ARRB notices: additions and revisions

[First posted on April 25, 2018, at]

I have added some new material to my ARRB lists and revised some of the record counts. This post is a short note on what changed.

Meeting list: new transcripts

I have added another set of meeting and hearing transcripts to my list of ARRB meetings. The list originally included links to transcripts online at Mary Ferrell, but these were not complete. I have since found additional transcripts in the ARRB electronic records posted at NARA last October. The transcripts are in this zip, which is a large collection of ARRB administrative records. Look in the zip under the TRANSCRP directory.

These transcripts include the 1996/9/17 Los Angeles hearing, and the 1997/04/02 DC hearing on the Zapruder film. I downloaded all of these transcripts and posted them here at the warren. Just click on the links in the meeting list.

Not all of these transcripts are identical to the MF transcripts. A particularly interesting variation is in the transcript of the 1996/08/06 public meeting. This meeting was held to discuss how the ARRB should handle the segregated CIA files compiled for the HSCA. It turns out that the meeting included a presentation from Barry Harrelson and John Pereira of the CIA’s Historical Review Group. This very informative presentation was cut out of Mary Ferrell’s version of the transcript, as the link shows. What’s up with that, MF?

Records list: revised counts

I have been working quite a bit on the ARRB record notices; the results of this work will appear mostly as revisions of my record notice list, starting with 61 FR 00048. This was the first notice to include consent releases; including these in the record notices is one reason the notices become so long and complicated.

In reviewing the record notices, I have cross checked the 1996 notices with the ARRB’s Fiscal Year 1996 Report, on-line at MF. This report includes two interesting supplements: 1) a summary of the decisions published in notices 14-23 (as numbered in my list), on pages 9-18 of the Report; 2) Appendix B, a 64 page list of all the records noticed.

Both of these cover only the records the Board actually voted on; they do not cover the consent releases. Since the report is devoted to the Board’s activities and specifically to justifying an extension of the Board’s term, this is understandable, but of course this means any questions about the consent releases in the notices will not be answered here. Another limitation is that recissions are not mentioned at all, nor are records reconsidered distinguished from regular determinations. This makes verifying counts tricky sometimes.

In addition, Appendix B has close to 200 duplicate record numbers in it. The majority of these are FBI records, but there are plenty of CIA duplicate numbers too. At this early stage of the ARC, there were clearly problems with making sure that every record had a unique number. This is not surprising, since the finding aids which enforced the unique number requirement were being filled out by a very large group of people, who no doubt often differed in experience and understanding of the records. Strong evidence then of how large a task it was to compile the ARC.

Overall, the 1996 Report is no substitute for the FR record notices in the period it covers. No quick shortcuts for accuracy here (sigh).