Under the JFK Act, all Federal agencies were required to identify all assassination records in their possession and to identify the information in the records that could be released immediately as well as the information whose release would be "postponed" (i.e., redacted) under Section 6 until the year 2017. The agencies then forward to the Review Board their recommendations for postponement along with the evidence supporting such postponements. In order to be faithful to its obligations under the law, the Review Board analyzed cautiously and carefully the agencies' proposed postponements along with their evidence in support of the postponements. In essence, the Review Board was obligated to proceed through the initial round of proposed postponements on a word-by-word basis.
At first, the review process proceeded extremely slowly and the agencies were afforded ample opportunity to present their evidence. Over time, the Review Board began to standardize its interpretation of Section 6 of the JFK Act and the issues raised in the various documents. Now that the Review Board and the agencies are familiar with the demands of the JFK Act, the process has accelerated. In a progressively increasing number of cases, records that initially contained proposed postponements can be released through a "consent" process. In this consent process, the ARRB staff notifies an agency that its proposed postponements are not likely to be approved by the Review Board and the agency thereupon voluntarily consents to the release of the information.
The following discussion of Review Board meetings identifies not only the records on which the Board voted, but those that were released by this consent process.
b. Overview of Review Board Meetings and Public Hearings. The U.S. Congress made clear, with the passage of the JFK Act, that it wanted to "ensure that there is an adequate opportunity for public input and participation" into Review Board activities.
Although the nature of the Review Board's work -- dealing with classified information requires closed meetings, the Review Board continued to conduct open meetings and hearings whenever possible to fully inform the public of its actions and of the release of documents. During FY 1996, the Review Board held eleven meetings in Washington, DC and conducted public hearings in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, California. The details and results of those meetings and hearings are described below.
Through October 1996, despite lengthy delays by some Federal agencies, the Review Board acted to transfer 8,972 documents to the National Archives and Records Administration for inclusion in the JFK Collection, which is housed at the NARA facility in College Park, Maryland. This total includes 3,624 FBI documents, 2,852 CIA documents and 2,496 documents from the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Significantly, all of the remaining documents contained in the CIA's Lee Harvey Oswald "201" file were released in part or in full in 1996 under the Review Board's direction. These include 781 documents released with the consent of the Agency.
In FY 1996, the Review Board and ARRB staff focused on increasing the rate of records reviewed (see Appendix 5), as well as identifying and locating additional records. The result was a consistent and dramatic increase in the number of records voted on by the Review Board, and the identification and acquisition of new records. The Review Board's accelerated hearing and review process has significantly expanded the historical record of the Kennedy assassination. At the end of 1996, the collection totaled 1,290 cubic feet, equivalent to 3.3 million pages of documents. Tens of thousands of other assassination records await review, however, and the process of identifying new records continues.
The Review Board voted to release 127 CIA, FBI, and HSCA documents.
The Review Board voted to release 57 CIA documents, 23 in full and 34 in part. These documents related to the CIA's broad post-assassination investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald, including its investigation of Oswald's trip to Mexico City in the fall of 1963.
The Review Board also voted to release 47 FBI documents, 25 in full and 22 in part. These documents related in part to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee's reaction to the assassination of President Kennedy.
In addition, the Review Board voted to release 23 HSCA documents in full. These documents related primarily to David Ferrie's attempt to get reinstated as a pilot with Eastern Airlines after his dismissal by the airline following the filing of "corruption of minors" charges against him.
January 5, 1996
The Review Board voted to release 68 CIA, FBI, HSCA, and Warren Commission documents.
The Review Board voted to release 34 CIA documents, seven in full and 27 in part. These documents related to the CIA's broad post-assassination investigation of Oswald, particularly his return trip to the United States from the former Soviet Union in 1962.
The Review Board also voted to release six FBI documents in full. These records related in part to the Bureau's interest in New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy.
