John F. Kennedy Assassination Files are Being Released: What to Know

by Liz Holland
(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

John F. Kennedy assassination files release today. Here’s what you need to know about the previously sealed documents. These records are among thousands with unreleased information. Since 1997, the records in question have been classified. The secrecy surrounding the files sparks conspiracy theories among many. However, experts do not expect the report to share any bombshell information. With that in mind, it should provide more insight into the exact events of the day. Additionally, it should explain more about government’s involvement in the investigation that followed. 

Initially, President Biden promised a release of the files by October. However, the president says that the delay in the release is due to COVID backlogs. Congress established a review board in 1992 to collect the files. In 1997, the board finalized the investigation and issued a report. However, the government withheld thousands of those documents. John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert F. Kennedy is furious at the amount of time this is all taking. According to the Daily Mail, the Kennedy family has inquired numerous times about the files becoming public.

Overdue Assassination Files Cause Outrage From Family Members

”It’s an outrage. It’s an outrage against American democracy. We’re not supposed to have secret governments within the government. How the hell is it 58 years later, and what in the world could justify not releasing these documents?” RFK told Politico in October. Former representative Patrick Kennedy also said of the documents’ release, “I think for the good of the country, everything has to be put out there so there’s greater understanding of our history.” 

Ahead of the documents’ release, assassination experts have shared their thoughts towards Bidens approach. One researcher and lawyer Larry Schnapf said Tuesday night he intends to sue Biden for failure to release the reports in full. “We will be seeking a court order instructing the President to release the remaining records or to disclose the specific identifiable harm posed by each document sought to be postponed and how such alleged harm outweighs the strong public interest in the release of these records — which were supposed to have been released by October 26, 2017,” Schnapf said.

John F. Kennedy Files Secret For a Reason

However, one former CIA officer, David Priess, says that there may be good reason behind information continuing to stay secret. The documents in question also contain information surround Cold War intelligence, and although Priess says its unlikely, there could be a CIA source from that time that is still alive today.

“It could be that there’s a source out there who is still in power or still connected directly to someone that would be dangerous for today’s intelligence collection. Now, you have to balance that against the historical interest and the compelling public interest here,” Priess said.

Conspiracies have long surrounded JFK’s assassination. According to official reports, John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in the back of his neck. Oswald was arrested shortly after the assassination, but claims he didn’t do it in police interviews. Oswald was shot and killed by a nightclub owner two days after his arrest, leaving many truth-seekers with a lot of questions. Many refuse to believe that Oswald acted alone. One expert told CNN on Wednesday, “Because it has taken [the government] so long to get these records out, no matter what comes out, no one is going to believe that that’s it.”