The coverage of the first batch newly-released JFK assassination records in Politico, the Washington Post, WhoWhatWhy, AlterNet and other national publication confirms the public interest in–and historical importance of– the government’s long secret files about the murder of President Kennedy in 1963.
But the documented fact, first reported in JFK Facts, that a batch of CIA records about suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald has gone missing since 1997, underscores the need for congressional legislation to insure that the goal of full disclosure is achieved.
The JFK Records Act of 1992 mandated release of all government records related to JFK’s within 25 years. The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), an independent civilian review panel, oversaw release of most of them in 1990s.
The records released in the 1990s provided disturbing new details about the events of 1963 including a top-secret Pentagon program to provoke a war with Cuba in 1963 known as Operation Northwoods and CIA surveillance of Oswald six weeks before Kennedy was killed.
The last 1 percent of withheld JFK records must be released by October 26. The CIA FBI and other government agencies can withhold JFK documents past that date, but only with the express written permission of President Trump.
Earlier this year Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the ARRB, called for release of the last JFK records, without exception. But without public pressure in the form of a Sense of Congress resolution or a law explicitly mandating full disclosure secretive government agencies may see fit to hold back, or not to search for, the records that they are required by law to release.
There may well be an innocent explanation for why Volume V of the CIA Office of Security file on Oswald is missing. If so, the government should be required to share it with the interested public. Without such mandate, secrecy could continue to prevail.