The US will “unfortunately” continue to delay the public release of records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and officials say the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame.
The move was announced in a memo signed by President Joe Biden and released by the White House Friday.
“Temporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure,” Biden wrote.
In 1992, Congress ruled that “all Government records concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy . . . should be eventually disclosed to enable the public to become fully informed about the history surrounding the assassination,” the missive said.
The act allowed the government to postpone the release to “protect against an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations,” according to the memo.
This year, the National Archives and Records Administration ruled that “unfortunately, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the agencies,” and NARA needed additional time to research the material and “maximize the amount of information released,” the memo said.
The most sensitive information will now be released in December 2022 and material that has already been deemed “appropriate for release to the public,” will be dumped on Dec. 15 of this year.
Some 250,000 records have already been released, but the public cannot view them unless they drive to NARA’s College Park, Maryland headquarters, the memo said.
Under the new order, all records would be digitized.
Kennedy was killed while riding in a motorcade in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder, but was shot two days later on live television by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who died in 1967.
The enigmatic case continues to spawn countless books, theories and debates.
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