Not All JFK Files Released As Trump Administration Caves To C.I.A.

The JFK files have not been released.  And now there’s no link. Conspiracy to not release?

Update from Zero Hedge:

With much of America clicking furiously all day Thursday on the website of the National Archives, hoping to be among the first to catch the release of thousands of previously unseen JFK Assassination records, the U.S. government was in danger of missing the deadline to release the trove of previously classified records from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, “adding an unexpected twist to a saga already rife with rumors and conspiracies” according to NBC.

Caving to lobbying pressure by intelligence agencies, Trump announced he would not order the release of the full tranche of records, instead following last-minute recommendations of his national security agencies that some of those records be redacted, White House officials said. During a call with reporters, White House officials explained that while some 2,800 JFK records will be released todaythe publications of the remaining records has been postponed for 180 days to give agencies more time to figure out what they want redacted. By late Thursday afternoon, the memo specifying which material the CIA, State Department and other agencies still want to keep under wraps had yet not made it to Trump’s desk, intel officials told NBC News.

“There’s a mad scramble going on in the executive branch to get this done,” one official said.

As CBS adds, the delay requests – some of which were registered a couple of months ago and some more recently –  come from agencies throughout the government including the CIA and FBI. Some of the worry seems to center around documents created in the 1990’s, when the congressional committee was crafting the legislation setting Thursday as the release date. Officials told CBS News there is concern the documents may reveal sources and operations from the near past and include current people or operations. Of particular concern, according to officials, are names in the documents.

CBS News’ Chip Reid interviewed JFK scholar Larry Sabato, at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, who said he had been told that “at least most of it will not be released Thursday because not just the CIA, but apparently other agencies, unnamed — I assume the FBI is one — are appealing.”

 

Sabato says that the CIA wants some of the names in the documents redacted, and some of the paragraphs they say reveal the names of sources or methods used by the CIA.

In any case, the reason behind the delay remains a mystery. As CNN’s Jim Acosta notes, senior administration officials declined to discuss the contents of the files that will be released, including whether they contain evidence of a conspiracy surrounding Kennedy’s death.

Trump will issue a memo to heads of intelligence agencies saying “the American public expects and deserves its government to produce as much access as possible to the John F. Kennedy assassination records. “I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted” on the records, the memo will say. The President will also note that law enforcement and foreign affairs agencies have requested that certain records remain redacted.

“I have no choice” but to keep those records under wraps, the memo will say. In his memo, Trump will order intelligence agencies to re-review their reasons for keeping the records redacted, and to report back in 180 days.

What will remain classified?

According to CNN, officials said the sensitive information that will remain redacted for now relates to “intelligence and law enforcement” details. That includes the identity of individuals involved in the investigation into the assassination and their roles as informants to law enforcement, a senior administration official said.

It also includes information about foreign partner organizations that were involved in the investigation, the official said.

“The President heard those justifications from the agencies that requested the continuing postponement and he acknowledged that information … requires protection,” the official said. Agencies requesting continued redaction of certain documents will need to submit a report to the archivist by March 12, 2018, explaining why those documents meet that standard, the White House said.

Documents determined to not meet those standards will need to be released by April 26, 2018.

Trump’s decision to keep some documents secret is likely to keep conspiracy theories alive, fueling those who have long questioned official conclusions about the assassination and argued that the government has helped cover up the truth.

According to the law (see the FAQs section, which is also pasted below):

According to the Act, all records that were previously authorized for withholding by the ARRB are to be released no later than 25 years after the signing of the Act, unless the President authorizes further withholding. That date is October 26, 2017. Agencies who would like their information withheld for longer, need to file a formal appeal with the President.

Yesterday we were told by President Trump that the files would be released:

Just a while ago, from wayback machine showing the National Archive’s link to the new files:

 

Though now, where’s our link?

There is no press release about it:

From the main JFK page at archives.gov

John F. Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963. Almost 30 years later, Congress enacted the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The Act mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).   The resulting Collection consists of more than 5 million pages of assassination-related records, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings and artifacts (approximately 2,000 cubic feet of records). Most of the records are open for research.

