The National Archives and Records Administration (NARAs substantial collection of JFK assassination records in alignment with a President Joe Biden memorandum.
The records, pursuant to the JFK Act of 1992, have been made available for public download on the NARA website.
Not good enough, claims the Mary Ferrel Foundation, a non-profit archive with searchable JFK records. MFF sued President Biden and the National Archives (NARA) October 19 for failure to implement the 1992 JFK Records Act.
The lawsuit, filed in a California federal court, noted an Ocotber 22, 2021 Biden memorandum postponing release of an unspecified number of Assassination Records without conducting a required record-by-record review.
The non-profit archive alleges that memo violates the JFK Records Act. MFF also claims NARA violated the Administrative Procedures Act by implementing the Biden memo.
MFF alleges the Biden memo is not compliant with the JFK Records Act. It also castigates the record-keeping agency with failure to follow up on outstanding record searches, noting none have been made since 1998.
President Biden’s executive orders and Transparency Plans fail to comply with the JFK Act, claim Lawrence Schnapf, a New York attorney.
“We have filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking an order declaring the Transparency Plans as void and null, and the President’s executive orders fail to comply with the JFK Act,” said Mr. Schnapf in an email to RTM.
Mr. Schnapf, along with California lawyer Bill Simich, represents the Mary Ferrel Foundation in its legal action against the administration’s release of JFK assassination documents.
“We also have asked the Court to order the National Archives to complete the search of additional assassination records that were outstanding at the time the Assassination Records Review Board ceased operation in September 1998,” Schnapf added.
Oral arguments in the proceeding are scheduled for July 13, the New York attorney concluded.
Approximately 2,672 documents have been added to the existing collection since April 15, as per the presidential directive. The agencies involved in this process meticulously reviewed redactions in the records, consequently revealing an array of previously undisclosed information.
“At the National Archives, we believe in the importance of government transparency and the accessibility of information,” said U.S. archivist Colleen Shogan in a statement.
“I have every confidence that the NDC’s implementation of these plans offers a clear path forward for public transparency and the timely release of additional information as circumstances warrant,” Shogan added.
The newly released information meets the president’s June 30 deadline and includes thousands of previously redacted documents.
To maintain consistent transparency and regular dissemination of information, involved agencies drafted and delivered transparency plans to NARA’s National Declassification Center (NDC).
The NDC implemented these plans, keeping the prime objective of promoting government transparency and facilitating the timely disclosure of additional information at the forefront.
The JFK Act of 1992, enacted after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, mandated consolidation of all assassination-related material within the National Archives and Records Administration.
The collection is substantial, totaling over five million pages of records that include photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings and artifacts, collectively occupying approximately 2,000 cubic feet.
The majority of these records have been rendered accessible for research purposes, contributing to a broad knowledge base surrounding the Kennedy assassination.
This new release of records may provide further insight into the circumstances surrounding JFK’s assassination, a topic that continues to be of significant interest to historians, researchers and the general public alike.
This move reaffirms the commitment of the current administration and NARA towards openness and transparency, allowing for a better understanding of one of the most influential events in American history.
UPDATE: This report was edited July 6, 2023, to include a non-profit’s legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s release of documents related to the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.