With John Judge at the Archives II
I went to the National Archives with John many times, first to the old, original Archives, on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then to the Archives II when it opened in the early 1990s.
On the wall just outside the original Archives is the inscription: “WHAT IS PAST IS PROLOGUE.” We thought that Prologue was a great name for the newsletter of the Committee (for an Open Archives), but after a few issues we learned that the official publication of the NARA was already called Prologue, so once COPA got going the name of the newsletter was changed to Open Secrets.
Once the Archives II in College Park opened, that’s where all of the attention shifted because that’s where they moved all of the JFK records and began to accept millions of documents from other agencies to become part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection.
I had been registered at the old Archives as a Research Associate, but at the Archives II you have to sit down at a computer and register all your details to get an access pass, and they are very strict about entering with pens, books, papers etc., especially after Clinton’s former national security advisor was caught lifting some of his old memos in his socks.
One memorial occasion, while I photocopied the Andrews Log for 11/22/63, John had requested a number of boxes concerning the US military response to the assassination – DEFCON status. He was also looking for any references to missing code books aboard B-52 bombers on 11/22/63.
While John was sitting at a table, reading from a cart of document folders next to him, I photocopied the Andrews Log, and then went into a little booth to read it. After concentrating on that for awhile I sat back and stretched, and recognized the guy in the next booth a few feet away from me. It was John Dean, the former White House lawyer and Watergate whistleblower. He said he was working on a biography of President Warren G. Harding, who I also had a personal interest in. Dean autographed the back of his business card for a friend of mine named John Dean, a Jersey Shore realtor, and he walked over with me so I could introduce him to John Judge.
John was all excited, having found the DEFCON status for 11/22/63 – which showed that the DEFCON status did not change for the CONUS, only in the Southeast Asia. He also showed me a newspaper clip – a news report that Gen. LeMay was reported to have been killed in an airplane crash that day, later proved erroneous.
I was later disappointed in John Dean’s bio of President Harding, as I suspect Harding was assassinated by his enemies, and didn’t die accidently of food poisoning while on a train trip, as Dean relates. I base my opinion, not only on the very questionable circumstances of his death, but the fact that Clarence W. Barron, the founder of the Wall Street Journal, expressed foreknowledge of Harding’s impending death, as related by Mary Bancroft in her book “Autobiography of a Spy.”
I also got a phone call a few months ago, before John died, from a guy researching the DEFCON status and the missing code books of the Cabinet Plane 86972 and the B-52 SAC bomber, as reported by John Judge.