August 24, 2023: 21 more JFK ARC docs posted at NARA

On 24 August 2023, an additional 21 records from the JFK Assassination Records Collection were posted at NARA. This is the sixth set of ARC records posted at NARA this year. This posting will probably interest few researchers, but it did release some new text. Which records and what text? Read on below to find out!

Who posted records for release 6?

Here is a list of agencies posting records at NARA this time:

agency number agency name count
104 CIA 10
124 FBI 4
157 SSCIA 1
177 LBJ Library 1
178 Ford Library 1
180 HSCA 4

An unexpected release

Release 6, as I will call the latest posting, follows five earlier releases in 2023. It is the smallest so far, and somewhat unexpected. The earlier releases were all in response to a major review of redactions in the ARC ordered by President Biden. The review released much new material, but in the end over 2000 records were still left with some text redacted.

Biden declared the end of the review on June 30, and there was no other specific review scheduled afterwards. Apparently, however, the CIA continued reviewing its ARC records, and was ready to release more text from this small set of records. This is good for researchers, since it gives us hope for more releases of text in the near future.

What records had text released this time?

All 21 records posted at NARA are on the master list of records that the CIA is responsible for releasing. I have referred to this list many times when writing about the 2023 releases. It is located here for those who are interested.

As I mentioned in a previous note, there were about 3648 records on that list which still had redactions as of December 2022. 2672 records from the list were posted at NARA in the first five releases in 2023. This means 976 records from the list that still have redactions have not been “released” by NARA in 2023.

The 2672 records that have been posted at NARA in 2023 can be divided into two sets: the first four releases (1569 records) were released in full, meaning that all the redactions were removed in the NARA postings.

The fifth release in 2023 (1103 records) was not a release in full, meaning that redactions remained in many (but not all) of the records posted in “Release 5”.

So what is the status of the 21 records posted for “Release 6”?

8 were never released in 2023 (meaning they were last released in December 2022), and 13 were in release 5 (i.e. they were last released on June 27, 2023).

Obviously, keeping track of ARC releases and redactions remains a messy subject.

What text was released this time?

The master list of CIA redactions classifies redacted material into three types: “people” (usually CIA employees, agents, or informants), “locations” (usually CIA stations or facilities) and “operational details” (including information on liaison with foreign security services). Here is a list of what was released (or not released) in the ARC docs posted this time:
104-10120-10293: op detail (this record is now released in full)
104-10180-10155: op detail (one address released; this record still has one redaction)
104-10408-10416: op detail, people (this is a “zombie” redaction, copies of this document were released in full in earlier NARA postings)
124-10290-10051: op detail (liaison info supplied to FBI by CIA; this record is now released in full)
124-10290-10052: op detail (liaison info supplied to FBI by CIA; this record is now released in full)
124-90137-10284: people and op details (no redactions were released in this document. No idea why it was posted this time)
157-10005-10360: people (this record is now released in full)
178-10002-10480: op detail (this record is now released in full)

These eight records were not previously released in 2023. They are the shortest records posted this time. The remaining 13 records were all previously released on June 27, 2023 and are all much longer documents. I’ve checked each of the August versions of these records for newly released text and continued redactions, but because the docs are so long, it’s possible I’ve missed things.

104-10105-10271: This is a CIA review of E. Howard Hunt’s book Undercover: Memoirs of an American Agent. It looks like there were no new releases in this version. I have no idea why it was posted at NARA.

104-10172-10108: This is vol 3 of Maurice Halperin’s 201 file. Looks like the only redaction left in this in June was on page 190. This was released in the new August version, so this document is probably now released in full.

104-10218-10013: This is the 201 file for Herbert Itkin. It looks like there were no new releases this time, and the doc still redacts things like Itkin’s birthdate and birth place, despite the fact that Itkin died decades ago. Very odd.

104-10226-10024: This massive file is for an anti-Castro group called Unidad Revolucionario, known by the CIA cryptonym of AMSCROLL. There are many large files on this organization, I’m not sure which part or folder this one is. At 437 pages, it is one of the longest of all CIA records in the ARC. In the June release, there were redactions on 6 pages. In the new August release, one of these redactions was partially lifted (on page 230). Color me not impressed.

104-10302-10000: This 41 page document summarizing 5 meetings of the PFIAB (Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) had redactions on 18 pages in June. A number of redactions have been removed, so the August version has redactions on 16 pages.

104-10332-10023: This 220 pg document is the CIA declaration of compliance with the JFK Act. It was heavily redacted in 2018, but a lot was released in 2022, and a little more on June 27, leaving redactions on 12 pages, mostly very brief. I’ve checked the new August release and it seems to have released no new information. I have no idea why it was posted at NARA this time. Very annoying! If anyone finds a new release in this, let me know!

104-10433-10209: This is a lengthy file on an FOIA request from Harold Weisberg to the FBI for information in FBI files on Martin Luther King, Jr. The FBI kicked the request to CIA, which had provided some of the intelligence. Eventually CIA provided Weisberg with only newspaper clippings, but there was in fact sensitive intelligence discussed in some records, included NSA interceptions. There were redactions on 7 pages in the June version. It looks like there were no new releases in the August version.

124-90055-10231: CIA liaison information was redacted in the June release. The August version is now released in full.

177-10001-10305: The june release of this research paper had redactions on 2 pages. One redactions has been released on page 42 of the August version, but there are still two redactions left.

180-10141-10238: This is a scrawly set of notes taken by HSCA investigator Harold Leap. The June release held back the SSN of a CIA employee. The August version releases it. Hopefully the employee is now deceased.

180-10141-10239: This is a duplicate of Harold Leap’s notes cited above, same redaction and release.

180-10143-10275: Yet another copy of Leap’s notes.

180-10145-10245: Yet another copy of Leap’s notes.

My two cents

The August 2023 release of redactions is a mixed bag. Some text was indeed released, that’s always good, but the “release” of records without any new releases is a practice I would like to see stopped. If I am missing something here, please enlighten me!