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Question of the Day
A CIA spokesman, Ned Price, said the agency has complied with the law in releasing documents and the archives center “has all of the Agency’s documents and files on the Kennedy assassination. Price didn’t comment on the Joannides material specifically, citing Morley’s lawsuit.
“The classified information contained in the files remains subject to the declassification provisions of the Act,” he said.
Meanwhile, the documents sit in metal boxes on shelves in “a big room that’s temperature- and humidity-controlled,” said Martha Murphy, the Archives’ chief of special access and Freedom of Information Act requests.
Among those are the Joannides files. An index created by the CIA and provided to The Associated Press by Morley describes many of the files as containing information on Joannides‘ travel, training and personnel evaluations as well as memos pertaining to the CIA’s interactions with the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
Morley’s interest dates to the 1990s when he covered the newly-formed ARRB. He filed suit for the Joannides documents in 2003 and has pried loose several hundred pages since then.
A federal judge dismissed the case in 2010. But in June, a federal appeals court overruled a lower court that had denied Morley’s request to be reimbursed for attorneys’ fees. “Records about individuals allegedly involved in President Kennedy’s assassination serve a public benefit,” the decision said.
Morley does not suggest the Joannides files point to agency involvement in the assassination itself, but more likely that their release would show the CIA trying to keep secret its own flawed performance before the assassination.
Blakey isn’t optimistic about getting all of the documents from the intelligence agency.
“They held stuff back from the Warren Commission, they held stuff back from us, they held stuff back from the ARRB,” he said. “That’s three agencies that they were supposed to be fully candid with. And now they’re taking the position that some of these documents can’t be released even today.
“Why are they continuing to fight tooth and nail to avoid doing something they’d promised to do?”
By Michael P. Orsi
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