Federal Declassification Board Calls for JFK Disclosure

The Public Interest Declassification Board is an office in the U.S. government that advises the White House on declassification of government records with the goal of “the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions.”

In recent post on the PIDB’s blog, Transforming Classification, the nine-member board signaled its support for maximum disclosure of the still-secret JFK assassination files.

Bryan Cranston as President Johnson being sworn on November 22, 1963.

The PIDB remains interested in ensuring that the provisions of the Act are implemented and as much information as possible is declassified and made public. In 2017, the PIDB wrote a blog post about agency requests to postpone release of records in this collection. At that time, the members expressed their disappointment that so many records continued to be withheld from public access.  

Under the terms fo the JFK Records Act of 1992 and White House order of October 2017, the Biden administration must decide by October 26, 2021 whether or not to release the files, which are related to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.

The PIDB doesn’t have much power in its own right but, because its members are appointed by the President and the Congress, its positions command respect in governmental deliberations about secrecy.

The PIDB’s statement is a welcome contribution to the cause of full JFK disclosure in 2021. According to the National Archives, 15,834 JFK records remain fully or partially classified 58 years after Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Tex on November 22, 1963.

For the latest on the state of the JFK files, read my recent piece for the Just Security blog

The PIDB is holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 18, from 1:00-2:30 p.m, and the public is welcome to participate.

If you favor full JFK disclosure, let the PIDB know. Strong public support for full disclosure can make a difference in the Biden administration’s deliberations on this issue.

To register for the PIDB remote meeting, complete the form here.  After registering, you will receive an email containing a link for access to the audio and video connections to the virtual event. Once registered for the PDIB, participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance of May 18 by email to: pidb@nara.gov.

The PIDB says the meeting will include an update on their June 2020 Report to the President, A Vision for the Digital Age: Modernization of the U.S. National Security Classification and Declassification Systemdiscussions of records related to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001; an opportunity to hear from the newest members; and a question and answer period.

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