In addition, the Review Board voted to release 23 HSCA and five Warren Commission documents in full. These documents were previously available, but contained redactions based on privacy grounds.
January 31, 1996
The Review Board voted to release 207 CIA, FBI, HSCA and Warren Commission documents
The Review Board voted to release 72 CIA documents 17 in full and 55 in part. These documents related in part to the Agency's post-assassination investigation of Oswald, including his trip to Mexico City in the fall of 1963.
The Review Board also voted to release 108 FBI documents (including duplicates), 42 in full and 66 in part. These documents related in part to the FBI's post-assassination investigation of Jack Ruby. Other documents related to a request made by the White House to the FBI for information about critics of the Warren Commission. These documents were previously available but contained redactions.
In addition, the Review Board voted to release 23 HSCA documents in full, with the exception of HSCA staff social security numbers. These documents included interviews with Secret Service Special Agents in Chicago and Miami regarding the assassination. Other HSCA documents related to David Ferrie and his attempt to get reinstated as a pilot with Eastern Airlines after his dismissal by the airline following the filing of 'corruption of minors' charges against him. These documents have been previously available with certain names redacted for privacy reasons.
Warren Commission Records
The Review Board also voted to release four Warren Commission documents. These documents are the last documents generated by the Commission that remain to be released in full to the public.
In other Review Board related activities, both the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) agreed to release documents from the HSCA Security Classified files series. DOD released three documents and DOS released 30 documents, some of which pertain in part to the HSCA's 1978 trip to Cuba to interview Castro. The Review Board had voted to release 21 of these CIA documents at the January 5, 1996 meeting, but reconsidered them at its March 19,1996 meeting after receiving additional evidence from the CIA.
February 29- March 1,1996
The Review Board met in closed session for two days of meetings. These meetings included ARRB staff briefings on various pending matters, a classified briefing by the National Security Agency, and a classified briefing by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The members of the Review Board also reviewed assassination records. No formal votes were taken during this meeting.
March 19, 1996
The Review Board voted on March 19, 1996 to release 271 CIA, FBI and HSCA documents In addition, 886 CIA, FBI, and HSCA records were released in full after consultation with these agencies.
The Review Board voted to release 135 CIA documents 24 in full and 111 in part. These documents related primarily to the CIA's international investigation to learn everything it could about Oswald, or persons and events allegedly having everything to do with him, during the days and weeks following the assassination. The Review Board voted that some information relating to intelligence sources and methods and true names should not be released.
Other Review Board action included votes to release 130 FBI documents, 27 in full and 103 in part. These documents related in part to the Bureau's investigation of the incident involving Silvia Odio in the fall of 1963, before the assassination. Other documents detailed the FBI's post-assassination investigation of Jack Ruby.
The Review Board voted to release six HSCA documents five in full and one in part. Included in this group were four documents that related to Secret Service protection of the President.
Other Board Actions
The Review Board also reconsidered 21 CIA documents from the January 5 meeting and 28 CIA documents from the January 31 meeting, along with two other CIA documents. The Review Board reconsidered a CIA document originally voted on at the November 14, 1995 meeting. The issue was protection of information about an individual. The other CIA document reconsidered by the Review Board was from the December 13, 1995 meeting. As with other CIA documents originally considered at Review Board meetings of January 5 and January 31, the issue was the disclosure of the originator of a cable. The Review Board voted to use substitute language in these documents.
The Review Board opened 886 CIA and FBI documents in full as well as records from the files of the HSCA. The release of these records was based on the standards established by the Review Board during its earlier review of other records. In addition, the CIA consented to release 405 documents the FBI released 410 documents and 71 HSCA records were made available in full, 55 of which are organized crime-related documents obtained from the Metro-Dade County Police Department.
April 16-17, 1996
The Review Board voted on April 16 and 17, 1996 to release 193 FBI, CIA, and HSCA records. An additional 89 FBI and 30 HSCA records were released in full by agency consent.
