National Archives completes review of JFK assassination documents, 99% publicly available: White House

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The National Archives and Records Administration concluded its review of the classified documents in the 1963 assassination of former President John F. Kennedy and made 99% of the material publicly available, the White House announced.

In a memo released Friday, President Biden revealed that the archivist finished the review in May and that the remaining documents authorized to be declassified had been released to the public.

The announcement comes on the day of a previously established deadline to declassify the documents.

The Warren Commission’s report on Kennedy’s assassination was initially sealed until 2039 until Congress passed the JFK Records Act of 1992, directing the National Archives and Records Administration to create a collection of documents on the former president’s assassination.

The law required all assassination records to be released by 2017, but former President Donald Trump and Biden postponed the disclosures on several occasions, citing advice from the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Trump released tens of thousands of documents during his administration, although most of them included redactions.

The Biden administration released more than 14,000 documents related to Kennedy’s assassination by December, which is when the president ordered a six-month review of the remaining records. More than 2,600 documents have been released since, including 1,103 that were posted publicly on Tuesday.

‘NARA worked in concert with agencies to jointly review the remaining redactions in 3,648 documents in compliance with the president’s directive,’ the National Archives wrote when releasing the documents. ‘Between April and June 2023, NARA posted 2,672 documents containing newly released information.’

Nearly 13,000 documents on the attack were ordered to be made public by the administration in December and 1,500 more documents were released 12 months prior.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that the president’s memo on the newest batch of documents was released as part of the administration’s ‘continued commitment to government transparency.’

‘Under President Biden’s leadership, agencies have fully declassified over 16,000 records since 2021,’ she said in a press briefing. ‘This action reflects his instruction that all information related to President Kennedy’s assassination should be released, except when the strongest possible reasons council otherwise.’

She continued: ‘As a result, over 99% of the records in the collection are now publicly available at the National Archives. In keeping with the President’s direction, the National Archives will be digitizing the entire collection to make it more accessible to the public.’

Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, sparked theories from the public about the attack and the events leading up to it, including accusations that the federal government had intended to keep its findings secret.

Biden said in his memo that the archivist recommended in May the continued use of agencies’ transparency plans to release information covered by the JFK Records Act.

‘The Transparency Plans will ensure that the public will have access to the maximum amount of information while continuing to protect against identifiable harms to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, and the conduct of foreign relations under the standards of the Act,’ the president stated.

Kennedy was assassinated by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Lee Harvey Oswald as he was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. 

Oswald was shot and killed two days after the assassination on Nov. 24, 1963, by a nightclub operator as he was being escorted from Dallas Police Headquarters toward an armored car, where he then would have been transported from the city jail to the county jail.

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