Our government is still ignoring us, even after it asked for our input.
Last September the National Declassifcation Center offered a new option for prioritizing classified government records that have not been fully processed:: “the opportunity for interested researchers to choose which series of records from a selected list should go the head of our queue.”
Omitted from the selected list was the single most common suggestion sent to the NDC blog: the declassification of JFK assassination records. So when the NDC proudly announces a Prioritization Update via the NDC Blog, it is worth restating the facts:
The NDC solicited public opinion about declassification priorities. Because the public interest conflicted with the CIA’s prerogatives, they ignored it.
I’m tiresome on this point, I know. I’ve made it before: here, here, here. So have others. The head of the Public Interest Declassification Board says the secrecy around JFK records is “ridiculous.” A former CIA official says JFK secrecy does “great harm.”
So instead of repeating myself, I duly note the explanation given by officials of the NDC and the National Archives: It goes like this: We couldn’t possibly prioritize JFK assassination records because agency officials told us that they lack the “time and resources” to review the material. And: the records are scheduled to be released in October 2017. So be patient.
I want to give credit to the Archives staff for already assembling a team to review the records so they can be released in 2017.
But here’s my request to the National Declassification Center. Please don’t insult us by soliciting the views of the public, knowing ahead of time you are going to ignore us in favor of the CIA.. Every time the NDC talks about public input into the declassification process, it should restate publicly why the public’s priority will not be respected in the case of JFK records. If the NDC thinks this is a defensible policy, they should have no hesitation about repeating it publicly.