Wednesday, June 5, 2019

JFK Assassination Records Missing from the NARA


1)      The original unedited White House Communications Agency (WHCA) tape recordings of Air Force One radio transmissions from Nov. 22, 1963. We have two versions of edited tapes, and edited transcripts, but the original has been kept out of the public record, and for good reasons. Three journalists (T.H. White, William Manchester and Pierre Salinger) were given a transcript of the unedited tapes and they quote portions that are not on the edited tapes. And now the JFK Library, where Salinger sent the transcript provided to him, says that transcript is missing.

2)      House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) Records of Richard Sprague, Esq.  – the first chief counsel to HSCA. There are thousands of HSCA records in the file of the second chief counsel to HSCA G. Robert Blakey – but none for Richard Sprague. There is a file on Richard Sprague, but that is another Richard Sprague, a photo-computer expert who advised the HSCA. I took a copy of Jim Braden’s 1948 Camden arrest report to Sprague’s Philadelphia law office when he was first appointed chief counsel. After the HSCA was disbanded, I received a call from G. Robert Blakey, the second chief counsel, who requested a copy of Braden’s arrest report as he was writing a book about the mob involvement in the assassination. I told Blakey that I had given a copy to Sprague, and Blakey said that Sprague took all of his files with him. Sprague’s assistant Bob Tannenbaum, wrote in his book about the HSCA, that Sprague’s secretary took many of the records, and she has since passed away. Sprague is now in his 90s and his son, who runs the law office, says they have no HSCA files, but they must.

3)      JFK’s secretary Evelyn Lincoln cleared out the contents of the Oval Office and took everything with her, including the Oval Office dictabelt tapes that JFK used to tape record telephone and office conversations and dictate memos for his memoirs. With the death of Mrs. Lincoln those tapes were inherited by Robert White, who made six cassette copies of them, which he gave/sold to Christopher Fulton, who says he still has them, and quotes from them in his book “The Inheritance.” The ARRB obtained some dictabelts from White before he died, but they stop at November 8, 1963. What became of the tapes made after then?

4)      With Mrs. Lincoln’s passing, in her will she had two trunks delivered to her attorney cousin in Nebraska. When he was named municipal judge, he gave the unopened trunks to the Polk County Sheriff Cherry, who today, says he knows what became of them but will not say unless subpoenaed by Congress or a court of law.  Mrs. Lincoln’s cousin notified the ARRB of the whereabouts of the two trunks at the Polk County Sheriff’s office but they failed to get them.

5)      In 1964 Robert F. Kennedy notified the secretary of the National Photo Interpretation Center (NPIC) that he wanted her to pack all of the NPIC assassination records in boxes and have them delivered to the Smithsonian, rather than the National Archives where they belonged. The NPIC secretary informed the ARRB of the NPIC records at the Smithsonian but they failed to inquire or locate them.

6)      The investigators for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in San Diego said they investigated Oswald twice, after his defection and after the assassination, and filed what they called 119 Reports of the results of their investigation, but those records were not provided to the ARRB by ONI. What became of them?

7)      The Church Committee interviewed many witnesses on the record, but many of these tapes and transcripts have disappeared, such as one of two formal interviews with CIA officer Charles Ford, who was assigned to assist Attorney General RFK in Cuban matters. Over a dozen Church Committee interviews have simply disappeared. Gaeton Fonzi’s tape recorded interview with CIA officer Mitch Werbell was erased in its entirety, though Fonzi’s notes have survived, so we know what they discussed (i.e. Pan Am Bank of Miami).

8)      Professor John Newman, who is writing a series of books on the assassination, recently requested to read George deMohrenschildt’s address book, that he found was missing from its folder. A researcher who had earlier photo copied the entire book, gave Newman a copy and Newman has posted it on line. But what became of the original from the NARA? 

9)      ARRB staff member Kim Hurd compiled five boxes of records during his work for the Review Board, but box number four is missing. Now a researcher could have slipped out with deMohrenschildt’s note book, but someone with access to the back shelves of the  Archives II must have lifted this entire box .

10)  The Higgins Memo of the Sept. 25, 1963 meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff mentions that CIA officer Desmond FitzGerald briefed them on the CIA’s “detailed study” of the July 20, 1944 Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler, that they were adapting for use against Castro. The CIA now says that they have no record of that “detailed study.” Nor do they have any record of the CIA’s Pathfinder plot to kill Castro, that the NPIC employees described as the Pathfinder file was kept in their section of the JMWAVE station instead of the Operational Files, where it belonged.

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