify,protect and then later declassify information, than it would to practicetransparency.

"What I don't understand is some of this stuff would not beexpensive to release," Dalglish said. "What I don't understand is how the Obamadirective has not filtered down."

FOIA requests are often backlogged because the system isunderstaffed and has no power to force agencies to release data in a timelymanner, according to Bennett.

"I can say from my perspective and our perspective asjournalists, there's been some sort of spasmodic response [to FOIA requests],"said Josh Gerstein, White House reporter at Politico. "To wait amonth, a year, five years for a request — you're actually talking about whetherthis is useful to us at all."

Many agencies are reluctant to release information toreporters, particularly where the records relate to national security ormilitary issues. Journalists often face greater difficulty when trying to coverstories relating to military commissions and tribunals, Gerstein said.

Reporters also have difficulty navigating more readilyavailable information provided by government agencies. The White House visitorlogs contain missing or partial information, according to Schulte. Missinginformation includes event descriptions and arrival times. Guests of thefamily, which can include performers and overnight guests, are not included inthe logs.

Isikoff said though the logs were incomplete, he found themhelpful for stories, however "it took a hell of a lot of work to navigatethem."

The logs could provide useful information to journalists whowould like to monitor White House visitors leading up to the passage ofimportant legislation, such as in the area of healthcare; however, Schulte saidoften persons have to be requested by name in order for the White House toprovide information.

"The bottom line is you can't figure out who was at aspecific meeting and why they were there," Schulte said. "They say 'We'llprovide you with information about people,' but when you don't know who to askfor, it's a Catch-22."

Lisa Ellman, senior counsel in the Office of Information andRegulatory Affairs, said the Obama administration was continuing to improveFOIA compliance and that non-compliance to FOIA is part of "an ingrained agencyculture" the administration is trying to overcome.

"We all know that the process to opening the government is awork in progress, however, it requires a state of commitment," Ellman said."The open government directive is working to improve the lives of everydaypeople more efficiently, more effectively."

Edited by William Kelly
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  • 1 month later...

From the Boston Globe:

National Archives director battles to unlock US secrets

By Bryan Bender

March 13, 2012

Excerpts:

Ferriero now directs the National Archives in Washington, the first librarian to hold the post of official “collector in chief." He not only oversees 12 billion pages

and 40 million photographs that tell America’s story, he referees release of America’s oldest secrets, from the formula for invisible ink to battle plans for the Spanish-American War.

He favors openness, he says, but agencies cling to a maze of often-contradictory secrecy rules and a deep-seated culture to lock away even innocuous information.

“While progress has been made," Ferriero said, “we still have a huge problem."

Ferriero’s primary job is ensuring the 275 executive branch agencies retain the most important government records for posterity. But he also oversees the

National Declassification Center, created by President Obama by executive order in 2009. That makes him point man for an aggressive effort to try to release,

by the end of next year, a backlog of an estimated 400 million records that are more than 25 years old....

____________________________________________________________

....Among the most sought-after files are documents relating to the assassination of President Kennedy, the CIA, and the National Security Council.

Many more, including the records of military commands, NASA, the FBI, and files from the Watergate investigation, are also “high interest’’ but

“difficult to process’’ because they have to be scrubbed of any sensitive information and to protect people’s privacy. Some former insiders are critical

of the slow pace at which decades-old information is being released and call it testament to a dysfunctional process.

J. William Leonard, the former overseer of the classification system, said the agencies that Ferriero must cajole will continue to hold sway until

the Archives has more staff and resources to review the documents.

“We are afraid of history," said Leonard, who oversaw the Pentagon’s classification procedures before serving as director of the National Archives’

Information and Security Oversight Office. “Our knowledge of our history is imperfect, imprecise, but written as if it isn’t."

____________________________________________________________

....Then he has to deal, as best he can, with the conspiracy theories, which, due in large part to Hollywood, are constantly swirling. The desire for more

raw information encompasses 50,000 pages of documents related to the assassination of Kennedy that are still secret and are not expected to be released

for at least another five years.

“When we launched the declassification center," Ferriero said, “I hosted two open forums . . . to get some sense from the user community about what records

they were looking for. They were exactly the same. This side of the room was Kennedy assassination conspiracy, this side of the room was UFOs."

Complete article: http://articles.boston.com/2012-03-13/nation/31153633_1_google-books-formulas-government-files

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This kind of relates to what is going on with the C.I.A not releasing the JFK records.

Scotland Yard Still has records sealed from the Jack The Ripper Killings and that is 124 years ago.

What does that say about how governments secorts.

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  • 1 month later...

Issa circulates Contempt resolution against Eric Holder

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/225207-rep-issa-circulates-contempt-resolution-against-obamas-attorney-general

Not specifically related to William Kelly's thread, but the article does highlight the extreme difficulty in getting the government to provide documents specified by the FOIA.

Edited by Richard Hocking
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Then he has to deal, as best he can, with the conspiracy theories, which, due in large part to Hollywood, are constantly swirling.

So here we sit. Those who seriously seek to release and examine documents, they're obviously creatures of Hollywood propaganda. No minds of their own.

I hope this was the journalist's bias, and not a reflection of the archivist.

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  • 4 weeks later...

From businessinsider.com

Is the Government Holding Back Crucial Documents?

May 30, 2012

Excerpt:

Frustrated by the administration’s foot-dragging on JFK, AARC sent a letter urging the government to get off its duff. One signer was G. Robert Blakey, who served as a Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which in its 1978 final report said that, um…it looks like an organized conspiracy was responsible for JFK’s death.)

ARRC’s letter was dated January 20, 2012. According to Lesar, there has still been no reply—though NARA says it is working on it.

http://www.businessi...ocuments-2012-5

Edited by Michael Hogan
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