National Archives Releases over 13,000 CIA Documents on JFK Assassination

The National Archives on Thursday released 13,173 documents related to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, pursuant to an executive order issued by President Joe Biden.

“This significant disclosure reflects my Administration’s commitment to transparency and will provide the American public with greater insight and understanding of the Government’s investigation into this tragic event in American history,” Biden wrote in his order releasing the documents.

This marks the largest release since Biden released roughly 1,500 JFK files at the end of 2021.

However, Biden reportedly said some documents are being withheld “to protect against an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

After the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act passed Congress in 1992, the U.S. government was required to release all documents related to JFK’s assignation by October 2017, provided they would not harm national security or intelligence sources.

In this Nov. 22, 1963, file photo, seen through the foreground convertible’s windshield, President John F. Kennedy’s hand reaches toward his head within seconds of being fatally shot as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holds his forearm as the motorcade proceeds along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. (AP Photo/James W. “Ike” Altgens, File)

However, former President Donald Trump withheld some documents based on national security grounds when he released thousands of JFK files throughout his presidency.

After Biden took office, he used the pandemic to justify a delay in releasing some of the JFK files. With Thursday’s document dump, the National Archives reportedly said 97 percent of the roughly five million JFK files have been released to the public.

The CIA, in a statement on Thursday, said the newly released records do “not change the historical record and has no bearing on the assassination or the investigation itself.”

Many of the unsealed documents were CIA records on Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin.

As CBS News reported:

One document written by a CIA officer in December 1963 detailed the agency’s interception of Oswald’s communications with the Soviet Embassy in the Mexican capital. A comparison with a previously released version shows redactions obscured the fact that the wiretap operation targeting the Soviet Embassy was a joint effort with the office of the Mexican president, an arrangement that was “highly secret and not known to Mexican security and law enforcement officials.”

Biden gave the National Archives and other agencies a deadline of May 2023 to review the remaining sealed documents. After the deadline, “any information withheld from public discourse that agencies do not recommend for continued postponement,” will be released by June 30, 2023, according to Biden.

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