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Agency 'Soft Files'?


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Just of late, I have been going through several boxes of documents and came across some obscure references to 'soft files'. These are personal working files usually containing very sensitive information which will never see the light of day.

Interesting to note, there are 'soft files' for the following -

Silvia Duran

Jean Souetre

John Wilson Hudson

William Seymour

Carlos Prio

Gerry Hemming

Lee Harvey Oswald

and several for the HTLINGUAL project (mail interception)

It is frustrating that we will never see these files but it does make one wonder though.

FWIW.

James

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James

Your post made me reread portions of the "Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives," in particular that which deals with the HT-LINGUAL project. It is located around page 205 and deals with information about Oswald's movements into and out of the Soviet Union that was given a HT-LINGUAL file number of CI/PROJECT/RE. Information from page 212 of this report has been vital to my research surrounding Oswald's flight from London to Helsinki (Serendipity, JFK Online Seminars, The Education Forum).

My reread turns up two vital supporting pieces of information for my "pet" theory:

A) The HT-LINGUAL project was managed by Richard Helms (the same man that Jefferson Morley has shown was still receiving information about LHO in the days prior to the assassination). This consistancy is more than interesting. Helms is also the person that reports Oswald's flight from London to Helsinki is somehow to obscure for the CIA to identify exactly how Oswald got there.

B) More importantly the CI/Project did in fact reference counterintelligence and the RE stood for the initials of a foreign language translator:

"One employee, however, testified that the "CI Project" was "simply a name of convenience that was used to describe the HT-Lingual project"; (79) another testified that "CI Project" was the name of the component that ran the HT-Lingual project. This person also explained that "RE" represented the initials of a person who had been a translator of foreign language documents and that the initials had probably been placed there so that someone could come back to the translator if a question arose concerning one of the documents."

In addition:

"With respect to the meaning of the notation "CI/Project/RE," the CIA explained that there existed an office within the counterintelligence staff that was known as "CI/Project," a cover title that had been used to hide the true nature of the office's functions. In fact, this office was responsible for the exploitation of the material produced by the HT-Lingual project. The Agency further explained that "RE" represented the initials of a former employee."

My person of interest, John B. Hurt, (Raleigh Call John Hurt?????) fits the discription of RE exactly. Hurt was a "person who had been a translator of foreign language documents" and if John B. Hurt is somehow "RE" he was also, by the time of the HSCA "a former employee."

Coincidence?

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root
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James,

Just of late, I have been going through several boxes of documents and came across some obscure references to 'soft files'. These are personal working files usually containing very sensitive information which will never see the light of day.

In March of 2000, the NARA issued a rather scathing report of how the CIA handles records management and retention.

In that Report, they wrote:

During discussions with program staff and IMOs, NARA evaluators found an inconsistent understanding of basic and important records management concepts. For example, as will be discussed at greater length in Chapters III and V, there was a tendency for some CIA personnel to view their files as nonrecord ("soft" files) if the information the files contained was available elsewhere. This is contrary to 36 CFR 1222.35(d) which states that "Multiple copies of the same document and documents containing duplicative information ... may each have record status depending upon how they are used to transact agency business."

Two other problem areas were noted in some of the offices visited. The more serious and common of the two was a tendency on the part of some staff and/or agency components to inappropriately regard their files as non-record working papers or "soft" files that could be destroyed at will. A second problem NARA noted was the filing of incoming documents and other materials in disposable chronological files. Each of these is discussed below in more detail.

You can read the Report online here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/naracia.html

Steve Thomas

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