National Archives releases secret assassination documents

December 15, 2021
In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas.
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  • The National Archives released nearly 1,500 documents on the JFK assassination.
  • The Biden administration ordered the release of the records under a memorandum signed in October.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration Wednesday released never-before-seen documents some hope will help answer lingering questions surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The National Archives released nearly 1,500 documents as part of a memorandum signed by President Joe Biden in October. The tranche is the latest made publicly available over the years under The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, or the “JFK Act.”

The full records collection contains approximately 5 million pages of documents.

The Warren Commission, established by Kennedy’s successor Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined U.S. Marine veteran Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK in the head while the former president rode in a motorcade through Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Oswald was assassinated by Jack Ruby two days later, while being transferred from police headquarters to a county jail.

Some historians and conspiracy theorists have often challenged the result of the investigation, and doubts about the findings of the Warren Commission persist decades later.

The latest records release contains redacted information as permitted by the JFK Act. Most of the collection has been made available to the public without restrictions since the late 1990s, but agencies appealed to Biden to continue postponement of certain information beyond Oct. 22.

The president, in turn, provided agencies with a temporary certification until Dec. 15, 2022, to allow for the review of all withheld documents while disclosing all information “except when the strongest possible reasons counsel otherwise,” according to a press release. Any withheld documentation not proposed for continued postponement will be released on that date.

Reach out to Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.

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