Previously sealed JFK assassination files released via an executive order signed by Biden

The 13,173 documents shed further light on Kennedy's assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald's hand in it

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published December 15, 2022 5:36PM (EST)

Joe Biden and John F Kennedy (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Joe Biden and John F Kennedy (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Prompted by an executive order signed by President Biden, The National Archives and Records Administration released 13,173 documents on Thursday that shed further light on the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy.

As CBS points out in their coverage of the release of this new batch of documents, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 called for the release of all documents pertaining to the assassination by October 2017, "unless doing so would harm national security or intelligence sources, or violate certain privacy protections." Many of the documents previously made public were heavily redacted and many others were withheld for those very reasons stated above.

In Biden's executive order to release further documents on Thursday he explains his decision saying "This significant disclosure reflects my Administration's commitment to transparency and will provide the American public with greater insight and understanding of the Government's investigation into this tragic event in American history."

Biden highlights that previously released documents that had been redacted have now been re-released in transparency.

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"Pursuant to my direction, agencies have undertaken a comprehensive effort to review the full set of almost 16,000 records that had previously been released in redacted form and determined that more than 70 percent of those records may now be released in full," per Biden's statement. 

Back in October, The Mary Ferrell Foundation, which oversees an online database of JFK records related to his assassination, sued the Biden administration for failing to meet the 2017 deadline set by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, as pointed out in the CBS News report. 

"These failures have resulted in confusion, gaps in the records, over-classification, and outright denial of thousands of assassination-related files, five years after the law's deadline for full disclosure," the organization said at the time of their suit.

During Trump's presidency, he grandstanded that he would personally see to the release of the JFK assassination files, presumably in full, but backpedaled.

"After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other Agencies, I will be releasing ALL JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living," Trump later said, going on to release an earlier batch of 19,045 documents, portions of which were redacted.

The available documents can be accessed via The National Archives. One of the documents dated 05/25/1964 looks into the significance of Oswald's tourist visa to enter Russia from the Soviet Embassy at Helsinki. Another dated 11/26/1963, which is partially redacted, makes several mentions of Oswald's visa in relation to the timing of JFK's assassination.  

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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