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2017/2018 Document Releases

UPDATE: The April 26, 2018 Release

On April 26, 2018, the National Archives released over 19,000 additional documents, pursuant to the 6-month deadline given when the White House authorized continued withholding last October. Here are some facts about this release:

  • In general, released documents feature fewer redactions than has been the case thus far, though many redactions remain.
  • According to the National Archives' project page, 15,834 documents remain redacted. These are intended to be re-reviewed for possible full release at the future date of October 26, 2021.
  • The remaining previously withheld-in-full documents will not be released; the Archives gave explanations including:
          - 520 documents fall under sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Records Act - these are IRS documents and documents provided under a "deed of gift"
          - 9 Rockefeller Commission audio files could not be located
          - 79 RIF record numbers could not be resolved to actual found documents
          - other reasons, see the NARA project page linked above

Additionaly, the MFF is tracking these releases against previously provided spreadsheets of records provided by NARA in 2016 and 2018. There appear to be additonal documents in those listings, expected to be released, which were not in the April 26 records; these instances are being followed up.

See the table below for document counts.

You can view these new documents at the National Archives website.


Rolling Releases After October 26: The Current Status

After October 26, the date when the JFK Records Act stipulated full disclosure barring Presidential action, three additional document releases have occurred. Here are the numbers from the six releases thus far (July 24, Oct 26, Nov 3, Nov 9, Nov 17, Dec 15):

DATEPRESS RELEASEWITHHELD-IN-FULLFORMERLY REDACTED
Jul 24, 2017press release441 documents:
402 CIA files
22 HSCA files
17 audio files
3,369 documents:
1,844 CIA files
3 State Dept files
1,346 FBI files
136 Church Cmte files
6 LBJ Lib files
32 Rock Comm files
2 DOJ files
Oct 26, 2017press release39 documents: (see note a)
1 Church Cmte file
2 LBJ Lib files
5 Rock Comm files
1 State Dept file
30 HSCA files
2,852 documents:
3 CIA files
2,453 FBI files
47 NSC files (note b)
6 Secret Service files (note b)
59 Church Cmte files
3 LBJ Lib files
11 Rock Comm files
8 DOJ files
186 HSCA files
26 NARA Lib files
1 OSD file
6 Army files
43 JCS files
Nov 3, 2017press release583 documents:
553 CIA files
30 Non-CIA files:
8 FBI files
1 LBJ Lib file
7 HSCA files
14 INSCOM files (note b)
93 documents:
1 DIA file
10 FBI files
12 NSA files (note b)
49 HSCA files
20 INSCOM files (note b)
1 OSD file
Nov 9, 2017press release4 documents:
2 CIA files
2 NSA files (note b)
13,209 documents:
12,979 CIA files
230 NSA files (note b)
Nov 17, 2017press release144 documents:
144 FBI files
10,600 documents:
10,600 FBI files
Dec 15, 2017press release1238 documents:
49 CIA files
4 DIA files
6 State Dept files
1,053 FBI files
12 Church Cmte files
38 NARA files
11 LBJ Lib files
13 Rock Comm files
5 DOJ files
47 HCSA files
See non-CIA/FBI docs
2,979 documents: (note c)
45 CIA files
14 State Dept files
2,074 FBI files
201 Church Cmte files
1 NARA file
13 LBJ Lib files
54 Rock Comm files
30 DOJ files
482 HSCA files
3 OSD files
4 USA files
47 Army files
11 JCS files
April 26, 2018press release354 documents:
10 CIA files
1 DIA file
23 FBI files
4 NSA files
250 NARA files
2 LBJ Lib files
3 Rock Comm files
18 HCSA files
29 INSCOM files
7 Army files
2 JCS files
1 Unknown file
4 audio files
18,595 documents: (note c)
13,591 CIA files
15 DIA files
9 State Dept files
3,632 FBI files
29 NSA files
277 Church Cmte files
4 USIA files
22 NARA files
30 LBJ Lib files
54 Rock Comm files
71 Rock Comm files
30 DOJ files
725 HSCA files
9 INSCOM files
6 OSD files
4 USA files
55 Army files
32 JCS files
TOTAL2,803 documents51,697 documents

