Biden Administration Expected to Release Some Classified Documents

President John F. Kennedy delivers a speech several hours before his assassination in Fort Worth, Texas, November 22, 1963. (Cecil Stoughton/JFK Library via Reuters)

The Biden administration is expected to release a number of documents on Wednesday pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Congress established the Assassination Records Review Board as part of a 1992 law to collect documents on the assassination, to be released by 2017. However, many of those records remain redacted or partially redacted, and both Presidents Biden and Trump have delayed the release of some documents.

Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 before returning to live in Dallas, Texas, in 1962.

While law enforcement agencies have concluded that Oswald acted alone, the assassination spawned numerous conspiracy theories. Federal agencies have also refused to declassify thousands of documents, citing a potential harm to national security.

“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,” an official familiar with the classification process told CNN.

President Biden delayed release of some documents in October, scheduling the release of some documents on Wednesday and setting a deadline for December 15, 2022, to complete security reviews of other documents.

“Temporary continued postponement is necessary 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 immediate disclosure,” a White House memo signed by Biden stated on October 22.

Some of the documents may include information on intelligence agencies’ activities during the Cold War, CIA historian David Priess told CNN.

“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,” Priess said. “Now, you have to balance that against the historical interest and the compelling public interest here.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.
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