President Joe Biden said that the United States would "unfortunately" not release the public records regarding President John F. Kennedy's assassination because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays at the agencies responsible for organizing the records.
The decision was signed off by Biden in a memo and released by the White House on Friday.
"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," the memo states.
The memo adds that in 1992, Congress declared that "all Government records concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy ... should be eventually disclosed to enable the public to become fully informed about the history surrounding the assassination."
But this "Act," essentially allowed the government to postpone the release to "protect against an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations."
The memo details how "unfortunately," National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been "impacted" by the pandemic and "require[s] additional time to engage with the agencies and to conduct research within the larger collection to maximize the amount of information released."
The collection, so far, consists of roughly 250,000 documents available to the public, but only if they travel to NARA's headquarters in College Park, Maryland.
However, the most sensitive "information within records that agencies have proposed" will be released to the public in a "digitized" format on Dec. 15, 2022.
Kennedy was shot in Dallas while riding in his motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963.
Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested shortly after that. Two days later, Oswald was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby on live television.
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