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NYT Piece on "Final" Biden Order under the JFK Records Act

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OK, I read the article courtesy of Joe Backes. 

LS--You said Seeborg was a "good" judge. I would hate to see a bad judge. 

Seeborg is an Obama-appointed judge, now ruling on a matter obviously of great sensitivity to Biden (Obama's veep) and the CIA. 

The times are topsy-turvy

Could one wonder if a "Trump-appointed judge" would have ruled for full disclosure? 

Why does not the NYT refer to Seeborg as a "Obama-appointed judge"?

I understand you must be diplomatic as you have the case pending. 

The motto, "Democracy Dies in Darkness"--no longer a warning, but a brag from America's Neo-liberals? 



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A lengthy excerpt:

“On June 22, 1962, an intelligence official drafted a memo summarizing a letter intercepted between Lee Harvey Oswald and his mother. The memo was made public long ago. But for 60 years, the name of the letter opener was kept secret.

Now it can finally be told: According to an unredacted copy of the memo released recently by the government, the official who intercepted Oswald’s mail for the C.I.A. in the months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated was named Reuben Efron


The mystery of Reuben Efron, who has been dead for three decades, may never be resolved to the satisfaction of some of those dedicated to studying the assassination. Thirty years after Congress ordered that papers related to the killing be made public with limited exceptions, President Biden has declared that he has made his “final certification” of files to be released, even though 4,684 documents remain withheld in whole or in part. Going forward, agencies will decide any future disclosures that may be warranted by the passage of time.

The president’s certification, issued at 6:36 p.m. on the Friday before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, when it would not draw much attention, has frustrated researchers and historians still focused on the most sensational American murder of the 20th century. But they suffered a setback on Friday when a federal judge refused to block Mr. Biden’s order.

Of roughly 320,000 documents reviewed since the law passed, 99 percent have been disclosed, according to the National Archives and Records Administration. But 2,140 documents remain fully or partially withheld as a result of Mr. Biden’s action, officials said, while another 2,502 remain withheld for reasons outside the president’s purview, like court-ordered seals, grand jury secrecy rules, tax privacy limits or restrictions imposed by people who donated papers, and 42 for a mix of both.


 A vast majority of excluded documents have actually been released but with certain parts redacted, officials said, including names of people still living, addresses, telephone or Social Security numbers, or locations of intelligence facilities. Officials said they were confident that none of the withheld information would change the essential understanding of the assassination.

While Mr. Biden’s June 30 order means he is done, the archives and agencies have set up “transparency plans” so remaining redactions can be lifted in the future, such as upon the death of someone whose identity was protected.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation, an organization already suing the government over the files, sought an injunction against Mr. Biden after his latest order. But Judge Richard Seeborg of the Federal District Court in Northern California rejected it on Friday night and dismissed other parts of the original lawsuit, though he allowed some claims to proceed.

Lawrence Schnapf, a lawyer for the foundation, denounced Mr. Biden’s action. “It is simply unfathomable to me that a man who has a bust of R.F.K. in his office and who voted for the law would cave in to the incredulous claims of the national security bureaucracy that 60-year-old records pose such a risk to national security that they cannot be released,” he said.

The Justice Department declined to comment but maintained in its filings that the government had complied with the law. The C.I.A. did not respond to requests for comment. “This completes the review of records required by Congress and fulfills the president’s commitment to maximizing transparency related to President Kennedy’s assassination,” said Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the White House.


The final 1,103 documents released days before Mr. Biden’s order and those made public in preceding months offered new information that hardly seemed worth keeping cloaked so long. In April, for instance, a file was released with names of employees in the C.I.A.’s Mexico City station, mostly secretaries and translators. Another document listed 27 previously unreleased C.I.A. staff members’ names; for whatever it is worth, the C.I.A. director John McCone’s secretaries were named Marguerite Beard, Betty Davis and June Irish.

Whether any of the withheld documents would shed more light on Reuben Efron is unknown. His name on the mail intercept memo intrigued Mr. Morley. The memo was sent to Betty Egerter at a C.I.A. unit known as “the office that spied on spies.” On the day of the assassination, Egerter’s boss told the F.B.I. that the C.I.A. had no information on Oswald, who in fact had been monitored when he moved to the Soviet Union. A document released long ago showed that the agency opened Oswald’s correspondence from Nov. 11, 1959, to May 1, 1960, and again from July 1, 1961, to May 25, 1962.

Curiously, Efron was previously listed as being in the room when the Warren Commission interviewed Marina Oswald, his Russian-born widow, in February 1964 — the only one present whose title and role were not explained. Mr. Morley suspects Efron was monitoring the commission’s investigation for James Angleton, the legendary C.I.A. official, essentially his “eyes and ears inside the room.”

Efron was born in Lithuania in 1911 as Ruvelis Effronas and arrived in the United States via Cuba in 1939, according to immigration papers that described him as a 5-foot-3, 135-pound “merchant-salesman.” In addition to English, he spoke Russian, Lithuanian, Hebrew, Yiddish and German, and served in the Air Force during World War II as an interpreter. His obituary said that after the war he was “a specialist on the Soviet Union and consultant on foreign affairs” without saying for whom.

In a harmonic convergence of conspiracy, Efron reported seeing a U.F.O. in 1955. He was traveling with Senator Richard Russell, Democrat of Georgia, and an Army colonel on a train trip through the Soviet Union when all three spotted what a C.I.A. report called two “flying saucers.” Skeptics later suggested they were Soviet aircraft. Russell was among the Warren Commission members in the room for the Marina Oswald interview that Efron attended in 1964.

As it happened, Efron died on Nov. 22, 1993 — the 30th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. His wife has died too, and he had no known children. Efforts to reach other family members were unsuccessful.

Edited by Peter Fokes
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So Efron was part of the HT LIngual program against Oswald, and he was in the room when Marina was being deposed by the Commission.

He was  good at languages,  including Russian.  And the ones he spoke would be important for Angleton.

I would have to say, it is all a bit much to be a coincidence don't you think?

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2 hours ago, Charles Blackmon said:

So he wasn't just listening to Marina at the deposition, he was communicating to her in Russian? What would he be telling her?

Marina was provided with two interpreters and at least one of her interpreters was recorded in the record.

Efron was only listed as present for one day of her testimony. I've not seen anything in the record to prove or suggest he was communicating with Marina. More likely that Efron would be the ears for Dulles and would be there to possibly pick up on anything when Marina was speaking with her interpreters.  

The day Efron was listed as being present included quite a bit of testimony regarding Russia. Dulles was also present that day. 

The obvious question is why was Efron selected over anyone else who was fluent in Russia for this task? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Efron passed away on 11/22/93. The fact they kept his name redacted for thirty years suggest CIA was trying to hide his operation.  Usually, names are released after they die which is not the test set forth in the JFK Act. Names may be released unless the disclosure would"pose a substantial risk of harm to that person" which is a more stringent test. Indeed, when the FBI initially sought to postpone disclosure of mafia informants in 2017, NARA pushed back saying the grounds were not consistent with the JFK Act. Of course, NARA was forced to fall on its sword and agree to postponement in 2017 and 2018.    

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