The Review Board voted to release 158 FBI documents (including duplicates) in full. These documents related to the Bureau's broad post-assassination investigation of Oswald, including the FBI's investigation into the incident involving Sylvia Odio.
The Review Board also voted to release 33 CIA documents, 14 in full and 19 in part. These documents consisted of various records from Oswald's "201" file.
In addition, the Review Board voted to release two HSCA documents in full, which were duplicates of documents previously opened.
Secret Service Records
As part of the mandate of the Review Board to identify assassination records, the Review Board designated Secret Service records from the files of Chief James Rowley as "assassination records." These records included Secret Service comments on the William Manchester book manuscript.
May 13-14, 1996
The Review Board voted on May 13 and 14, 1996 to release 528 FBI, CIA, and HSCA documents In addition, 463 FBI, CIA, HSCA, and Warren Commission documents were released in full with agency consent.
The Review Board voted to release 132 CIA records, one in full and 131 in part. These documents were from Oswald's "201" file.
CIA "Scelso" Documents
A category of records that has received great attention involves a former CIA employee who testified before the HSCA in executive session under the pseudonym "John Scelso." The Review Board has postponed the name of this former CIA employee who was involved in the assassination investigation. The Review Board voted to release the individual's name in 188 "Scelso" documents on either May 1, 2001, or three months after the death of the individual whose name is postponed, whichever occurs first.
The Review Board is very much aware of the research community's interest in knowing the identity of the person identified in the records under the pseudonym of "John Scelso." The Review Board received extensive information about the true identity of Scelso. Because of issues related to his identity, the Review Board decided that Scelso should be protected for five years, after which his true name will be revealed.
The Review Board is obtaining additional information regarding Scelso's work at the CIA both before and after the assassination. Much of this information has already been revealed in Scelso's sworn testimony before the HSCA, which has been made available. Moreover, additional information gathered by the Review Board regarding Scelso also will be made available within the next year.
The Review Board also voted to release 197 FBI records, 40 in full and 157 in part. These documents related to the Bureau's post-assassination investigation of Oswald.
The Review Board voted to release 11 HSCA documents, one in full and 10 in part. These documents related to a variety of different topics. The postponed information consisted of social security numbers.
Secret Service Records
As part of the mandate of the Review Board to identify assassination records, the Review Board designated additional Secret Service records as "assassination records." These records included protective survey reports for planned presidential trips to Houston, Ft. Worth, and Austin, Texas on November 21-22, 1963, and shift reports of unusual incidents from March 1963 to January 1964. In addition, the Richard Case Nagell file was designated as an "assassination record." The Review Board will review these documents for inclusion in the JFK Assassination Records Collection.
Other Board-Related Activities
After consultation with the appropriate Federal agencies and in compliance with the JFK Act, 463 FBI, CIA, HSCA, and Warren Commission records were released in full. The FBI released 289 documents, and the CIA released 146 documents. In addition, 26 HSCA documents and two Warren Commission documents were made available by consent release.
June 4, 1996
The Review Board voted on June 4, 1996 to release 439 CIA, FBI, and HSCA documents including duplicates.
The Review Board voted to release 228 CIA records, four in full and 224 in part. Included in these documents was the "Mexico City Chronology," a 133-paged summary of CIA communications related to Oswald's trip to Mexico City in the fall of 1963. Other documents related to Oswald's stay in the Soviet Union, and former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation into the assassination. The redacted information included, for the most part, names of CIA employees and sensitive operational details.
The Review Board also voted to release 205 FBI records, 37 in full and 168 in part. These documents consisted in large part of post-assassination FBI headquarters and field office files on Oswald. The redacted information contained informant names and symbol numbers. An additional 82 FBI documents were made available by consent release.
