Jerry P. Shinley Archive:
FBI on Declassification of David Ferrie Records in 1967



Subject: FBI on Declassification of Ferrie Records in 1967
Date: 5/7/00 1:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Message-id: <8f48cv$om1$>

RIF : 124-10085-10316 FBI # : 62-109090-572

Memorandum W. A. Branigan to W. C. Sullivan 2-24-67


        The "Evening Star," Washington, D. C., 2-23-67, contained an article showing that about 40 pages of FBI investigation concerning David William Ferrie deal with FBI techniques and mode of operation and are kept secret. The Director stated, "Let me know details of 40 pages which are said to be classified."


        Ferrie, whose death was reported on 2-22-67, was the subject of investigation under the caption "Lee Harvey Oswald" in November, 1963. The pertinent information we developed was furnished to the Warren Commission 12-20-63. The information was contained in the report of Special Agnet Warren C. DeBrueys, dated 12-2-63 at Dallas. Fifty-five pages containing data on Ferrie were withheld from public disclosure when all of our investigation was reviewed and a letter dated 8-10-65 was sent to the Attorney General. We indicated the now pertinent 55 pages containing data on Ferrie should be withheld from public disclosure. The basis for withholding these pages was that five persons interviewed furnished allegations, impressions, hearsay, gossip or rumor indicating Ferrie may have been a homosexual.

        Our withholding was based on criteria approved by Mr. McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President. Pertinent portions of the criteria are: "Unclassified material...should be made available to the public on a regular basis unless disclosure could be a source of embarrassment to innocent persons, who are the subject, source, or apparent source of the material in question, because it contains gossip and rumor or details of a personal nature having no significant connection with the assassination of the President." Our letter to the Attorney General 8-10-65 indicated that in our view the final decision as to the public disclosure of the material in question rests with the Department of Justice. This should remain our position today.

        On 2-23-66 Mr. Marion Johnson of the National Archives contacted Bureau Supervisor Robert E. Lenihan to advise that correspondents had inquired concerning the public availability of information the FBI developed concerning Ferrie as contained in Document Number 75 of the Warren Commission's Numbered Document File. This is the previously mentioned report of Special Agent DeBrueys. The pertinent pages of the above-mentioned report have again been reviewed. There are no FBI techniques and mode of operation in these 55 pages. The pages include interviews of 19 persons who either furnished some information or were questioned concerning Ferrie. Thirteen pages consist of an interview with Ferrie on 11-25-63.


        In view of the above and the substantial public interest, we should have no objection to the public disclosure of the 55 pages previously withheld. We should indicate this position to the Acting Attorney General and we are furnishing him copies of the pertinent 55 pages for his review in reaching a decision. We are requesting the Acting Attorney General to advise us and the National Archives of his decision.


        Attached for your approval is a letter to the Acting Attorney General in accordance with the above.



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