Former Assassination Records Review Board Chairman John Tunheim shared his unique expertise to headline a news conference and forum on March 16 during the news industry’s Sunshine Week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) organized the event.
CAPA Chairman Dr. Cyril Wecht introduced Tunheim, who is now the chief U.S. district court judge in Minnesota.
As ARRB chairman, Tunheim supervised the declassification of some four million pages of records pertaining to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Clinton nominated Tunheim and four other members of the bipartisan ARRB to implement congressional legislation unanimously passed in 1992.
CAPA provides below excerpts from the beginning of the event, with the full transcript available here via the JFKCounterCoup site. A video of the four-hour conference, separated into two parts, was made by independent film maker Randolph Benson of Duke University, who is the producer and director of The Searchers documentary about JFK Assassination researchers. The Benson video of the March 16 conference is available here in Part I (1:31:44 mins.) and in Part II here, (1:38:34 mins.). Additionally, Black Ops Radio broadcast an audio transcript.
Remarks By Dr. Cyril H. Wecht (shown below at the podium with Judge Tunheim; photo by Noel St. John):
I want to welcome all of you here on behalf of CAPA and thank you for coming. This is an important year, as you will hear from all of our speakers, but I want to move along and introduce our guest of honor and principle speaker Judge John Tunheim, who I have learned grew up a half an hour from the Canadian border, and he is subject to deportation at any time (laughter).
After graduating from Concordia College, he attended the University of Minnesota School of Law, practiced privately and then became affiliated with the Minnesota court of law. In 1994 Judge Tunheim was appointed chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), and continued in that capacity until they finished up in 1998.
The huge community of Warren Commission critic researchers — and the huge majority [of] 65 to 80 percent of Americans who reject the Warren Commission conclusions — owe John Tunheim a gratitude of debt….[H]e as chairman of the ARRB, he led the way, opened the door and broadened the horizons that had been perhaps opened earlier by outstanding critics, some of whom are here today to speak, and others of our brethren who are now regrettably have departed.
The work he did and the way in which they dealt with this in an objective, firm, dynamic but extremely honorable fashion laid the groundwork that that we are continuing to follow on that ever since, and we are delighted to have him here.
Judge Tunheim (Noel St. John Photos):
Thank you very much Cyril. It’s always great to be back with so many familiar faces. I’m glad to be here with you today to talk a little bit about the records that should be released this year according to the JFK Act.
As many of you probably know, the story of the Assassinations Records Review Board – really put together by an Act of Congress following up on Oliver Stone’s movie in 1991 and the demands to members of Congress to release the files, despite steadfast opposition to the law at the time by President Bush eventual pass[age] of the 1992 Records Act that set up a process of review of classified information that I have suggestions for improvements the next time this is done – but by and large it worked very well.
There were some problems with it. I was looking back this morning on dealing with the identification documents being sent over at the time from the National Archives and recalling were sent over to us on five and a half inch floppy discs, if you remember that. It’s a look back in time to the technology we had then.
We ran the Review Board for I’d say about four years. When we were confirmed by the Senate after President Clinton nominated us in the fall of 1993, we had to go through the Senate confirmation process and were confirmed in the spring of 1994.
There were five of us who were part time, but we had no appropriation and no staff. And we had stacks of documents that were piling up from agencies who had had been required with deadlines much, much earlier to prepare assassination records for us even before we even had the opportunity to tell them what an assassination was.
So fortunately I knew the White House chief of staff at the time and he came up with a half a million dollars from what we all commonly referred to as a slush fund at the White House, a slush fund for a rainy day or whatever came along and were able to get started in the fall of 1994.
We had three years to do the work with the possibility of one additional year if Congress approved. It sounded like a long time, it sounded like enough time to do the work. But we just did not anticipate just how many records that had not released concerning the Kennedy assassination.
The full transcripts of Judge Tunheim’s remarks and Dr. Wecht’s introduction are here.
CAPA Coverage of JFK Assassination Records Conference March 16 During Sunshine Week
Top Experts To Assess JFK Murder Records, Revelations March 16 In DC, March 8, 2017. Federal judge John Tunheim, former chair of the congressionally appointed Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), will speak March 16 at a unique Sunshine Week press conference organized by CAPA to focus on this year’s deadline for disclosure of secret records about President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.
Experts Seek Compliance By Officials On JFK Records, March 10, 2017. Leading former government officials and other JFK experts are among those who have called for full release by the National Archives of still-classified records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Speakers For March 16 CAPA Forum On JFK Records, March 11, 2017. To mark the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth this spring, leaders in the JFK research community are convening at the National Press Club during “Sunshine Week” March 16.
CAPA Forum ‘JFK at 100’: ‘Cold Facts from Forensic Evidence’ Panel, March 21, 2017. Lawrence Schnapf, a New York-based attorney and co-chair of the CAPA legal committee, outlined the organization’s fall planning at CAPA’s forum March 16 at the National Press Club during his panel with AARC President James Lesar.
Judge Tunheim Recalls Oswald’s KGB File: ‘Five Feet Tall,’ March 21, 2017. The Soviet intelligence service developed a massive file on accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald that has never been public, according to the recollections of federal judge John Tunheim in his featured speech at a CAPA conference March 16 at the National Press Club.
At CAPA Forum, JFK Experts See Need, Momentum For Assassination Records Release, March 23, 2017. Federal Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), headlined an expert faculty March 16 in the nation’s capital advocating for compliance with the JFK Assassination Records Act’s deadline of release of President Kennedy’s death records.
Transcript of Judge John Tunheim’s Remarks On JFK Records Release At CAPA March 16 Forum, CAPA staff, with transcript by William Kelly via JFKCountercoup, March 24, 2017. Former Assassination Records Review Board Chairman John Tunheim shared his unique expertise to headline a news conference and forum on March 16 during the news industry’s Sunshine Week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) organized the event.
CAPA (www.capa-hq.com) organized the news conference (which attracted at least two White House reporters and three camera crews) and forum. The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) founded Sunshine Week to foster open government via events like this throughout the nation.