National Archives: October 2017 Release of Last of JFK Assassination Records

JFK

In April 2015, the US National Archives explained at their NDCPrioritization: What Secrets Do People Want to See? conference how the release of the remaining JFK records will be accomplished.

By way of background — that “background” being a cry primarily from FOIA fans and conspiracy types to free the records — the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has 5 million pages of Kennedy Assassination documents which you can search online (here) or visit in person in College Park, Maryland (you can also request by mail if you are patient).  Archivists have reviewed, scanned, and created metadata tags for each document.  It is actually a workable system.

If you are new the JFK records release issue, this HuffPo article is a good, basic primer.

In an official Archives video from April 2015, archivist Martha Murphy explains the procedure for the release of the remaining records.

Her presentation is here and runs about 5 minutes.

Of note, according to JFKFacts.org, there’s an error in the percentages in Ms. Murphy’s presentation — it is 1.1% of the documents which are withheld and not .01%.  It’s hard to pin down the number but, on that site, there’s either 500k pages withheld or less than 4,000 pages.

Highlights:

1.  There’s about less than 4,000 or so pages left;

2.  They’re going to begin scanning and tagging;

3.  Notices go to the various govt agencies which gives them time to object;

4.  An order from President Obama can stop the release;

5.  The default is that the records are released in October 2017 (it appears to be October 26, 2017 if we go by the JFK Act date);

6.  They will be available online immediately and, at some point thereafter, incorporated into the rest of the archive.

If you really like JFK documents, try these sites:

NARA JFK Assassination Records

University of North Texas – 11,000+ pages of Dallas Police documents and photos

Dallas Library Finding Aid – last updated in 2013

Mary Ferrell Collection

All 26 volumes of the Warren Report

Rose Papers (he did Texas state autopsies of Oswald and Ruby)

Witness List & Links

Sixth Floor Museum e-museum

JFK Library

Index of Dallas Police Records (15 boxes discovered in 2008) (Official site is here but may not be same set)

UPDATE (5/14/15): Jefferson Morley, over at JFKFacts.org, proposed his list  of “missing” JFK assassination documents — although it appears that only the CIA-related documents are in the NARA collection to be released in two years.  His list is here.

UPDATE (5/26/15): Politico.com ran this article, Why the Last of the JFK Files Could Embarrass the CIA.  It is well researched and well-written. I question whether there is enough evidence to support this conspiracy claim.  It might be better phrased as a question (“Could the Last of the JFK Files Embarrass the CIA?”).  But even there, I’m not sure the CIA is going to experience “embarrassment” even if it does not want 50+ year old documents released.  For example, when you watch Ms. Murphy’s archive presentation (linked above), she is just explaining the procedure.  There is no reason to unnecessarily read into her statements that the CIA is or is not going to do something.  Again, the President has the power to hold back documents (President Bill Clinton put the JFK Act into effect — one might question whether a putative President Hilary Clinton would keep documents sealed for a longer period).  So it’s not just the CIA.  Anyhow, I’m not convinced that this specific information on Hunt or Joannides is going to lead anywhere with the JFK assassination — even the article points out that the withheld documents includes memos about activities in 1978.  Finally, let’s not press to hard on the claim that E. Howard Hunt made a death bed confession… which has become a marketing event.

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