Top-Secret JFK Files Coming Soon—Maybe

National Archives preparing for planned October 2017 release
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2015 11:45 AM CDT
Top Secret JFK Files Coming Soon—Maybe
In this Oct. 22, 1962, file photo, President John F. Kennedy makes a national television speech from Washington.   (AP Photo)

The 1992 JFK Records Act established that 40,000 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy would be made public in October 2017. Now that the date is little more than two years away, seven archivists and technicians with top-secret security clearances have begun poring over the pages for processing at the National Archives, Politico reports. "Within our power, the National Archives is going to do everything we can to make these records open and available to the public," Martha Murphy, head of the archives' Special Access branch, says. "That is my only goal." However, the president-to-be will have the power to keep the records—including 3,600 documents that have never been made public—under lock and key, a move many fear will fuel lingering doubts about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, whether US officials knew about the plot in advance, and if officials purposefully blocked a full investigation.

Most of the documents have been made available to researchers, but the aforementioned 3,600 were considered "security classified" and were thus "withheld in full," partly because they reveal grand jury information and "the identity of an unclassified confidential source," Murphy says. About 1,100 CIA documents are among that collection, along with records from the FBI, NSA, Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which concluded but couldn't prove the assassination was the result of a conspiracy. Murphy says government agencies have been informed of the upcoming release, and some "have gotten back to ask for clarification" and "more information." None have yet formally requested a waiver. JFK researchers say the files could contain "a smoking gun," perhaps linked to other assassinations, like the CIA plot to kill Fidel Castro. "They still don't want to open that window and let everyone look in," says an expert. "I expect the worst." (You'll probably never see Jackie Kennedy's bloodstained suit.)

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