Thursday, April 27, 2017

JFK Declassified - Fallback to the Original Phase One Cover Story

JFK Declassified - Fallback to the Original Phase One Cover Story

By William Kelly

The much ballyhooed History Channel Six Part “documentary” - JFK Declassified is a slick but unconvincing piece of propaganda, a classic case of disinformation that mixes some truth with total falsehoods to promote the original Phase One cover-story for the Dealey Plaza Operation – that the Cuban Castro Communists were behind it.

The guys who put together this program, - 21 year CIA veteran Bob Baer and former LAPD lieutenant Adam Bercovici, and a US military intelligence officer who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan – can and should be able to determine the truth. But Baer isn’t interested in determining the truth, and Bercoici is no Columbo, as he worked for the same police department that refuses to investigate and identify the true assassin(s) of RFK.


It is a very distinct psychological warfare operation – promoted mainly by those with close ties to the CIA, and most of whom, as Dan Hardway points out, can be traced directly to one David Atlee Phillips, a CIA propaganda specialist, and Oswald associate.

While they promote the idea they are presenting new information and the files are declassified, I haven’t seen anything new after the first installment, and can tell you that none of what they have fielded so far is from recently declassified documents.

Some of what they say is true however, and can take the real investigation into the total truth onto another level, - such as the fact that Oswald used intelligence tradecraft and acted like he was on a mission, but first let’s dismiss the total falsehoods that are continuously repeated – beginning with the idea that one sniper alone – Lee Harvey Oswald, executed the President by himself.

The truth is that the facts at the scene indicate that Oswald was not on the Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) at the time of the shooting, and that the third class sniper in the window with the white shirt and bald spot was not Oswald, who was what he said he was, set up as a patsy and fall guy in a much larger plot. Oswald’s role – Ozzie Rabbit, was to get the investigators to chase him and pin the tail of the donkey on Castro Communists.

Now whether Oswald was the lone gunman or a patsy, regardless of his role, his basic background and personality profile indicates he has a Covert Operative Personality profile (COP), and as JFK Declassified states – Oswald used intelligence trade craft, therefore, whatever happened at Dealey Plaza was a covert intelligence operation and should be viewed and investigated as such.

It is the military intelligence officer in the program who states positively, and I agree with him, that Oswald followed and utilized intelligence tradecraft – that are used by every intelligence agency, as Allen Dulles clearly states in his book “The Craft of Intelligence,” and not just the KGB and CIA.

Just as John Barron does when he discusses “disinformation,” they only apply it to the Soviets, when in fact the CIA and US military are more proficient in the use of disinformation and black propaganda. As Dan Hardway notes in his review of Antonio Veciana's book – former US Army and CIA officer Paul Linebarger wrote the book on propaganda and disinformation and taught covert operational procedures and intelligence trade craft to David A. Phillips, E. Howard Hunt and Edward Lansdale. Someone, one of Linebarger’s students, taught Veciana and Oswald.

But according to Baer, Oswald’s use of intelligence trade craft – “the kind of trade craft the KGB is known for,” is proof of his meeting with the Soviet intelligence officers in Mexico City - false logic. 

Oswald’s use of such trade craft is only proof that he was taught the trade craft, and was, as the program suggests, supported by an intelligence network, but not necessarily a Soviet or Cuban Communist network – more likely an anti-Communist domestic intelligence agency, such as the CIA or Office of Naval Intelligence.

Baer does go to Mexico City and visits the Hotel Commercio where Oswald stayed, and his military intelligence associate says this is an “out of the way place a tourist wouldn’t go, a place that’s off the radar, and consistent with someone on a mission.”

“I’ve run dozens of similar operations,” Baer says proudly,

Oswald was on a mission all right – but not the mission that Baer is looking for.

In Mexico City they find a CIA “LP” – Listening Post – across the street from the Soviet Embassy, but don’t bother to explain why there is no record of Oswald there – no photos no tape recording, when in fact they routinely took photos of everyone entering and leaving the premises, and had bugged the embassy, which makes Baer conclude that Oswald must have met his secret Soviet contacts elsewhere, where they could not be observed by the CIA.

But the bottom line is Oswald did visit the Soviet embassy, did talk to the Soviet officials and the lack of evidence that he met them elsewhere is not proof that he did.

Baer says he wants to “pressure test” his thesis, by proving that Oswald could have met a Soviet officer at the Bull ring by meeting someone there without his LAPD and military intelligence associate observing him, and he does. That to him shows “Oswald could have met with America’s enemies the KGB undetected by the CIA,” and this brings him “one step closer to proving the Russians KGB were involved in the assassination.”

