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What NARA needs to do with the JFK Collection according to Malcolm Blunt

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Attn Bill & Larry.  Bart Kamp has posted this on ROKC.

Malcolm Blunt: What NARA could do that would assist in the JFK case

JFK_1509059617641_28303866_ver1-300x169.In anticipation of an impending announcement by the White House on President Biden’s 15 December deadline regarding the release and/or continued withholding of the remaining JFK assassination documents being held by the National Archives and Records Administration, AARC Board member Malcolm Blunt offers the following as a wish list:
1. Perform an Electrostatic Detection Device (EDD) test on Oswald’s notebook to bring out indentations from each page. When one handles this hand-written notebook, one cannot help but notice that Oswald pressed down very hard when he wrote in this little book. It seems inexplicable that such a potentially valuable examination has never been performed.
2. Transcribe all  Warren Commission stenotype reporter’s notes. We cannot trust the bound witness testimony at the Archives because in many instances there are gaps where portions of pages are blank, (e.g. Jessie Curry’s testimony). Jim Martin’s HSCA testimony describes how Chief Justice Warren ordered parts of his testimony, those regarding Marina’s activities in Russia, to be struck from the record.  [RO note:  according to Barry Ernest, the Girl on the Stairs, p.329 ftnote 11, the stenographic tapes of the interviews of Victoria Adams, Billy Lovelady and Bill Shelley --a key to the question of whether Oswald descended the stairs after the shooting--are missing.] 
3. Explain the blanket denial by NARA of there being any NSA material in WC files, when the Army Chief Historian told the review board (ARRB) staffers, and Max Holland, that “they, ” the Warren Commission, got a hell of a lot of intercept material from NSA. There are no such documents extant in the WC files at NARA.
4. Key CIA material (memos) from Bruce Solie to Warren Commission attorney David Slawson RE Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko are also missing, although Slawson’s marginalia indicates that it clearly once existed; maybe NARA could ask CIA to check their Executive Registry where they hold copies of ALL documents relating to the various commissions (WC, Rockefeller, SSCIA, HSCA).
5. Ask (NARA) whether or not they have an internal finding aid of HSCA documents which tracks to the separate CIA numbering system used by CIA for ALL HSCA documentation (see 104-10431-10063).
6. Request that NARA provide a proper index/finding aid for the thousands of denied documents quietly placed by them into the Warren Commission collection by Archivist James Mathis commencing in year 2004. Assistance with any of these issues would enhance our understanding and benefit our research community.
A much deserved tip of the hat to a previous Chief Archivist at NARA, John W. Carlin, who really did an exceptional job and tried very sincerely to pull NARA out of its sloth-like habits. His efforts on behalf of researchers were real and valuable. Somewhere around 2003 there was a massive interfile of documents into the CIA Segregated File collection that was copied from Microfilm, once again supervised by James R. Mathis. Unfortunately, no index/finding aid for this huge dump of previously denied and redacted material was made available. I pleaded with Mr. Mathis and we had a frank exchange of views culminating with him providing 24 boxes of RIFs! So, with that, a finding aid of sorts, (but not researcher friendly) was released. Then, as with the massive WC interfile, there clearly had to have been an index to work from. When asked about the massive WC interfile, Mr. Mathis admitted that, yes, he did have an index/finding aid but, as it was part of his working papers, he was allowed to destroy it!!!
I have to emphasize that it was not all bad with Mr. Mathis, but it was a bit of an uphill fight. The ARRB “7” series was screened by him after I got the “clear off” message from the Special Access Staff (JFK) head honcho, Martha Murphy. After requesting assistance, I eventually did receive a finding aid from NARA, then I was told that the 7 series could not be released because of too many personal and privacy issues. Finally, when I started inundating NARA with multiple FOIA requests based on the 7 series finding aid which they sent me, James Mathis was tasked to do the screening job. The end result: another 24 boxes of material! Hallelujah!
Finally, a couple of concluding thoughts: I feel we urgently need some accounting from FBI and NARA as to why no post-1993 FBI JFK Investigation and/or Lee Harvey Oswald files have made it into NARA, (I last looked in 2016/2017). It’s also fair to say that I asked NARA, more than once, to take another look at the Church Committee files. We have had 40 boxes released by Charlie Battaglia’s staff in the Senate, then the ARRB took 5 interns for a week, (only one week!), and got 16 more boxes from the repository at Archives 1. The direct quote from the ever unhelpful Martha Murphy was, “We won’t be looking anytime soon.”
So, there you go. One may be tempted to ask, is this the attitude towards researchers we deserve? Is this the attitude towards researchers we should expect? Is this the attitude towards researchers we should find acceptable?
Courtesy of Bart Kamp: The Malcolm Blunt Archives


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