The White House on Friday said that it is delaying the release of classified documents on the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, with President Joe Biden ordering that the files “shall be withheld from full public disclosure until December 15, 2022.” In 2017, former President Donald Trump released several thousand secret documents on Kennedy’s assassination and made 2021 the deadline for releasing the remaining files.
According to a White House statement, the Archivist of the United States said “unfortunately, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the agencies,” making the delay a necessity.
The president also said additional delays are possible if “postponement remains necessary 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.”
“Over the next year, agencies proposing continued postponement and NARA shall conduct an intensive review of each remaining redaction to ensure that the United States Government maximizes transparency, disclosing all information in records concerning the assassination, except when the strongest possible reasons counsel otherwise,” the statement reads.
Roughly 30 years since then-President Kennedy was assassinated, the White House said “the profound national tragedy…continues to resonate in American history and in the memories of so many Americans who were alive on that terrible day.”
Biden said the need to protect files relating to Kennedy’s assassination “has only grown weaker with the passage of time” and it is, therefore “critical to ensure that the United States Government maximizes transparency” by releasing all records on the assassination “except when the strongest possible reasons counsel otherwise.”
In October 2017, President Trump released thousands of files relating to the investigation into Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, as well as the effort to learn about his murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby.
American Military News reported that among the documents were Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) notes from May 1964 at which time Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev said he didn’t believe American security was so “inept” that Kennedy was assassinated without a conspiracy.
The Soviet leader asserted that the Dallas Police Department was an “accessory” to the high-profile murder. The CIA notes said, “Chairman Khrushchev had some dark thoughts about the American Right Wing being behind this conspiracy” and rejected reports that Oswald and Ruby were both “mad” and acted alone.
Also in the documents was a July 15, 1964 letter from the FBI to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy warning that a book would soon be published alleging that he was having an affair with actress Marilyn Monroe. The book also accused Kennedy of working with communists “behind the scenes” to have Monroe killed, and then covered up her death as a suicide.
The book also alleged that Kennedy was at Monroe’s apartment the night she died.