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CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files

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The following is the Foreword to FFF’s newest ebook CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley, which is being released today at Amazon.com

I learned about Jefferson Morley in 2008, when I read a series of articles he had written about an ongoing Freedom of Information lawsuit that he had filed against the Central Intelligence Agency. The lawsuit sought the release of files relating to a CIA agent named George Joannides. The CIA steadfastly resisted (and today continues to resist) the disclosure of these documents.

In the months leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Joannides had secretly served as a CIA conduit for an anti-Castro group known as the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil, or the DRE, which was being secretly funded by the CIA. Immediately after the assassination, Joannides secretly authorized the group to initiate a publicity campaign advertising Lee Harvey Oswald’s connections to Communism, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. Thus, as Morley would later point out, the CIA authorized and funded the very first conspiracy theory in the Kennedy assassination.

For some reason, the CIA kept its relationship to the DRE secret from the Warren Commission, the official federal agency that was charged with investigating the Kennedy assassination. Later, in the 1970s, when the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations was reinvestigating the assassination, the CIA called Joannides out of retirement to serve as the CIA’s liaison with the committee, once again keeping his relationship with the DRE secret from investigators.

In the 1990s, in response to the public outcry over official secrecy in the Kennedy assassination generated by Oliver Stone’s movie JFK — a movie that posited that the U.S. national-security state orchestrated the assassination of President Kennedy and framed Oswald for the crime — Congress called the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) into existence. Its mission was to ensure that federal agencies, including the CIA, release all records relating to the Kennedy assassination.

Once again, the CIA kept Joannides’s role with the DRE secret.

A 2009 article in the New York Times entitled “C.I.A. Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery,” quoted U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim, who had chaired the ARRB in the 1990s: “I think we were probably misled by the agency. If we had known of his [Joannides’] role in Miami in 1963, we would have pressed for all the records.”

Later, a November 25, 2013, Boston Globe article entitled “Troves of Files on JFK Assassination Remain Secret” by John Bender, quoted Tunheim: “It really was an example of treachery. If [the CIA] fooled us on that, they may have fooled us on other things.”

Robert Blakey, the staff director for the House Select Committee in the 1970s, declared, “If I’d have known his role in 1963, I would have put Joannides under oath — he would have been a witness, not a facilitator.

It was Jefferson Morley, a former reporter for the Washington Post, who detailed the CIA’s Joannides secret in an article entitled “Revelation 19.63,” which appeared in the April 12, 2001, issue of the Miami New Times. It was Morley who doggedly spent years in litigation in the attempt to force the CIA to release its Joannides files to the American people.

I was so intrigued by the Joannides story and so impressed by Morley’s integrity and perseverance that I wrote a series of articles on the subject, which were posted on the website of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Morley and I later became friends.

When he approached me about a year ago to explore the possibility of publishing CIA & JFK: The Last Assassination Secrets, I was excited. Upon reading the manuscript, I didn’t hesitate.

The Future of Freedom Foundation has published four books relating to the Kennedy assassination: The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger; JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB; Regime Change: The Kennedy Assassination by Jacob Hornberger, and The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger.

All four books have met with resounding sales success, collectively selling more than 10,000 copies. In fact, a year-and-a-half after publication, the first two books are still on Amazon’s list of its top 100 best-selling ebooks in 20th-century American history. The third — Regime Change — is ranked #98 in Amazon’s top 100 best-selling “short reads” in History. The fourth and most recent is ranked #14 in Amazon’s top 100 best-selling ebooks on Political Freedom and #14 on Amazon’s top 100 best-selling “short reads” in Politics and Social Sciences.

Thus, Morley’s new book fits perfectly within this particular genre, and I am confident that readers will find it as valuable and enjoyable as our other books, if not more so.

Those who are looking for conspiracy theories in Morley’s book will be disappointed. This book doesn’t posit any conspiracy theories. What it does do is detail deception and deceit on the part of the CIA relating to certain fascinating aspects of the Kennedy assassination, especially the Joannides saga. As one reads through the book, however, the inevitable one-word question will arise within the mind of the reader: Why? Why the longstanding and continued deceit, deception, and secrecy on the part of the CIA relating to the Kennedy assassination?

Morley runs JFKfacts.org, which I consider to be the best website relating to the JFK assassination. Filled with fascinating articles and vibrant, even-handed debates and discussions, I visit it practically every day. Its popularity attests to the widespread and deep interest that people still have in the Kennedy assassination.

While the ARRB secured the release of tens of thousands of secret official records relating to the Kennedy assassination during the 1990s, for some reason the law provided for a period of 25 years for all JFK-assassination-related records to be released. That period of time expires in October 2017, and the National Archives, which holds the still-secret records in its possession, has already begun preparing the thousands of pages, many of which are CIA documents, for release at that time.

However, there is one caveat: Notwithstanding the lapse of more than 50 years since the Kennedy assassination, the law empowers the president to delay release of records on a finding of “national security.”

Will the CIA plead “national security” and seek an extension of time for release of its JFK-assassination-related records? Morley is leading the way to bring the matter to the attention of the public, in the hope that the same type of public outcry in the 1990s against continued CIA secrecy in the Kennedy assassination will prevent the continued suppression of the records set to be released by the National Archives in 2017.

Hopefully, CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files will contribute to the fight against continued CIA secrecy in the Kennedy assassination. The Future of Freedom Foundation is pleased and honored to be part of its publication.

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.