Saturday, January 12, 2013

CIA - NARA Correspondence Re: CIA Records


October 3, 2012
James H. Lesar
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request NGC12-240

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act request of July 20, 2012 to Ms. Martha Murphy of the Special Access and FOIA Staff, for:

  1. “All records reflecting or indicating in some manner the number of  CIA records that have been withheld in the entirety until 2017, including all correspondence exchanged between, and all internal communications of, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Assassinations Records Review Board, and the (NARA).”
  2. RIF #104-10315-10066; and
  3. RIF#104-10315-10056.
Your request was received in this office on August 24, 2012 and assigned tracking number NGC12-228….

Regarding the first portion of your request you will find enclosed 14 documents that pertain to your request for correspondence from within the NARA, Special Access and FOIA Office Files. The 16 documents are all regarding the…CIA’s accountability, review and declassification of their interests. The information withheld was done so per 5U.S.C. &552(b)(3), 50 U.S.C. 403g protecting CIA names, phone numbers and organizational units and (b)(7)(E), law enforcement techniques and procedures safeguarding NARA’s physical record storage areas, along with (b)(6) personal privacy.

I was not able to find any internal documents that explained the "difference between the affidavit files by the CIA in 2008.. .and the letter from Gary Stern, General Counsel for the National Archives," however the JFK Assassination database online at: is the only documentation in NARA regarding those CIA documents withheld until 2017.

As for the communication between the ARRB and the CIA or NARA I recommend that you contact the Special Access and FOIA Staff in order for them to pull the files for your research. The files of the ARRB are open with the exception of personnel files and some closed voting records. During my search of the closed records I did not find any documents that detailed the CIA withheld material. Finding aids for the collection can be found online at:

I further recommend that you submit a FOIA to the CIA for any of their internal documents regarding your request since the National Archives does not have physical or legal custody of them.

If you are not satisfied with our action on this request, you have the right to file an administrative appeal. Address your appeal to the Deputy Archivist (ND), National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland 20740. Your appeal should be received within35 calendar days of the date of this letter and it should explain why you think this response does not meet the requirements of the FOIA. Both the letter and the envelope should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." All correspondence should reference the tracking number NGC12.

Please let us know if we may be of further assistance

FOIA Officer
Office of General Counsel


29 October 2002

Mr. Steven Tilley
Special Access and FOIA Staff
National Archives and Records Administration
8602 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Dear Mr. Tilley:

Pursuant to the decisions previously made by the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) and the terms specified in paragraph eight of the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Continuing Obligations of the CIA Under the JFK Act, this is notification that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) does not seek continued postponement of records that were scheduled for release in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Effective immediately, the CIA agrees to the release of the following names when they appear in records of the JFK Collection:

Whitten, John M.
Feldman, Robert H.
Flick, Charles E.
Munro, George F.
Sumption, Dale E.
Whitehead, John E.
Zambernardi, Robert M.

Carl A. Darby
Director of Information Management Service

NW#:6036      DocID:59161506

Joseph A. Scanlon
FOIA Officer, Office of General Counsel NARA

May 22, 2003
Martha Wagner Murphy
Subject: Meeting with CIA JFK Team
To: File

Steven Tilley and myself met today with [REDACTED] and four members of the CIA’s JFK review team to clarify issues relating to their processing of documents scheduled to be released pursuant to guidelines established by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

The CIA is currently processing approximately 12,000 documents. These encompass all of the records scheduled to be released between 2005 and 2010. Once processing is completed the CIA will make a determination as to whether material scheduled up to 2010 can be released early. NARA will await written instructions from CIA before releasing any documents prior to the date established by the ARRB. It appears that the earliest that processing will be completed is the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2003).

Regarding issues that the CIA wished to have clarified:

There are inconsistencies within the guidance provided by the ARRB. For example, the ARRB determined that information that verifies the existence of some stations should be held until 2017. However the Board also determined that dispatch prefixes on documents are to be held only until 2006. These prefixes would in themselves verify the existence of a station.

In instances like this, Steven Tilley indicated that it would be logical for the CIA to withhold the prefixes past 2006. If a researcher questions the decision in the future, the withholding would be defensible.

