What's Left in the CIA's JFK Files?

A simple test of whether President Biden can enforce his December 2022 deadline for full JFK disclosure?

One of my purposes at JFK Facts, the Substack edition, is to report on the U.S. government’s tortured failure to comply with the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Act. The law set a 25 year deadline for release of all U.S. government files related to the murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

In October 2017 President Trump caved in to CIA and FBI pressure and agreed to keep secret portions of some 15,000 assassination related records for four more years. The former president, who often expresses his disdain for the “deep state,” gave the CIA exactly what it wanted on JFK: more secrecy.

Last year, the JFK question landed on Biden’s desk. The CIA and other federal agencies told the president that COVID prevented them from complying with the law. “’The COVID dog at my homework” excuse, I told the Washington Post, was absurd and insulting. The ever-patient President BIden set a new deadline of December 15, 2022 for full JFK disclosure.

You can read Biden’s memorandum here.

JFK Facts will be watching the government’s performance carefully. Some people assert that there’s nothing important in the withheld material. While it is true that there is lots of trivial information is being concealed by CIA and FBI, that does not mean that all of the information that is withheld is trivial.

Four Who Knew

The CIA, for example, is still withholding significant portions of files about four CIA officers who knew far more about Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, than they ever told investigators. They include:

Birch O’Neal, chief of the super-secret mole unit called the Special Investigations Group in the CIA’s Counterintelligence staff. O’Neal, former station chief in Guatemala, opened the Agency’s first file on Oswald in November 1959. Of the 224 pages in the O’Neal’s personnel file, 177 pages contain redactions, and three pages are redacted in their entirety. (For more on “the CIA’s Oswald expert,” read this.)

James Walton Moore, chief of the Dallas CIA office. He was informed that Oswald was in Dallas area in 1962 and recommended him to George de Mohrenschild, a itinerant geologist and CIA source. Moore’s role assisting CIA operations in Dallas was not disclosed to JFK investigators. A dozen pages of Moore’s personnel file are still redacted.

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