Govt. Releases More Than 13,000 Documents Related To JFK Assassination But CIA Is Withholding 3% Of Them

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced the fully unredacted release of about 70 percent of the government files pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The release comes after the Biden administration was sued for delaying their release earlier this fall. The government has been slowly releasing JFK assassination records to the public over the last 30 years as part of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. In passing the 1992 law, members of Congress declared that “All government records concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy should be eventually disclosed to enable the public to become fully informed about the history surrounding the assassination.”  The Congress also said “most of the records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are almost 30 years old, and only in the rarest cases is there any legitimate need for continued protection of such records.” 


President Joe Biden said in a memorandum that a “limited” number of documents would continue to be held back at the request of unspecified “agencies.” As the CIA letter notes, the documents withheld in today’s release don’t concern the assassination itself, but the investigation following it, and they were redacted in an effort to protect “particular CIA employees,” along with “intelligence assets and sources, specific tradecraft and intelligence methods still in use.” Director Burns’ letter continues, “Thus, the minimal redactions that remain are necessary to protect the most sensitive intelligence information in the CIA JFK Act records collection: people, places, and intelligence and operational details.”

A significant number of the files released on Thursday related to Oswald, his international travel and contacts in the weeks, months and years ahead of the Kennedy assassination. Among the documents released on Thursday was one from 1990 that recounts the debriefing of a former KGB officer who said Oswald was recruited by the KGB after defecting, but he was considered “a bit crazy and unpredictable.” The officer said the KGB had no further contact with Oswald after he returned to the United States suffering from depression and homesickness, and the KGB “never tasked him to kill President Kennedy.” Another document, from 1991, cites a different KGB source as saying that Oswald was “at no time an agent controlled by the KGB” although the KGB “watched him closely and constantly while he was in the USSR.”