Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Key ONI Records Identified

Nov. 27 1995 – Director, ONI responds to CNO (N09BL) by letter, stating that the Office of Naval Intelligence holds no records responsive to the tasking of 14 Nov 1995…..

Feb.28 1997 REDACTED -

1. Executive Summary: ....A total of [one hundred twenty-three (123) cubic feet of material, approximately 307,500 classified pages, were reviewed at the Washington National Records Center located in Suitland, MD.] Of that volume, less than [one cubic foot of files] was identified.... (as relevant to the assassination and JFK Act records)

[written on the side: 123 boxes - rather than 123 cubic feet and 1 box of relevant records rather than one cubic foot of files.]

March 4 1997 – Meeting Report – Topic – Disposition of ONI, NCIS Records “5. (Tim) Wray provided extract from HSCA Staff Report regarding alleged Marine Corps CID post-assassination investigation into activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, and asked for any advice or assistance they might be able to provide regarding where such records might presently be stored, if they exist. Best recommendation: personal papers of the Marine Corps Commandant, Marine Corps CID records. Subject investigation, if authentic, may have been handled outside normal investigative channels.”

Mar. 11, 1997 Meeting Report. Christopher Barger/ARRB staff “met with the ONI team responsible for heading the search for records under the JFK Act. This team is directed by Lieut. Cmdr. Terri Pike; LCDR Doolittle works in the ONI FOIA office; Pike reports to Capt. Peiaec; LCRD Bastein is the JAG.”

Mar. 11 1997 – ARRB staffers Wray, Barger and Masih meeting with CAPT Pelaec, LCDR Bastein and LCDR Pike of ONI and discuss JFK Records Act and its requirements. LCDR Pike identifies ONI action taken and intended searchers. Intended searches would begin at Suitland at the Federal Records Center, but would later include district offices within CONUS. “Pike then presented us a small written briefing package detailing what they had identified that they are required to do and the process they will use to go about the review. She noted that their first priority was to identify the records collections they need to search, then determining the physical location of the records. Most of these will be at Suitland, she said, but there will be others located in district offices round the country in locations like Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, New Orleans, St. Louis and Boston. They have also identified a need to determine standard subject identification codes which should cause a document to be searched, and she concluded by detailing the records disposition procedures within ONI.”

“Despite the fact that they had only learned of this tasking on Friday, they had located and designated approximately 125 cubic feet of documents that directly relate to subjects we mentioned in our letter to the Navy. These will be reviewed page by page. She anticipated being able to complete the review by the stated deadline set by the Navy and ARRB of April 30, 1997.”

“In addition, she said that ONI had identified about 950 cubic feet, or approximately 2.4 million pages of records which might be related to the topics we were interested in, but that we had not specifically mentioned...LCDR Pike stressed that she, and ONI, understood that all information, even negative result, is important to our process, and that they will be providing reports on everything they search, whether relevant documents are found within or not. Pike provided us with a ‘flow chart’ documenting the normal records disposition process within ONI, explaining what each step of the process is and where documents go during each phase of the process. The final page of her briefing package was a sample of the ‘clue sheets’ being provided to each reviewer for the April 30 documents. Approximately two dozen subject headings are listed along with ‘clues’ or keywords for each subject, and a time window for each subject….In closing, it should be reported that this team, and LCDR Pike in particular, are very impressive, they appear very much to have their act together on this project. They provided details and planning we have rarely seen from other agencies, yet they have had this project assigned to them for less than a week. They were extremely helpful, and have taken an aggressive and proactive approach to complying with the JFK Act. We can expect more impressive work from this team.” (ARRB Meeting Report and 4-page handout out distributed by LCDR Pike memorialize the results of this meeting.)

March 3, 1997 – ARRB “LCDR Pike is our main point of contact in the ONI records review. She works for the Information Management Department.”

