The National Archives released more than 2,800 previously classified or redacted records related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy Thursday evening, but will withhold some of the records due to national security concerns, according to a memo from President Donald Trump.
The documents related to the investigation into Kennedy’s murder — consisting of files from the CIA, the FBI, the Defense and State departments and other agencies — were scheduled to be released 25 years after the passage of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The law called for the records to be made available based on the approval of the president.
Trump issued a memo to the heads of executive departments certifying the declassification Thursday, but also noted that some expressed reservations and therefore ordered that federal agencies be given 180 days to re-review whether certain documents related to national security require continued redaction or withholding.
“Executive departments and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns,” reads the memo from Trump. “I have no choice — today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation’s security. To further address these concerns, I am also ordering agencies to re-review each and every one of those redactions over the next 180 days.”
“At the end of that period, I will order the public disclosure of any information that the agencies cannot demonstrate meets the statutory standard for continued postponement of disclosure under [the act],” it continues.
Trump announced last week that he would permit the records to be made public and tweeted Wednesday to tease their release.
“So interesting!” he wrote.
The 2,891 records that were released were posted on the National Archives’ website, with more expected to be made public following the continued review.
The vast majority of records related to the assassination — roughly 88 percent — have been available since the late 1990s, with an additional 11 percent of the documents released, with redactions, since then.
Thursday’s cache includes some of the remaining files and some of the redacted portions of previously released documents.