Introduction -- Los Angeles

Chairman Tunheim's Opening Remarks

Personnel Building

Board Room H-160

450 North Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, California


September 17, 1996

10:00 a.m.



U.S. District Court Judge

District of Minnesota

DR. HENRY F. GRAFF (not present)

Professor Emeritus of History

at Columbia University


Dean, College of Humanities

and Professor of History at

the Ohio State University


Associate University Librarian

for Rare Books and Special

Collections at Princeton University


Adjunct Professor of History at

American University


Executive Director



Robert Tanenbaum 9

Former Deputy Counsel for the

House Select Committee on Assassinations

Author of Corruption of Blood

Eric Hamburg 30/117

Co-Producer of the Oliver Stone Movie

Nixon, and former Congressional staff

assistant of the President John F. Kennedy

Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992

Wesley Liebeler 46

Former Assistant Counsel to the Warren

Commission and currently a Professor at


James Rankin 56

Son of former General Counsel to the Warren

Commission, the late J. Lee Rankin

David Belin 61

Former Assistant Counsel to the Warren Commission

and author of November 22, 1963: You Are The Jury

and Final Disclosure: The Full Truth About The

Assassination of President Kennedy. Executive

Director of the Rockefeller Commission, 1975.

James DiEugenio 84

Author of Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the

Garrison Case

David Lifton 103

Author of Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception

in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Steve Tilley 123

National Archives, Caretaker of the JFK Collection


CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Good morning everyone. We call to order this public hearing of the Assassination Records Review Board. I want to welcome everyone here today to this public hearing in Los Angeles. We're very pleased as a review board to be here and very pleased that you were able to join us this morning.

The Assassination Records Review Board is an independent federal agency that was established by the Congress for a very important purpose. That purpose being to identify and secure for the American people all of the materials and documentation concerning the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy 33 years ago in Dallas.

The objective is to provide for the American people a complete public record of this national tragedy, and to lift the veil of secrecy that has surrounded the records of the assassination for so many years. And to present files that are fully accessible to any American citizen who wishes to see them, who wishes to study them, and to try to understand.

The members of the Review Board, which is a part time citizens' panel, were appointed by President Clinton. To my right on the end is Doctor William Joyce, the Associate Librarian at Princeton University. And to my immediate right is Doctor Anna Nelson, Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C. To my left, Doctor Kermit Hall who is the Dean of the College of Humanities at Ohio State University. Doctor Henry Graff, Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University was unable to be with us today as the fifth member of the Board. My name is John Tunheim, I'm the Chair of the Assassination Records Review Board, and I am a United States District Court Judge in the State of Minnesota. Also up here today is the Executive Director of the Review Board, the top staff member for the effort, David Marwell. We have a number of other staff members who are with us today, Jeremy Gunn, Tom Samoluk, Tracy Shycoff and Eileen Sullivan.

I must emphasize before we begin today, that it is not the mandate of the Review Board to reinvestigate the assassination and to try to determine the answers of all the mysteries and questions that are still swirling around this event.

The Review Board is, however, on a search for records. Our primary focus has been, as it should be, a review and release of federal government records. Records that have been held by agencies of the federal government for the past 30 some years. But the Review Board is also seeking records, documents, photographs and other materials, whatever form they may be in, that will enable the American public to see the complete record of the death of their President and its aftermath.

We are nearing the end of our second year of existence and we have made significant progress. We've issued rulings on close to 2,500 records, federal records, and another 23 or 2,400 are in the category of consent releases by the agencies following our rulings on similar issues. Those add to a collection that is growing by the day at the national archives in College Park, Maryland. Later in our hearing we will hear from Steve Tilley who is our liaison at the National Archives. He will bring us up to date on the current status of the Collection.

The Review Board has nearly completed its review of the Central Intelligence Agency's corps file on the assassination, the Oswald 201 file. We're nearing completion of review of the corps files maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the assassination and have made significant progress at this stage on the records that were maintained by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which investigated the assassination in the late 1970s.

We have secured now much of the record of the Jim Garrison saga in New Orleans. The only criminal prosecution that was taken involving the assassination. Other private parties have made significant contributions to the Board, to the Collection, to the American public, including new films that have been recently discovered from the day of the assassination. We've made significant progress recently on military records including the NSA, for which we hope to have announcements very soon regarding the release of those records. And we've made significant attempts to try to clarify the medical evidence, one of the more enduring of the mysteries surrounding the assassination. We hope to release materials concerning the medical evidence somewhere around the end of this year.

Much progress has been made by the Review Board and its staff thus far, but there is still much to be done and that is why we are here today in Los Angeles.

We're going to hear testimony today from a number of experts, individuals who we believe will greatly assist the Board in its search for records. Many more individuals have indicated an interest in testifying today. We simply don't have time to accommodate everyone. We thank them for their interest. We hope that those who are not able to testify today will provide the Review Board with written testimony and information that will be able to assist the Board.

The Board has held previous hearings in Dallas, in Washington, in Boston, and New Orleans, and those hearings have been extraordinarily helpful to the Board as its gone through its work over the past two years. And although the Review Board's review of classified records must by necessity occur in private out of the public eye, the Board does feel strongly that ongoing reports of the work of the Review Board should be as public as possible. The public hearings have given us an opportunity to hear from the public and to be able to adjust our work in response to legitimate interests that have been expressed to us by members of the public.

Before we hear our first witness this morning in Los Angeles, we have one matter of business that we'd like to take care of as a Board and that has to do with the extension of our existence for an additional year. When Congress past the original law The President John F. Kennedy's Records Collection Act of 1982, they specified the Review Board was to be in existence for a period of two years with a third year as the Board's discretion. When the Act was repassed several years later to give us additional time because of the slow start up, that provision was also contained in the new Act. The Board has made a determination that it is important to continue this effort for an additional year and we need to go about our business of doing that. Doctor Hall.

DR. HALL: Well pursuant to Section 701 of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, I move the Review Board extends its life for one additional year to October 1, 1997.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Is there a second?

DR. NELSON: Second.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: It's been moved and seconded that the Review Board extend its existence for one additional year until October 1 of 1997. All in favor of that motion say aye.



(No response.)


Again, I want to thank all of you for your interest today and now we are going to move on and hear from our first witness.

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