The Biden administration has released previously classified documents on the assassination of then-US president John F. Kennedy, although they include redactions, and thousands are still withheld in full.
The latest collection of released Kennedy files is made up of more than 1,400 documents, and can be read on the National Archives website, but thousands more are still being held back. The documents released include redactions, similar to when former President Donald Trump released some 3,000 files back in 2017. The release of the documents had been mandated by Congress in 1992.
The @USNatArchives has posted 1,491 documents subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (#JFK Act).Access these released documents:: https://t.co/UR0HQ9u63Wpic.twitter.com/evxtKW8ytE
— US National Archives (@USNatArchives) December 15, 2021
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 while traveling with a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was quickly arrested for the crime, with authorities claiming he’d shot the president from a sixth-floor window in a nearby building.
Oswald told media he was a “patsy,” but he was shot and killed two days after the assassination while in police custody by Jack Ruby, who would go on to be sentenced to death, but passed away while in prison. Officials went on to claim that Oswald had worked alone.
Conspiracy theories have run wild over the years since Kennedy’s death, with the case perhaps most famously being examined by director Oliver Stone in the Oscar-winning 1991 feature ‘JFK’. He followed that movie with a documentary this year that similarly questioned the Warren Commission and its depiction of the assassination. Popular assassination theories place the blame on the CIA or others working within the US government.
The release of the Kennedy files has been criticized by theorists, as the redactions and withholding of information likely mean no ‘smoking gun’ will be publicly released by the government to validate any one theory about the president’s death.
Kennedy researchers have expressed frustration with the releases, lawyer and activist Larry Schnapf even announcing this week that he would be suing Biden with the intent to get the documents released in their entirety.
The release of the latest batch had already been delayed from October. President Joe Biden claimed the later-than-scheduled release had been required to “protect against 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 the immediate disclosure.”
The remaining Kennedy files are scheduled to be released on December 15, 2022 following a security review, likely meaning more redactions. According to the National Archives, around 90% of the records have been released thus far.