Leading former government officials and other JFK experts are among those who have called for full release by the National Archives of still-classified records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Details will be announced by CAPA at a 1 p.m. news conference on Thursday, March 16 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Among the speakers at a forum afterward will be independent film maker Randolph Benson, producer and director of The Searchers, a documentary whose title art illustrates this article.
JFK Researchers Letter to the White House:
October 26, 2017 will mark the 25th anniversary of the JFK Records Act, one of the most successful full disclosure measures in the annals of open government law. We write to ask your support for effective enforcement of the Act now and under the next administration. The JFK Assassination Records Act was approved unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on October 26, 1992. The Act resulted in the declassification of some 4 million pages of records related to the assassination of President Kennedy. The Act also serves as a model for other open government measures that have made public key chapters in the nation’s history without compromising legitimate secrets. As President Obama said in August, “we have a responsibility to confront the past with honesty and transparency.”
The JFK Records Collection is now the single most-requested body of records at National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Scholars, journalists, historians, and students have found these records invaluable for writing the history of the Cold War, Kennedy’s presidency, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Warren Commission, Vietnam, the counterculture, and Watergate. The final test of the law will come on October 26, 2017. That’s when all of the redacted documents in the collection, as well as nearly 3,600 JFK records still withheld in full, are scheduled to be declassified in their entirety. The staff of the National Archives is now preparing for the online release of all material before the statutory deadline, an ambitious goal that we hope will be fulfilled.
One provision of the Act gives federal agencies the right to request continued postponement of JFK records after 2017, if release would result in “identifiable harm” that outweighs the public interest. As authors, historians and investigators, we believe, withholding any portion of any JFK records would result in identifiable harm to the public interest. After 53 years, continuing JFK secrecy would provoke unnecessary suspicion and flout Congress’s clear preference for full disclosure within 25 years of 1992. And it would deny the American people access to portions of our history. We ask you, as White House Counsel, to affirm and uphold the spirit and language of the JFK Records Act, and to instruct all U.S. government agencies to fully release all assassination-related records on or before October 26, 2017.
- Russ Baker, author, lecturer and WhoWhatWhy founder and editor
- G. Robert Blakey (shown at right), attorney, law professor, author, and former general counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA)
- Rex Bradford, Mary Ferrell Foundation president and History Matters founder
- Debra Conway, Publisher, JFK Lancer Events and Productions
- Dan Hardway, attorney and former HSCA investigator
- Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, author, whistleblower, and former RAND researcher
- Douglas Horne, author and former Assassination Records Review Board analyst
- Brian Latell, professor, author, and former CIA Cuba analyst
- James H. Lesar, attorney and president, Assassination Archives & Research Center
- Ed Lopez, attorney, educator and former HSCA investigator
- Dr. Joan Mellen, author and professor
- Jefferson Morley, author and journalist
- Dr. John M. Newman, author, professor and former assistant to the NSA director
- Gerald Posner, author and journalist
- Dick Russell, author and former reporter
- Dr. Larry Sabato, author, professor and historian
- Dr. Peter Dale Scott, author and retired professor and Canadian diplomat
- Philip Shenon, author and former reporter
- Anthony Summers, author and former reporter
- Robbyn Swan, author and former reporter
- David Talbot, author and San Francisco Chronicle columnist
- Howard P. Willens, attorney and former Warren Commission assistant counsel
For additional names of the experts — and their varied quotations — calling for legal compliance, visit a Justice Integrity Project, JFK Experts Seek Compliance With Records Release Deadline, part of that project’s so-far 35-part “Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination.”
CAPA Coverage of JFK Assassination Records Conference March 16 During Sunshine Week
Top Experts To Assess JFK Murder Records, Revelations March 16 In DC, March 8, 2017. Federal judge John Tunheim, former chair of the congressionally appointed Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), will speak March 16 at a unique Sunshine Week press conference organized by CAPA to focus on this year’s deadline for disclosure of secret records about President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.
Experts Seek Compliance By Officials On JFK Records, March 10, 2017. Leading former government officials and other JFK experts are among those who have called for full release by the National Archives of still-classified records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Speakers For March 16 CAPA Forum On JFK Records, March 11, 2017. To mark the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth this spring, leaders in the JFK research community are convening at the National Press Club during “Sunshine Week” March 16.
CAPA Forum ‘JFK at 100’: ‘Cold Facts from Forensic Evidence’ Panel, March 21, 2017. Lawrence Schnapf, a New York-based attorney and co-chair of the CAPA legal committee, outlined the organization’s fall planning at CAPA’s forum March 16 at the National Press Club during his panel with AARC President James Lesar.
Judge Tunheim Recalls Oswald’s KGB File: ‘Five Feet Tall,’ March 21, 2017. The Soviet intelligence service developed a massive file on accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald that has never been public, according to the recollections of federal judge John Tunheim in his featured speech at a CAPA conference March 16 at the National Press Club.
At CAPA Forum, JFK Experts See Need, Momentum For Assassination Records Release, March 23, 2017. Federal Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), headlined an expert faculty March 16 in the nation’s capital advocating for compliance with the JFK Assassination Records Act’s deadline of release of President Kennedy’s death records.
Transcript of Judge John Tunheim’s Remarks On JFK Records Release At CAPA March 16 Forum, CAPA staff, with transcript by William Kelly via JFKCountercoup, March 24, 2017. Former Assassination Records Review Board Chairman John Tunheim shared his unique expertise to headline a news conference and forum on March 16 during the news industry’s Sunshine Week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) organized the event.
CAPA (www.capa-hq.com) organized the news conference (which attracted at least two White House reporters and three camera crews) and forum. The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) founded Sunshine Week to foster open government via events like this throughout the nation.