(a) On Oct 26, the download page set at the National Archives showed 52 "Withheld in Full" files and 2,839 formerly redacted. The current page set appears to have recategorized 13 of the Oct 26 releases from "withheld in full" to "formerly redacted"; the table above is thus reporting the new numbers of 39 withheld and 2,852 redacted. 7 FBI, 1 LBJ Lib, and 5 Church Committee files were reclassified.

(b) Many released files have record numbers which are not present in the online NARA records database. None of these 244 NSA files (prefix 144-), nor any of the 24 INSCOM files (prefix 194-), nor any of the 47 NSC files (prefix 145-), nor any of the 6 Secret Service files (prefix 154-) are in the NARA database. Additionally, 54 FBI files (124-) among those released do not appear in the NARA database.

(c) The 12/15/2017 and 04/26/2018 releases featured abundant errors and anomalies, including malformed PDF links, duplicate rows, and other issues. This count is based on records marked "withheld" as well as many records whose status field was left blank or held unexpected values.

You can view these documents at the National Archives website.

Or view currently-uploaded documents from the 2017 releases here at MFF.


NOTE: Bookmark this page, and check it from time to time for updates. These will include news items, new essays, and links to the new documents as they are uploaded to the MFF archive.

Introduction

The JFK Records Act mandated that all redacted and withheld-in-full documents be fully released 25 years after its passage. That date arrived October 26, 2017, and was followed by a confusing set of rolling releases and delays, along with declassification of a large number of documents.

This page is intended to serve as a focal point for access to these documents and the stories contained within them. MFF has begun the process of putting these records into our Document Archive. Watch this space for updates - see this document set.

See the sidebar at right for more information about these JFK Records and the release process.


Access to the Documents

View these documents online here at MFF

The MFF is working to integrate these new documents into the MFF Document Archive, beginning with formerly withheld-in-full records. We are focusing initially on the formerly withheld-in-full records, and are still processing those. That will be followed with posting the new releases of formerly released-with-redactions records.

Available documents from the 2017/2018 releases


Or download the full set of files from the National Archives or at The Black Vault:

Download or view the new NARA releases

Also included are the 17 released audio recordings of interrogations of Yuri Nosenko, who defected from the Soviet Union in early 1964 with information about Lee Harvey Oswald. These recordings are available for online listening here at MFF.


What's in the New Documents?

Here are links to news articles and essays (ordered by recency) which discuss what is being learned from these documents:

11/3/2017 - Top CIA official was told Oswald contacted KGB officer in Mexico City, new JFK file shows by Jefferson Morley. The lifting of a small redaction - LCIMPROVE - adds meaning to the October 8 1963 cable reporting Oswald's contact with the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City.

9/12/2017 - Top 4 Revelations From the New JFK Files by Jefferson Morley. Surveys the new revelations regarding Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell, Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, and ongoing debate on behavior of the CIA and the Warren Commission.

8/31/2017 - Missing from the new JFK files: a batch of CIA records on Lee Harvey Oswald by Jefferson Morley. Discusses researcher Malcolm Blunt's discovery that volume 5 of a 7-volume CIA Office of Security file on Lee Harvey Oswald is missing.

8/15/2017 - What CIA Hid From the Rockefeller Committee by Doug Vaughan and Jimmy Falls. Discusses a particular newly-lifted redaction in an internal Rockefeller Commission memo, discussing CIA's use of a State Department diplomatic pouch to smuggle weapons into the Dominican Republic for use in assassinating Rafael Trujillo.

8/11/2017 - New Files Confirm the JFK Investigation Was Controlled by the CIA - Not 'Botched' as Some Pretended by Jefferson Morley. Morley disputes Shenon and Sabato's interpretation of the newly-released Helms memo (see below), arguing that the CIA controlled, rather than botched, crucial aspects of the Warren Commissions investigation.

