Monday, June 20, 2016

Dan Hardway Conference Presentation

Dan Hardway Conference Presentation

…If (the “Oswald, the Pro-Castro Commie” story) was that coordinated, that quick, and as detailed, it would be reasonable to infer that it had been laid on in advance. I set out to identify the sources of these stories that came out immediately after the assassination with detailed information on Oswald and his pro-Castro activities. I started asking for the CIA files on all those sources. I got a lot of them before we lost access, but I did not get them all. That was one of the things I was really pressing on, when I got shut down.

In the same period, I also found a reference to a CIA debriefing of Johnny Roselli, after Drew Pearson published his piece about Castro turning the assassins sent to kill him around and sending them back to kill Kennedy. I asked for the records about the debriefing that was part of what I was looking into with Bill Harvey. That's how I came across that. I very clearly remember some of the details about this. The debriefing happened at a CIA safe house over a period of two weeks in 1967. Sheffield Edwards was one of the debriefers. He was brought out of retirement, I think in order to do that, I think I remember that he was brought out of retirement.

And that was when the CIA changed the procedures on us. They brought George Joannides out of retirement to be the new liaison for me and Ed (Edwin L. Lopez), primarily. He closed our office at Langley. The agency set up a safe room for us to use as committee offices. I no longer had direct contact with any CIA employees to request files. All further requests for documents and files had to be in writing and approved through official channels. Files (we requested) were not produced for weeks after being requested. My whole inquiry into areas outside and inside the scope of my portfolio ground to a halt. We soon thereafter lost unexpurgated access and perk…

Long and short on the Rosselli debriefing: I was told eventually -- I was given expurgated access to it. As a matter of fact, it was the first expurgated document I was handed. It happened out at the old meeting room that I had at the CIA. It was one of the few times that I am sure I met George Joannides. Ed remembers meeting him a lot. I don't remember meeting that many times, but I know I met him that time because when I walked in, it was just me, him, and Scott Breckenridge.

They handed me the file. It was about 2-inches, 2-and-a-half-inches thick. I sat down at the desk and they stood there, grinning, which struck me as unusual, and I thought maybe they don't trust me to look at the file without them present, because usually whoever delivered the file (in the past) would leave and let me work on them. And they were standing there, grinning in anticipation. And I opened it. And not only was the document expurgated, instead of taking the document and blacking out the lines on the copy, which is what they always did, they had retyped the whole document leaving white spaces where things were left out.

I blew up. I left. And, uh. They agreed, after the committee issued a subpoena, they agreed to let Gary Cornwall see it, unexpurgated. Gary went out there one day in the middle of trying to get the final report written, with 20 things on his agenda to get done. He stayed maybe two hours. He was out of the office about two hours. I know because I was waiting for him to get back, because I wanted to find out what he'd seen. And when he came back in he said, “It doesn't have anything to do with what you're working on for the final report. Forget it.” And that was the end of it.

That was the end of it until I went before the Assassination Records Review Board, which I was subpoenaed before to testify. And after they'd asked me about all the documents they wanted to ask me about, they asked me if there was anything else that they should ask me about that they had not asked me about. I told them about the debriefing of Johnny Roselli, about Sheffield Edwards' involvement, about Harvey, leaving the (inaudible) with the Harvey files. They (ARRB) said they would search for that, because it certainly sounded interesting and relevant and something that should be disclosed. They later had the kindness to get back to me, to tell me there was no record of any such file having ever existed or having ever been requested by the House Select Committee on Assassinations...

The George Joannides case shows the lengths to which the CIA went to stonewall the HSCA investigation. That's not just what Mr. Hardway said, it's what G. Robert Blakey, the chief counsel and staff director of the HSCA said: “I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee... “

I was not told of Joannides’ background with the DRE, a focal point of the investigation. Had I known who he was, he would have been a witness who would have been interrogated under oath by the staff or by the committee. He would never have been acceptable as a point of contact with us to retrieve documents. In fact, I have now learned, as I note above, that Joannides was the point of contact between the Agency and DRE during the period Oswald was in contact with DRE.

That the Agency would put a “material witness” in as a “filter” between the committee and its quests for documents was a flat out breach of the understanding the committee had with the Agency that it would co-operate with the investigation.

The committee’s researchers immediately complained to me that Joannides was, in fact, not facilitating but obstructing our obtaining of documents. I contacted Breckinridge and Joannides. Their side of the story wrote off the complaints to the young age and attitude of the people.

They were certainly right about one question: the committee’s researchers did not trust the Agency. Indeed, that is precisely why they were in their positions. We wanted to test the Agency’s integrity. I wrote off the complaints. I was wrong; the researchers were right. I now believe the process lacked integrity precisely because of Joannides.

Significantly, the Warren Commission’s conclusion that the agencies of the government co-operated with it is, in retrospect, not the truth.


Federal Judge John Tunheim, who headed the ARRB panel, the government body charged with finding, reviewing and releasing all pertinent JFK and MLK assassination records, said he was very surprised to learn to what extend the CIA went to obstruct HSCA Congressional investigators, the ARRB and the law: 
“It really was an example of treachery,” Tunheim said in a recent interview of the CIA’s handling of the Joannides affair. “If (the CIA) fooled us on that, they may have fooled us on other things.”

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