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More JFK documents released, but 10,000 illegally remain hidden despite 1992 Congressional law

“We will never know the truth in my lifetime”

While the release of 1,500 documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 may appear to be a step forward since the government has been hiding them for so long, the truth is the JFK researchers are still frustrated that so many are still hidden.

This is the case despite passage of a law in 1992 that mandated the release of all documents. Researchers are still looking for the smoking gun that may have been present in some of the documents that may indicate that the CIA or FBI were involved in the assassination.

Why do they not release these?

Today's release

CNN posted this story about the release and about how many are still outraged about them,

The release of almost 1,500 documents still leaves more than 10,000 either partially redacted or withheld entirely. It is expected to prolong the bitter debate between the federal government and JFK researchers, who have argued that the CIA, the FBI and other national security agencies have continually stonewalled a congressionally mandated release.

Longtime JFK researchers say the release likely does not include a smoking gun that would substantively change the public understanding of the circumstances surrounding Kennedy's death -- nor, historians argue, does one likely exist elsewhere.

But for many lawmakers and transparency advocates, releasing all of the remaining documents, as mandated by Congress in 1992, is about restoring faith in the functioning of government. Public polling has long shown that a majority of Americans do not believe the Warren Commission's official finding that Kennedy was killed by a single man, Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone.

Katie Bo Lillis, “Biden Administration releases previously classified JFK assassination documents,” CNN, December 15, 2021

Many frustrated with Biden approach

Though some of these may be helpful, the truth is the President Joe Biden has caved to national security people who still cling to the idea that the FBI and CIA and others may be damaged by a complete release of the documents,

But even before Wednesday's release, longtime assassination researchers expressed frustration with the Biden administration's piecemeal approach. Larry Schnapf, a lawyer and assassination researcher, announced on Tuesday night his intention to sue Biden for failing to release the records in full.

Schnapf has previously sued for internal government communications underpinning the decision behind successive postponements by both former President Donald Trump and Biden.

"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 wrote in an email to reporters on Tuesday.

Katie Bo Lillis, CNN, December 15, 2021

The 1992 legislation

CNN outlined the background of the act and everything subsequent to that,

In 1992, Congress passed the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, in part prompted by furor caused by the conspiratorial Oliver Stone film "JFK."

The act dictated that all assassination records should be publicly disclosed by October 2017, but Trump and now Biden have allowed multiple postponements on the advice of the FBI, the CIA and other national security agencies. Trump ultimately released tens of thousands of documents, the majority of which include at least some redactions.

Going into Wednesday, more than 90% of the records had been released, according to the National Archives -- 15,834 documents that had been previously released but include redactions and 520 documents that had been withheld in full.

The majority of those documents are tax records, according to the Archives, including Oswald's tax returns. Those records are specifically exempted from the JFK records act.

Katie Bo Lillis, CNN, December 15, 2021

We will never know in my lifetime.

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