In accordance with President Biden’s memorandum of December 15, 2022, the National Archives today posted 13,173, documents containing newly released information subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act). Released documents are available for download.
At the direction of the President, and following the December 15, 2021, release, the National Archives and the agencies responsible for withheld documents conducted an intensive review of each remaining redaction withheld under section 5 of the JFK Act. This was the first review under the JFK Act that was done in an interagency manner at the redaction level.
The John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection (the Collection), established by the National Archives in November 1992, consists of approximately five million pages. The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without restrictions on access since the late 1990s. Following today’s release, over 97% of records in the collection are now available.
As permitted under section 5 of the JFK Act, agencies appealed to the President to continue postponement of certain information beyond October 22, 2021. Section 5 of the JFK Act permits postponement for an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations where the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The President then provided agencies with a temporary certification until December 15, 2022, to allow for a review of all documents withheld in part under section 5 of the JFK Act and directed agencies “to ensure that the United States Government maximizes transparency, disclosing all information in records concerning the assassination, except when the strongest possible reasons counsel otherwise.” Today’s release is the result of that review. Section 5 postponement decisions now affect less than 4,400 documents in the Collection.
As of the December 15, 2021 release, all documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act had been released in their entirety or in part, and no documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act remained withheld in their entirety.
The Collection also includes 515 documents withheld in full and another 2,545 documents withheld in part under sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Act. Section 10 of the JFK Act addresses records withheld under court seal or for grand jury secrecy, and section 11 of the JFK Act addresses records subject to section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code or a deed governing access to or transfer or release of gifts or donations to the United States Government. Information subject to sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Act cannot be released independently by NARA, the agencies, or the President, though some of these documents also contain information postponed under section 5, which has been made available and posted today.
The National Archives and the Department of Justice are working together to determine whether information in five records withheld in full under court seal or for grand jury secrecy under section 10 of the JFK Act can be released.
Also posted online today are the letters from agencies requesting postponement, agency indices, and agency transparency plans.
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on the Temporary Certification Regarding Disclosure of Information in Certain Records Related to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
- Photo by Brandon Mowinkel: instant images