Recently a long time CIA officer passed away and based on clues in his obituary new research has revealed that he had been personally involved with overseeing virtually all the document releases from the early requests by individuals such as Weisberg and Lane through the Church Committee and HSCA inquiries – even being brought back as a consultant after retirement to deal with the JFK Records Act and the ARRB.
Charles (Chuck) Briggs Sr. served with the CIA for 34 years, retiring in 1986. He was an administrative specialist and worked in all four CIA Directorates, serving as Comptroller, Director of Services Staff, Inspector General, Executive Director and Congressional Liaison. He held the unique distinction (in June of 1983) while serving as the Executive Director, of being briefly designated as the Acting Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and Acting Deputy Director (DDCI), serving in all 3 positions simultaneously.
Much of his records release work was done while working for the Operations Directorate and reporting to the DDO. During the Church Committee, he was named acting Inspector General. His name can be found associated with the requests for of an extended series of documents:
Chief Services Staff and Classifying Officer 1975 Church Committee Request for Warren Commission documents:
Chief Services Staff 1976 Internal Request from Chief, Information and Privacy Staff on Howard Hunts Travel Records:
Request from Harold Weisberg on information about Martin Luther King:
As Chief of Information Services, in 1976 Briggs led the CI Records Study dealing with James Angleton’s files following his dismissal. It has been known that those files were held separately from the regular CIA Headquarters filing system.
Brigg’s report on the Angleton work reveals just how extensive they were. The work to process them involved “several hundred feet of files/418 feet” and involved a number of employees over some four years. By 1979 the records transfer was something like 60% complete.
It has been long rumored that Angleton’s files were destroyed upon his departure. Briggs own memorandums reveal that to be untrue – but also illustrate that there are sensitive file collections outside the standard CIA file collection, and suggest those files are never made available either to requests or Congressional inquiries. It also confirms that none of Angleton’s files were available for release to the Warren Commission or any following JFK assassination investigations.
There is a great deal to be learned from Brigg’s work, it highlights the true legal restrictions imposed on the CIA and its personnel by the national security acts of 1947/48. The Federal legal code associated with that seriously restricts document releases and apparently trumps civil law in instances where “sensitive and compartmentalized” documents are involved. I’ll go into more detail, with examples from Brigg’s own career, in a follow-on post.