Baer and company aren't interested in learning or detecting the truth, they are interested in proving a conspiracy theory, an already discredited theory, but one that they persist is possible if not plausible. 

The idea that Oswald had a postcard of a bull ring, and could have met a Soviet intelligence officer there is ludicrous. It has already been established that Oswald met privately with an American bull fighter at the Hotel Luna in Mexico City, and also met with Cuban officials from their embassy at a private “Twist Party,” as Phil Shenon has written a book about. Oswald's possible association with the American bull fighter at the Hotel Luna is also the subject of two books, but former CIA officer Baer fails to even mention them. Maybe he will as I have only seen the first segment of this six part fake “documentary.”

These guys are not even trying to be deceptive – they come right out and tell you that their goal is to establish the false fact that Oswald – the accused assassin – they call him the lone assassin, met secretly with Soviet intelligence officers and had the support of an intelligence network in the course of carrying out the Dealy Plaza operation.

So now, we have established two facts – Oswald used intelligence trade craft and that whatever happened at Dealey Plaza – regardless of Oswald’s role as sniper or patsy, the assassination was a covert intelligence operation designed to shield and protect the actual sponsors.

While Baer and company attempt to blame the assassination on a Communist intelligence network, it is quite clear that they themselves are distorting the truth and falling back on the original Phase One cover story designed as part of the plan to kill JFK at Dealey Plaza.

The Phase One cover story – as Peter Dale Scott has shown, was intended to acknowledge the fact the ambush was a conspiracy, that Oswald was involved and that Castro Cuban Commies were behind the plot. It was a patently transparent cover story that was quickly rejected by LBJ on the night of the assassination – while he was holed up in his Executive Office Building (EOB) vice president’s office. Instead, they adopted the Phase Two – cover story that JFK was assassinated by a deranged lone nut case – Lee Harvey Oswald – the former US Marine defector to the Soviet Union and visitor to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City a few weeks before the murder.

Baer says that Oswald knew that he was going to assassinate JFK when he was in Mexico City – but I’m not so sure he knew anything of the sort. So far it has not even been mentioned that Oswald visited the Cuban embassy first before going to the Soviet embassy, so there’s five more installments to go, but we can sense where this is going.

Baer calls Oswald a “Walk in,” as someone who comes in out of the blue and offers information, he mentions “sleeper cells,” and the fact that Oswald had “accomplices.” But he doesn’t bother mentioning the real accomplices we know associated with Oswald – George deMohrenschildt, Ruth and Michael Paine – who transported and kept the alleged rifle used in the assassination, Volkmar Schmidt, who encouraged Oswald to shoot at Walker, Guy Bannister and David Ferrie in New Orleans or any of the White Russians Oswald associated with in Dallas, like Jean deMenil, George Bouhe, et al.

Baer mentions that over 2 million assassination related records have been released so far, but falsely states that “no one has analyzed them – no one has taken the time to look at them,” when in fact they have been read and analyzed by dozens of serious researchers – John Newman, Bill Simpich, Malcolm Blunt, Jerry Shinley, Rex Bradford, Larry Hancock, and none of these people have been consulted or mentioned in this fake “documentary” so far.

How come CIA guys like this get hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce shows that advance fake conspiracy theories, when there's a dozen real, hard working, independent researchers that are digging deep into the records and learning the total truth, can't get a dime in finding or any interest whatsoever in making a documentary that explains what really happened at Dealey Plaza?

Baer says that while he was a CIA officer for over two decades, he obtained the permission of then CIA director George H. W. Bush [ Bush as Director of Central Intelligence — Central Intelligence Agency]  to review certain CIA assassination files, but when he tried to obtain them he was told they were “lost,” and no longer exist, probably a true fact.

“Nothing the CIA does is random,” Baer says correctly. “It’s either a colossal incompetence or an original cover-up.”

“All though the declassified files there is smoke,” Baer says, “I want to find the fire.”

“Oswald had network support,” Baer also says correctly, “and the declassified files will prove it,” but that network isn’t the one he is looking for – it is not a Soviet or Cuban network but a domestic anti-communist network, probably a US military intelligence network, one that Baer does not look for and will certainly not find.

JFK Declassified and the Baer project is very clearly a Phase One cover story – the Castro Cuban Commie fallback position now that the Phase Two – JFK killed by a lone nut has been clearly shown to be false and rejected by the vast majority of people.