March 24, 1997 – Christopher Barger/ARRB – Memo. Subject: Status Report. “I telephone Terri Pike on March 24, 1997. I explained that Tim was about to leave the office, and as a result we were doing what we could call some “stock taking,” that is, trying to determine what has been done and what is outstanding from each agency that we are working with. In that light I asked her if she could give me a brief status report on what they have done so far.”

“She said that they have completed their review of about 40 cu. ft. of the 127 cu. ft. ONI has committed to having reviewed for us by the April 30 deadline. She also said that they have found one box based on our SF 135 requests. This box has to do with defections, both Cuban and Soviet; they plan on turning this box over to us “in toto.” She said that most of the records in that box are CIA originated or have CIA equities, so they will need to be coordinated with CIA. She ended the call by telling me that if we want to come out there at any point and personally review any of their work, we are welcome.”

21 April, 997 ARRB staffers Horne, Barger and Masih meet with LCDR Pike and LCDR Doolittle of ONI. LCDR Pike stated that review of the first 123 cubic feet of ONI records had been completed, and that as a result .8 cubic feet of records (18 district files) on defectors had been identified as responsive to the CNO tasking; these records were presented to ARRB staffers at the meeting for cursory review. Completion of declassification review and delivery of the original records to the ARRB was tentatively promised within 2 – 4 weeks. LCDR Pike also mentioned that approx. 950 cubic feet of additional records had been identified which –might- be responsive to the topics the ARRB was interested in, and said that review of this material would take approximately 6 months. (ARRB Meeting Report memorializes the result of this meeting.)

April 21 1997 Meeting Report ARRB Military team met with LCDR Terri Pike and LCDR Paul Doolittle of ONI records team. 1 line redacted – “Pike explained that most of the relevant records they found were discovered ‘by accident;’ that is to say, they were misfiled in boxes outside where they should have been. This is important for two reasons. 1) If they had been filed where they ‘should’ have been, they would have been routinely destroyed by this point, and 2) as they continue their review of the approximately 900 cu feet of records they have self-identified, they expect they might well continue to discover records of interest to us….

There are two different copies of this meeting report in two different typefaces, one with the first sentence of the fourth paragraph highlighted by two circles on one and completely redacted in the other. The line redacted reads: “There are a total of 18 folders of material which ONI has determined should go into the JFK collection and have earmarked for delivery to us….”

Another redacted paragraph follows the following: “Pike said that ONI is going through review of all records covered by the EO; in most cases, they have been willing to release in full about 96% of the documents. She said that for the other 4% they expected that the Board has the power to overrule them anyway, but they had to at least make the request. [Ed. Note: this implies that they might perhaps be resigned to ‘losing’ some of the information they want to protect and would not appeal a Board decision to release some of this information.]

The redacted paragraph reads: “Pike concluded her report by suggesting that we might find more of the records we suggested we wanted in BG38 the records of the CNO. She said that currently ONI is currently organizing a review team to be headed by Lieutenant Helega Gilbert to look through this group using the same criteria as used in this search; however, ARRB staff may also wish to personally review these records for relevant material. She suggested that changes in alert status, etc. might also be found in CNO records…”

April 23, 1997 – LCDR Bastein signs out ONI letter to CNO (09BL) in response to CNO’s 28 Feb tasking, forwarding LCDR Pike memo of 22 April detailing both ONI’s completed, and intended, records searches. Search of the initial 123 cubic feet of records was listed as completed; LCDR Pike further stated that ONI remained responsible for searching an additional 950 cubic feet of records located in Suitland, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, and stated those searches were scheduled for completion during fiscal year 97.

May 12 1997 – LCDR Pike Faxes LCDR Bastein’s letter to CNO of 23 Apr to the ARRB; the cover sheet for her fax indicates that she had finished declassification review of the.8 cubic feet of defector records, and had prepared a page-by-page index of same. She indicated that transmittal of these documents would occur in the near future.

