With outrageously smug and Orwellian tactics, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Archives Records Administration refuse to release over 1,000 files relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. Which leads me to ask one question: Why? Why after 50 years do these government agencies resist all attempts for full disclosure? Their lack of transparency invites supposition and suspicion. It seems to me that there must be some dynamite in those files. But what is it? What could be so earth-shattering and incriminating that even 50 years after the fact the documents can’t be exposed to the public?
We can safely say, at the very least, that there is some cognitive dissonance going on here. The government’s official position for 50 years is that there was no conspiracy to be found in the murder of the 35th President. Oh sure, the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978 found that a conspiracy was likely, but the government, specifically the Justice Department and the FBI did not act on the Committee’s conclusions. And since that time, no President, no CIA official, no FBI head, no Congressional representative, no governmental agency of any sort has publicly asserted that anyone but Lee Harvey Oswald committed the crime. So if that’s true, why not release the remaining 1,000 files to the public. The answer is obvious. The files would contradict the government’s official position.
But let’s get real here. Anyone who has taken a hard look at the case already knows that the most powerful men and organizations in the country were involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. And most of them were connected in some way to the CIA. If the full truth were made public, the CIA might be destroyed by the virulent public backlash. So maybe it’s just a matter of survival for the spy agency.
Writing in today’s edition of OpEd News, JFK researcher Jim Lesar skewers the CIA and NARA: “NARA, deferring to the CIA, continues to refuse to release these records until 2017 -- if then. The present circumstances clearly warrant immediate release. This is an egregious violation of the JFK Act and the unanimous intent of Congress.
“These records are, almost without exception, more than 50 years old. Under President Obama's new executive order on national security classification, E.O.13526, nearly all information more than 50 years old is subject to automatic declassification and must be released. Yet the CIA and NARA continue to insist that these materials should continue to be withheld. I invited the National Archivist, Mr. David Ferreiro, to address this policy at [ the AARC--Assassination Archives and Research Center] conference on the Warren Report. He did not respond directly, but conveyed his decision to decline the invitation through a phone call to me by NARA's legal counsel Gary Stern.
“The NARA/CIA refusal to obey the law is egregious. The JFK Act was passed unanimously to get Kennedy assassination information to the public in a timely fashion, so the people could assess the controversies over JFK's death. The 50th anniversary is the perfect opportunity for NARA and the CIA to produce these withheld records and to stop violations of the JFK Act. Instead, NARA has reneged on its previous commitment to make these records available by the end of 2013.”