The National Archives has released nearly all the remaining long-classified documents concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but President Trump chose to keep a number of the documents secret for another 180 days, the White House said Thursday night.
“The American public expects ― and deserves ― its Government to provide as much access as possible to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records … so that the people may finally be fully informed about all aspects of this pivotal event,” Trump said in his presidential memorandum mandating the documents’ release. “Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted.”
The release of a number of documents with redactions will be postponed for 180 days to allow for further review, despite a decades-old law establishing this day as a deadline for the release of all remaining documents, which has perennially spawned a litany of conspiracy theories.
Officials said the sensitive information that will remain redacted for now relates to “intelligence and law enforcement” details.
That includes the identity of individuals involved in the investigation into the assassination and their roles as informants to law enforcement, a senior administration official said.
It also includes information about foreign partner organizations that were involved in the investigation, the official said.
“The president heard those justifications from the agencies that requested the continuing postponement and he acknowledged that information…requires protection,” the official said.
The “vast majority” of the redactions in the blocked documents were made by the FBI and CIA, which cited national security reasons in their requests, according to a White House spokeswoman.
The documents were expected to focus on Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and his exploits in Mexico City two months before he shot the president in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, according to USA Today.
According to the archives, “much of what will be released will be tangential to the assassination events.”
The files were released under a law spurred by a popular 1992 movie directed by Oliver Stone, “JFK,” which suggested a U.S. government conspiracy was behind Kennedy’s killing. The JFK Assassination Records Collection Act mandated that the last of the documents on the assassination be released exactly 25 years after the law was enacted on Oct. 26, 1992.