May 14 1997 ARRB staffer Chris Barger sent fax to LCDR Pike explaining the statutory requirement in the JFK Act to prepare RIFs (Record Identification Forms) for each assassination record in accordance with a standard software format prepared by NANA. ARRB offered to obtain required software for ONI from NARA.

June 6 1997 ARRB mails RIF software disks to LCDR Pike, so that .8 cubic feet of defector files can be RIF-ed prior to transmission to ARRB……

Aug. 19 1997 – ARRB staffer Doug Horne called Terri Pike and requested that ONI look for “119 Reports” covering an alleged ONI investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald’s October, 1959 defection to the Soviet Union. LCDR Pike accepted the tasking, but ARRB never received any feedback on its results. (ARRB Meeting Report of 16 Sept 1997 interview with retired NIS investigator Fred Reeves memorializes in detail the rationale for this search request.)

Aug 19 1997 Call Report – author: Douglas Horne called Terri Pike of the Department of the Navy – Office of Naval Intelligence. Description of the Call: Summary – I left a voice mail telling Terri Pike about Fred Reeves and his claim to have conducted a post-defection investigation of Oswald at MCAS El Toro in late 1959 or early 1960 at the request of ONI in Washington (Rufus Taylor); I specifically mentioned “119 Reports,” which Fred Reeves said were filed. I asked her to search for those files or a copy of that investigative report, and also asked her to pass to us the name and phone number of the person at ONI most knowledgeable today about such matters/such records.

Call Report Terri Pike of Department of Navy - Office of Naval Intelligence called Douglas Horne. Summary of the Call: Terri Pike called to say she had received my voice mail inquiring about an NIS-ONI post-defection investigation of Oswald at El Toro in 1959 or 1960, would do immediate some checking, and would try to fax us results of her search sometime on Thursday of this week.

Dec. 3 1997 – Navy OGC submitted Final Department of the Navy Statement of Compliance to the ARRB, less ONI; Final Statement of Compliance for ONI was promised at a later date, pending completion of ONI efforts.

April 2 1998 Letter from Doug Horne to LCDR R. D. Bastien – The purpose of this letter is to memorialize for the record our meeting of January 29, 1998, between yourself, Jim Goslee and me….you suggested a correction in my summation of information provided by LCDR Pike…in which I quoted her as saying that ONI searches would include district offices within CONUS. You advised that although ONI had district offices in the past, there are no longer any district offices within CONUS, subsequently to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) splitting away from ONI as a separate entity. You further clarified that the only locations where you would expect to find ONI records today would be at the Federal Records Center in Suitland, at the Naval Historical Center, or at Archives II in College park....you were confident that ONI had searched for and had not located any files for the Director of ONI,...Although LCDR Pike had promised delivery of the originals of those documents,...the Review Board was still not in receipt of these documents....LCDR Pike had recently mentioned to our staff that she had located Naval Attache Records responsive to the JFK Act during her searches of RG 289, and had placed them in a box that she had labeled “44 USC 2107.”

...you were confident that ONI had searched for and had not located any files for the Director of ONI, but suggested that we should search RG 38, and you provided a point of contact for the ARRB...

...A principal purpose of our meeting was to discuss the status of the approximately .8 cubic feet of defector records (considered responsive to the JFK Act by the Review Board staff,...Although LCDR Pike had promised delivery of the originals of those documents to the Review Board within two to four weeks of the April 21, 1997 meeting, and although ARRB staff received a fax from LCDR Pike on May 12, 1997, in which she wrote that she had finished declassifying the ONI material and that we should have it soon, the Review Board was still not in receipt of these documents....You had already assembled the records in your office (now assembled in 7 three ring binders instead of 18 separate folders), and they were briefly reviewed by Mr. Goslee and me in your presence....

...You agreed to devote the resources necessary to complete the creation of RIFs and complete declassification review of ONI equities in the defector records, and deliver same to the ARRB staff.....

