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Some — but Not All — JFK Documents Released

300 classified documents on assassination still held back from public

JFK assassination Document Release

Hank Walker/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 he became the fourth president to be killed in a nation that, at the time, was less than 200 years old.

The highly anticipated release last night of long-classified documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy lost most of its intrigue when federal agencies successfully lobbied to keep 300 documents hidden from the public.

President Trump built drama around last night’s reveal by tweeting in advance that it would contain “interesting” information — and he wasn’t entirely wrong. Among the revelations in the 2,800 documents that were released as scheduled were allusions to assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s potential CIA connections, the possibility that Robert F. Kennedy had an affair with Marilyn Monroe and a reference to Lyndon B. Johnson’s belief that JFK’s killing was related to his decision to order the assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem.


But the decision to withhold 300 documents—despite the deadline enacted by the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992—was likely the most newsworthy development. Officials announced that the remaining documents will go through six-month long classified review process. The further delay, along with reports that U.S. intelligence agencies were furiously lobbying to keep the information in the documents from being released to the public, will likely only fuel the conspiracy theories that have long swirled around the JFK assassination.

Millions of government documents on the shooting have been released over the years, including a number gathered by the Warren Commission in the 1960s. Established by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the commission was charged with investigating the circumstances surrounding Kennedy's assassination.

An official of the National Archives told Time magazine that many of the documents may be of little value because, she believes, any potentially revelatory information has already been unredacted and released.

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