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«NOVEMBER 22, 1963 (Friday) 12:00 AM (Nov. 22, 1963) Nine Secret Service agents drinking at Pat Kirkwood’s bar the “Cellar Door” in Fort Worth, ...»

-- [ Page 100 ] --

Former ARRB Chief Analyst for Military Records Doug Horne said that he was alarmed at press reports indicating that a U.S. interagency task force would be reviewing the documents before releasing anything to the public. “These are Russian documents, not American-I cannot stress that enough-and it is the Russians who have already conducted a declassification review. If, as the U.S. Government has always claimed, Lee Harvey Oswald was NOT on an intelligence mission for the United States while in the Soviet Union from 1959-1962, then there should be absolutely no reason for U.S. officials to have to “declassify” these records.” Federal judge John Tunheim, former ARRB Chair, was quoted by CNN as saying that while he was pleased the Russians apparently had released some of the documents the ARRB had requested, he hoped that they would be released publicly “in the next several months.” But National Security Council (NSC) Spokesman David Leavy, according to the Associated Press, refused to estimate how long the documents would be under review by the interagency panel. A private research group, the National Security Archive, also supported a timely and complete release of the materials, which Yeltsin provided to Clinton in Cologne, Germany on June 20 as a goodwill gesture, and expressed concern about the interagency panel, which is said to include CIA, State Department, Defense Department, and NSC officials. ``This procedure they are talking about is very troubling to us,’’ Kate Martin, a lawyer for the research group, told the Associated Press. ``It’s very hard to imagine any real national security considerations for withholding these documents from the American public.’’ Lancer Independent News Exchange spokesman Chris Courtwright said that confusion over the legal status of the Yeltsin files and other JFK materials needed to be clarified in the wake of the ARRB’s sunset on September 30, 1998. He said that questions about the declassification procedures began immediately after US National Security Adviser Sandy Berger announced to the media in Cologne that “all interesting elements” of the Yeltsin release would be made public after the review. “With all due respect to Mr. Berger, the law requires that everything which does not otherwise qualify for an exemption pursuant to the JFK Act is to be released - whether he or anyone else finds it interesting’ or not,” said Courtwright. “Moreover, this begs the question of who would decide on the validity of an exemption claim under that law if the CIA or another agency wants to have certain documents redacted or totally withheld,” he said. “The ARRB filled that role through last September, and they strongly recommended in their Final Report to President Clinton that action be taken to assure that the National Archives, in conjunction with a professional oversight group with historical, legal, and archival expertise, would have inherited many of the ARRB’s powers, duties, and functions.” Courtwright said that he believed transitional legislation may be necessary to implement the ARRB recommendations and clarify that the National Archives and the professional oversight group could continue to administer the ongoing provisions of the JFK Act. “I have been in touch with Amy Krupsky at the National Archives, and she tells me that another interesting question the legal staff has been pondering is whether they have subpoena powers like the ARRB did,” Courtwright said.

He also said that the declassification issues which had arisen as a result of Yeltsin’s goodwill gesture were likely to continue to arise as additional JFK assassination-related materials surface over the years. “The ARRB said that the Mexican government may well have additional records which they refused to release to the U.S. State Department,” he said, “and that J. Edgar Hoover may have had additional records which could not be located during ARRB’s tenure.” Former ARRB Supervisory Analyst Horne agreed, and reiterated his belief that the assembly of the interagency declassification team to review the Yeltsin materials was “extremely arrogant behavior” and “totally contrary” to the spirit of the JFK Act. “Since these are not U.S. government documents, the White House should have turned them over immediately to the JFK Collection at the National Archives,” Horne said. “The American people deserve to know, 36 years after the fact, what the internal Soviet reaction was to President Kennedy’s assassination, and what conclusions they may have reached, or what suspicions they may have held, about JFK’s assassination between 1963 and the present time. There is no valid argument or acceptable reason to withhold such information from the public in this country.” (Lancer news) July 16, 1999 (8:45 P.M.) Thirty-eight year old, John F. Kennedy, Jr., in his Piper Saratoga, takes off from Essex n Airport in Caldwell, N.J. tonight, heading to the Cape Cod-Martha’s Vineyard area en route to a family wedding tomorrow in Hyannisport, Mass. [Rory Kennedy, daughter of RFK, is to be married tomorrow night.] Also on board are his wife and sister-in-law. No flight plan has been filed. None is required.

9:39 PM [EST ] -- Air traffic controller’s last contact with JFK, Jr.

July 17, 1999 2:15 A.M. [EST] - An emergency beeper signal is received off Long Island, and rescue crews are sent to the area off Mattituck.

