JFK nephews call for assassination records’ release
Two nephews of former President Kennedy are urging the Biden administration to disclose the remaining documents pertaining to the 1963 assassination of their uncle after the White House announced last week that it was delaying the disclosure of additional documents until at least December.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told Politico that the government’s delay in releasing the secret documents is “an outrage.”
“It’s an outrage against American democracy. We’re not supposed to have secret governments within the government,” he said. “How the hell is it 58 years later, and what in the world could justify not releasing these documents?”
Former Democratic Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a cousin to Robert Kennedy, said the remaining documents should be released because the American people are entitled to know about “something that left such a scar in this nation’s soul that lost not only a president but a promise of a brighter future.”
“I think for the good of the country, everything has to be put out there so there’s greater understanding of our history,” Patrick Kennedy told Politico.
The pressure from the Kennedy nephews comes after the Biden administration on Friday cited the pandemic in issuing a memorandum delaying the release of additional records related to the 1963 assassination until December.
The White House memo said the Archivist of the U.S. has determined that “unfortunately, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the agencies,” so the National Archives and Records Administration “require[s] additional time to engage with the agencies and to conduct research within the larger collection to maximize the amount of information released.”
“The Archivist has also noted that ‘making these decisions is a matter that requires a professional, scholarly, and orderly process; not decisions or releases made in haste,’” the memo added.
The National Archives specifically had trouble reviewing the documents during the pandemic because classified materials cannot be assessed remotely.
An additional trove of documents was set to be released on Tuesday after then-President Trump pushed the publication date back.
Trump in 2018 did, however, approve the release of more than 19,000 documents, most of which had some redactions, according to The Washington Post.
More than 90 percent of the records collected that pertain to the assassination have already been released.
Now, the documents are set to be disclosed in two groups — one by Dec. 15 of this year, and another by the same day next year.
A National Security Council spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that Biden’s announcement is a way to ensure that the maximum amount of information pertaining to the assassination can be released.
The spokesperson also said Biden has directed the National Archives to democratize the records and make them accessible by the public online.
“Fifty-eight years ago, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy left an indelible mark on our nation. In accordance with recommendations of the Archivist of the United States, President Biden announced a path forward to ensure as many records as possible related to the assassination are released to the public as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.
“The President also directed the National Archives to develop a plan to digitize the full collection—more than 300,000 records—to democratize the records and allow the public to review them online. Today’s action is one of the many steps the Biden Administration has taken to ensure transparency and accountability in government,” the spokesperson added.
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