C.I.A. Is Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery

C.I.A. Is Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery
Published: October 16, 2009
WASHINGTON — Is the Central Intelligence Agency covering up some dark secret about the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

Probably not. But you would not know it from the C.I.A.’s behavior.

For six years, the agency has fought in federal court to keep secret hundreds of documents from 1963, when an anti-Castro Cuban group it paid clashed publicly with the soon-to-be assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. The C.I.A. says it is only protecting legitimate secrets. But because of the agency’s history of stonewalling assassination inquiries, even researchers with no use for conspiracy thinking question its stance.

The files in question, some released under direction of the court and hundreds more that are still secret, involve the curious career of George E. Joannides, the case officer who oversaw the dissident Cubans in 1963. In 1978, the agency made Mr. Joannides the liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations — but never told the committee of his earlier role.

That concealment has fueled suspicion that Mr. Joannides’s real assignment was to limit what the House committee could learn about C.I.A. activities. The agency’s deception was first reported in 2001 by Jefferson Morley, who has doggedly pursued the files ever since, represented by James H. Lesar, a Washington lawyer specializing in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.

“The C.I.A.’s conduct is maddening,” said Mr. Morley, 51, a former Washington Post reporter and the author of a 2008 biography of a former C.I.A. station chief in Mexico.

After years of meticulous reporting on Mr. Joannides, who died at age 68 in 1990, he is convinced that there is more to learn.

“I know there’s a story here,” Mr. Morley said. “The confirmation is that the C.I.A. treats these documents as extremely sensitive.”

Mr. Morley’s quest has gained prominent supporters, including John R. Tunheim, a federal judge in Minnesota who served in 1994 and 1995 as chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board, created by Congress to unearth documents related to the case.

“I think we were probably misled by the agency,” Judge Tunheim said, referring to the Joannides records. “This material should be released.”

Gerald Posner, the author of an anti-conspiracy account of the Kennedy assassination, “Case Closed” (Random House, 1993), said the C.I.A.’s withholding such aged documents was “a perfect example of why nobody trusts the agency.”

“It feeds the conspiracy theorists who say, ‘You’re hiding something,” ’ Mr. Posner said.

After losing an appeals court decision in Mr. Morley’s lawsuit, the C.I.A. released material last year confirming Mr. Joannides’s deep involvement with the anti-Castro Cubans who confronted Oswald. But the agency is withholding 295 specific documents from the 1960s and ’70s, while refusing to confirm or deny the existence of many others, saying their release would cause “extremely grave damage” to national security.

“The methods of defeating or deterring covert action in the 1960s and 1970s can still be instructive to the United States’ current enemies,” a C.I.A. official wrote in a court filing.

An agency spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, said the C.I.A. had opened to Judge Tunheim’s board all files relevant to the assassination and denied that it was trying to avoid embarrassment. “The record doesn’t support that, any more than it supports conspiracy theories, offensive on their face, that the C.I.A. had a hand in President Kennedy’s death,” Mr. Gimigliano said.

C.I.A. secrecy has been hotly debated this year, with agency officials protesting the Obama administration’s decision to release legal opinions describing brutal interrogation methods. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, came under attack from Republicans after she accused the C.I.A. of misleading Congress about waterboarding, adding, “They mislead us all the time.”

On the Kennedy assassination, the deceptions began in 1964 with the Warren Commission. The C.I.A. hid its schemes to kill Fidel Castro and its ties to the anti-Castro Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil, or Cuban Student Directorate, which received $50,000 a month in C.I.A. support during 1963.

In August 1963, Oswald visited a New Orleans shop owned by a directorate official, feigning sympathy with the group’s goal of ousting Mr. Castro. A few days later, directorate members found Oswald handing out pro-Castro pamphlets and got into a brawl with him. Later that month, he debated the anti-Castro Cubans on a local radio station.

In the years since Oswald was named as the assassin, speculation about who might have been behind him has never ended, with various theories focusing on Mr. Castro, the mob, rogue government agents or myriad combinations of the above. Mr. Morley, one of many writers to become entranced by the story, insists he has no theory and is seeking only the facts.

His lawsuit has uncovered the central role in overseeing directorate activities of Mr. Joannides, the deputy director for psychological warfare at the C.I.A.’s Miami station, code-named JM/WAVE. He worked closely with directorate leaders, documents show, corresponding with them under pseudonyms, paying their travel expenses and achieving an “important degree of control” over the group, as a July 1963 agency fitness report put it.

Fifteen years later, Mr. Joannides turned up again as the agency’s representative to the House assassinations committee. Dan Hardway, then a law student working for the committee, recalled Mr. Joannides as “a cold fish,” who firmly limited access to documents. Once, Mr. Hardway remembered, “he handed me a thin file and just stood there. I blew up, and he said, ‘This is all you’re going to get.’ ”

But neither Mr. Hardway nor the committee’s staff director, G. Robert Blakey, had any idea that Mr. Joannides had played a role in the very anti-Castro activities from 1963 that the panel was scrutinizing.

When Mr. Morley first informed him about it a decade ago, Mr. Blakey was flabbergasted. “If I’d known his role in 1963, I would have put Joannides under oath — he would have been a witness, not a facilitator,” said Mr. Blakey, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. “How do we know what he didn’t give us?”

After Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “J.F.K.” fed speculation about the Kennedy assassination, Congress created the Assassination Records Review Board to release documents. But because the board, too, was not told of Mr. Joannides’s 1963 work, it did not peruse his records, said Judge Tunheim, the chairman.

“If we’d known of his role in Miami in 1963, we would have pressed for all his records,” Judge Tunheim said.

