Did the CIA try to thwart the nation’s last investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination?
“The CIA not only lied, it actively subverted the investigation,” says G. Robert Blakey, the former general counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), which issued its report in 1979.
“It is time that either Congress or the Justice Department conducts a real investigation of the CIA,” Blakey continued. “Indeed, in my opinion, it is long past time.”
Blakey, shown at left, urged the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to comply promptly with a federal law unanimously passed by congress in 1992 requiring release of JFK records.
But the Archives refuses to release the documents until 2017 without CIA or presidential approval. The CIA has said it lacks resources to process the documents earlier to protect national security. But at what point does refusal to cooperate with a murder investigation signify a broken system?
As part of our ongoing Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide to the JFK murder, today’s column examines Blakey’s complaint, the most recent example of the intelligence community’s ongoing resistance to congressional oversight. Future columns will deal with related issues that include potential motives for CIA secrecy. More generally, the Kennedy murder has prompted more than two thousand books in whole or part about it, as summarized in our Readers Guide book catalog, published earlier this week.
For today, the relevant controversy involves the late CIA officer George Joannides, at right, whom Blakey relied upon for advice on location of CIA records and personnel relevant to the HSCA’s reexamination of the Warren Commission report.
Blakey announced his views Sept. 26, 2014 at a three-day conference in Bethesda, MD organized by the non-profit Assassination Archive and Research Center (AARC).
The AARC conference title was “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: Five Decades of Significant Disclosures,” recognizing the 50th anniversary of the assassination report of the commission led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.
The seven-member commission included former CIA Director Allen Dulles among its membership of high-ranking federal officials and former officials. The commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, acted alone in killing Kennedy with three shots from behind.
Critics have long attacked the report as a whitewash. Some critics cite medical and other scientific evidence to show that it was impossible for Oswald to have accomplished the crime alone, especially if Kennedy’s fatal shot was from the front. Others argue the commission intentionally covered up the truth.