Monday, April 24, 2017

The Significance of the Still Secret - Secret Service Threat Sheets

The Significance of the Still Secret - Secret Service Threat Sheets
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                                JFK and James Rowley - Director of the Secret Service 1963

By William Kelly 

In his March Sunshine Week presentation at the National Press Club, Federal Judge John Tunheim called attention to the Secret Service Threat Sheets for 1963 that the Review Board requested but the Secret Service wanted to keep secret.

The former chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board said: “Actually, the Secret Service was probably the most difficult agency. They were the only one that tried to reclassify material after we took office to keep the information away from us. And it wasn’t information that was all that important.”

“They fought us on the Threat Sheets,” Tunheim said, “and they would be important since the President was assassinated that fall, so the Threat Sheets would be relevant, but they fought us on that. And I’m not sure as to what actually happened there, because it was after we left office.”

It was quite common for the various agencies seeking to keep records secret to continue to withhold them until after the Review Board was out of business, even though they were required to sign off on a sworn statement agreeing to continue to turn over assassination records to the National Archives after the Review Board had ceased to exist.

Indeed, the Threat Sheets for 1963 would be important, and they most certainly are relevant to the assassination, should be in the JFK Collection at the National Archives II and if still secret they should be released in October.

As the late professor Philip H. Melanson, Ph.D. says in his book “The Secret Service – The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency” (Carroll & Graf, 2002), “In Washington D.C., the Secret Service ‘Watch Office,’ complete with a switchboard that operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, screens incoming data – State Department cables, intelligence reports from the CIA, FBI, Defense Department and National Security Agency, and countless other private and public sources – alerting the Secret Service and Treasury officials via the switchboard when there is an unusual event or emergency.”

“The Secret Service’s Protective Research data bank is crammed with files on groups, organizations, people and past events and incidents, all of them indexed and cross-indexed. What most Americans do not know is that a simple call or E-mail from someone with a personal ax to grind can land virtually anyone on the Watch List. Many thousands of citizens – most of them harmless – are on file as having been checked out for one reason or another as potential threats, and each year the file swells with several thousand new names. Among these, there can be as many as a thousand individuals arrested and several hundred convicted for threats against public officials…”

“The system is, as the Service describes it, is ‘primarily directed toward identifying dangerous individuals.’ There are over fifty thousand Americans in the Protective Research files, ostensibly because of some actual or potential threat or some problem or characteristic that makes them potentially dangerous. Cross-checked against lists of employees at the hotels or airports where protectees appear, the group is constantly monitored.”

“When the president is on the road, the file is whittled down to identify dangerous people in the specific area that he will visit. Dubbed the “Trip File,” it may contain as many as one hundred names; with state and local law-enforcement officers and federal field officers, the Service attempts to check out and account for every person in the trip file. In their advance work, agents try to learn whether these individuals are still in the area; whether they are in jail, hospitalized, or at liberty; and what their current condition is, which usually means seeking to interview them. Sometimes, if a red flag of some sort goes up in the interview, a few people will actually be detained for the duration of the president’s visit.”

“A second and more menacing list of names is prepared for each trip. These are individuals in the area who are considered to be definitely dangerous, as opposed to potentially dangerous, or who remain unaccounted for after the efforts to check out each person in the Trip File. Known as ‘the Album,’ the second file includes a photo and profile of each individual and is studied by every agent in the protective squad. Particularly dangerous cases are red-flagged with a ‘Look-Out.’ As are previously accounted for individuals in the Trip File who suddenly become unaccounted for because of escape from prison or a mental institution.”

While this system is now upgraded to the digital computer age, it functioned pretty much the same back in 1963 except they used index cards, case files and a big blackboard on which the top threats were listed.

As recalled by former agent Gerald Blaine in his book “The White House Detail” (Gallery Books, 2010, p. 59), “The first stop before any advance was always the PRS (Protective Research Service) offices were the nerve center for tracking threat cases. Any time there was a threat made against the president’s life – whether it was a written letter, a phone call, details gathered from an informant, field investigation, or an unstable person trying to get inside the Northwest Gate of the White House – an investigative report was initiated and a case file number issued. A PRS agent would type the report on carbon paper so there would be multiple copies, noting the threat maker’s name, last known address, a synopsis of the threats made, a description of the person, and their medical history, if known.”

“Cases were analyzed and categorized according to the seriousness of the threat. They ranged from ‘extremely dangerous’ to the innocuous ‘gate crasher,’….whenever somebody made a threat against the president, they would be categorized as a permanent risk. There’d be an investigation, the individual would be monitored, and the case file would remain in the Protective Research file for as long as the person was still alive.”

