National Archives creates a team to review JFK records for 2017 release

In a recent email to researcher Bill Kelly, Martha Wagner Murphy, chief of the Special Access and FOIA Staff at the National Archives at College Park, disclosed some welcome news.

I am pleased to inform you that the Special Access and FOIA unit has constituted a team to process all of the JFK documents that are still being withheld for release by 2017 in accordance with the JFK Act,” Murphy wrote.

She went on to note “the only basis to withhold records beyond that time would be if the President personally certifies continued postponement, under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the JFK Act). “

As JFK Facts first reported in May 2013, the CIA retains approximately 1,100 assassination-related records in their entirety that have never been seen by the public.

Since then, mainstream news organizations such as the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, Fox News, and Politico have picked up on this story.

While I have criticized Archivist David Ferreiro for not making review and release of these files a priority, the creation of this team is a sign that the Archives is at long last responding popular demand for release of these records.

JFK Facts has also reported on what’s in this trove of records:

— Hundreds of pages from the operational files of CIA officers David Phillips and Anne Goodpasture, both of whom knew about the travel, politics, and contacts of accused assassin Lee Oswald before November 22, 1963;

— Hundreds of pages from the operational files of Howard Hunt and the administrative files of David Morales, both whom implicated themselves in JFK’s assassination.

— The files of William K. Harvey, chief of the CIA’s assassination program, known for his open hostility to President Kennedy and his Cuba policy.



23 thoughts on “National Archives creates a team to review JFK records for 2017 release”

  1. What does a president have to certify to get a document excluded from disclosure under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act?

    1. Ramon F Herrera


      “What does a president have to certify to get a document excluded from disclosure under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act?”


      The president certifies “continued postponement”. See theoretical example:

      Let’s say that the CIA considers that some spying method on Russia is still useful today, and revealing it would be detrimental to their operational work. They would write to President Clinton asking her to postpone the disclosure. This is on a DOCUMENT by DOCUMENT basis. The president does not have to explain anything to us, obviously.

      The reason I use Mrs. Clinton as example is because I am convinced that since 1963 until today many things remain unchanged. Make no mistake about it: not only was this a partisan job but the partisan divide persists, today, in 2014. See John Kerry, best friend of Teddy. Notice the composition of the HSCA:

      The first 12 Congressmen are Democrats and the last 2 Republicans.

      In forums, I have published 2 lists of people who can actually make a difference in the investigation (all the way from Allen Dulles to our host Jeff Morley). One list comprises the people who have worked toward HIDING and the others towards RELEASING. The correlation is remarkable. Conservatives want to Conserve (hide) while Liberals want to liberate the truth.

      I first noticed this trend in the interactions between professor McAdams (Southern Conservative) vs. Tony Marsh (Yankee Liberal).

      As the French are fond of saying:

      “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”.

      Speaking of which:

      The first suspects were The Minutemen and the JBS.

  2. I’m not an American, I’m an Englishman and I’m a cop, specifically a detective (DC). I’ve had a huge interest in the JFK assasination since I was 8! I recall my father telling me that sometime ago the president of the United States was killed but they never caught who did it. I was 8 and I simply couldn’t get my head round it…how could this be? I read about it more and more and learnt about JFK, his family, his good points and bad, his policies, his hobbies, favourite music…literally everything available in book stores and on the internet I’ve read it.I’ve grown up through the years and I’ve read many, many books on the main topic (his killing), and viewed many photos and watched the documentaries etc…everything available which everyone else can see. Plenty for the cover up and equally plenty for the official line.
    I have no allegiance to the Kennedy clan or the US and I’m not a conspiracy hippy but a neutral and as a detective it is painfully obvious for all to see that JFK was murdered by his own people, specifically LBJ, CIA, Texas oilmen. Anyone who supports the LHO did it ‘theory’, are either a) deliberately subjective for the sake of it b) anti kennedy c) part of the ‘establishment’ d) unable to see the wood from the trees e) not interested in the truth….the list goes on.
    As I mentioned I’m not an American but the truth needs outing and those still alive (such as bush senior),
    need to answer some tough questions and maybe just maybe America can be healed.Silly of course because for that to happen corporations must fall. JFK threatened the real rulers of America and paid the ultimate price as did his brother and America will never be free of that…history will never forget and one day I’ll tell the JFK story to my children. I may not be an American but I’m a human being and I prey that one day the American people will wake up and demand the truth.

  3. This is great news. Even though I too am somewhat skeptical as to what may be there after 50 years to sanitize and redact we won’t what is there until they are released. So great to hear of at least something positive happening in this respect. Thanks to Bill Kelly for pursuing this info.

  4. If these files are finally released, I have two questions that hopefully someone can answer (my dad is no longer alive so I can’t ask him):

    1) Could there still be “blacked out” portions of these documents that get released, or do all portions have to come clean for the taxpayers who pay for this stuff to see?

