ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARD
7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
Fifth Floor Auditorium
Tuesday, October 11, 1994
The above-entitled proceedings commenced, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m.,
John R. Tunheim, chairman, presiding.
PRESENT FOR ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARD:
JOHN R. TUNHEIM, Chairman
HENRY F. GRAFF, Member
KERMIT L. HALL, Member
WILLIAM L. JOYCE, Member
ANNA K. NELSON, Member
DAVID G. MARWELL, Executive Director
PAGE PUTNAM MILLER
JAMES H. LESAR
MARK S. ZAID
CHARLES J. SANDERS
PETER DALE SCOTT
P R O C E E D I N G S
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Good morning. Welcome to the first public hearing held by the Assassination Records Review Board.
Let me briefly introduce the members of the Board. I am Jack Tunheim, the Chair of the Board. To my left and your right at the end of the table Dr. Henry Graff, and next to Dr. Graff is Dr. Kermit Hall. To my right and your left, my immediate right, Dr. Anna Nelson, and at the end of the row to my right Dr. William Joyce. With us today are our two staff members, David Marwell, who is the Executive Director of the Board. David is in the back of the room and will be around in the audience today if anyone needs assistance, and Tracy Shycoff, who is our administrative officer, is here today as well.
Before we start, I want to thank the National Archives and the staff of the National Archives for their assistance in providing a room and accommodations for us today for this important public hearing for us, and I certainly want to recognize Steve Tilley who is the Director of the JFK Access Collection in the National Archives, and thank him once again for his fine assistance to us, and Susan Cooper from the staff of the National Archives who has been assisting us today with arrangements.
The Assassination Records Review Board is a new independent Federal agency that was established for the purpose of providing to the American people a complete public record of the assassination of President John Kennedy and its aftermath, a record that is to be securely preserved in the National Archives, fully accessible to the American public.
Central to the mission of the Review Board is the term "Assassination Records." It is a threshold consideration for the focus of the Board's work over the next two to three years. The Review Board is responsible for acquiring assassination records that are not currently in the National Archives, and the Review Board is responsible for reviewing decisions of government offices to postpone release of assassination records. Again, the term "Assassination Record" is a threshold for our work and our consideration.
The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 provides for us a brief definition of the term "assassination records," and Congress did not more specifically define the term "assassination records" because it believed that such specificity was premature to this process.
It left to the Review Board the challenge of further defining the term and going beyond the records of the official investigations, the Warren and Rockefeller Commissions, and the Church and House Select Assassination Committees.
Today the Review Board begins the process of further defining the term "assassination records." We hope to gather valuable public input today into this important definition. It is our plan to issue guidance that will assist in the articulation of the scope or universe of assassination records as we move forward, and to develop this working definition in an open and independent manner consulting with members of the public who are interested and affected government agencies.
Now, we have established just a few ground rules for our testimony today. We have twelve individuals who had asked to testify in advance, and we have several more who have asked to make a brief statement today. In order to adhere to time limits, to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to provide input to us, we would ask that those who are testifying limit their testimony to roughly ten minutes or so, leaving a few minutes for the Board to ask questions, if they would like, of each of our witnesses.
We have indicated a willingness to permit additional individuals to provide testimony if time remains. Hopefully we will not go beyond the hour of 1:00 today so this hearing does not last too long, and I think that it would be important to try to adhere to the time limits to make it through to the 1:00 time period. We will take a brief break in roughly one hour.
We have a goal of issuing interpretive regulations on the subject of what is an assassination record, hopefully beyond the end of -- by the end of 1994.
So without further ado, I would like to move on to the question of the day, and that is, what is an assassination record.