Joe Biden has decided that the federal government will delay the release of public records associated with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Government officials blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the need to withhold the documents.
The New York Post reported the delay was announced by a memo issued by the White House on Friday and signed by Biden.
The memo said that “temporary continued postponement” is necessary because of the threat of “identifiable harm” to America’s military defense, intelligence, law enforcement, and foreign relations activities that is so grave it outweighs the public’s right to see the documents immediately.
The memo recognized the requirements of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 that provides for the eventual disclosure of the “history surrounding the assassination,” and that only in the “rarest cases” is there any need for continued non-disclosure.
However, the administration claimed that the “identifiable harm” to the national security as described remains.
The pandemic angle comes into play through recent rulings by the National Archives and Records Administration. That agency stated that the pandemic has “unfortunately” had a “significant impact” on the agencies. As a result, more time is needed to “research the materials” to “maximize the amount of information released.”
The reporting indicates that the material released will be digital, and the less sensitive documents will be released on December 15. The release of other material is delayed until at least December 2022.
It has been almost 58 years since President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dallas on November 22, 1963. The official historical accounts indicate that Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy at 12:30 p.m. from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.
Three shots are accounted for as coming from Oswald’s weapon, killing Kennedy and wounding Texas Governor John Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital 30 minutes after being shot and was 46 years old at his death.