Similarly, there were cases where ARRB staff incorrectly assigned codes under which specific words could be redacted within a document. Each of these codes indicates the reason for redaction and thus the time when the redaction should be released. It was decided that if a redaction is clearly miscoded the CIA can correct the code. Again, it will need to be defensible if questioned by a researcher.

Regarding Administrative files:

The CIA has approximately 20 archive boxes of new administrative records we have not yet received. The CIA is doing data entry on these records. Steven Tilley stressed that, although the CIA is not using NARA’s software to do the data entry, the record identification form must look exactly like the standard form.

August 11, 2004
From: Martha Wagner Murphy, NARA, NWCTF
Subject: JFK Master System

This is a follow-up to our phone conversation of today.

Enclosed are the following:
-         One data dick labeled “Agency #176, Disk # 10010 copy 8/11/2004” which is a data disk created by NARA for NARA records that has been loaded into the JFK Master System successfully.
-         One data disk labeled “Agency 104 “RH04 10436 #3 of 3 COPY”, which is a data disk sent to us from CIA that we are unable to load.
-         One data disk labeled “JFK Collection Software disk 1 of 1”
-         One data disk labeled “Training Disk for JFK System”

Dick Higgins and I tried to load one of the numerous disks we have pending from the CIA, I believe these disks described the Segregated Collection, Printed Microfilm series. The error we are encountering when we try to lad is “Unknown Version of Data File”. According to Dick this could mean several things including that the field format isn’t matching up and that the disk shows a wrong version of a dbf file. We loaded the disk into an access file to examine it. There is one extra field on the CIA data disks, the field is called “moddate”. We tried removing this field and loading it again, but got the same message.

Dick suggested that if your technical staff thinks it has solved the problem, they should send us a sample disk and we will try to load it as a test. He is always available for consultation if your technical staff would find it helpful…

September 13, 2004
Martha Wagner Murphy
Subject: Telephone conversation with [REDACTED] of CIA on September 8, 2004

[REDACTED] called to inform me that the CIA would not be delivering the CIA interfiles in the next two weeks since she needs to be out of town on unexpected personal business. However, we discussed several other issues relating to the transfer of the CIA interfiles.

We discussed how we might go about completing the interfiling. Previously [REDACTED] offered her staff to assist NARA in completing the interfiling. She stated that there are several CIA employees working at NARA doing declassification review who may be able to help with the interfiling project as well.

We discussed the value of issuing a press release since the CIA is actually releasing a large number of documents and since this release is prior to the deadline set by the ARRB. She stated that this is amenable to the CIA as well. We discussed the possibility of making the newly material available to researchers for a short period of time prior to completing the interfiling.

[REDACTED] has located several cassette tapes relating to Nosenko. Some are classified and some are not. They appear to relate to or are tapes of HSCA hearings. She wanted to know if we wanted them. I informed her that we would need to get them, she stated that she would include them in the accession.

[REDACTED] stated that there are some duplicates in the safe that will be confusing to us in 2017. I stated that any information she has about the contents of the safe would be helpful, but that I thought this is something we could deal with after the transfer of the interfiles. After speaking with Steven Tilley about this later, he and I agreed that we will not want to dispose of any material that was transferred in the safe, but if the CIA would like to help us identify the information, we would welcome the assistance.

She asked for our opinion on whether the CIA needed to scan into their system the documents that are being transferred to us as they were redacted. I said that since we will receive the redacted and full text version of these documents, we have no opinion on this issue. It is up to the CIA, as an administrative issue, if they want to document the redacted version in their automated system. I explained that if the CIA gets a FOIA request for any of the transferred documents, the can refer that FOIA to NARA since NARA will have physical and legal custody of the documents.

[REDACTED] will call us back when she has a date for transfer.

October 20, 2004
Martha Wagner Murphy, NWCTF
Telephone Conference Call with [REDACTED] CIA

Today at 9:30 am Steven Tilley, Dick Higgins and I spoke to [REDACTED] CIA, regarding the upcoming transfer of newly opened CIA records to the JFK Assassination Records Collection. The records transfer will consist of more open versions of records already in NARA’s custody, including the Oswald 201 file and Segregated CIA Collections.