Before they take down the page, which we found and is still static, here’s what the page at the end of the link says (which is a whole bunch of nothing):

JFK Assassination Records Processing Project

NARA Commits to Processing the Withheld JFK Assassination Records by October 26, 2017

Background

When Congress passed the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act in 1992 agencies throughout the Federal Government transferred assassination-related records to the National Archives which established the JFK Assassination Records Collection. The Collection consists of approximately 5 million pages of records. Approximately 88% of the records in the Collection are open in full. An addition 11% are released in part with sensitive portions removed. Approximately 1% of documents identified as assassination-related remain withheld in full. All documents withheld either in part or in full were authorized for withholding by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), an independent temporary agency that was in existence from 1994 to 1998.

According to the Act, all records previously withheld either in part or in full should be released on October 26, 2017, unless authorized for further withholding by the President of the United States. The 2017 date derives directly from the law that states:

Each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, unless the President certifies, as required by this Act, that –

(i) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations; and

(ii) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

The Act was signed by President Bush on October 26, 1992, thus the final release date is October 26, 2017.*

The JFK 2017 Processing Team

In October of 2014, after conducting an initial pre-processing evaluation of the withheld materials, the National Archives constituted a dedicated team of four (4) archivists to process withheld JFK Assassination-related records in preparation for the 2017 release of additional materials. NARA has hired three (3) additional technicians to assist with digitizing the withheld materials.

The Team is conducting archival processing on the documents to prepare the records for scanning. Agencies with equities in the withheld materials have been notified that previously withheld documents will be released in 2017 absent a successful appeal to the President. The staff is working with NARA’s Office of Innovation to determine the best way to present the documents through archives.gov when released in 2017.

Once the digital release is completed the hard copy documents will be interfiled into the five million pages of the paper Collection.


*For more information about the ARRB and the Act, you can read the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board. A copy of the Act is in Appendix C of the Report.

FAQs

FAQs about John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 Collection and the 2017 release

The President created the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) as an independent agency to re-examine for release the assassination-related records that federal agencies still regarded as too sensitive to open to the public. The Board finished its work on September 30, 1998, issued a final report, and transferred all of its records to the National Archives and Records Administration.

What does the John F Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 say about the release of assassination records?

According to the Act, all records that were previously authorized for withholding by the ARRB are to be released no later than 25 years after the signing of the Act, unless the President authorizes further withholding. That date is October 26, 2017. Agencies who would like their information withheld for longer, need to file a formal appeal with the President.

Have any agencies appealed the release of their records?

As of March, 2017, NARA has not been notified that any agency has appealed release of their documents. However, it is our understanding that agencies are still reviewing the documents subject to release in October 2017.

What is going to be released before October?

We still have not determined whether or how many records will be released before the October deadline. The law states that the records must be released or authorized for further withholding no later than 25 years after the signing of the act. Nothing in the law precludes or requires a release prior to that date. We are hopeful that there will be files that can be proactively released before the October 26, 2017 deadline, but are awaiting formal determinations from the agencies.

Where is the withdrawn material physically kept?

Agencies transferred the withheld material to NARA. NARA stores the records in security-classified stacks at the National Archives at College Park.

How likely is it that there could be a major revelation in the material?

The ARRB considered the relevancy of each document to the assassination events when they determined which documents would be released during their tenure and which could be postponed until 2017. The ARRB cast a wide net in what they considered assassination related and included records on topics not specifically related to the assassination and the investigations into the assassination. While NARA cannot comment on the content of the records, we assume that much of what will be released will be tangential to the assassination events.

Are we going to see everything, or will some documents remain secret forever?

NARA is trusted with preserving our archival holdings permanently and holds that all records in our legal custody will eventually be available for research. That said, there are categories of records in the collection that, in accordance with the Act, will not be released in 2017. Sections 10 and 11 of the act discuss grand jury information and records held under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code (tax return information) as well as records covered by a specific deed of gift. We have identified a small number of records, or portions of records, that fit into these categories. For all other records, how long records stay withheld after 2017 will be determined by the President, who has final appeal authority.

What is NARA’s role?

The staff of the National Archives is focused on ensuring that we do everything in our power to facilitate the processing of these records. Our goal is to provide the support that the agencies and the President need to meet the requirements of the Act and to expeditiously release the records as soon as we are authorized to do so.

Where can I find a copy of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act and more information about the work of the Assassination Records Review Board?

The ARRB Report is linked here, and a copy of the act is in Appendix C of the Report.