April 26 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Thursday delayed the release of more than 500 still-classified documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on national security grounds.
Historians and conspiracy-theorists have long awaited the full set of the Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, established by the National Archives in 1992. The collection consists of about five million pages — the majority of which were made public years ago.
Trump did, however, agree to release an additional 19,045 documents, many with redactions, in accordance with his order last fall that federal agencies review them within six months and determine which should continue to be withheld.
The recommendation to Trump was for 520 of the most sensitive documents to remain sealed.
“I agree with the archivist’s recommendation that the continued withholdings are necessary to protect against identifiable harm to national security, law enforcement, or foreign affairs that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure,” Trump said in a statement Thursday.
The president said he’s ordered federal agencies to re-review the redacted portions of the files by 2021 — at which time the documents could be released in full, or continue to be sealed.
“At any time during that review period, and no later than the end of that period, agencies shall disclose information that no longer warrants continued withholding,” Trump said.
When it established the records collection, Congress gave a 25-year deadline for all the files to be declassified. When that deadline passed on Oct. 26, Trump issued the six-month extension.
Jefferson Morley, a longtime JFK assassination researcher and author who led a years-long lawsuit against the CIA seeking the documents, said Thursday’s decision is appalling.
“The clear intent of Congress [in 1992] was that all of this material would be in the public record with a few possible exceptions,” Morley said. “So then the question is, what are they hiding?
“The cover up continues.”