What the JFK review board recommended for 2017

Between 1994 and 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reviewed and declassified millions of pages of JFK records, contributing immensely to the history of the JFK’s murder, his presidency, and the Cold War.

The board’s final report also laid down the law  to any government agency that wants to continue withholding JFK documents past October 26, 2017.

“… the JFK Act mandated that all postponed assassination records be opened to the public no later than the year 2017 (25 years from the date of enactment of the JFK Act).

The report goes on:

“Government offices could continue to postpone public release of material in assassination records after the year 2017 if “the President certifies” that (1) “continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military, defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations” and (2) “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

The report stated: “Without such certification, NARA will release all postponed records or portions of records in 2017. [emphasis added].

“… government offices could request the Review Board to agree to postpone the release of information in an assassination record only if the agency could demonstrate by providing ‘clear and convincing evidence’ to the Review Board a compelling need for postponement.”

This is the legal standard that all federal agencies must meet if they want to continue withholding JFK documents. They must present “clear and convincing” evidence of harm and such harm must outweigh the public interest. Speculation will not suffice.


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