The Review Board voted to release six HSCA documents, three in full and three in part. Included in this group of documents a United States Customs Service document from the Metro-Dade Police files, which was acquired by the HSCA, concerning an organized crime meeting in Miami; multiple-year tax returns for Eileen Kaminsky (Jack Ruby's sister); a Department of Defense document that included a fact sheet on the 112th Intelligence Corps and a fact sheet on the destruction of Oswald's IRR dossier.
Secret Service Records
As part of the mandate of the Review Board to identify assassination records, the Review Board designated additional Secret Service records as "assassination records.' These records include Secret Service correspondence with members of the Warren Commission in 1964, and the document "Briefing Book: Director's Appearance Before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, December 1978." The Review Board will review these documents for inclusion in the JFK Assassination Records Collection
July 9-10, 1996
The Review Board voted on July 9 and 10, 1996 to release 416 CIA, FBI, and HSCA documents including duplicates.
The Review Board voted to release 257 CIA records, ten in full and 247 in part. This was the first meeting in which the Review Board reviewed a significant number of documents from the CIA's 'JFK Collection', the group of records containing documents which the Agency considers part of the assassination investigation itself. The issues in these documents covered a wide variety of topics including the investigation of Jack Ruby, the Garrison investigation, and JMWAVE, the CIA station in Miami that concentrated on anti-Castro issues. The Review Board determined that the release of some information relating to intelligence sources and methods should be delayed. The CIA and Review Board also arranged for a consent release of 131 documents
The Review Board also voted to release 150 FBI records, 64 in full and 86 in part. These records included documents that relate to the investigations of Oswald and Jack Ruby. Other documents in this group related to the international reaction to the assassination of President Kennedy, including that of the Communist Party. The Review Board delayed public release of some information relating to informant names and symbol numbers. In addition, there was a consent release of 153 documents.
HSCA/Warren Commission Documents
The Review Board voted to release seven HSCA documents five in full and two in part. Included in this group of documents was Marina Oswald's Social Security Administration file, which was opened for the first time, with the exception of social security numbers. Two duplicates of previously opened Warren Commission documents that are in the HSCA files were also cleared for release by the Review Board. In addition, 118 HSCA documents were made available by consent release.
August 5-6, 1996
The Review Board voted on August 5 and 6,1996 to release 316 CIA, FBI, and HSCA documents including duplicates.
The Review Board voted to release 204 CIA documents eight in full and 196 in part. In addition to these documents, the Review Board acted on two HSCA documents with CIA equities. These documents included portions of the Lopez Report, which pertained to Oswald's trip to Mexico City, and the 193-page testimony to the HSCA by the CIA of officer, alias John Scelso, who coordinated the CIA investigation in the months immediately following the assassination. The redacted portions of these documents included intelligence sources and methods, true names, and file number prefixes.
The Review Board also voted to release 104 FBI documents (including duplicates), 57 in full and 47 in part. The documents related in large part to the Bureau's investigation of Jack Ruby. The redacted portions of these documents consisted mostly of informant names and symbol numbers. The FBI has appealed to the President the Review Board's decisions to release information contained in 36 documents (including duplicates) from the July 9-10, 1996 meeting. The information contained in the redacted portions of these documents has to do with intelligence sources and methods. The Review Board had responded to this appeal.
In addition to the two HSCA documents mentioned above, the Review Board voted to release six HSCA documents in full, including a previously withheld document relating to Joseph Milteer. Also made available by consent release are 17 HSCA records that document the Miami Police Department's response to inquiries related to Jim Garrison's investigation of the assassination.
Secret Service Records
As part of the mandate of the Review Board to identify assassination records, the Review Board designated additional Secret Service records as "assassination records." These records include protective survey reports for planned presidential trips in the period between October 31-November 21,1963, and a 13-minute tape of a radio interview with Secret Service Chief James Rowley on August 7, 1963.
Other Board-Related Activities
After consultation with the appropriate Federal agencies and in compliance with the JFK Act, 221 additional documents (24 CIA, 180 FBI, and 17 HSCA) were made available in full by consent release.
