Thursday, December 27, 2012


Case 1:03-cv-025450RJL Document 17-10 Filed 06/22/04 Page 1 of 4


Civil Action No. 03-2545 (RCL)





John R. Tunheim declares and states as follows:

  1. I am a United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota
  2. In 1993, I was nominated by President Clinton to serve as a member of a five person board, the Assassinations Records Review Board (“Review Board”), which from confirmation in 1994 until sunset in September 1998, enforced the provisions of the President John F. Kennedy Assassinations Records Collection Act of 1992 (“JFK Act”). I prepared this declaration as a result of my role with the Review Board which included serving as Chair of the Board for its entire existence. The JFK Act required all federal agencies to promptly identify all records in the agencies’ possession which related to the assassination of President Kennedy. The JFK Act broadly defined “assassination record” and the Review Board, by rulemaking, clarified and expanded the definition, using authority delegated by the Congress. The JFK Act further required that agencies promptly declassify and disclose to the public, pursuant to a legislatively prescribed deadline, all records identified as assassination records unless one of several narrowly drawn exceptions warranted postponement of their disclosure. The Review Board reviewed agencies’ identifications and releases, ordered further document searches and required additional disclosure of withheld information. As a result, over four million pages of records were transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration and released to the public with very limited information redacted, resulting in much less withholding than had been the case under previous Freedom of Information Act disclosures involving assassination records.
  3. In unanimously enacting the JFK Act, Congress strongly indicated that it wanted all JFK assassination-related information to be released quickly. In support of the JFK Act, Congress made seven “findings.” Four of the seven findings stress the need to disclose quickly the information relating to the Kennedy assassination. Another finding made by Congress stated that all Kennedy assassination records “should carry a presumption of immediate disclosure.” Another finding notes that without the legislation, congressional records related to the assassination would not be available until 2039. Still another finding states that “the Freedom of Information Act, as implemented by the executive branch, has prevented the timely public disclosure of records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” Another finding repeats the same point with respect to Executive Order 12356, which governed the classification and declassification of information which allegedly was required to be protected for reasons of national security.
  4. In stating its purposes for enacting the JFK Act, Congress stated only two. The first purpose was to create the JFK Assassinations Records Collection at the National Archives. The second was “to require the expeditious transmission to the Archivist and public disclosure of such records.”
  5. In line with its emphasis on speedy disclosure, Congress required that “[a]s soon as practical after the date of enactment of this Act, each Government office shall identify and organize its records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and prepare them for transmission to the Archivist of the United States for inclusion in the Collection.” For the same reason, it further provided that “[n]ot later than 300 days after the date of enactment of this Act, each Government office shall review, identify and disclose to the public, review by the Review Board, and transmission to the Archivist.”
  6. The JFK Act was enacted on October 26, 1992. The Central Intelligence Agency thus was given until August 23, 1993 to identify assassination records in its collection, disclose them to the public, and transmit them to the National Archives. It is not nearly eleven years and nearly 4,000 days beyond the agency’s original deadline. Further, the JFK Act is still effective, despite the demise of the Review Board. The Act requires disclosure.
  7. I am familiar with the thorough research done by Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley on the assassination of President Kennedy. Utilizing disclosures made under the JFK Act, he has learned that the CIA was less than cooperative with the investigation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976-1978 and may have undermined the Congressional probe. It is imperative that all additional information which bears upon the CIA’s conduct regarding both the congressional investigation and the Kennedy assassination itself be made public as soon as possible so that Mr. Morley and others may continue to research these matters.

There are two important reasons why this requires dispatch rather than further delay in releasing the records Mr. Morley seeks. First, I am informed that Congress has depended on the input it receives from Mr. Morley and other assassination researchers in determining whether or not any additional inquiry may be warranted. Second, the passage of time has already made further investigation a difficult task. Many relevant witnesses, including the subject of Mr. Morley’s Freedom of Information Act request are now deceased. Others who may possess relevant information are elderly and as a result, the need for immediate disclosure is urgent.

And finally, the Congress has made plain its intent that assassination records be fully disclosed. The public interest in these records is extremely high and no reason exists for delay, particularly with records that are as old as the records that are being sought.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 8th day of June, 2004

Hon. John R. Tunheim

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