No matter what comes of Mr. Morley’s case in Federal District Court in Washington, Mr. Tunheim said he might ask the current C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, to release the records, even if the names of people who are still alive must be redacted for privacy.

What motive could C.I.A. officials have to bury the details of Mr. Joannides’s work for so long? Did C.I.A. officers or their Cuban contacts know more about Oswald than has been revealed? Or was the agency simply embarrassed by brushes with the future assassin — like the Dallas F.B.I. officials who, after the assassination, destroyed a handwritten note Oswald had previously left for an F.B.I. agent?

Or has Mr. Morley spent a decade on a wild goose chase?

Max Holland, who is writing a history of the Warren Commission, said the agency might be trying to preserve the principle of secrecy.

“If you start going through the files of every C.I.A. officer who had anything to do with anything that touched the assassination, that would have no end,” Mr. Holland said.

Mr. Posner, the anti-conspiracy author, said that if there really were something explosive involving the C.I.A. and President Kennedy, it would not be in the files — not even in the documents the C.I.A. has fought to keep secret.

“Most conspiracy theorists don’t understand this,” Mr. Posner said. “But if there really were a C.I.A. plot, no documents would exist.”

Richard Belzer calls out the Federal Reserve on Bill Maher

Richard Belzer on Real Time with Bill Maher exposing the Federal Reserve plot to destroy the country and their roll in the assassination of JFK. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov 22nd, which is the anniversary of the day the Federal Reserve Act was composed on Jeckyll Island in 1910.

With you in the struggle,
WeAreChangeLA - http://www.wacla.org

At what point does protecting

secrets become withholding information of crimes, or shielding from prosecution ?
I'd like to know because there are 80 odd video tapes in Washington DC showing whatever
it was that hit the pentagon and I'd like to take a look.

"Probably not." ??

"Is the Central Intelligence Agency covering up some dark secret about the assassination of John F. Kennedy?
Probably not. "

Read Mark Lane's "Plausible Denial" (available at many public libraries) and say "probably not."

Fred W

Better yet, watch Lane's

Better yet, watch Lane's 1967 film, Rush To Judgment, Glad I made a copy when I could.

"media assets"

"Max Holland, who is writing a history of the Warren Commission, said the agency might be trying to preserve the principle of secrecy.

Mr. Posner, the anti-conspiracy author, said that if there really were something explosive involving the C.I.A. and President Kennedy, it would not be in the files — not even in the documents the C.I.A. has fought to keep secret."


"b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose."

“On the altar of God, I swear eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man."--Thomas Jefferson

Classified documents

Many people are under the impression that the Assassination Records Reveiw Board, formed after the publicity generated by Oliver Stone's JFK, resulted in the release of all classified files about the JFK assassination. This is not true. Foremost among the documents that JFK researchers would like to see released are:

1. Lee Harvey Oswald's tax returns, 1957 -- 1963
2. Marguerite Oswald's tax returns, 1957 -- 1963

These were specifically exempted from declassification by the ARRB. Why? What could be so sensitive about tax returns from over 40 years ago? Author John Armstrong has explored the probable answer to that, and many other mysteries about Oswald. Read the intro to his book here:

"Harvey & Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald."


Thanks for that info, DonnyBrook.

Also, I really like that 'favorite quote' under your profile:

"Only puny secrets need protection. Big secrets are protected by public incredulity."--Marshall McLuhan.

Posner is full of shit

"“Most conspiracy theorists don’t understand this,” Mr. Posner said. “But if there really were a C.I.A. plot, no documents would exist.”"

The assassination plot isn't going to be documented, you moron. The CIA's connections to the guys who pulled it off, on their payroll, was documented, because they had to keep control of these various networks of ASSETS.

Posner is deliberately being obtuse and stupid. Posner should go watch JFK again.

Only the CIA had the power to cover this up (as even his own bumbling shows there is an extenseive cover up to this day).

Posner is unreliable and biased. Not to be trusted.

J. Edgar Hoover has an interesting document, a memo about a visit from CIA the day after the assassination (11-23-63), about the assassination in its heading. The title of this memo is: "ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY NOVEMBER 22, 1963"

The FBI was visited by "George Bush" of the CIA the next day, November 23.

George HW Bush of the presidency lied about being of the CIA during that time frame. He was. He was in the club, involved with the Cuban anti-Castro legions and running arms and whatever from his oil company rigs (Zapata) in the Caribbean.

"Hoover’s FBI memo said “the substance of the foregoing information was orally furnished to Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency…on November 23, 1963 by Mr. W. T. Forsyth of this Bureau,” revealing that former President George H. W. Bush was a key government player surrounding the events of the JFK assassination despite his repeated denials of association with the CIA..."



Bill Mauer is a smart guy

His lame attempt at subterfuge there was ridiculous Abraham.Lincoln, Andrew Jackson
(they tried several times), James Garfield, John Kennedy....Senator John Heinz, Senator John Tower
For many years, numerous authors have attempted to sound the alarm that there exists a hidden "shadow government" that actually rules America. Most of us have dismissed these "conspiracy theory" views as extremist and unrealistic. However, when I had the opportunity to have lunch with Otto Von Habsburg,Member of the European Parliament, he made two remarks that caught my attention. The first was: "The ignorance in America is overwhelming." Indeed, the contrast in general awareness of world affairs between the average American and the average European is striking. It was his second observation that really provoked me: "The concentration of power in America is frightening. As a reasonably circumspect senior executive, having spent three decades in international finance and viewing America as a broadly based representative democracy, his remark shocked me. It prompted me to do some more homework. The results of my inquiries are most disturbing. Find it here : http://www.rense.com/general86/pres.htm