September 27, 1996
The Review Board voted on September 27,1996 to release 1,393 CIA, FBI, HSCA, and Secret Service documents, including duplicates.
The Review Board voted to release 222 CIA records, two in full and 221 in part. These documents included communications between the Mexico City station and CIA headquarters during the months immediately before and after the assassination, Mexico City surveillance reports, correspondence between the CIA and HSCA regarding access to information, and documents related to assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, including portions of the 1967 Inspector General's report.
The Review Board also voted to release 214 FBI records, 115 in full and 88 in part. These FBI assassination investigation documents consisted, in part, of records related to Clay Shaw, Michael and Ruth Paine, and Orest Penal Other documents related to the Communist Party reaction to the assassination. An additional 174 FBI documents were made available by consent release.
HSCA and NARA Documents
The Review Board voted to release 47 HSCA documents, 13 in full and 34 in part, and one Warren Commission document. Included in this group of documents were previously withheld records such as a Congressional Research Service memo to the HSCA summarizing the Clark Commission re: autopsy, and HSCA records concerning Dealey Plaza/TSBD witness James Jarman. Also, included in the group of documents were handwriting analyses of Marina Oswald and George DeMohrenschildt. An additional 728 HSCA documents were made available by consent release.
Secret Service Records
The Review Board voted to release two documents in part. Five additional Secret Service documents were made available by consent release.
August 6, 1996
The Review Board conducted this public hearing to give the public an opportunity to comment on possible strategies for the review of a large volume of CIA records known as the "Sequestered Collection."
During the summer of 1996, after making progress on the review and release of records from the CIA's Oswald 201 File, the Review Board turned its attention to the Sequestered Collection. These records are those that were segregated from the agency's filing system at the conclusion of the HSCA investigation.
The Sequestered Collection ranges from records of direct relevance to the assassination to others for which the Review Board is unable to identify any relevance. The Review Board and ARRB staff undertook an effort to establish an approach to the handling of these records that was fully consistent with its mandate and responsibilities, and, at the same time, reflected a reasonable and appropriate investment of (Review Board, ARRB staff, and agency) resources. Separating the "wheat from the chaff," and devoting the Review Board's time to a detailed review of postponements in the "wheat," was essential to completing the most important parts of the Review Board's mission on time.
The Review Board heard testimony from the following invited witnesses:
The Review Board allowed a 30-day public comment period following the hearing.
September 17, 1996
The Review Board conducted its fourth field hearing in Los Angeles, fulfilling a commitment made by the Review Board that there would be geographic balance to the location of public hearings. The public hearing in Los Angeles allowed members of the public in this area to observe the Review Board at work and gave the Review Board members an opportunity to hear expert testimony from individuals who reside in this part of the country.
The public hearing was productive for the Review Board. As will be detailed in another section of this report, several witnesses donated records that will become part of the JFK Collection at the National Archives.
The following invited witnesses testified at the public hearing:
James DiEugenio, author of Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the Garrison Case, an analysis of New Orleans's District Attorney Jim Garrison's inquiry and the assassination itself.
Eric Hamburg, co-producer of the Oliver Stone movie Nixon and a former Congressional staff assistant involved in the passage of the JFK Act. Wesley Liebeler, former Assistant Counsel to the Warren Commission and currently a professor of law at UCLA. Liebeler donated to the JFK Collection an unpublished manuscript he wrote on controversies surrounding the assassination.
David Lifton, author of Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, which focused on the medical evidence in the case. He is currently working on a book about Oswald. Lifton agreed to donate original oral histories of witnesses connected to the assassination story that he recorded in the 1960's and early 1970's.
James Rankin, son of former Chief Counsel to the Warren Commission, the late J. Lee Rankin. He testified about his father's personal papers related to his work for the Warren Commission and agreed to donate them to the JFK Collection.
Robert Tanenbaum, former Deputy Counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s. He is the author of Corruption of Blood, a fictionalized account of his experience with the Committee investigating the Kennedy assassination.