“The records room of the PDS office contained rows and rows of gray metal four-drawer file cabinets that held thousands of threat suspect files, organized by case number. There were smaller file cabinets where index cards of each suspect were organized both geographically and alphabetically. The cards were cross-referenced to the case files. Thus if you knew either the name of a suspect or their last known location, you could go to the small index drawers, locate the card, which would have the case number on it, then go to the large filing cabinets to get the master file.”

“The most serious threat suspects were the ones on the flash cards every agent carried with them at all times. It was the nature of threat makers to wander as vagabonds or itinerants, moving from town to town or state to state. You never knew when or where one of them might show up.”

“Blaine walked over to the bulletin board where the PRS kept a list of current threat makes or gate crashers from around the country who were of immediate concern. Most of the cases were familiar names from the flash cards he already had.”

While Special Agent Roy Kellerman would go to Dallas as the advance man there, Blaine was the advance man for the president’s trip to Tampa a week earlier, and was preparing for the president’s visits to both Tampa and Texas.

“Blaine turned to (Agent Cecil) Taylor, who was mimeographing and preparing more flash cards. ‘Are there any active files for Texas?’ Blaine asked.”

“’No, Roy Kellerman just gave me a heads-up about the president’s upcoming trip, so I did a thorough check. There weren’t any active threats in Texas. This is all we have on the current nationwide active list.’ Taylor pointed to the bulletin board as Blaine reviewed the names on the list.”

1.      Stanley Berman – professional gate crasher.

2.      Carl Brookman – on record with FBI subversive activities in the Nazi Party and possible association with the Communist Party. Possesses firearm.

3.      William Robert Bennett – disabled veteran.

4.      John Francis Donovan – letter and telegram writer. Considered a menace.

5.      Johnnie Mae Hackworth – letter writer, religious fanatic who made threats against the president; arrested in 1955 and 1060.

6.      Josef Molt Mroz – picketer and ‘Polish Freedom Fighter.’

7.      Barney Grant Powell – threatened Truman, extreme temper, violent man with assault background, carries firearms.

8.      Peppi Duran Flores – threatened Vice President Lyndon Johnson. Says he is a communist and pro-Castro.

9.      Wayne L. Gainey – claimed the KKK authorized him to kill the president in 1963. Teenager. 

      John William Warrington – mental; wrote five letters threatening JFK for his association with Martin Luther King, Jr.; says he will be lying in ambush in Florida.


“’Here you go,’ Cecil (Taylor) said as he handed Blaine the copies. ‘We’ll let you know if anything pops up. Obviously Arnie Peppers has a good handle on things down there.’”

“Blaine was relieved to know that Arnie Peppers was still in the Tampa area. His biggest concern was the anti- and pro-Castro groups, but he knew that Peppers and another Florida field agent, Ernie Aragon, had established a source network in Miami and Tampa that was so well tuned, they heard about any new faces in the Cuban community the minute they stepped foot into Florida. Arnie would be a huge help on this advance.”

The Threat Sheets are important and relevant not only because they were kept from the Review Board but they were kept from the Secret Service Advance man assigned to Dallas, Special Agent Roy Kellerman.

As reported in Gerald Blaine’s “The White House Detail,” as soon as he got the Dallas assignment Kellerman went directly to the Protective Research Service (PRS) to get the latest threat reports from that area of the country, and he was told by agent Cecil Taylor that there wasn’t any. While Blaine says Kellerman was pleased there were no active threat reports from Texas, he was actually quite astonished, as he knew Texas, Dallas in particular, was a hot bed of radical extremists.

Even if you just read the newspapers you knew that Lyndon Johnson and his wife were accosted and threatened in Dallas by rabid right wingers while on the 1960 campaign trail, a group of wealthy women led by Congressman Bruce Alger they called “The Mink Coat Mob.”

Then there was a sniper on the lose who took a shot at General Walker, and the well known fact that UN Ambassador Adlai-Stevenson was physically assaulted in Dallas a few weeks earlier by right wing protesters who were still being investigated at the time of the assassination.

