CIA Director Bill Burns will advise Biden on secret JFK files

William Burns, nominee for CIA director (Credit: CBS News)

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold hearings on the nomination of longtime diplomat William Burns to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

If confirmed as expected, Burns will have to advise President Biden on a symbolically potent decision: whether or not to release the last of the CIA’s files related to the assassination of President Kennedy in October.

According to the National Archives, the U.S. government retains 15,834 JFK files that remain wholly or partially redacted. The Archives has not provided exact figures by agency but several thousand at least are held by the CIA.

The JFK Records Act of 1992 required that all the JFK files be made public in their entirety within 25 years, except in cases where the president certified that continuing secrecy was necessary. In October 2017, Trump acquiesced to the sweeping secrecy demands of then CIA direct MIke Pompeo and FBI director Christopher Wray but Trump also ordered the withheld files to be reviewed again within four years.

[Here’s Trump’s October 2017 memo delaying release of JFK files]

So a good question for a Senator to ask Burns would be, “Will you recommend that President Biden release all of the Agency’s JFK assassination files in October 2021 without delay or exception.”

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