April 2023 releases from the ARC

April 12 saw the release of redactions from 422 records in the JFK ARC. This means there are now fewer than 4000 “Section 5” records with redactions. This note takes a look at the new releases: where are they from and what kind of information has been released.

Agencies releasing information

Which agencies have released new information this time? Here is a breakdown by agency name and number:

agency number agency name count pct
104 CIA 373 88%
119 DOS 1 <1%
124 FBI 22 5%
157 SSCIA 16 4%
176 JFK Library 2 <1%
180 HSCA 5 1%
198 ARMY 3 <1%

How many redacted records are left?

Before we can say something about this, there is an important question to ask. Did the records released this time still have redactions? There are a few monstrously long records released this time which I have not yet finished looking at. However, I have checked every record with under 100 pages, and there were no redactions there. I think it is a reasonable assumption that all records with releases this time were released in full.

If they were all released in full, we can now calculate totals. As noted in an earlier post, NARA’s press release for the December 2022 releases stated that “Section 5 postponement decisions now affect less than 4,400 documents in the Collection.” 4400-422 < 4000, so this means that there are fewer than 4000 redacted records in the ARC.

Bean counters in the crowd will want to note that “Section 5 postponements” is an oblique way of saying that there is another set of records which is not being counted here. These are Section 6 records, and they are exempt from release. There are 515 of these, and they include tax returns, court documents, and materials donated to NARA with conditions that restrict release. The only way these 515 documents might get released is if Congress amends the JFK Act, aka Public Law 102-526, which created the JFK ARC.

What kind of information was redacted/released?

As the numbers above show, the 373 CIA docs made up almost 90 percent of the releases. About two thirds of these docs were one to two pages long. There was a fair amount of material from ARRB related files. These were mostly names of legal and information systems people. There were also about a dozen lengthy OP or 201 files. Again, these were all released in full, including files on the CIA base house in Mexico City, files on LITAMIL 9, who was a CIA informant in Mexico City’s Cuban consulate, and so on.

My Two Cents

The agency numbers this time some rather tricky counting methods. In reality, with the exception of the FBI records, all of the information in these records was CIA info, and CIA was therefore the agency responsible for the release. There is more that can be said about this subject, so another post is coming soon. There have already been claims that there was significant information in these releases. “Significant” is of course a highly subjective word. If we restrict the meaning to significant information concerning the JFK assassination or the investigations into the assassinations, I don’t see it. I will return to the subject of “significance” in a later post.