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US Releases Hundreds of Secret Documents About JFK Assassination

JFK assassination
The Biden administration has released new documents surrounding former president John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Credit: US Embassy New Delhi, CC BY-ND 2.0

The National Archives and Records Administration released over a thousand documents surrounding the 1963 assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on Wednesday.

The archives were responding to a directive from the White House issued in October asking them to make the formerly secret files public.

“The profound national tragedy of President Kennedy’s assassination continues to resonate in American history and in the memories of so many Americans who were alive on that terrible day; meanwhile, the need to protect records concerning the assassination has only grown weaker with the passage of time,” President Biden wrote in the memo requesting for the release of the files.

“It is therefore critical 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.”

The United States was rocked by JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963, in Dallas Texas. Kennedy was riding in a motorcade with his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, when assassin Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from above, killing the president instantly.

Oswald, who was a former US Marine, was perched in the Texas School Book Depository waiting for the president to pass as his motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

Oswald was shot and killed just two days after the assassination took place by a nightclub owner named Jack Ruby as he was being moved to county jail.

The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, more commonly known as the Warren Commission, was established the following year to investigate Kennedy’s assassination. Although the Commission decided that the assassination was the product of a single individual’s actions and not a wider conspiracy, these findings have been heavily criticized.

Expert claims new JFK assassination documents are incomplete

This criticism has led to many creating their own theories and explanations for the events that led to Kennedy’s death, with people pointing to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and even the US government.

The huge interest in the details of the assassination–from the public and researchers alike– led the release of the formerly classified documents to be heavily anticipated, but some experts are already expressing disappointment over what the government chose to publish.

Larry Schnapf, a lawyer and assassination researcher, said on Tuesday that he plans on suing Biden for improperly releasing the documents, which he said were incomplete.
“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 a statement.

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