The first issue addressed concerned the JFK Assassination Collection database data disks that will need to be transferred to NARA. These data disks will document the new status of the records being opened by the CIA and transferred to NARA. This has become an issue since the data disks provided by the CIA in the past could not be loaded in the master system as transferred. [REDACTED] conveyed the opinion of CIA technical support that the requirements described by Dick Higgins in his conversations with the CIA and through the system software sent to the CIA are different from those NARA articulated in the past. She cited the document entitled “NARA Extract Interface Control Document” which appears to be a CIA generated document describing the requirements of extracting data and transferring it to NARA for inclusion in the NARA JFK Assassination Collection Master System. After our conversation, [REDACTED] faxed a copy of this document to NWCTF. I have sent a copy to Dick Higgins. We assume that we will need to have a follow-up telephone call between Dick Higgins and me and [REDACTED] and her technical staff.

The second issue related to the transfer of CIA original documents to NARA. Steven Tilley explained that, under the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, NARA is to receive the original copy of any records considered “assassination related” by the ARRB. The originals of documents that are withheld in part or in full, NARA will retain the originals in a secure stack [REDACTED] She believes that the documents currently in the safes are open in full copies of the originals that still reside in CIA control. [REDACTED] verified that NARA will receive the originals for those documents that have been opened in full with the upcoming transfer of interfiles. Therefore, we agreed that the newly opened documents could be sent to NARA first, after which the CIA will transfer the originals of those documents that are opened in part or withheld in full. Ms. [REDACTED] staff will assist NARA in identifying what is currently in the safes and the true originals of the withheld documents will be placed in the dual control safes in [REDACTED]

We then discussed the transfer of the newly opened records. It was decided that the records would be interfiled with the assistance of the CIA. The interfiling will occur here at the National Archives at College Park, most likely in the conference room in 6350. After all interfiling is complete, NARA will issue a press release simply stating that the CIA has opened all documents ordered to be opened by the ARRB through the date 2010. In order to provide the researchers with a list of each document opened in this release, we will compile a copy of each record identification form (RIF) in the newly opened materials. [REDACTED] will see if these RIFs can be generated by the CIA’s computer system. If this is not possible, NARA will photocopy each RIF prior to interfiling the documents. We will photocopy each RIF prior to interfiling the documents. We will thus be able to provide researchers with a finding aid to the newly released materials.

[REDACTED] is hoping to transfer these records either this week or next week. We will then come up with a schedule for completing the interfiling.

Finally, I brought up the issue of the few remaining RG 64 and RG 60 documents we have located that have CIA equities but were not yet reviewed by the CIA. [REDACTED] said that if we can compile these documents she will examine them when the team comes to interfile the records. She brought up the issue of copies of documents that NARA referred to CIA which are still in CIA’s custody. The CIA has replied to NARA on each of these documents. She explained that CIA’s FOIA staff would like to keep a copy of these documents for future reference, and she is trying to determine whether to scan the records or simply save them in the CIA’s record center. She explained that CIA did not see the final open version of these documents. Steven Tilley asked her to bring a few examples of these copies with her so he could examine them further.

[(Redactions under) FOIA(b)(3)-50 USC 403g Section 6 of the JFK Act of 1949]

December 6, 2004
Martha Wagner Murphy, NWCTF
CIA Interfes

On October 28, 2004, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) transferred to NARA approximately 8,000 documents which constitute more open versions of documents already accessioned by NARA and placed in the JFK Assassination Records Collection. CIA decided to review all of their documents withholdings ordered to be released by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) up until 2010, and release everything except those withholdings due to be released in 2017. CIA offered to provide NARA with assistance to interfile these materials. CIA provided NARA with five staff members from the CIA/CIO/IMS [REDACTED] These staff members were well acquainted with the materials as they were the individuals who completed the re-review and processing of the materials. These five individual worked with me and with NARA employee James Mathis. The following describes the process by which the documents were interfiled.

