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National Archives releases anticipated JFK assassination records

ST. LOUIS, MO – A few weeks shy of the 54th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death, the National Archives on Thursday published a new trove of records tied to the assassination which have previously not been made public.

The release was mandated by today’s date under terms of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act in 1992, which went into effect on this day 25 years ago. The Trump administration had the ability to block any release that could cause an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations,” and  President Trump followed the recommendations of the intelligence community, withholding the release of some records pending a review until no later than April 26, 2018.

Prior to the release, historians had questioned if any “bombshells” would be revealed, according to CNN. Archive authorities said they expected the information to be “tangential” to the assassination itself and pointed out that 88 percent of documents it holds tied to the incident have already been made public. Some of the records discuss the U.S. government’s direct and indirect attempts to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba, former Orleans Parish District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation of the Warren Commission’s report on the Kennedy assassination, and efforts to track the travels of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to November 1963.

As historians, conspiracy theorists and others pore over this new information, one question likely remains: what else is still out there?

According to the National Archives and Records Administration:

“NARA is trusted with preserving our archival holdings permanently and holds that all records in our legal custody will eventually be available for research. That said, there are categories of records in the collection that, in accordance with the Act, will not be released in 2017. Sections 10 and 11 of the act discuss grand jury information and records held under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code (tax return information) as well as records covered by a specific deed of gift. We have identified a small number of records, or portions of records, that fit into these categories. For all other records, how long records stay withheld after 2017 will be determined by the President, who has final appeal authority.”

As an example, the iconic pink suit worn by Jackie Kennedy on the day of the assassination will not be available for the public to see until 2103, one hundred years after it and other items were transferred under a deed from the family in 2003.