President Trump Allows Release of Secret JFK Assassination Documents

October 21, 2017 10:26, Last Updated: October 22, 2017 11:30

President Donald Trump on Saturday said that he will allow the release of thousands of classified documents on the assasination of President John F. Kennedy.

While most of the millions of pages of government documents on the assassination of Kennedy, which took place on Nov. 22, 1963, have been made public, several thousand—or 1 percent of them—have been withheld from the public.

Under the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, the documents could only be kept secret for 25 years. This time limit is set to expire on Oct. 26, 2017.

However, the act states that the final decision to release the file is the current president’s to make.

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”

“Subject to the receipt of further information” likely refers to the review process that government agencies have been conducting to assess whether the documents contain information that should not be released.

An agency that wants to keep certain documents secret for a longer period of time needs to file a formal appeal with the president.

The fact that Trump is saying he will most likely allow the documents to be released suggests that no government agency has objected.

“The President believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” a White House official said.

In total, there are over 5 million pages of government documents related to the assassination of Kennedy stored in the National Archives.

According to the National Archives, 88 percent of the documents are open in full to the public, 11 percent are released in part with sensitive parts removed, and 1 percent has remained hidden from the public.

The front page of the New York American Journal, announcing that President John Kennedy has been shot and is reportedly dead. (Three Lions/Getty Images)

“While NARA cannot comment on the content of the records, we assume that much of what will be released will be tangential to the assassination events,” the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) says on its website.

However, NARA says that while most of the secret documents will be released, there is still a small portion that won’t be.

Documents that discuss grand jury information, certain tax return documents, and records covered by a specific deed or gift, won’t be released.

“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,” the NARA states.

John F. Kennedy (White House Press Office)
US President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, shortly before his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1962. (AFP/Getty Images)
Jacqueline Kennedy (C) stands with her two children Caroline Kennedy (L) and John F. Kennedy, Jr.(R) and brothers-in-law Ted Kennedy (L, back) and Robert Kennedy (2ndR) at the funeral of her husband US President John F. Kennedy in Washington, DC on Nov. 25, 1963. (AFP/Getty Images)
President Kennedy’s body lies in state in the East Room of the White House with the honor guard, Nov. 23, 1963. (Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)
Burial and folding of the flag ceremony for President John F. Kennedy (Abbie Rowe, National Parks Service/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)
Kennedy family members leave the funeral ceremony for President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 25, 1963 (Abbie Rowe, National Parks Service/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)
President and Mrs. Kennedy descend the stairs from Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. (Cecil Stoughton/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)
President Kennedy and daughter Caroline aboard the Honey Fitz off Hyannis Port, Mass., on Aug. 25, 1963. (Cecil Stoughton/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)