Private and Local Records---
The Board has identified and secured significant assassination-related
records in the hands of private citizens and local governments,
including copies of the official records of District Attorney
Jim Garrison's investigation of the assassination, the
personal papers of Warren Commission Chief Counsel J. Lee
Rankin, as well as long-lost films taken in Dallas on November
22, 1963 that the public had never seen and that shed new
light on the events of that day.
The Review Board Needs Additional Time
The Review Board will not be able to complete
its work within the original three-year timetable set by
Congress for the following reasons:
Unrealistic Time Limit---The
authors of the legislation believed that the task would
take three years. That estimate was based on the best available
information at the time, but the legislation established
an unprecedented process. There was no way of knowing the
problems of scale and complexity that the Board has encountered,
nor was there any way to factor in the comprehensive approach
taken by the Board in fulfilling its mandate.
Delay in the appointment of the Board---The
Board was not appointed until 18 months after the legislation
was signed into law. Federal agencies had to define for
themselves the universe of records that should be processed
under the Act and to speculate about the kind of evidence
that would be needed to sustain the redaction of assassination-related
information. Once the Board was in place, agencies needed
to revise a considerable amount of work. In fact, many
agencies have yet to complete their review and the Board
is still seeking their compliance.
imposed several restrictions on the manner in which the
Board could operate. Unlike other temporary agencies, the
Board could not hire or detail experienced federal employees,
but rather had to hire new employees that had to undergo
background investigations and be cleared at Top Secret
level. Locating and renovating space that was suitable
for the storage of classified materials was required. As
a result, the Board could not begin an effective review
of records until the third quarter of its first year.
The Job Ahead
An additional year will permit the Review
Board to finish its task by completing the following:
time will permit the Board to complete its review of the
huge and critically important collections of records at
the CIA and FBI that were requested by the HSCA in the
course of their investigation.
The Records of Some Agencies and Congressional
will allow the Board to finish its work with several
agencies and Congressional Committees (NSA, Secret Service,
Senate Intelligence Committee).
Search for Additional Records---Additional
time will permit the Board's search for additional records
held by government agencies, private individuals, and local
governments to be concluded with greater confidence. Some
of these records have been identified, but not yet acquired
by the Board.
Board has started the process of collecting the reviewing
records held by a number of foreign countries (Russia,
Belarus, Mexico, England, Germany, France, Japan, Cuba).
Contact has been made with several countries. Additonal
time will increase the likelihood of success.
As a result of the Board's necessarily protracted
start-up, it has a budget carry-over of $500,000 in no-year
funds from its first year, a sum that would fund a full
quarter of continued operation. The Board would consequently
require $1.6 million of additional funds to operate for
one more year. In considering this cost, it is important
to assess the cost of not completing the job.
The Review Board was conceived of as a means
of eliminating uncertainty and speculation about the contents
of government files relating to the assassination of President
Kennedy. A premature termination of the Review Board would
surely generate intensified doubts within the general public
about the commitment of Congress to release all information
that relates to the assassination of President Kennedy,
as well as renewed speculation about the conduct of our
government and its institutions and personnel. If appropriate
closure is not reached now, the identical issues will have
to be addressed again in the future---at even greater cost.
The recommended additional year will allow for a confident
conclusion of this important risk.