....When you called me on Mach 26, 1998,...I informed you that LCDR Pike had recently mentioned to our staff that she had located Naval Attache Records responsive to the JFK Act during her searchers of RG 289, and had placed them in a box that she had labeled "44 U.S.C. 2107." It was unclear from our conversation with her whether this box was left at the Federal Records Center in Suitland, or whether it was located at ONI headquarters. You indicated unawareness of any such box or records...but agreed to conduct a search for the National Archive records alluded to by LCDR Pike in her March 16, 1998 conversation with Review Board staff...

April 24, 1998 – LCDR R.D. BASTIEN This is the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Final Statement of Compliance with respect to the JFK Assassinations Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK ACT), 44 U.S.C. 2107, as requested in your letter of April 24, 1998.

May 18 1998 -...LCDR R.D. BASTIEN May 18, 1998 As the Designated Compliance Official for ONI, I certify that all ONI Directories were tasked to search for any information or documents relating to the JFK assassination...I have no knowledge of any JFK assassination-related records which may have been destroyed by this command.

...this completes our internal search requirements. However, under the Executive Order 12958 declassification mandate, we remain committed to searching the approximately 25,000 archival boxes at the Washington National Records Center and Naval Historical Center which have identified in RG 289 as having possible ONI equities...

I certify that all Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Directories were tasked for search of any information or documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On May 3, 1998, Record Identification Forms were created for approximately .8 cubic feet of records on military defectors. These responsive records were obtained from the permanent documents location at the Washington National Records Center and will be submitted to the Assassination Records Review Board (Review Board) on May 21, 1998. This submission completes our internal search requirements. Including the 21, 1998 records, all known responsive items under the control of ONI have been assembled and submitted to the Review Board.

The search of the Washington National Records Center and Naval Historical Center remain incomplete. However, under the Executive Order 12958 declassification mandate, ONI remains committed to searching approximately 25,000 archival boxes at those centers which have been identified in RG 289 as having possible ONI equities. The archival boxes will be searched for the related subject material using the guidelines of the JFK Act. Based on these assertions, I am informed and believe that the documents and material preceding this certification comprises all of the known responsive documents located at ONI or under our control.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. - R. D. Bastien Sig ONI Compliance Official, May 18, 1998

Final Report of the ARRB:
Chapter 8 Compliance with the JFK Act by Government Offices
14. Department of the Navy

After passage of the JFK Act, the Navy's Criminal Investigative Service transferred, in 1994, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) records that had been maintained on Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1995 the General Counsel of the Navy directed that a further review of the Navy's files be undertaken pursuant to the JFK Act. This directive went to the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Naval Historical Center. The Navy identified no additional assassination records.

In early 1997, after the navy consulted with Review Board staff regarding categories of potentially relevant records, the General Counsel's office issued another search directive to the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Secretary of the Navy's Administrative Division, and other components within the Navy. The Review Board asked the Navy to search for files of high-level officials of the Marine Corps, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Navy during the years 1959 through 1964.

The Navy conducted an extensive review of files, including a review of files from the Secretary of the Navy's Administrative Office, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Marine Corps. The Navy located miscellaneous documents relating to the Warren Commission and HSCA from files of the Administrative Office for the Secretary of the Navy as a result of this search. Among the records found was an unsigned copy of an affidavit by the Director of ONI, prepared at the time of the Warren Commission, stating that Lee Harvey Oswald was not used as an agent or informant by ONI.

The Navy confirmed that it had not, however, located the 1959 - 1964 files for the Director of ONI.

Office of Naval Intelligence.

The Review Board pursued the matter of ONI records separately. Accordingly, the Board requested that ONI submit its own certification of its compliance with the JFK Act. In its Final Declaration of Compliance, ONI stated that it conducted an extensive review of ONI records held at Federal Records Centers throughout the country. ONI did not identify any additional assassination records. ONI was unable to find any relevant files for the Director of ONI from 1959 to 1964.

ONI also acknowledged that there were additional ONI records that were not reviewed for assassination records, but that these records would be reviewed under Executive Order 12958 requiring declassification of government records.

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