“From the initial planning of the (Texas) trip,” writes Phil Melanson, “many politicians and aides were concerned about the President’s safety in Texas. The week before Kennedy’s visit, United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had come to Dallas to speak to the local United Nations Association. He was confronted by demonstrators who cursed him, spat upon him, and shoved to get at him. One picketer slammed his sign against the ambassador’s head. The shaken Stevenson called Kennedy advisor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and urged that the president not go to Dallas.”
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“In the weeks before Kennedy arrived in Dallas, the Service did make a special effort to identify the individuals who had fomented a near-riot by throwing rocks during the Adlai Stevenson incident. Agents worked with the Dallas police, who found an informant willing to identify the ringleaders of the demonstration by viewing a television film of the incident; then the Secret Service made still pictures of these ringleaders and distributed the images to agents and police who would be stationed at Love Field and at the Trade Mart. None of these potential troublemakers was ever spotted before or during the Kennedy visit.”




“Additionally, the Stevension episode prompted the Service to pay ‘special attention to extremist groups known to be active in the Dallas area.”

That the PRB could not identify any potential threats to the president in the entire state of Texas was just unbelievable, and Kellerman must have known something was up.

Kellermen’s boss should have been the advance man on the Texas trip but he decided to take a vacation so Kellerman was brought in as a replacement, and when he got to Dallas he found no shortage of potential suspects.

As Melanson described, the local Secret Service and Dallas police were closing in on the group that had attacked Stevenson a few weeks earlier.

Dallas TV reporter Wes Wise said that the local police and Secret Service closely reviewed all news camera film and photos of the protesters, singled out certain suspects and made profile pictures of each, some of whom were identified as Denton, Texas college students. A Denton undercover policeman was sent in to infiltrate the group and photos of the suspects were distributed to the Secret Service and security agents at the Trade Mart, where the president was scheduled to speak at the moment he was killed.

One of the Stevenson protesters may have been an early suspect in the assassination, as shortly after the murder occurred a Secret Service agent at the Trade Mart made an emergency phone call to John Rice, the Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) of the New Orleans Secret Service office.

At the time Rice was in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at an air base near Shreveport, Louisiana, where he was instructed to do a discrete background check on a suspect in the assassination, one John Martin.

No, not Jack “Scruggs” Martin, the crazy New Orleans investigator who dropped a dime on David Ferrie and Guy Banister. This John Martin was a young college student, a right wing political fanatic and religious zealot, whose family and friends described him to Rice as a young nut case.

By the end of the day however, Rice realized he had been sent on a wild goose chase, as the alleged assassin was caught and in custody, and Lee Harvey Oswald did have ties to New Orleans that Rice would end up investigating, including the whereabouts of Oswald’s library card and all of the Banister, Ferrie, Shaw shenanigans.

Rice would also begin an investigation of Colonel Jose Rivera, a doctor in the US Army Reserves who taught science classes at a New Orleans university for many years and expressed foreknowledge of the assassination. Rivera would tell his research associate, another New Orleans resident, who had talked with Oswald, that he - Rivera was aware of a “special research project the Army was conducting using photos and films to identify protesters and rioters,” – the same techniques the Dallas police and Secret Service were using to identify the Stevenson protesters.

“We’re photographing demonstrators with telephoto cameras from rooftops,” Rivera said. “We’ll identify individual demonstrators and put their names in computer files.”

The Threat Sheets should give us some more information on John Martin as well as the suspects in threats made against the president in Chicago and Tampa in the weeks leading up to the assassination that Blaine was made aware of. When former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden, who investigated the Chicago threats, called attention to the fact that the Secret Service had intentionally destroyed the Tampa Advance Reports, Blaine noted in his book that he wrote the Tampa Advance Reports and still had copy in a box under his bed. With that the NARA contacted Blaine and obtained the reports, copies of which were intentionally destroyed by the Secret Service to keep them from the ARRB and the JFK Collection.


The Threat Sheets and PRS records on threats to the president should include the John Martin and the Stevenson attackers, the suspects in both the Chicago and Tampa threats against the president, as well as other known threats – Joseph Milteer, and the Alpha 66 Cuban who is recorded on tapes as threatening the president in Dallas before he arrived there.

We know Oswald is not among them, as the FBI took him off the watch list a few months earlier, and Oswald’s alleged visit to Mexico City did not set off the inter-agency alarms that it should have.
Back in Dallas, Oswald’s case officer – James Hosty, was also assigned to the Walker shooting case, but he didn’t connect Oswald to it. After he interviewed Oswald and visited Marina, Oswald delivered a threatening note to Hosty at the FBI office in Dallas, a note that he later destroyed.

