Redacted CIA docs from the 1940s

Three notes I posted last year looked at ARC redactions chronologically. The first note looked at the chronological distribution of redacted docs, the second note looked at redacted docs dated to the 1940s, and the third note looked at redacted docs from the 1990s.

This note takes a second look at the 1940s. Do any docs from prior to 1950 continue to have redactions? Unfortunately, yes.

Dates in the JFK database

Dating problems for ARC documents are common, especially for CIA documents. Why? Summarizing from an earlier post:

1) Inherently undatable docs such as file markers, folders, tab pages, and scraps of paper have blank date fields.
2) Lengthy, compound documents or files have multiple dates in them; dates for these compound documents are often inconsistent or left blank.
3) Single documents may have more than one date on them, so copies of the same doc may easily have different dates.
4) Many documents are simply dated wrong, writing 1993 for 1963, etc.

I adjust for these without comment. If there is interest in seeing the lists of the records I counted, please leave a comment on this page.

1940s docs

Single docs with a date field from the 1940s are few. Last time I found 36 that had redactions. I expected that all these would be released this time. Most were, but not all. Here are three that still have redactions:

# record # title date
1 104-10074-10007 WILLIAM FOSTER 1947-08-01
2 104-10113-10181 MEMO: CONEIN, LUCIEN E 1947-08-05
3 104-10217-10011 LEO YCHUDA CHERTOK 1948-03-18

These documents are close to 75 years old. Why are they still redacted? First, since they are utterly unrelated to the JFK assassination, release is given a very low priority. Second, there should be at least a couple of reasons not to release.

For example, the report on John Pittman (misleadingly labeled William Foster) has 2 redactions labeled 24, which in this case means info on liaison, i.e. another foreign service. CIA will not unilaterally release info on liaison, so in this case probably the French security service refused permission to release. I find all this dubious, but it’s too trivial to spend time on.

For 104-10113-10181, the redaction is labeled 06, meaning “name of person”. Whoever this is, the person must be deceased. Hard to justify holding this back. An egregious redaction.

For 104-10217-10011, there is no substitute number code, and the copy is crappy, so one can only guess that this is more liaison info.

201 files with 1940s dates

Above I mentioned two types of compilation docs, 201 files and OP files. Most of these leave the JFK doc date blank. There are two of these, however, which have a JFK doc date in the 1940s. These are 201 files for Ross Crozier, a CIA career agent who worked extensively in Cuban operations.

The first doc, 104-10215-10215, is volume 1 of Crozier’s 201 file. It begins at the end of 1948, and records how Crozier was hired as a contract agent in Costa Rica.

The second doc, 104-10215-10214, is volume 3 of Crozier’s 201 file. It goes from about 1956 to 1958 and records Crozier’s transfer to Cuba, and his change from contract agent to career agent.

This second doc has nothing from the 1940s in it. As I said, lots of date errors in the records.

OP and 201 files with 1940s material

There are a number of these types of files which have blank date fields, but include documents dating back to WWII and the OSS. There are even more such files which include documents dating back to the first post-war years.

I recently posted notes on two such files: an OP file for James Walton Moore of the CIA Domestic Contacts Division, and an OS file (Office of Security), also for Moore.

Chronologically, the WWII docs in both Moore files were all released in full. Docs from the post-war years (1946-49) were not. In fact, most of the redacted docs from the OP file were in just this period. It is hard to understand why these old docs should need redacting. Like the three singleton docs listed above, these bits of the OP file are 75 years old.

This holds true for at least a couple of other files I have looked at, though I have not looked at these in the close detail I did for the Moore files. One example is Ann Goodpasture’s OP file. Goodpasture served in sensitive locations overseas, including India, and the CIA base in Monterrey, Mexico. Perhaps this is why there are so many redactions of old documents.

But there is also at least one example of a redacted OSS document (here). Unacceptable. Really.

My two cents

It is absurd to claim any relevance for these ancient files to the JFK assassination. Of course that’s just my opinion (does it really need saying?) Despite the total lack of relevance, however, there is no exemption for these 1940s docs in the JFK Act, and they should be released.