Judge John Tunheim served as chair of the Assassination Records Review Board from 1994 to 1998, and together with the other four Board members, deserves much credit for the important accomplishments of the Board, the greatest of which was the successful creation of the massive JFK Assassination Records Collection (JFKARC or ARC), a most valuable contribution to the history of both the JFK assassination and to the historiography of the cold war as a whole.…
Some interesting ARC docs have recently been posted online at the Mary Ferrell Foundation website. These docs are records of executive session testimony before the SISS (Senate Internal Security Subcommittee), which conducted a “limited inquiry” into the JFK assassination in late 1963. The session records were acquired by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) all the way back in 1995, and are noted in the ARRB’s Final report (see here and here).…
I have not yet posted any notes on the December 15 releases. I may have an article on these elsewhere in the next few weeks, so I will hold off on extended discussion for now. Following is just a quick summary of the records posted on NARA’s website.
Totals of records released per agency (the number in parentheses is the agency prefix):
|5||Ford Lib (178)||15||1%|
|6||ACSI/IRR (194)||11||< 1%|
|7||OSA (198)||5||< 1%|
|8||JFK Lib (176)||5||< 1%|
|9||JCS (202)||3||< 1%|
|10||DOS (119)||3||< 1%|
|11||LBJ Lib (177)||2||< 1%|
|12||NARA/WC (179)||2||< 1%|
|13||NSC (145)||1||< 1%|
|14||NARA (181)||1||< 1%|
Newly released records
One surprise in the December releases was to see
70 records which were not previously released in 2017-2018.…
For those interested in the releases scheduled for December 15, 2021, but don’t have time to plow through my sleep-inducing notes, there is an article I wrote on the subject now up at Max Holland’s website Washington Decoded.
Comments and corrections are welcome here or at WD.…
[Revised 11/20/2021 to explain ‘dated’ and ‘undated’ status more clearly]
This note is a continuation of my previous post on the dates of redacted CIA docs in the ARC. As I noted there, according to the May 2021 update of the JFK database, CIA docs make up 86 percent of the redacted docs in the ARC.…
A frequent claim about documents still redacted in the ARC is that these are all “60 years old.” This is not so. The oldest redacted documents go back to the 1940s, and the most recent redacted document is from December, 1999.
Looking at document age is, of course, another way of judging redactions.…
In an earlier note in this series, I looked at the redactions in a set of ARC docs which I dubbed CIA short docs. CIA short docs are one page CIA docs where NARA 21, the May 2021 update of the JFK database, lists a current status of “Redact” and a doc restriction of 5(g)(2)(D).…
This note looks at a critique of the current state of the ARC, written by Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation (MFF). The critique was posted online here in March 2021. Unfortunately, this was too early for Bradford to consult the updated version of the JFK database, which went on line in June 2021.…
President Biden has finally spoken on the release of records under the JFK Act. In a memo released October 22, 2021, Biden ordered NARA to begin preparation for further releases, including putting the entire JFK Assassination Records Collection online. The memo is available here.
A closer look
The memo is long, specifying lots more paperwork for agencies (primarily the CIA) who want to continue redacting their documents, plus short term, mid term, and long term plans for release of more info.…
I posted my first note on the JFK ARC on November 14, 2017, so I’ve been writing on this subject for three years now. I had no particular goals when I began, so I can’t speak of any accomplishments to date.
I have, however, slowly acquired a few goals along the way.…