Warren Commission attorney Sam Stern said in an interview with the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) 


that had he knew about Oswald’s allegedly threatening note to Hosty, he “would have regarded it as greater identification of the possibility of potential danger in Oswald of violence,…(and) if we had found out that happened, we would have gone to a full Commission meeting immediately, and would have made the big decision regarding any future relationship between the Commission and the FBI. It just would have gone to the heart of the whole relationship and the Bureau’s motivation. The destruction of that note would have resulted in the ultimate brouhaha.”

Besides refusing to turn over the Threat Sheets to the Review Board and attempting to reclassify previously released records, the Secret Service acknowledged it intentionally destroyed assassination records after the JFK Act was passed by Congress – specifically the Tampa Advance reports.

The Review Board also took testimony from Secret Service agent James Mastrovito, who was charged with maintaining the records who acknowledged destroying some of them by “culling the files.” He also said he flushed parts of JFK’s brain down a food processor that was contained in a sealed vial labeled JFK’s brain and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.


According to the HSCA report: “When Mastrovito took charge of the JFK Assassination file, it consisted of 5 or 6 file cabinets of material. After Mastrovito finished “culling” irrelevant material, the collection was down to one five-draw file cabinet. Mastrovito guessed that his purging of extraneous material took place around 1970. He said that the extraneous material consisted of records of 2000-3000 “mental cases” who called the Secret Service after the Kennedy assassination to claim responsibility for the shooting. Mastrovito offered that Robert Blakey questioned him about this destruction of documents and threatened legal action. Mastrovito pointed out that Chief Rowley’s August 1965 memo directed him to remove irrelevant material. Blakey had obtained index cards from the Secret Service for what were then called “White House cases” and/or CO2 cases. These cares had been sent to the Warren Commission in a card index file. From these cares, Warren Commission members had requested specific Secret Service reports. Blakey had also sought specific files based on his examination of these index cards. Apparently, Mastrovito had destroyed some files that Blakey had wanted to see. Mastrovito decided which files to keep and which files to destroy. Mastrovito said no one had access to the assassination file except people in the Secret Service. Some reports were copied for the FBI and the Warren Commission. Mastrovito said protective surveys were not in the assassination file but were kept in the operations division.”

On my request to the National Archives as to the current status of the Secret Service “Threat Sheets” referred to by Judge Tunheim, I received the following reply from Martha Murphy:

Mr. Kelly,

We were able to verify that we have summaries of USSS records, commonly referred to as "threat sheets", in our protected collection. These 400+ pages have been referred to USSS for review. These pages will be released no later than the October deadline unless the USSS files an appeal and the President upholds that appeal. 

These "threat sheets" were written by HSCA staffer Eileen Din(n)een and are notes derived from USSS protective intelligence files. 

The ARRB discussed this issue in their Report on page 115 (sic 113) of Chapter six linked here:


Final Report ARRB – Chaper 6 Part I. The Quest for Additional Information and Records
Final Report – Page 113

I.    Miscellaneous 

3. Secret Service

a. Protective survey reports.

Whenever the President traveled outside of Washington D.C., the Secret Service would generate a Protective Survey Report, or a ‘trip report.’ Trip reports, composed by Secret Service agents who conducted advance work for the President’s trips, contained information ranging from logistical details about seating arrangements to details about individuals in the area known to have made threats against the President’s life. Some of the survey reports document information Secret Service received from other agencies such as the FBI or CIA.

The survey reports detail President Kennedy’s travel, whereabouts, associations, and activities for his entire administration. They also provide a complete picture of the Secret Service’s protection of President Kenendy.

b. Shift reports.

The White House Detail consisted of Secret Service agents whose duties were to personally protect the life of the President, the Vice President, and their respective families. The White House Detail kept ‘shift reports,’ usually authored by the Special Agent in charge of the shift, that detailed the activity of each section during their assigned working hours.

c. Eileen Dinneen memoranda.

Eileen Dinneen, a staff researchers for the HSCA, obtained access to protective intelligence files and Protective Survey Reports. Dinneen documented her review of these files in memoranda and reports. The Review Board staff found useful Dinneen’s documentation of information contained in the Secret Service protective intelligence files of individuals whom the Secret Service considered to be dangerous to the lives of the President, the Vice President, and their families from March to December 1963. For each protective intelligence files she reviewed, Dinneen created a one-page report documenting the name of the individual and background information the Secret Service maintained on the individual. The Board’s vote to release in full these “threat sheets” was the subject of the Secret Service’s May 1998 appeal to the President.