Steven D. Tilley, of the National Archives, oversees the JFK Collection. He gave an update on the contents of the Collection.
a. Medical Records Inquiry. The Review Board has several ongoing efforts to identify and locate assassination records involving medical issues. As with any homicide, the medical records are among the most important pieces of evidence. As part of its attempts to ensure that the medical records are as complete as possible, the ARRB staff deposed the three principal pathologists involved in President Kennedy's autopsy: Drs. James Humes, "J" Thorton Boswell, and Pierre Finck, as well as the autopsy photographer, John Stringer.
In addition, the ARRB staff conducted interviews with several individuals who had knowledge of the autopsy and the related photographic record. These included Dr. Robert Karnei, a staff resident at Bethesda Naval Hospital who assisted in security arrangements and witnessed parts of the autopsy procedure; Joe Hagan, Tom Robinson and John VanHoesen, morticians with Gawler's Funeral Home who prepared President Kennedy's body for burial; persons affiliated with the Naval Photographic Center; and Carl Belcher, former head of the General Crimes section of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, who participated in the 1966 inventory of autopsy-related photographic material.
b. Photographic records. In 1996, the Review Board initiated a public appeal for any photographs and motion pictures that would enhance the historical record of the assassination of President Kennedy. This appeal called on individuals who had taken or were in possession of photographs or motion pictures of Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, to present them to the Review Board for inclusion in the JFK Collections at NARA. As a result of this initiative, both the Veazey and the Powers films were donated showing events that occurred before and after the assassination.
Veazey Film-- The so-called Veazey film consists of KTVT television news film outtakes that had been discarded following the assassination of President Kennedy. Literally rescued from the trash by photographer Roy Cooper Jr., the 45-minute black-and- white 16mm film contains unique scenes before and after the assassination. The film, along with one copy, was held by Cooper and his friend, Eli Sturges, and later their heirs. Janet Veazey, Sturges' stepdaughter, read a Dallas newspaper account of the Review Board's search for photographic materials from the assassination and notified the Review Board of the film's existence in May 1996. The film was retrieved and transported to NARA, where it was viewed and duplicated on video tape. The discovery of the film was confirmation of the Review Board's claim that photographs and films, which have never been publicly seen or reviewed, do exist.
Powers Film-- On November 21, 1996, the Review Board, with the cooperation of Dave Powers, released a three-minute, 16 mm amateur film taken by President Kennedy's aid, Mr. Powers, on November 21-22,1963, who had accompanied President Kennedy to Texas. The film, never seen publicly, contains a series of short sequences (some lasting only a few seconds), but does not show the assassination itself. Powers, who was riding in the Secret Service car directly behind the presidential limousine during the Dallas motorcade, ran out of film minutes before the motorcade entered Dealey Plaza. Because of Powers' position within the Kennedy White House, much of the film was taken from a perspective not permitted to news photographers.
c. BriLab Tapes. In the late 1970s, the FBI conducted a "Bribery-Labor" (or "BriLab") investigation of several persons, including Carlos Marcello of New Orleans. In the course of its investigation, the FBI conducted electronic surveillance, tape recorded conversations, and made transcripts of the recordings. Some of the tapes were admitted in evidence in the trial of Carlos Marcello, but many other records of the electronic surveillance have remained under a court seal. There have been many allegations that the transcripts and tapes include information relevant to the assassination of President Kennedy, but it has not been possible to confirm or reject such allegations because of the court seal. The Review Board has been pursuing information related to these records, and has received the helpful cooperation of the FBI (both at Headquarters and in the New Orleans Field Office), the Department of Justice (including the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana), and the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana. This work is ongoing.
d. Foreign Government Records. The JFK Act specifically instructs the Review Board to seek access to records in the hands of foreign governments. In contrast to its authority over U.S. Government records, the Review Board cannot order the release of foreign records. With support from the Department of State, the Review Board can only request access to relevant records. The Review Board has made formal requests for records to the governments of France, England, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Belarus, and Canada. An approach to the government of Cuba is in preparation.