8/3/2017 - How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK's Murder by Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato. Provides a charitable interpretation of how the CIA "failed to pursue clues" about Oswald's contacts with Cubans and Soviets. It is based on primarily on a 27-page memo prepared for Richard Helms for his Congressional testimony.

8/3/2017 - 2017 JFK Document Release Shows Former Intelligence Analyst Got it Right by Alan Dale. Discusses some of what author and JFK expert John Newman is finding in the new records, including confirmation of many of the cryptonym decodings he made in Countdown to Darkness and for the MFF's CIA Cryptonym Project.

8/2/2017 - Dallas Mayor During JFK Assassination Was CIA Asset, by WhoWhatWhy staff. Reports on author John Newman's discovery of new documents showing that the former Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell, whose brother was CIA Deputy Director until fired by Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs, was a CIA asset.

7/29/2017 - Kelly's Top Ten Newly Released Records by Bill Kelly. Bill Kelly's first look at some of the documents.


Sites Discussing the New Records

These sites are good places to learn more about what's in these records.

JFK Facts. Jeff Morley's blog is a great place for news and articles by Morley himself.

Who.What.Why. Russ Baker's investigative news site includes stories on the JFK assassination and the new records.

CounterCoup2. Bill Kelly is also reporting intensively on the new records.

2017JFK. John Newman spearheaded this site, devoted to the 2017 records and ensuring their full release.


Related Information on MFF

See these MFF resources for investigative tools, context, and additional information:

JFK Database Explorer. This tool lets you explore, filter, and search the metadata of the entire JFK Collection. The tool also lets you focus on the 3,571 withheld-in-full records.

CIA Cryptonym Project. The new records are unredacting new cryptonyms, which will be aided to the MFF's ongoing project to decode these using public records.

Missing Church Committee Transcripts. This essay by Rex Bradford discusses the problem of documents which are known to have existed but have "gone missing." This problem is particularly acute with records of the Church Committee.


About the 2017/2018 JFK Records Act Releases

The 1992 JFK Records Act, passed after public outcry following Oliver Stone's movie JFK, resulted in the creation of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). From 1994 through the 1998, the ARRB declassified millions of records from the investigations into JFK's murder, agencies such as CIA and FBI, and other sources. See the Final Report of the ARRB.

The ARRB, in consultation with government agencies, released many of the documents with redactions, blackouts of cryptonyms, agent names, and other sensitive information. Additionally, thousands of documents were marked "withheld in full" and not released at all.

The JFK Records Act mandated that, absent a Presidential override, all such documents be released in full 25 years after the passage of the law. That date arrived on October 26, 2017, but President Trump elected to allow agencies to re-review documents for 6 months during which some declassification would occur. Six batches of documents were released since the October deadline, the most recent on April 26, 2018. Over 50,000 documents have been released, though most of them had been previously released with redactions (updated versions have also had redactions though typically fewer).

It should be noted that in fact some documents will remain withheld due to legal reasons. These include a number of IRS records (tax returns), plus other records legally restricted, for instance a 1964 interview or Robert Kennedy conducted by William Manchester.

What was intended to be an orderly release process has turned into a confusing set of rolling releases. Many thousands of documents remain withheld, and redactions remain in those which have been released. The MFF is tracking this process and will continue to document what is happening. The National Archives has its own processing project page which is worth reading.

See What Happened Thursday with the JFK Records? for MFF President Rex Bradford's reaction to the October 26 announcement of further postponement and review.

See also this annotated transcript of a talk presented last fall by MFF President Rex Bradford at the annual JFK Lancer conference, discussing some of what was already known about the upcoming records from examination of the "metadata" in the National Archives's JFK Database. The video of the talk is available on YouTube. A Newsweek article based in part on this talk was written by Jeff Morley and Rex Bradford.


Help Get the Word Out

Have a news item or essay link we should have on this page? Send email to info@maryferrell.org.

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