An Iran-Contra file in the JFKARC

In a recent note, I discussed the huge FBI liaison file with the Church Committee which is at least partially incorporated in the JFKARC. This is a typical example of documents included in the JFK Collection which have nothing to do with JFK or the assassination. How unrelated can such records be? Pretty darn unrelated, as today’s note shows.

Baltimore liaises

The ARC record for today is 124-10183-10254. This record was first released in 2017, one of a flotilla of FBI records marked “NAR” (not assassination related) which the FBI had been sitting on since 1998. The 2017 file was reissued by NARA in 2018 with no changes. There was only one redaction in the entire 115 page document, on page 8.

In 2022, the record was reissued, with the sole redaction released. It turned out to be a reference to a letter from David Pearline at the CIA. I usually assume such redactions are taken to protect the identities of CIA employees, especially those who retire under cover.

In this case, Pearline, who was an attorney with CIA’s Office of Congressional Affairs, probably should not have been redacted, since he was identified as a CIA attorney during the Iran-Contra Hearings. No big deal, however, the 2022 releases have filled this huge gap in the record.

What is really puzzling is why this 115 page record is in the JFK ARC in the first place. The record is identified as an FBI file, “66-BA-3127”, which is actually a whole case file. 66, as we saw earlier, indicates it is an administrative or liaison file. BA indicates it is from the FBI’s Baltimore field office. 3127 is just some random number. FBI files are divided into individual chunks or documents known as “serials”. This record incorporates serials 1-19 and 21-26 of the file.

The first quarter of the file is all Iran-Contra, hence the appearance of David Pearline. This section is serials 22-26, with the most recent serial, 26, at the beginning, and the rest in descending chronological order.

Starting with serial 21, we can see that this file is used for liaison material for the Senate and House investigations into domestic intelligence activities, aka the Pike and Church Committees. So this is a field office liaison file. So desu!

But…but…

Is the FBI just giving us the whole file? Then why does it stop at Iran Contra, did Baltimore never liaise after that? if they’re being selective, why did they give the ARRB a file that includes as much Iran-Contra material as it does Pike or Church material? And above all, since even the Pike/Church serials have doodley to do with JFK, why fill up the collection with docs completely unrelated to the assassination and/or investigation? Kikai desu ne!!

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