More JFK Assassination Files Released

The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on Thursday released over 13k documents related to the 1963 assassination of former US Pres. John F. Kennedy. However, thousands more remain redacted or completely withheld, ostensibly for national security or foreign relations reasons.

More JFK Assassination Files Released
Image credit: Getty Images [via The Week]

Facts

  • The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on Thursday released over 13k documents related to the 1963 assassination of former US Pres. John F. Kennedy. However, thousands more remain redacted or completely withheld, ostensibly for national security or foreign relations reasons.
  • The release came shortly after Pres. Joe Biden signed an executive order authorizing their disclosure. In its text, Biden cited his admin's "commitment to transparency" and desire to give Americans a better "understanding of the Government's investigation" of the assassination.
  • However, the executive order added that NARA has "identified a limited number of records" not yet ready for public disclosure, citing consultation with "relevant consulting agencies" to ensure the continued postponement of redactions was "appropriate."
  • NARA said that 515 documents remain withheld in full, while another 2,545 are partly censored, with Biden saying they'll be further reviewed until May 1, 2023, and any "that agencies do not recommend for continued postponement" would be released by June 30 of that year.
  • Many of the unsealed documents were CIA records on assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's communications with the Soviet Union. The agency responded, stating that released records do not "change the historical record and has no bearing on the assassination or the investigation itself."
  • The document release comes after Congress in 1992 passed the Pres. John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, mandating all documents to be released by October 2017, except those deemed to pose a national security risk. While then-Pres. Donald Trump released thousands of documents on a rolling basis, thousands more remained concealed.

Sources: New York Post, CBS, White House, Al Jazeera, and Breitbart.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by The Guardian. While the release of new documents is undoubtedly of interest to historians, it's unexpected that they'll contain new bombshells that will challenge what the JFK Commission concluded years ago — that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by NBC. By continuing to redact and hold back thousands of documents, intelligence agencies and the Biden administration are failing to abide by the letter of the law — that all of the documents are released without further censorship. Now almost 60 years after Kennedy's death, there's no reason for the continued secrecy.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by Fox News. Whether you're willing to entertain the idea of the CIA's involvement or not, there are certainly parts of this story that deserve more scrutiny, particularly regarding the relationship between the agency, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the man who killed Oswald, Jack Ruby. Leaders' reluctance to fully disclose the information only feeds Americans' distrust of their government and hints that there's more to the story than what has been shared.