The thousands of records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that the CIA has intentionally kept secret for almost 60 years are set, once again, to be released in October 2021. Congress, therefore, should call the Assassination Records Review Board back into existence to enforce the release of those records.
The ARRB was originally called into existence in 1992 as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act. The following is the back story.
The CIA, the Pentagon, and other parts of the national-security establishment had succeeded in keeping their assassination-related records secret for almost 30 years. Oliver Stone came out with his movie JFK in 1991, which posited that the assassination was not the act of a lone nut, as the official account related, but rather a highly sophisticated U.S. regime-change operation similar to those in Iran and Guatemala several years before.
At the end of Stone’s movie, there was a blurb about the continued official secrecy in the Kennedy assassination. The implication was clear: the secrecy was designed to assist the cover up of the national-security state’s assassination of the president.
There was so much public outrage over the continue secrecy that Congress was pressured into enacting the JFK Records Act, which mandated the released of all assassination related records in the possession of federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the CIA.
To enforce the law, Congress brought into existence the ARRB.
There were some serious flaws in the law, however.
First, someone slipped a provision into the law that prohibited the ARRB from investigating any aspect of the assassination. Its mandate was strictly limited to only securing the release of records. As Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB, details in his book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, the ARRB board of trustees strictly enforced this prohibition on the staff. If any staff member was caught investigating any aspect of the assassination, he would be fired immediately.
Does that make any sense? The law is requiring the release of records that have been kept secret for 30 years. If those records revealed things that needed to be investigated, wouldn’t any reasonable person want them to be investigated?
In fact, the inability to investigate matters that needed to be investigated occurred time and time again, as Horne details in his book. For example, Horne and ARRB general counsel Jeremy Gunn discovered that there were two separate brain exams as part of the JFK autopsy, the second one of which could not possibly have been the brain of the president. That’s because the president’s brain had been “sectioned” or cut up, like a loaf of bread, at the first brain exam. The brain at the second brain exam had not been sectioned.
Wouldn’t any reasonable person want to get to the bottom of this? Yet, because someone had succeeded into getting the prohibition enacted into law, Gunn and Horne were prohibited from conducting an investigation into the two brain exams.
Another flaw was that the law actually gave the ARRB another 25 years of secrecy. Thus, while many of the records were released back into the 1990s, many of which established the fraudulent nature of the JFK autopsy (See my two books. The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2), there were tens of thousands of records that were kept secret until 2018.
Does that make any sense? After all, the records were already 30 years old! The CIA claimed the release of those 30-year-old records would threaten “national security.” Another possibility is that they would threaten to provide even more evidence incriminating the national-security establishment.
Another flaw was that the ARRB went out of existence before the time for disclosure had expired. Thus, once the ARRB expired, the JFK Records Act became toothless.
Early in his presidency when the 25-year deadline for release came due, President Trump vowed to release the long-secret records. Yet, at the last moment he granted the CIA’s request to extend the time for secrecy again. That extension ends in October 2021. Trump’s and the CIA’s justification for the continued secrecy? What else — “national security”?
When October 21 arrives, I have no doubt that the CIA will request another extension of secrecy from President Biden. I also have no doubt that Biden will defer to whatever the national-security establishment wants. (See “Will Joe Biden Release JFK Assassination Records” in the November 22, 2020, issue of Newsweek.)
Therefore, there is but one way to ensure the release of the thousands of records that the CIA still wants to be kept secret. Congress should call the ARRB back Into existence to do the job it was charged with doing back in 1992.
The ARRB’s enforcement of the JFK Records Act brought the release of thousands of long-secret records that supported the thesis that Oliver Stone set forth in JFK. It would stand to reason that the CIA would keep its most incriminatory records secret forever. Recalling the ARRB into existence would help ensure that that doesn’t happen.