To date, the Review Board has received responses from the governments of England, Germany, Canada, Russia, and Belarus.
Russia and Belarus -- During 1996, Chairman Tunheim, Dr. Hall, and Dr. Marwell visited Russia and Belarus to request assassination-related documents collected in the former Soviet Union. The Review Board delegation met with the KGB in Minsk, and with representatives of the former KGB, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Federal Archival Authority in Moscow.
In Minsk, the Review Board viewed the six-volume KGB file of Lee Harvey Oswald and discussed options for access to it. Although the KGB has refused to grant the Review Board unlimited access, citing privacy and security considerations, the Review Board hopes that an arrangement can be made that will permit access to the most important records.
The Review Board is also hopeful that, following fruitful discussions in Moscow, some relevant additional records can be obtained.
a. Mailing lists. The Review Board has maintained contact on a bimonthly basis for the past two years with members of the public who have requested to be placed on our mailing list. The Review Board has a regular mailing list as well as an electronic list, and the total number of people on the lists has grown to nearly 600. This number is growing every week.
Members of the public on our mailing list receive press releases, updates on the Review Board's activities, meeting results, information about documents transferred to the JFK Collection, and Federal Register notices.
b. COPA Conference 1996. On October 20, 1996, David Marwell, Executive Director, updated the research community on the activities of the Review Board during the 1996 conference of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA). Marwell informed the researchers of the Review Board's actions in FY 1996, and provided a preview of the Review Board's agenda for 1997. The presentation concluded with a question and answer period. On October 21, 1996, the Review Board held an Open House for the public and the research community. Open House attendees were given access to newly released documents, the Review Board video library, and a tour of Review Board offices.
c. Professional Associations. On January 6, 1996, the Review Board made a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AMA) in Atlanta, Georgia. The Review Board provided background information and updates regarding its mandate. Approximately 100 AHA members attended, and the Review Board provided time for a question and answer period.
On March 28, 1996, the Review Board made a presentation at the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Conference. One-hundred OAH members attended the session and heard the Review Board provide a brief introduction, and then continued with a lengthy question and answer period regarding specific Board actions.
On August 29, 1996, the Review Board and ARRB Executive Director David Marwell attended the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists in San Diego. The Review Board gave a presentation about its activities, and Marwell made a presentation about the Review Board on a panel about access issues and U.S. Government information.
d. Journals and Newsletters. Several times a year, Review Board Chairman Tunheim submits Review Board updates to journals and newsletters that serve the research community. In 1996, Chairman Tunheim provided articles about the Review Board to the AARC Quarterly, Open Secrets, and Probe, all of which serve researchers and are circulated worldwide. In addition, ARRB Executive Director David G. Marwell, General Counsel and Associate Director for Research and Analysis, T. Jeremy Gunn, and Associate Director for Communications, Thomas E. Samoluk, participated in an extensive, in-depth interview about the Review Board with the editor of Probe.
e. Dallas Trip. In April 1996, Review Board Chairman John Tunheim, ARRB Executive Director David Marwell and Associate Director for Communications Tom Samoluk visited Dallas to tour assassination-related sites and determine fertile areas for additional documents. The tours included the Sixth Floor Museum at the former Dallas School Book Depository, a review of the Dallas Municipal Archives, and discussions with local newspapers to appeal for assassination-related documents, photographs or motion picture film taken by amateur photographers.
a. Clay Shaw-Jim Garrison Records. The Review Board has actively pursued several different groups of records located in New Orleans, including records belonging to Federal and local governments, individuals, and organizations.
In the 1960s, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison conducted a criminal investigation of alleged co-conspirators in the assassination of President Kennedy. The investigation led to the indictment, trial, and acquittal of Mr. Clay Shaw, a prominent New Orleans businessman. Because the Garrison investigation has become a significant part of the story surrounding the assassination, the Review Board undertook several steps to obtain as many records related to the investigation as it reasonably could.