The CIA provided originals for those documents that were deemed open in full and redacted copies for those with withholdings that will be released in 2017. NARA staff set up a processing area in the conference room in Room 6350 and provided with CIA staff with contractor badges to allow them to enter the main entrance and room 6350. The CIA staff provided us with over 300 hours of assistance. NARA staff pulled the open boxes that had pending interfiles and bought them to the conference room on carts so that the processing could occur in the conference room. Before documents were interfiled, NARA staff photocopied each of the record identification forms (RIFs) to provide researchers with a finding aid to the newly released files.

Once the team began processing the records certain issues arose. The issues and NARA decisions on how they should be handled are outlined on the attached memorandum. One additional issue concerning the RIF attached the document. The CIA did not change the “date of last review” field. However, the date the form was printed is available at the top and the documents are stamped, most often as released in 2003. NARA determined that the forms would be sufficient. After the CIA and NARA staff had completed the interfiles and the problem documents were segregated, NARA began to sort the problems.

We decided to sort the problems into those with code changes only and those with more complicated problems. Once processing was completed, we were left with approximately 170 documents where the only change in the document was the code of the withholding. We also had approximately 180 documents where we believe that items that should have been released were not. The most common example is CIA Dispatch Prefixes where the ARRB final determination forum indicated that the dispatch should be released in 2006 or 2010 and they were not. The RIFs for all of these documents were removed from the finding aid. If the issue was not simply a code change, the RIFs were disposed of since there was no new information released. If the issue was a more complicated problem, the documents were segregated and we retained the RIFs. We will interfile the documents that have code changes only, following the procedures on the attached memorandum where the old and new version will be interfiled so that researchers can see the change. We will work with the CIA to solve the more complicated problem documents after the files are officially opened and a press release is issued.

In addition to solving the problem of documents, several other processing issues are still pending as of the writing of this memorandum. Since the CIA re-reviewed HSCA files where they did not have the originals since they were sill in NARA custody they could provide NARA with only copies of the open in ful documents. NWCTF staff has requested the Center for Legislative Archives (NWL) that currently has custody of the original files to transfer the files to Archives II. NWCTF staff will then have to interfile the pen in full documents so that the originals are in the open file. The finding aid will provide us with a complete list of open in full documents. In addition, NWCTF staff will need to update the master system to indicate the changes made in HSCA documents.

Finally, the CIA staff will be transferring the originals of those documents that are still redacted to NARA. Currently, NARA has full text copies of all of the redacted copies in dual control safes in the office in [REDACTED-FOAI(b)7-(E)]. The CIA staff will assist NARA in sorting through those copies and arranging the originals in the safes.

January 13, 2005
To: Les Waffen (NWCS)
From: Martha Wagner Murphy, NWCTF
Subject: Transfer of 8 audio cassettes from the JFK Assassination Records Collection

The purpose of this memorandum is to transfer to NWCS eight audiocassettes accessioned as part of Record Group 253, Records of the Central Intelligence Agency that are part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection. According to the record identification forms (RIFs) transferred with the tapes, all consist of recordings of testimony of John Hart before an open session of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) on September 15, 1978. John Hart was the CIA’s representative to state the agency’s position on the HSCA report on Yuri Nosenko.

It appears that there are four distinct tapes and four copies described by four RIFs. They are part of the Miscellaneous CIA textual files. Each tape and its copy has a RIF attached to it which provides some description. The tapes are open in full, so access is not an issue.

No transcripts were transferred with the tapes, but the testimony was published as part of the supporting volumes to the HSCA Report. The location of the transcript is noted in the comments field of the RIFs.

March 4, 2005
Martha Wagner Murphy, NWCTF
CIA/JFK Assassination Collection

I spoke to [REDACTED] from the CIA today to inform her that the data disk sent to NARA by the CIA would not load in the Master System. Dick Higgins and I tried to load this sample disk today, but we received an error message. Dick is going to cal [REDACTED] at CIA to inform him of the problem and search for a solution.

When  I was talking with [REDACTED] she informed me that a member of her team who is locating the original CIA Administrative documents to transfer to NARA had concerns about documents that he believes should not be released in 2017. The understanding up until now is that there are only two documents that the CIA will appeal in 2017. This staffer has brought these additional documents to the notice of [REDACTED] supervisors who have commented that it may be possible for NARA to revise the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the CIA and the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) relating to the transfer of CIA documents to NARA. [REDACTED] does not share the opinion that this is either necessary or possible.