3:00 A.M. [EST] - The Airforce Rescue Coordination Center receives a call from the FAA informing them that John F. Kennedy Jr.’s airplane is overdue - and possibly missing. [The FAA had received the initial call from the Kennedy family.] The Center immediately begins search and rescue operations along the flight path. JFK Jr. was piloting his own plane on a short flight from Northern New Jersey to Martha’s Vineyard last night. [He earned his pilot’s license last year.] Fifteen aircraft, two Coast Guard boats and three helicopters are subsequently involved in the search.





Later this morning, breaking news reports make the announcement public. Early afternoon news reveals that a wheel from the plane and a sneaker may have been found. Coverage of the incident dominates the day’s television fare. Retrospectives of JFK are also aired in conjunction with this coverage.

INITIAL NEWS RELEASE: MATTITUCK, N.Y. (AP) - An intensive search was under way today for John F. Kennedy Jr., whose small plane was missing en route to a family wedding in Massachusetts. The only son of the 35th president was traveling with his wife and sister-in-law, the Coast Guard said. The Piper Saratoga took off from Essex Airport in Caldwell, N.J., at 8:45 p.m. Friday and was heading to the Cape Cod-Martha’s Vineyard area en route to a wedding today in Hyannisport, Mass. The passengers were due to arrive in Martha’s Vineyard at 10 p.m. Friday, but never arrived, a source in Washington told The Associated Press. The plane carried Kennedy, 38, his wife Carolyn Bessette, and her sister, the Coast Guard said. Under hot, hazy skies, Coast Guard crews scoured a 150-mile-long swath of sea today from eastern Long Island to Cape Cod, along the presumed flight path of Kennedy’s plane. Assisting were Civil Air Patrol forces from five states - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Government sources said an emergency beeper signal was received at about 2:15 a.m. today off Long Island, and rescue crews were sent to the area off Mattituck. No subsequent signal was heard. But according to Coast Guard Lt. Craig Jaramillo, the plane was last detected on radar just miles west of Martha’s Vineyard. President Clinton, who is spending the weekend at Camp David in western Maryland, was told about the disappearance of the Kennedy plane by John Podesta, his chief of staff, shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, the White House said. The president called several members of the Kennedy family, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.; John Kennedy Jr.’s sister, Caroline; and Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, husband of Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y. ``President Clinton was informed early this morning of the reported disappearance of the airplane carrying John F. Kennedy Jr. and others, including his wife, Carolyn,’’ the White House statement said. ``All our prayers and thoughts are with the families of those on board.’’ Jamie Gaspar, an operations specialist at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, said Kennedy’s plane was supposed to arrive Friday night, but never did. `I’m a little worried, because I know him personally,’’ Gaspar said. Kennedy was headed for Martha’s Vineyard and was then to go to the wedding of a cousin, Rory, daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, in Hyannisport. Eddie Martin, of Hyannisport, who described himself as a friend of the family, said the plane was stopping in Martha’s Vineyard to drop off Carolyn’s sister, Lauren, before Kennedy and his wife continued on to Hyannisport. According to an earlier announcement from the office of U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the couple was to be married today before 275 guests in a private ceremony. The wedding was postponed indefinitely and family members were sequestered in the family’s Hyannisport compound, said Brian O’Connor, a spokesman for Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former congressman. With word of the missing plane, Cape Cod residents began arriving outside the compound. “It must be the most incredibly painful thing,’’ said Sarah Wood, a neighbor. ‘’This family has been through so much.’’ A source familiar with the search told the AP that the Kennedy plane had no flight plan, to the knowledge of the Federal Aviation Administration, though the pilot was not required to file one. The Kennedy family contacted the FAA when the plane, a Piper Saratoga, was overdue, and the agency began checking airports along the route, the source said. The Coast Guard and Air National Guard then started a search. Kennedy is the only surviving son of the 35th president, and was born Nov. 25, 1960, just 2 1/2 weeks after his father was elected president. As a toddler, he charmed the nation when he was photographed romping in the White House. Three days after his father’s assassination, he saluted as his father’s funeral procession passed, and the photograph became one of the most poignant images of that tragic time. It was the little boy’s third birthday. Unlike other family members, Kennedy never entered politics. After graduating from Brown University, he went to law school and joined the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The law didn’t hold much appeal for Kennedy, and in 1995 he launched the magazine George - subtitled “not just politics as usual.’’ A year later, Kennedy - once dubbed ``the sexiest man alive’’ by People magazine - married girlfriend Carolyn Bessette, a 30-year-old public relations specialist at Calvin Klein. They wed in a private ceremony with only a few dozen guests in a small Baptist church on secluded Cumberland Island off the Georgia coast.

1:20 PM [EST] -- There is a live televised briefing from the Pentagon detailing search efforts for John F. Kennedy Jr.. (It is now almost ten and a half hours since the Airforce Rescue Coordination Center received initial notice of the overdue flight, and hope is waning.) Reports during this briefing indicate that a piece of luggage and a headrest have been found - the luggage belongs to JFK, Jr’s sister-inlaw.



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