In a 1995 public hearing, Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry F. Connick, Sr., graciously offered to donate to the JFK Collection all remaining District Attorney files that had been created in the course of Garrison's prosecution of Clay Shaw, with the exception of Grand Jury records, which Mr. Connick suggested were no longer available. Subsequent to the hearing, the Review Board received an unsolicited package of materials that appear to include some of the heretofore missing Grand Jury transcripts from the Garrison investigation. Upon learning that the Review Board had received this material, Mr. Connick refused to send to the Review Board the materials that he had promised.
After making several unsuccessful attempts to discuss the issue with Mr. Connick, the Review Board obtained the assistance of the U.S. Attorney General to issue a subpoena for the records that had been promised by Mr. Connick at the New Orleans hearing. The subpoena required the District Attorney to produce "all documents and records in [his] possession, custody or control relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including but not limited to handwritten notes, memoranda, drawings, photographs, tape recordings, and correspondence that relate to the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Clay Shaw by former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, with the exception of any grand jury materials still extant in the possession of the District Attorney's Office." After Mr. Connick refused to comply with the subpoena, the Justice Department filed an enforcement action in Federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Marcel Livaudais of that court ruled that the Review Board is entitled to receive the original records. Mr. Connick has appealed Judge Livaudais's ruling to the Fifth Circuit, which as of this date has not scheduled oral argument. Subsequent to Judge Livaudais's ruling, and pending the outcome of the Fifth Circuit argument, the Review Board and Mr. Connick agreed that the Review Board would be permitted to make copies of all of the subpoenaed records, including original tape recordings. Following the Review Board's efforts, copies of all available official DA records from the Garrison investigation will soon be available to the American people for the first time. (Issues surrounding the Grand Jury records have not yet been resolved.)
In addition to the official DA records, the Review Board arranged for the donation of the personal records of two of the principal attorneys involved in the Shaw trial. The family of the late Edward Wegmann, who was a member of the legal team that defended Clay Shaw at his 1969 assassination conspiracy trial, agreed to donate Mr. Wegmann's files to the JFK Collection. Some of the documents in the Wegmann collection came from the office files of District Attorney Garrison. William Gurvich, an investigator for Garrison, made copies of many internal memoranda and witness interviews from the District Attorney's files when he left the office after becoming disenchanted with Garrison and the investigation. He turned the documents over to Shaw's attorneys. There are approximately 6,000 pages in the Wegmann collection. On April 9,1996, the Review Board announced that NARA has processed these papers and that they are now fully available for inspection and review at the College Park facility.
After being approached by the Review Board, the late Jim Garrison's family also agreed to donate a collection of records on the assassination of President Kennedy that Mr. Garrison kept in his personal possession. The collection includes records from his assassination investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw, as well as other files on individuals or subjects that Garrison thought were connected to the assassination. The 15,000 pages of the Garrison Collection have been inventoried and are now available at NARA.
b. Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans. ARRB staff members traveled to New Orleans to review the records of the Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans (MCC). For years, the MCC has maintained files on crime and public corruption in New Orleans. The ARRB staff established a cooperative working relationship with the MCC and arranged to obtain many MCC records for the JFK Collection. Among the MCC records the Review Board reviewed and marked for inclusion in the JFK Collection are records on District Attorney Garrison's investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw and records regarding New Orleans organized crime figures. The HSCA staff reviewed many of these files in their 1977-1979 investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy.
c. Other privately held records. As mentioned elsewhere, several other persons have agreed to donate private collections of records to the JFK Collection. These papers include the Warren Commission papers of J. Lee Rankin, General Counsel of the Warren Commission, and the papers of Wesley Liebeler, David Lifton, FBI Special Agent James Hasty, Attorney Frank Ragano, and others.
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