Monday, July 27, 2020

New AARC FOIA Requests on Byrd, Alvenseben and Doolittle


New AARC FOIA Requests

AARC Counsel of Record for the "Hitler Plot" case going before the Supreme Court isn't wasting any time waiting for them to deliberate and make a decision. Alcorn has fired another round of Broadsides requesting the CIA records on D. H. Byrd, the owner of the Texas School Book Depository, Byrd's safari hunting partner Werner von Alvensleben, Jr., and records related to the Doolittle Report on CIA covert activities, that was prepared by General James Doolittle, another Byrd safari hunting partner. 

July 4, 2020


Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20505
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Information and Privacy Coordinator:

On behalf of my clients Assassination Archives and Research Center, Inc. and attorney James
H. Lesar, I make the following request of the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC
Sec. 552:

1. Search for and release all records or information in any format related to David Harold
Byrd (deceased) of Dallas, Texas. Mr. Byrd died on September 14, 1986 (see attached
obituary from the Dallas Times-Herald). Mr. Byrd owned the Texas School Book
Depository Building at the time of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and
reportedly removed the “sniper’s window” from the building after the assassination and
displayed it in his mansion. Mr. Byrd was an owner and financier of government
contracting companies including Texas Engineering Manufacturing Company (TEMCO),
E-Systems, and Ling-TEMCO-Vaught (LTV). E-Systems was well known as a CIA
contractor, so much so that in 1975 CIA solicited E-Systems to purchase its proprietary
airline, Air America. David Harold Byrd was also active in the oil business and varied
other business enterprises. David Harold Byrd co-founded the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in
1941 and served in command capacities in CAP until the early 1960’s. Civil Air Patrol is
the official auxilary of the US Air Force. In the 1950’s Mr. Byrd served with Cord
Meyer, Sr. on the national executive board of CAP (Cord Meyer, Jr. was a ranking CIA

2. Search for and release all records and information in any format related to Werner von
Alvensleben, Jr. (died 1998), of Mozambique (formerly Portuguese East Africa). Mr.
Alvensleben owned and operated the big game hunting company named Safarilandia in
Portuguese East Africa, later Mozambique. According to released Office of Strategic
Services (OSS) records, Mr. Alvensleben served as a valued double agent for OSS during
World War II in Portuguese East Africa. OSS records state that Mr. Alvensleben was a
member of the Bavarian Military Police in 1933, headed by Heinrich Himmler (the
Bavarian Military Police became the Nazi SS, according to OSS records). In 1933 Mr.
Alvensleben was sent to Austria to participate in the assassination of an Austrian official.
Mr. Alvensleben was arrested by the Austrians and imprisoned for this activity.

According to reports in the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Alvensleben was in Dallas, Texas
as a guest of David Harold Byrd in late 1963. Further, David Harold Byrd was reported
to be present at Mr. Alvensleben’s Safarilandia on November 22, 1963, the day of
President Kennedy’s murder. Due to Mr. Alvensleben’s service as a valued double agent
for OSS in World War II, it is likely that Mr. Alvensleben served as an asset of the CIA
after the war, or had contact with the CIA.

3. Search for and release all records and information in any format related to the Doolittle
Report of 1954 and its appendices A-D. The Doolittle Report was the result of a
commission established by President Eisenhower to study the activities of the CIA and
headed by General James Doolittle. The Doolittle Report called for more aggressive CIA
covert activities that had previously been believed to be repugnant and contrary to
American values. Requesters seek full release of the requested materials. As shown in
the attached obituary of David Harold Byrd, General Doolittle and Mr. Byrd were
substantial friends who shared an interest in aviation from the early years. Mr. Byrd and
General Doolittle were Safari hunting partners on several occasions.

If it is your position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure,
Requesters request that you provide them with an index of those documents as required under
Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1974). As you are
aware, a Vaughn index must describe each document claimed as exempt with sufficient
specificity “to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under
FOIA.” Founding Church of Scientology v. Bell, 603 F.2d 945, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1979).

Moreover, the Vaughn index must “describe each document or portion thereof withheld, and for
each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.”
King v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 223-24 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (emphasis added). Further,
“the withholding agency must supply ‘a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying
the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the
particular part of a withheld document to which they apply.’” Id. at 224 (citing Mead Data
Central v. U.S. Dep’t of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977).

In the event that you contend some portions of the requested records are properly exempt
from disclosure, please disclose any reasonably segregable non-exempt portions of the requested
records. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b). Claims of nonsegregability must be made with the same degree
of detail as required for claims of exemptions in a Vaughn index. If a request is denied in whole,
please state specifically that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release.
Public Interest Fee Waiver Request

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) requesters request a waiver of fees
associated with processing this request for records based on the fact that a waiver is in the public
interest. The subject of this request concerns the operations of the federal government and its
expenditures, and the disclosures will likely contribute to a better understanding of relevant
government procedures by the general public in a significant way. Moreover, the request is
primarily and fundamentally for non-commercial purposes. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals
has recognized that Congress amended FOIA to ensure that public interest fee waivers be
“liberally construed in favor of waivers for noncommercial requesters”. Judicial Watch, Inc. v.
Rossotti, 326 F.3d 1309,1312 (D.C.Cir. 2003). Assassination Archives and Research Center and
Mr. Lesar are noncommercial requesters and thus falls in the category of authors, researchers and
public interest groups favored for a fee waiver. Campbell v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 164 F.3d
20,35 (D.C.Cir. 1998).

The Assassination Archives and Research Center (“AARC”) was founded in 1984 as a
non-profit organization to house records related to political assassinations and to encourage
research in the field. Mr. Lesar was a cofounder in 1984 and has served as President of the
Center since 1991. AARC maintains a website which includes a public library of released
government documents for use of the public. AARC maintains the largest collection of materials
on the assassination of President Kennedy in private hands.

/s/ Daniel S. Alcorn
Daniel S. Alcorn
Counsel for Requesters

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