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Biden delays release of JFK assassination files until nearly 2023, blames COVID-19 pandemic

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Next month marks 58 years since former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while in a motorcade driving in Dallas, Texas.

Some of the long-classified files related to the assassination of JFK have remained a secret to the public despite a law requiring them to be released in 2017. President Joe Biden will keep the classified documents hidden from the American people, and the files won't be released until nearly 2023. Biden blames the COVID-19 pandemic for not being able to release files regarding the assassination of then-President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

On Friday, Biden issued a press release titled: "Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on the Temporary Certification Regarding Disclosure of Information in Certain Records Related to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy." The memo noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is the cause for the delay in the release of the records pertaining to the murder of Kennedy. The White House claims that the National Archives and Records Administration needs additional time to review whether it "agrees that each redaction continues to meet the statutory standard."

"The Archivist of the United States (Archivist), however, has reported that 'unfortunately, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the agencies' and NARA and that NARA 'require[s] additional time to engage with the agencies and to conduct research within the larger collection to maximize the amount of information released,'" Biden's memo states.

"The Archivist has also noted that "making these decisions is a matter that requires a professional, scholarly, and orderly process; not decisions or releases made in haste," the news release continues. "The Archivist therefore recommends that the President 'temporarily certify the continued withholding of all of the information certified in 2018' and 'direct two public releases of the information that has' ultimately 'been determined to be appropriate for release to the public,' with one interim release later this year and one more comprehensive release in late 2022."

"Temporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure," Biden wrote.

Biden announced that the release of information regarding JFK's assassination is postponed until Dec. 15, 2022.

In 1992, Congress enacted the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act that "mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and Records Administration." The act also "requires all assassination records transmitted to NA for public disclosure to be included in the Collection and made available for public inspection and copying."

The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection "consists of more than 5 million pages of assassination-related records, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, and artifacts (approximately 2,000 cubic feet of records)."

"More than 250,000 records — more than 90 percent of the records agency's collection on the assassination — have been publicly released and 'only a small fraction' contain redactions," the New York Times reported. "But many of the records are available only to the public if they travel to the National Archives site in College Park, Md."

The JFK Act required that records concerning the John F. Kennedy assassination be released to the public on Oct. 26, 2017, 25 years after the JFK Act was signed.

In 2017, then-President Donald Trump released approximately 2,800 documents related to the assassination of the 35th president of the U.S., but "yielded to pressure from the FBI and CIA to block the release of other records to be reviewed further," according to Reuters.

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