On May 14, I reported “1,100 JFK documents ignored in Obama’s push to open records,” a story that would be picked up by dozens of news sites around the world.
It was the most important of three scoops scored by JFK Facts in 2013. While much of the coverage of the 1,100 documents overlapped with the story of George Joannides, the CIA records received even wider coverage, especially after I summarized the most important missing records in another piece, “Top 7 JFK files the CIA still keeps secret.”
The catalyst was David Porter’s Aug. 17 Associated Press story, which led with the secret Joannides files, but explained that the Agency retained approximately 1,100 assassination-related files as well. The AP story appeared in at least thirty news sites, and the story spread from there.
Joesph Lazzaro of the International Business Times followed up with a series of stories about the secret files, including “Four JFK FIles the CIA Must Make Public,” “The CIA and Lee Harvey Oswald–Questions Remain,” and “Just Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald.”
New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik mentioned these hidden records in his Nov. 4 piece, “Closer Than That.” So did his colleague John Cassidy in a Nov. 21 blog post, “A Word in Favor of J.F.K. Assassination Conspiracy Theories.” (although Cassidy misstated the number of documents withheld.) Author Anthony Summers cited the 1,100 documents in a Nov. 18 letter to the editor of the New Yorker.
Finally, thousands of relevant records, including 1,171 C.I.A. documents classified on the ground of national security, remain withheld. The law requires that all Kennedy-assassination-related records be released by 2017, unless the President rules otherwise. If Oswald was a leftist loner who killed the President, and if that was all there was to it, why continue to conceal documents?
The story reached the White House On November 17, a reporter for the McClatchy newspaper chain asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about the still-classified files. Carney had no comment.
The next day, CNN’s Thom Patterson reported on the still-wthheld files and elicited a comment from the CIA about the 1,100 records.
“CIA has followed the provisions of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, and the National Archives has all of the agency’s documents and files on the Kennedy assassination,” said CIA spokesman Edward Price. “The classified information contained in the files remains subject to the declassification provisions of the Act.”
U.S News asked me to write about the CIA files and responded with this piece on Nov. 19.
All of this coverage has put the world on notice that the 1,100 records are scheduled to be released in October 2017. Without JFK Facts, the story might have never gotten wide circulation.
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