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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Support House Resolution 1272 - Free the Emmett Till Bill Files

Hightstown NJ High School students draft federal bill aimed at solving Civil Rights era hate crimes



Image result for Emmett TillImage result for Emmett Till

HIGHTSTOWN NJ. Unresolved hate crimes like the racially motivated murder of black Chicago teen Emmett Till, who was abducted, beat down and shot to death during a family visit to Mississippi in 1955, have inspired a group of Hightstown High School students to lobby Congress into action.
When Midwest Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) introduced the Civil Rights Cold Case Record Collections Act of 2017 into the U.S. House of Representatives on March 1, the bill was actually ghostwritten by roughly three dozen Hightstown students.

The junior and senior students then persuaded Democratic U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who represents Hightstown, to get on board as a co-sponsor, and they also visited Republican offices in the nation’s capital in hopes of building bipartisan support for a measure they hope to see signed into law.

“You can’t argue that racial tensions exist in our country,” said Hightstown High School senior Oslene Johnson, who helped draft the bill, also known as H.R. 1272, which seeks to make it easier for private investigators to solve civil rights cold cases.

 “And there are still families of civil rights victims that know nothing about what happened to their relatives; you don’t know where the bodies are buried,” Johnson said, “and I feel like the anger and the suffering of the past will always bleed into the future if they have never been dealt with. So personally for me, that is a huge motivation to get this bill passed and do something for these families and to acknowledge what happened.”

The U.S. Department of Justice, fueled by the bipartisan Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Acts of 2007 and 2016, has a mandate to “support the full accounting of all victims whose deaths or disappearances were the result of racially motivated crimes” committed before 1980 and to “hold accountable under federal and state law all individuals who were perpetrators of, or accomplices in, unsolved civil rights murders and such disappearances.”

But the Justice Department in its sixth annual report to Congress, a nine-page document dated May 2015, said it had concluded its investigation into 105 of 113 cold cases involving 126 victims and conceded that “very few prosecutions have resulted from these exhaustive efforts.”

OVER-REDACTION PROBLEM

A private citizen seeking to obtain federal documents related to civil rights cold cases would have to file a Freedom of Information Act or FOIA request, which commonly takes longer than a year for the government to process and oftentimes ends with the government providing documents that are heavily redacted in black ink, making the furnished record almost useless.

The Justice Department’s inspector general in September 2013 released an 83-page audit on the department’s internal controls and “found several documents in which unclassified information was inappropriately identified as being classified.” The report suggests the 9/11 Commission, Congress, and the White House have all recognized that the over-classification of information has several negative impacts, including the fact that it “needlessly limits stakeholder and public access to information.”

The Hightstown students say private investigators would more easily be able to solve civil rights cold cases if they had the ability to easily obtain minimally redacted federal cold case files in a timely manner. Their bill is currently sitting in the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for possible consideration.

The bill aims to establish a single collection or repository containing civil rights cold case records that can be easily obtained by the public in a timely fashion and without significant redactions.
In March 2011, expert open government advocate John Verdi testified before the House’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee and said he believes “over-redaction is a real problem” regarding how the federal government commonly releases heavily redacted documents in response to public record requests. “I think it is an even larger problem for FOIA requesters who have less legal expertise and are less able to challenge those redactions in the administrative process and the litigation process,” he said.

A racially motivated bombing that rocked an Alabama black church in the 1960s took years before prosecutors won any convictions, but even then, Hightstown students have recently obtained FBI documents on the deadly incident that are almost completely blacked out with redactions.

By unanimous consent, students in Stuart “Stu” Wexler’s Advanced Placement or AP government and politics Hightstown High class during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 schoolyears crafted their legislation specifically to provide for the expeditious disclosure of records related to civil rights cold cases. Their bill is modeled after the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and Records Administration, also known as NARA.

“We felt that our bill can work in conjunction with the Emmett Till 2 Act, because it actually has some weaknesses that we’ve noticed that have actually limited the ability of success or limited the ability of the release of documents by the DOJ or the FBI or units like that,” Hightstown High senior Dhruv Samdani said. “So we felt that our bill would help actually lessen the redaction or erasing or blacking out of material so that more investigative reporters could actually get the material necessary to actually solving these cases.”

SEEKING JUSTICE

A Mississippi jury found two white men not guilty of murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till. J.W. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant later gave a magazine interview admitting they had killed the black boy. No one has ever been convicted in the case, but the U.S. Justice Department this month has suggested it may reopen its investigation into the Emmett Till slaying.

Several members of the Ku Klux Klan killed four black girls on Sept. 15, 1963, when they set off an explosion at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Robert Chambliss was convicted of first-degree murder in 1977 and died in prison; Thomas Blanton was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2001; and Bobby Frank Cherry was found guilty in 2002 and died in prison about two years later.

