Its not uncommon to find public discussion and concern about the reasonable limits to privacy in the face of ongoing terror attacks – if you haven’t counted lately, the United States has now been involved in its unofficial war on terror for almost forty years, we just didn’t start calling it that until 2001 and of course its still legally undeclared.  That discussion, and the corollary discussions of covert action oversight and transparency in government have slipped in the background during what has become a multi-year presidential election campaign.  The subjects emerge periodically but in terms of news last no more than headlines for a day or so, the fate of most challenging topics.

When the subject of transparency does come up it can get pretty confusing, bringing forth the subject of security classifications, legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act, and slippery terms such as “redaction” and “sources and methods”.  Having been waist deep in such things for a couple of decades myself, and being heavily involved in document access in my work with the Mary Ferrell Foundation, I recently took the time to share some thoughts about the subject, including the realities of what to expect if and when you do start pursuing government documents. It is actually possible to get an amazing amount of previously restricted information and I’ve listed a couple of places to find such things on line.  But you have to understand the system, and have some concept of what will and will not be released.

Those interested in such challenges can find the essay at the following link:




About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

2 responses »

  1. David S. Brown says:

    Re: Eyewitness testimony

    It is well settled that eyewitnesses ability and position to see and without an axe to grind, are largely reliable, especially when not interpreted by bias investigators, and especially their accounts close to the event (in this case more reliable than official reports of their statements) and when corroborated by other eyewitnesses and physical evidence, and the courts rely on them in most cases.

    Will you post a review and comment on Vince Palamara’s “JFK From Parkland to Bethesda The Ultimate Kennedy Assassination Compendium” and include what is proven, what is disproven and what is probable?

    • I would certainly agree David, with the caveats you listed. Its just a matter of having reasonable expectations. Personally I’m concerned about so many of the “retrospective” interviews with witnesses and others that have been
      done years or even decades after the event. As to your requests, I’m afraid my projects just don’t allow time for that sort of task at present. Certainly I tried to do that in the 2010 edition of SWHT, especially in regard to the new information Doug Horne had just published in his multi-volume set as I was completing that rewrite. In the process of the rewrite I actually took out two or three witnesses because further research had show them to be dubious. Basically if you see somebody in SWHT I feel they are credible; if not they are not in there. And by credible I don’t imply that someone was not telling the truth, just that there were too many iterations of their remarks or that they changed too much from first day statements. That is why you don’t see a lot of the TSBD witnesses mentioned. I might even be more selective if I were rewriting now. I’ve followed Vince’s work from his very first self published manuscript and am pretty familiar with it; he and I have discussed points in it at length. If there were one or two items that you were curious about I would be happy to comment here – for an old retired person I seem to be involved in way too many things.

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