The National Archives posted 12,879 documents containing never-before-seen information to its website on Thursday, which was the deadline set by President Joe Biden following a redactions process.
“The John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection (the Collection), established by the National Archives in November 1992, consists of approximately five million pages,” the National Archives said in a press release. “The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without restrictions on access since the late 1990s. Following today’s release, over 97% of records in the collection are now available.”
At the behest of some agencies and the acting archivist of the United States, citing “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,” Biden ordered that certain records will remain hidden from the public until at least June 30, 2023.
His White House memo added: “Any information that agencies propose for continued postponement of public release beyond June 30, 2023, shall be limited to the absolute minimum under the statutory standard.”
Kennedy was assassinated at the age of 46 on November 22, 1963, in Dallas. Soon after, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine and onetime defector to the Soviet Union, was arrested and charged with the killings of Kennedy and Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit.
Although Oswald denied killing Kennedy and claimed he was a “patsy,” he was never tried — Oswald was shot dead at the age of 24 on national television at the Dallas Police headquarters by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
Some investigators hoped this latest disclosure would contain “smoking-gun proof of a CIA operation” involving Oswald, even though the federal government has long claimed Oswald acted alone and was not tied to the CIA.
The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush, and there have been multiple delays in document disclosures ever since that time.