Historians plead with Trump not to block the release of final stash of JFK assassination documentsHistorians in the News
tags: JFK assassination, Trump
Later this year — unless President Trump intervenes — the American people will get access to the last of thousands of secret government files about a turning point in the nation’s history: the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The National Archives this week released several hundred of the documents, which come from CIA and FBI files, and of course, JFK researchers are scrambling to see whether they contain any new clues about the president’s murder. But many more documents remain under seal, awaiting release by this October, the 25-year deadline set by the 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act.
The law gives only one person — the president — the ability to stop the release from happening. He can act only if he certifies in writing that the documents would somehow endanger national security.
We know we speak for an army of historians, political scientists, journalists and concerned citizens who have studied the JFK assassination when we say that it is time for the federal government to release everything in the custody of the Archives. This is the moment for full transparency about a seminal event that cost many Americans’ trust in their government.
The 1992 law has already brought some welcome transparency. It resulted in the release of millions of pages of documents regarding the assassination, including the 441 files from the CIA and FBI made public Monday. But about 3,150 other documents remain totally under seal, along with tens of thousands of pages that have been only partially unsealed because intelligence and law-enforcement agencies opposed their release in the 1990s.
Those are the documents that Trump could try to keep secret. And sadly, he appears to be under pressure to do so. ...