It's Way Past Time To Release the Rest of the JFK Assassination Files

Joe Biden just declassified another batch, but the government is still keeping some under wraps.


Under the JFK Records Act of 1992, the government had until October 26, 2017, to declassify its files on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But that law also gave the president the power to withhold documents on national security grounds, thus setting up what is now a recurring ritual where the White House releases some files while promising to take another look at the rest at a later date.

Yesterday, like Donald Trump before him, Joe Biden released some of those records. And—also like Donald Trump before him—he has kept some under lock and key. This should be unacceptable. As I said during an earlier round of this game, "You don't need to buy any of the conspiracy theories about John F. Kennedy's death to see that this is a historically significant event that still has several open questions around it….And you don't need to be personally interested in the topic to be appalled that the feds are still suppressing information about an incident that took place more than half a century ago."

The possible explanations being offered for the continued classifications range from Damn, I'll bet there's something really incriminating in there to Eh, they're probably waiting for a couple of old CIA guys to die. The best way to resolve the question is, of course, to release the data, but the national security state's attitude toward sunshine is roughly the same as Dracula's.

In this case, to quote MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, "It seems like they released all the records we needed to see—except the records we needed to see." He specifically cites some files related to the late CIA officer George Joannides, who came into contact with Lee Harvey Oswald a few months before the killing. I'm not in the habit of echoing Scarborough, but this is one of those issues that brings together all sorts of people: Kennedy conspiracy theorists, Kennedy conspiracy skeptics, Kennedy-era historians of all kinds, and in fact pretty much anyone who gives a damn about government transparency. It's been 59 years. Just release the files already.

Bonus listening: Paul Matzko, Landry Ayres, and I chat about Oliver Stone's movie JFK.