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Biden and the National Archives sued over JFK murder records

The Mary Farrell Foundation, a non-profit organization and online database containing the most comprehensive collection of records relating to the murder of John F. Kennedyhas sued President Biden and the National Archives and Records Administration for postponing the release of nearly 15,000 documents related to the former president’s assassination.

The claim, filed in San Francisco federal court on Wednesday, alleges that federal officials acted outside the law in failure to make those improvements available to the public, denying researchers and historians opportunities to learn about it. has been “deprived”. JFK Massacre, Nearly three years into his presidency, Kennedy was fatally shot on live television while riding in a motorbike through Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, in what is considered to be one of the most notorious and widely regarded events of the 20th century. Discussed considered political murder.

A lengthy federal investigation found former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald solely responsible for the shooting, but vague details about the circumstances of JFK’s death have led to numerous conspiracy theories and speculations about academics, writers and filmmakers as well as the general population. Invited estimates from Growing public interest in murder records, as well as speculation about a rumored government cover-up, led to the passing of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act in 1992, mandating the final publication of all unpublished documents. .

That law, which was signed by former President George HW Bush, originally set an October 2017 deadline for the federal government to publish all remaining documents related to the assassination. That initial deadline was effectively pushed forward by then-President Donald Trump, who was then ordered release Of the nearly 2,800 previously unseen files, but withheld thousands of others for national security reasons, saying they needed further review.

Then, in a memo released last October, Mr Biden announced one more delay and set a new deadline for releasing the records, which now falls on December 15. According to the White House, the pandemic had prevented the national archivist from reviewing it, and it would take longer than expected to finish the work. Biden cited security concerns as the basis for his decision to support the archivist’s adjournment request.

“Temporary continued adjournment is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or foreign relations operations that is of such severity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure,” he said. Wrote, referencing a portion of the JFK Records Act that allows for continued adjournments for reasons as long as there is “clear and convincing evidence” for the delay.

However, the Mary Farrell Foundation still claims that Mr Biden and the NARA Records Act violated its mandate by failing to publish the amendments with an initial timeline.

“These failures have led to confusion, gaps in records, over-classification, and outright denials of thousands of files related to the murder, five years after the law’s deadline for full disclosure,” the organization said in a statement.

Wednesday’s lawsuit seeks a judicial order to either compel the government to make unpublished JFK murder records available to the public, or otherwise conduct a thorough review of all undisclosed documents using a specific set of criteria outlined in the 1992 law. Go. While the suit acknowledged that the act was allowed to be postponed on national security grounds, it alleged that federal officials followed the standards of the law for “clear and convincing evidence” of the potential consequences that would come with releasing the documents. not done.

“In interpreting the stringent declassification standard of the JFK Act, Congress states that when an agency presents evidence of identifiable harm that would result from disclosure, identifiable harm must involve more than ‘speculation’,” the lawsuit says. . “The record cannot be postponed because of some conceivable or speculative harm to national security. Rather the harm demonstrated by disclosure in a democracy must be weighed against the benefits of releasing information to the public.”

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