Late in the afternoon of the Friday before the much-anticipated Independence Day weekend, the Biden administration quietly announced a delay in releasing particular classified documents linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The postponement, they claimed, was a matter of national security.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a high-profile figure in the Kennedy clan, responded with vehement criticism. Recently, he has been vocal about his suspicion of the CIA’s involvement in his uncle’s death and has expressed concerns about his safety concerning the agency.
Kennedy, whose political influence is growing and who has become a considerable contender for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination against Joe Biden, proposed the existence of a deliberate coverup. In a flurry of tweets, he posed a question that reverberated through the digital sphere: “The assassination was 60 years ago. What national security secrets could be at risk? What are they hiding?”
He criticized Biden’s strategic timing for burying this “bad news” during a busy holiday weekend. He accused him of intending to indefinitely maintain the shroud of secrecy over the JFK assassination records. Kennedy even went as far as to state that this decision clearly violated the President JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. This law stipulated that all JFK assassination records held by the government should have been released by October 2017.
It should be noted, however, that this law does contain a clause that permits a delay if the president determines that the release could harm military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or foreign relations to the degree that outweighs the public interest.
Despite this, Kennedy maintains that the records held by NARA should have been released by now, as initially agreed by Biden in December. The administration had pledged to remove the remaining records by June 30th, the eve of the Independence Day weekend.
The White House stated on Friday that more than 99% of the records have been made public. Nevertheless, in a memo signed by Biden, it was revealed that the acting archivist of NARA recommended the continued postponement of the public release of certain redacted information from the December release. Biden echoed this recommendation, saying that the disclosure could harm military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, and foreign relations.
Biden committed to future releases following a policy named the Transparency Plan, established by the National Declassification Center (NDC). The president maintained that the plan ensures maximum access to information while protecting against identifiable harm as per the standards of the Act.
Since his announcement to run for president, Kennedy has increasingly voiced his belief that the American government was responsible for his uncle JFK’s murder. He pointed to former CIA Director Allen Dulles, a member of the Warren Commission, appointed to investigate the assassination. Kennedy stated that his father’s “first instincts” were that the federal agency was responsible for JFK’s death, a claim the CIA has consistently denied.
In 1979, a U.S. House review committee concluded that Kennedy’s murder involved at least two gunmen and other conspirators. The only person officially accused, Lee Harvey Oswald, denied his involvement and was subsequently murdered before he could be tried.
In a recent podcast interview with influential conservative Joe Rogan, Kennedy admitted that he feels threatened by intelligence agencies like the CIA and is taking precautions for his safety. This complex and troubling history unfolds as we approach the next presidential election.