Six hours after the KKK-planted bomb exploded, 16-year-old black boy Johnny Robinson was shot and killed by white Birmingham Police Officer Jack Parker. More than 50 years later, Robinson’s slaying still remains unresolved, with the Justice Department reviewing the incident in accordance with the Emmett Till 1 Act but closing the matter on April 9, 2010, without initiating any prosecutions.

New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith in recent days has declared he will co-sponsor the Hightstown students’ bill, which would make him the first GOP member and fifth congressional representative to officially get behind the proposed legislation as a formal co-sponsor.

“The Department of Justice Cold Case Initiative, operating with guidance from the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, has begun the important work of cataloging, analyzing and targeting civil rights cold cases,” Smith said Thursday, April 13, in a statement. “I am pleased to co-sponsor this new bill (H.R. 1272) — originally proposed by the AP government Hightstown High School students — as a means to prompt additional action and help secure justice for the victims and their families.”

PROUD TEACHER

When Stu Wexler polled his AP students to see if they would be interested in drafting legislation seeking to increase the likelihood of civil rights cold cases being solved during the 2015-16 schoolyear, he said he did not imagine the endeavor would eventually make serious inroads with the lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“If you would have asked me at the end of November 2015, I would have probably said this is a nice worthwhile try and it didn’t work out,” the Hightstown High School teacher said. “But the students didn’t give up. The students this year have stated their intentions to make it work. … We are not giving up. The students really showed a lot of initiative and energy in this than I would have probably anticipated and hoped for in a good way.”

Wexler, a longtime social studies educator who has published books on civil rights cold cases, said he is “incredibly proud” of his students’ efforts. He said their proposed legislation promotes “a cause that I think every American can get behind and relate to,” which is to try to bring justice to the criminals who have long gone unpunished for committing hate crimes and to help bring closure to the victims’ families who want to see civil rights cold cases solved.

“The students all know that the committee is the key; 95 percent of bills die in committee,” Wexler said. “(Utah’s U.S. Rep.) Jason Chaffetz, the goal is to try to get him to put the bill on the committee’s agenda. We believe it is a bipartisan bill, and the students have been working very hard.”

LOBBYING CONGRESS

Chaffetz presides over the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as its chairman. Hightstown High junior Jasman Singh and several of his classmates recently met with a congressional staffer who reports directly to Chaffetz. “A lot of the discussion was centered around the cost of the bill,” Singh said, “because in this Congress they are trying to cut down the budget and crack down on big federal government, so a lot of what he told us was, ‘If you can get something underneath $500,000 in this Congress, it is basically considered free.’ So that’s what he told us about costs and appropriations.”

H.R. 1272 co-sponsor Bonnie Watson Coleman, who represents parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties as New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District representative, is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

If the bill became law, it would create an independent agency known as the Cold Case Records Review Board that would be composed of five members appointed by the president of the United States. The bill would require all nominees on the review board to be “distinguished persons of high national professional reputation in their respective fields who are capable of exercising the independent and objective judgment necessary to fulfill their role in ensuring and facilitating the review, transmission to the public, and public disclosure of files related to cold cases and who possess an appreciation of the value of such material to the public, scholars, and government.”

“The primary cost of this bill is basically computerizing the records and digitizing them,” Singh said, adding that there are perhaps hundreds of thousands of federal civil rights cold case documents and that placing them into a digital collection with minimal redactions “could potentially cost less than $1 million a year.”

“I’ve met with some Republican congressmen,” said Hightstown High senior Lydia Francoeur, “and a lot of the universities in a lot of Southern states, they are really active with civil rights cases, and that’s where most of the cases took place, so they usually are really receptive to our bill.”
Another senior student, Renuka Kannan, said the key to success is getting Republicans and Democrats on board.

“I think that as long as we have enough bipartisan support of co-sponsorship,” she said, “it should hopefully get through the House at least, because of the fact that it is such a bipartisan issue dealing with civil rights cold cases, which everyone should have common interest in supporting.”
If the legislation stalls in Congress, the Hightstown students said they intend to keep pushing for its passage in the months or years ahead, if that’s what it takes to get the measure enacted into law.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman has been working as a professional journalist since graduating from Temple University in 2007. Prior to his current stint at The Trentonian, Abdur-Rahman worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer and wrote a self-published memoir about his 12-month experience of living in Australia on a spouse visa. Reach the author at sulaiman@trentonian.com or follow Sulaiman on Twitter: @sabdurr.