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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
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CIA Must Explain Why| It Withheld JFK Files

WASHINGTON (CN) - The D.C. Circuithas ruled that theCIA needs to dig deeper for records about the assassination of John F. Kennedy requested by journalist Jefferson Morley, who wants to investigate a potential link between a deceased CIA officer and accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Morley asked for records on George Joannides, the chief of psychological warfare operations in the CIA's Miami station at the time of the assassination.

On the Web site jfklancer.com, Morley writes that Joannides controlled the Revolutionary Cuban Student Directorate (DRE), "one of the largest and most effective anti-Castro groups in the United States."

He claims Joannides gave the group up to $25,000 a month and insisted the members "submit to CIA discipline."

Members of the DRE had an allegedly contentious relationship with Oswald, an ex-Marine who idolized Castro. They confronted Oswald on a street corner, "stared him down in a courtroom," challenged him to a radio debate and called on Congress to investigate him, Morley claims.

Unsure of what to make of Joannides-DRE-Oswald connection, Morley asked for Joannides' personnel file. He says the CIA gave him 150 pages of "heavily redacted and obviously incomplete records."

The CIA claimed it withheld information on privacy grounds or because it couldn't find the requested files.

"Despite its burden to show that withholding is necessary, the CIA has failed even to articulate the privacy interests in the records, let alone demonstrate that such privacy interests meet the standard for an agency's withholding" under the exemption, the court wrote. The agency has to show that disclosure would constitute a "clearly unwarranted" invasion of personal privacy.

As for the allegedly missing files, the circuit told the CIA to search again. See ruling.

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