Sunday, March 21, 2010

1100 CIA JFK Assassination Records Withheld

On November 21, 2008, in response to the Morley FOIA case, the CIA released a 75 page declaration in which they acknowledged that they have withheld 1100 assassination records, and may seek to keep them secret after the scheduled 2017 release date.

In the course of the long and drawn out legal document the CIA official, Delores Nelson also noted that among the 1100 documents, 13 of them could be related to Joannides, the subject of Jeff Morley's FOIA case, which is now extending from years into decades.

Those 13 documents alone, says Ms. Nelson, run over 1100 pages, so the rest of the JFK assassination records still being withheld by the CIA must run into the tens of thousands of pages, not including those documents that were released with redactions.

In addition, this legal document also gives an interesting account of the "GLOMAR" response to FOIA requests, which is the now routine "neither confirm nor deny" response, which is what the Israel government and MOSSAD are now doing in response to questions regarding the Dubai assassination hit squad.

The document, which is titled, JFFFERSON MORLEY Plantiff v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Defendant - DECLARATION OF DELORES M. NELSON includes a section:


40. The Dorn Declaration describes the JFK Act and the Assassination Records Review Board (“ARRB”) created there under. See Exhibit A PP 26-30. With the exception of approximately 1,100 documents withheld in their entirety until 2017, all of the CIA’s JFK-related documents were released in full or in part to NARA. 7.

7. The approximately 1,100 documents are located in NARA’s protected collection and will be released in 2017 unless the CIA appeals to the President to withhold their disclosure. On such an appeal, the CIA would need to argue, and the President would need to certify, that “(i) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations; and (ii) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, 44 U.S.C. S 2107 note (2000)

page 20 Nelson

page 22 “…The index search yielded thirteen documents that were potentially responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA request. These thirteen documents totally 1,112 pages…..

59. As noted above, in conjunction with its production of the JFK-related recordspursuant to the JFK Act, the CIA previously acknowledged Joannides’ participationin two specific covert projects, operations, or assignments: JM/WAVE or JMWAVE from 1962 through 1964 and Joannides’ service as a CIA representative to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations from 1978 through 1979. Joannides had been undercover during both of these assignments.”

B. The CIA’s Failure to Assert a GLOMAR Response Would Damage National Security.

61. In a typical response to a FOIA request, the CIA’s answer, either to provide or not provide records sought, in effect confirms the existence or non-existence of CIA records. Typically, this confirmation neither threatens the national security nor reveals intelligence sources and methods. The response focuses on releasing or withholding specific substantive information and the fact that the CIA possesses or does not possess records is not itself a classified fact. However, when the fact that the CIA possesses or does not possess records is itself classified and reasonably could reveal intelligence sources, methods and activities, the CIA cannot confirm that it possesses such information. On the other hand, the CIA also may not deny the Court or in legal proceedings that it does not have responsive records when it in fact does. Thus, the CIA’s only permissible alternative is to neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of responsive records. Such a “neither confirm nor deny” response is called a GLOMAR response. 10.

10. The CIA asserted a GLOMAR response over the unacknowledged time periods in this case because Joannides’ participation in covert projects, operations, or assignments during these unacknowledged time periods would itself be classified.

Footnote: 10. The “GLOMAR” term comes from the case Phillippi v. CIA. 546 F.2d 1009(DC Cir. 1976, which upheld the CIA’s use of the “neither confirm nor deny” response to a FOIA request for records concerning the CIA’s reported contacts with the media regarding the Hughes GLOMAR Explorer.
Page 32

21 November 2008

Delores M. Nelson
Chief Public Information Programs Division
Central intelligence Agency