When we examined the modern American’s relationship with his or her government, perhaps the prevailing sentiment involved is distrust. Of course, we can trace this back throughout our history, all the way to the Revolutionary War and all of the various incidents that brought that to fruition, but there are plenty of modern examples of deceit that have reiterated this pervasive feeling.
Perhaps no singular event in our national history has conjured as many unanswered questions about our government secrets as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the mystery has prompted a rather severe lawsuit this week.
A research organization that boasts the largest collection of online records related to John F. Kennedy’s assassination is suing President Joe Biden and the National Archives over files about the former president’s 1963 killing.
The Mary Ferrell Foundation filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco on Wednesday accusing Biden and the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, of unlawfully withholding documents about Kennedy’s assassination in violation of a 1992 Act that mandated their full release by 2017.
The group was not mincing their words.
“It’s high time that the government got its act together and obeyed the spirit and the letter of the law,” the nonprofit’s vice president, Jefferson Morley, told NBC News. “This is about our history and our right to know it.”
The records have long been overdue for public consumption.
The so-called JFK Records Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, greenlit the files’ full, public release within 25 years in an effort to dismiss conspiracy theories and claims that the U.S. government had something to hide. Congress reasoned that by 2017, 54 years after Kennedy’s death, “only in the rarest of cases” would there be any legitimate need to protect the information in the files.
But the files’ long-anticipated release was partially stalled by President Donald Trump, who ordered a fraction of them to be withheld, citing national security concerns. Biden then pushed back their release again last year. His administration blamed the pandemic for snarling NARA’s ability to determine whether the material could harm national security if released.
The National Archives have been given until December 15th to explain what they’ll refrain from releasing and why.