Statement on The Withholding of JFK Assassination Files

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Nearly 54 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Given the event’s historical significance, there has been a continued intense public interest in it. There have been two official inquiries, the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, into what exactly transpired and countless media works–both fiction and nonfiction–have explored the assassination.

This public interest has been met with intense official secrecy. People within the government opposed to varying degrees both official inquiries. The CIA conceded it engaged in a “benign coverup,” withholding from the Warren Commission information about CIA plots to work with the mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro. Robert Blakey, chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, has stated that he believes the CIA similarly withheld information from that inquiry, as well.

In 1992, Congress passed the JFK Records Act, mandating the release of files that was supposed to happen in full yesterday. Yet, the CIA has pressured President Donald Trump to withhold some of the files and it would seem that he has acquiesced.

Regardless of what one thinks of the explanations and counter-explanations proffered over the decades, attempts to foil government transparency are contemptible.

The American people have a right to know about their own history and the actions (or inactions) of the government agencies, which purport to act in their interest. It is well past time for the files in question to be made public. Further delays are unnecessary and serve only to protect a culture of secrecy antithetical to democracy.