A Cautionary Tale About Why Congressional Oversight Is Needed
• In January of 1995, the
Service destroyed two boxes of JFK U.
assassination records willfully, in violation of the law (specifically, in violation of the
JFK Records Act). The records had been labeled for permanent retention, and the
National Archives staff had briefed the Secret Service (and all other key Executive
Branch agencies) after passage of the JFK Records Act that no records were to be
• The records destroyed were protective survey reports on visits President Kennedy
made, or planned to make, to twenty-three (23) different locations between
September 24, 1963 to November 8, 1963,
inclusive—as well as the normal protective procedures
employed whenever President Kennedy visited 19 various locations throughout
• Among the records destroyed were three folders pertaining to President Kennedy’s
cancelled trip to
was to have taken place on Chicago November
which was apparently cancelled at the last minute due to an assassination attempt.
(See JFK and the Unspeakable, by Jim Douglass, for details.)
• The Secret Service withheld the fact that the records had actually been destroyed for
about six months; instead, in response to repeated requests for the records from the
ARRB staff, they dissembled and told the ARRB staff that the records “could not be
located.” Only when the Secret Service realized that the Review Board was not going to
stop asking for the records, did it admit that the records had been destroyed.
• Initially, there was great rage and consternation within the Review Board about the
destruction of these potentially vital records. That action ran contrary to the very
purposes of the JFK Records Act, which was to make all assassination records possible
available for direct inspection by the American people, and thereby not only help us
understand our own history better, but increase trust in government.
• The Review Board and the Senior Staff of the ARRB considered holding public hearings to castigate and censure the Secret Service officials responsible, but after an unusually frank and tense exchange of correspondence between the ARRB and the Secret Service, nothing happened. Private meetings were held between senior officials on both sides, but no public hearings were held; no one was admonished or punished; and the problem was barely acknowledged—indeed, was under-reported—in the ARRB’s Final Report. (See Volume V of Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, by Douglas Horne, pp. 1451-1458, for more details about this incident.)
Prepared by: Douglas P. Horne, Former Chief Analyst for Military Records, ARRB
One More Reason to Have JFK Oversight Hearings
• Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits Federal government agencies that
possess tax return information from disclosing that information. Prior to passage of the JFK Records Act, the IRS requested that the JFK Act “trump” current Federal law
concerning tax return information, and allow the IRS to release tax return records
relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. Congress took a cautious approach to
this matter, and refused.
• The ARRB correctly identified tax return information (namely, both tax returns and earnings records) for several individuals and business entities as “assassination records.” These include records of the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on
Assassinations, as well as ARRB staff analytical memos pertaining to earnings information regarding several key individuals.
• The key information in these records about tax returns and earnings is redacted, and can never be released unless or until section 6103 of the IRS Code is amended to allow such release. Even when all other ARRB redactions are automatically released in 2017, the redactions pertaining to tax return information will not be lifted, unless Congress amends the IRS Code to allow such release.
• The redacted records include tax return and earnings and employment information about Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby (AKA Rubenstein), Marina Oswald, Marguerite Oswald, Nelson Bunker Hunt, Eugene Hale Brading (AKA Jack Braden), Palmer McBride; and employment information currently in the JFK Records Collection on any and all employees of business establishments who worked where Lee Harvey Oswald was employed at the times Oswald was at those establishments. These records are all in the collection already, and represent a finite universe that the Review Board determined was relevant to the assassination. The redactions simply need to be removed.
• The importance of much of this information relates directly to the question of whether or not Oswald may have been an asset of U.S. intelligence at the time of his defection to the USSR; to allegations that his identity was assumed by others; and to his true employment status immediately prior to the assassination.
• In its Final Report, the Review Board recommended (on page 75) that the IRS Code be
amended to allow full release of these redacted assassination records, as follows: “Thus, the Review Board recommends that Congress enact legislation exempting Lee Harvey Oswald’s tax return information, Oswald’s employment information obtained by the Social Security Administration, and other tax or IRS related information in the files of the Warren Commission and the HSCA from the protection afforded it by section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, and that such legislation direct that these records be released to the public in the JFK Collection.” Hearings are urgently needed on this matter.
Prepared by: Douglas Horne, Former Chief Analyst for Military Records, ARRB
Unexpected Revelations That Resulted (Directly or Indirectly) from the Work of the ARRB and Its Staff
• Many autopsy photographs (at least 6, and possibly 18) are missing.
• Two skull x-rays are missing; and the authenticity of three others is doubtful.
• Many witnesses to JFK’s autopsy (including two FBI agents) have disowned and
repudiated certain autopsy photographs taken of the body (namely, depicting the back
of the head) as completely inaccurate.
• The brain photographs in the official autopsy collection were repudiated (i.e.,
disowned) under oath, by the official photographer (John Stringer) and an FBI agent
(Frank O’Neill) who was present at the autopsy.
• Sworn testimony taken by the ARRB staff, and analysis of the testimony previously taken by the Warren Commission, and of the interviews conducted by the HSCA, revealed the extremely high likelihood that a fraudulent, or substitute brain was examined after JFK’s death, and that these dishonest photographs are what were placed into the National Archives in 1966.
• JFK’s firm orders (issued in 1963) to withdraw all U.S. military advisors from Vietnam
(by the end of 1965) were conclusively proven by records obtained from the files of the
Pentagon’s Joint Staff Secretariat.
• Other records from the Office of the Joint Staff Secretariat revealed the active planning
(and lobbying for) a massive
invasion of U.S. by the
Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Spring of 1962 (well
before the Cuban Missile Crisis), as well as throughout much of 1963 (after
Cuban Missile Crisis). Both invasion plans included recommending Cuba
specific pretexts (false justifications) for the proposed invasions. [President Kennedy did
not follow the advice, in either instance.]
• Interviews of CIA employees conducted by the ARRB staff, and a limited authenticity
study commissioned by the ARRB, have created serious doubts about both the
provenance, and authenticity, of the famous “Zapruder Film” of President Kennedy’s
• This information sheet pertains directly to why we need a “Martin Luther King”
Act; just as was the case for the JFK Records Act, the results that may be obtained from
such an Act cannot be anticipated ahead of time. However, the JFK Act was predicated
upon the proposition that the American people could handle the truth, whatever it was,
and that they deserved the fullest possible disclosure about their own history.
Prepared by: Douglas Horne, former Chief Analyst for Military Records, ARRB.