I verified for [REDACTED] that NARA would not revise the MOU that was signed between the CIA and the ARRB in 1998. I further informed her that if she needed NARA to express this either in written or oral manner, a representative of our agency would be pleased to do so.

[REDACTIONS: FOIA(b)(3)-50 USC403g Section 6 of the CIA Act of 1949]

Issues that arose while interfiling CIA records and decisions made:

- We located specific items in documents that, according to the Final Determination Forum, were supposed to be released in 2006, but were not redacted. – In this case we are simply not interfiling the documents yet. We will need to examine on a case by case and decide how to handle. If no new information is released, the RIF should not be included in the finding aid for newly released materials since no new information has been released. The main bone of contention here appears to be for CIA Prefixes, some of which were released and some were not, depending on the location. What the CIA, through their DO agreed to does not appear to jive with what the ARRB thought should be released going by the FDR.

- Cases where code changed, for example from 06 (name) to 05 (source). In this case the ARRB determined the code should be 06, without knowing that the person is actually a source. The CIA changed the code, which changes the date it should be released. Another example is a change from 08 (identifying information) to 24 (operational detail) or 06 to 24. – In these cases, if there is still new information released in this document, we are going to interfile, but if not, we will hold for now. We will eventually interfile the document, but will not include the RIF in the finding aid for newly released materials since no new information has been released.

-         Typo on the Final Determination Form. On one document the withholding is determined to be 24 (operational detail). According to CIA staff, it was agreed with the ARRB that all code 24 redactions should be withheld until 2017, but on this FDF, the form says release date is 2006. This must be a typo. Need to decide, just interfile as is or interfile and hand change the FDF.
-         There will be fewer items of conflict in the documents that have “fast track” FDFs. In these cases, all we will check is that there is some new information released, in other words, that the number of withholdings is less than what is on the form. If it passes that test, it can be interfiled. We have no way of knowing if one of the withholdings that should have been released wasn’t since the ARRB didn’t itemize each withholding.

[Screened By: Joseph Scanlon Date: 08-08-2012 DOCID: 59161495]

NW #:6036 DocId:59161495

April 19, 2005
Martha Wagner Murphy
Processing CIA Originals of Withheld documents

In Compliance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, the CIA has transferred to NARA the original documents of those documents withheld either in part or in full. Prior to this transfer, NARA retained full text copies of all withheld documents in dual control safes in the office of [REDACTED]. The combination to the safes are retained by the CIA and NARA and both parties need to be present to enter their combinations to open the safes. Since only copies were in the safes and we have now received the originals of these documents, we are undertaking a project to compare the originals to the copies, to dispose of the copies after it has been verified that the original has been transferred and to replace the copies with the originals in the safes. The copies will then be disposed of through the use of burn bags. Several issues have arisen and the following decisions have been made concerning these issues. Please note that the CIA provided NARA with lists of open in full documents compiled from the CIA’s MORI system. Those lists are attached. This is helpful since document that have been open in full will not have an original in the safes since the original will reside in the open files.

-         Issue: When comparing the copies to the originals, we find that we have a copy of a document, but no original of the document has been transferred and there is no indication from our list of open in full documents that this document is open in full.
-         Decision: We will retain the copy as the original and return it to the safe with the originals.
-         Issue: When comparing the copies to the original, we find that we have a copy of a document, but no original of the document has been transferred and the document is included on the list of open in full documents.
-         Decision: We will put the copy aside and verify that it is present in the open files on the shelf. If it is, we can then dispose of the copy.
-         Issue: When comparing the copies to the original, we find that one of the original documents has a RIF that indicates it is Open In Full. It will also be included on the list of Open In Full documents.
-         Decision: We will put the original aside interfile it in the open files and dispose of the copy currently in the open file.

When we finish verifying a folder of original documents, we will note on the front “Verification Complete” and write the date. These original documents will then be placed in the safes.

No comments:

Post a Comment