President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas more than 50 years ago. Twenty-five years ago, Congress directed the nation’s intelligence community to begin the process of letting the American people know what it had discovered about the young president’s untimely demise. This week, the agencies involved in the investigation said they need more time.
As the 25-year deadline to release 3,100 unseen files under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act neared Thursday, intelligence officials reportedly began frantically begging President Donald Trump to allow them more time to review and redact documents. The 1992 law included a provision to allow the president to withhold documents on national security grounds.
As the deadline ticked away, Trump was confronted with a choice: release all of the 3,100 records without any redactions, or accept the redactions of intelligence and law enforcement agencies and release 2,800 of those documents.
Trump agreed to the second option, while also requiring agencies to conduct a secondary review of the information they believed should be redacted within 180 days. But Trump was still miffed by his decision. “He was unhappy with the level of redactions,” a White House official said, adding that Trump believed the agencies were “not meeting the spirit of the law.”
Despite his reported displeasure in keeping some of the documents out of public view, Trump said he had “no choice” in a presidential memorandum Thursday.
Now, there’s more reason than ever to believe that the official narrative surrounding Kennedy’s assassination is government propaganda.
As Reason’s Jesse Walker noted: “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, especially with regard to Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to Mexico City shortly before the shooting. 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 remaining documents are supposed to be reviewed by April 26, 2018. In the meantime, WikiLeaks is offering a $100,000 reward for the redacted information the government is attempting to withhold. And that would be a leak worth having.
Considering how the U.S. national security landscape has changed over the past half century, it’s unlikely that the “national security” concern behind this week’s decision has much to do with foreign entities.
And that should leave Americans with one major question: What is the intelligence community afraid Americans may learn about their own government with the release of the documents in question?
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