On October 8, an unusual protest was scheduled to take place outside the National Archives in Washington, D.C. A group of researchers into the Kennedy assassination planned to form a picket line at the Visitor’s Entrance. They were there because the National Archives had announced it will not release 1,171 top-secret CIA documents in advance of the 50th anniversary next year of JFK’s assassination.
According to the CIA – and the Archives seems to have bought the argument – “substantial logistical requirements” prevented these documents’ disclosure, which were the subject of a specific request from the nonprofit Assassination Archives and Research Center. This is despite the fact that the 1992 JFK Records Act mandates the public release of all assassination-related files in the government’s possession. Instead, these will remain withheld until at least 2017.
This also goes counter to a directive signed by President Obama on his first day in office, pledging a new commitment to openness and transparency, including the declassification of such records. These particular ones include over 600 pages about David Atlee Phillips, a deceased CIA officer involved with anti-Castro Cuban exiles during the early 1960s. One of those exiles, Antonio Veciana, told this writer (as well as a government investigator) in 1976 that Phillips – who used the cover name”Maurice Bishop” – brought Lee Harvey Oswald to a private meeting that Veciana attended in August 1963.
Altogether, an astounding 50,000-plus pages of government files related to the JFK assassination have yet to see the light of day. Thousands more documents have been partially withheld or released but blacked-out. All in the name of national security – a half-century after the fact!
Clearly, the CIA is still worried that information it possesses would point to a conspiracy instead of the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald was the “lone gunman.” The Agency might also be concerned about something else – new evidence developed by Douglas P. Horne, formerly of the Assassination Records Review Board, that clearly shows a CIA laboratory to have altered the famous Zapruder film in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. The story is available here and interested readers might also check out my lengthy interview with Horne in my book, “On the Trail of the JFK Assassins.”
But when the person in charge of the National Archives’ Declassification Center (Sheryl Shenberger) was formerly employed by the CIA, perhaps we should expect no less than the current impasse. Before undertaking prior declassification chores for the Agency, Shenberger was a branch chief in the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center between 2001 and 2003.
For those of us who are convinced we’ve never been told the truth about the tragedy of November 22, 1963 – a day that changed the course of American history – it’s time to make the government hear our voices loud-and-clear leading up to next year’s 50th anniversary.
One place to start is by signing this petition demanding that release of the withheld CIA files. Click here