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2017 Document Releases

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 five releases thus far (July 24, Oct 26, Nov 3, Nov 9, Nov 17):

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
8 FBI files
1 LBJ Lib file
7 HSCA files
4 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
TOTAL1,211 documents30,123 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.

You can view these documents at the National Archives website.

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


About the recent October 26 JFK Documents Release

See What Happened Thursday with the JFK Records? for an overview of what happened on Thursday, October 26, when the National Archives released just a tiny portion of the remaining JFK documents scheduled for release. Only 52 of the 3147 withheld-in-full documents were released, less than 2%. The remaining 2839 documents released are among those previously released with redactions - the number of such documents is unknown but estimated at around 30,000. Thus on Thursday well under 10% of the total set became available to the American public. It is now uncertain whether we will ever see the remaining thousands of still-secret files.

Here at MFF we will be working to integrate these new documents into the MFF Archive, starting with the 52 formerly-withheld records. Watch this page for further updates, including links to essays covering their contents.

You can view these documents at the National Archives website.


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 arrives October 26, 2017. The National Archives is preparing to release nearly 3,600 withheld-in-full records, as well as full versions of many more documents currently featuring redactions.

Indeed, this process has already begun. On July 24, the first batch of these releases was put online by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Barring intervention requiring approval of the President, it is NARA's intention to deliver remaining records by the October date.

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 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. Currently the formerly-withheld-in-full portion of the July 24 and October 26 releases are online here at MFF; the November files are still "in the works." Watch this space for further developments.

Available documents from the 2017 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 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 arrives on October 26, 2017. The National Archives has for some time been preparing for this date, and on July 24 began the process by doing an initial online release of a little over 10% of the withheld-in-full records, along with a few thousand now-fully-unredacted documents.

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 - five thus far including one prior to the October 26 deadline. Many thousands of documents remain withheld, and a great many redactions remain in those which have been released. The MFF is tracking this process and will continue to document what is happening.

See 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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