    2) How likely is it that portions could have been deleted, if the possibility of duplicate copies* coming out may make things harder for control freaks in government to withhold some information in the released documents?
    (*The duplication issue came up as a complicating matter with respect to not only the Zapruder film, but with Air Force One recorded transcripts in the flight back to Andrews AFB from Dallas.)

  5. Some now may suspect that whatever may be released in 2017 it will look similar to the Zapruder & other amateur ambush footage; scenes spliced out, something missing here, something reversed there, a little marking pen here & there.
    Those familiar with how the government generally & famously operates know that agencies worst fear is not terrorists; it’s investigations & reforms that cut funding & remove high level positions. In my opinion, the withheld JFK files have more to do with insuring the longevity of certain government agencies than hiding info on Lee Oswald; the good stuff was shredded or changed back in the days closer to the crime for CYA. With the exception of the Frank Church Committee, I believe the government in one way, shape or another has been in CYA mode since the demise of JFK & can’t/won’t break out of it.
    One way to break the cycle is replace agencies with contract specialists, such as replace the SS with contract security that work under direct Senate & Congressional supervision.

  6. Ruth Paine still does interviews. My understanding is that she brings someone with her to help handle the situation. She is also very articulate and has defeated virtually every interviewer to date – take a look on youtube at how she beat one of the world’s great cross-examminers, attorney Gerry Spence, in 1986 on a British TV mock trial of Oswald. The victor, Vince Bugilosi has been on a victory lap ever sense – to my knowledge, Spence has never lost a criminal jury trial.

    Michael Paine is still alive. In 1993, he admitted to an interviewer that he knew about Oswald’s rifle prior to 11/22, always denied by Ruth.

    What we need is a new citizen’s commission like the ARRB, with subpoena power to obtain statements from the surviving witnesses before they die. What it takes is political will and organization.

    1. I totally agree that this is the way forward. What seems totally lacking in witness evidence is an attempt to confront witnesses with their inconsistencies. An example is the numerous medical staff, well versed in anatomy, that got away with firstly stating Occipital, then stating ‘Oh, I was mistaken’. These witnesses need to be confronted about their own inconsistency, and by the the other inconsistent testimonies. If you are only provided with credible evidence (a photo) that contradicts your memory then you have a choice; go out on a limb, or affirm the evidence.

  7. Reflecting on previous instances of misinformation its hard to be confident in any released document. More likely to provide trustworthy evidence are individuals under subpeona, or the release of privately held evidence. Paricularly the Kennedy family and Dr Burkley in my opinion.

  8. “What’s the difference between these files and the files that are to be released in 2039?”

    What files are those? Weren’t they the ones whose release date was moved forward to 2017?

    In reference to Mrs. Paine, she should get a presidential pardon, in exchange for telling the whole scoop. Being in the highly compartmentalized methods, maybe she didn’t know she was being an accessory to murder and treason.

    Is Mr. Paine still with us?

    1. What I have read on the web, she is still alive. If i made a mistake regarding the the two sets of records , I believe I’m correct. If not please let me know.

  9. I find it ironic that the same President that has looked the other way in regards to enforcing the law governing the release of the withheld JFK files has recently almost become close to becoming an addition to Arlington Cemetery due to incompetence & other unprofessional behavior of his own Secret Service. Perhaps a wake up call was what was needed all along to free up the American people’s enslaved history records that are wrongfully withheld from them

  10. I’m also a pessimist when it comes to this. I fear it’ll just be leaks that intrigue but do not pin down anything. Until EVERYTHING is released by everybody and not destroyed or redacted to death, I suspect it’ll just be more fodder for the JFK assassination parlor game.

    I hope to be wrong.

  11. When are the files of the Office of Naval Intelligence getting released, in regards to the JFK assassination? Are these due to be released in 2017 as well?

  12. Ok. I believe any smoking gun evidence will be withheld. Whats the difference between these files and the files that are to be released in 2039. Ruth Paige is still alive. Why doesn’t someone just bring her in for questioning!!!!!!!!

    1. Ramon F Herrera


      “What’s the difference between these files and the files that are to be released in 2039?”


      None whatsoever. The release, which was computed as follows:

      1964 + 75 = 2039

      has been moved forward, thanks to Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone, with the “JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992”.

      A very important factor that many don’t know/remember is that this issue became electoral -and hot- with the Democratic Party candidates (for president and Congress) promising:


      which was rather ugly news for a sitting Republican president peripherally involved in the assassination and/or its sequel.

      Can you imagine? The Republicans (and Bush) being seen by the American voter as the blocking obstacle, the last ones in power who refused to release the files while the incoming Democratic duo (Clinton/Gore) finally releasing them?

      That is why, as one of his last acts as president, days before the election, GHW Bush rushed to sign the Act.

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