President Trump is responsible.
I have no doubt that Trump personally wanted to release all the JFK files. But after tweeting, inaccurately, that the files had been released, Trump protected the last of the CIA and FBI’s assassination-related secrets.
Here’s Trump’s October 26 JFK order, as found on the White House web site. In it, Trump avoided mentioning the CIA by name saying only that
executive departments and agencies (agencies) have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns. I have no choice –today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security.[
That loophole was big enough for the CIA and FBI to drive a cart full of JFK records to Secrecy City.
A review of the National Archives JFK records database, by the non-profit Mary Ferrell Foundation shows that 15,834 JFK documents remain wholly or partially secret. (Full disclosure: I’m the vice president of the foundation.)
The results were dispiriting.
There was the will of the people, as expressed through law enacted by Congress The JFK Records Act, was unanimously approved by Congress. It was signed in to law by a Republican president. It was implemented by a Democratic president. It called for full disclosure as of October 26, 2017.
Then there was the will of the CIA. The secretive agency prevailed.
Benson’s tweet expressed a point that was hard to refute.
I still get asked about the documents. Every president since ’63 had the power to release all documents. Remember: @realDonaldTrump had NO role in releasing anything: he STOPPED the releases until 2021. Who the president is simply doesn’t matter. #documentsmatter #historymatters pic.twitter.com/9gG40waMR5
— The Searchers (@searchersfilm) July 30, 2018