Biden, National Archives Sued Over JFK Assassination Records

Biden, National Archives Sued Over JFK Assassination Records john f. kennedy speaking in 1957 John F. Kennedy speaks on July 15, 1957. (Getty Images)

By Brian Pfail | Wednesday, 19 October 2022 01:19 PM EDT

The Mary Ferrell Foundation, which features the largest online collection of John F. Kennedy assassination records, is suing President Joe Biden and the National Archives in an effort to release all remaining documents.

The foundation's suit alleges the government illegally redacted 11 specific records, including a 1961 memo to reorganize the CIA after the Bay of Pigs, personnel files of three CIA officers connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, a 1962 Defense Department "false flag" operation to stage a "violent incident" in the U.S. where Cuba would be blamed, CIA-funded group which publicized Oswald's pro-Castro activities, and records of the Fidel Castro assassination plot.

One of the records concerns George Joannides, who was the chief of covert action at the CIA Miami station and "served as a case officer for a New Orleans-based CIA-funded exile group that had a series of encounters with Lee Oswald in 1963."

The lawsuit also looks to release tape recordings of Carlos Marcello, who allegedly told his cellmate, Jack Van Laningham, that he was involved in the assassination.

Critics say the Biden and Trump administrations continued the policy of federal obfuscation that has existed since the assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.

Last year, Biden postponed the release of 16,000 records until Dec. 15, 2022, but the Mary Ferrell Foundation argues the delay was illegal. It filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday, one year after Biden initially issued the memo of postponement.

"It's high time that the government got its act together and obeyed the spirit and the letter of the law," said Vice President Jefferson Morley of the Mary Ferrell Foundation. "This is about our history and our right to know it."

Under former President Bill Clinton, the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 gathered and collated records related to the event. They were then required to make the documents public by Oct. 26, 2017, but President Donald Trump delayed the release.

Robert Kennedy Jr., the son of JFK's brother, said it was a crime to democracy to hide this information.

"The law requires the records be released. It's bizarre. It's been almost 60 years since my uncle's death. What are they hiding?" he said to NBC News.

Most experts believe the unreleased or redacted records don't amount to irrefutable proof that others were not in on the assassination with Oswald, the accused shooter. This hints at potential CIA contact with Oswald before the assassination, although the CIA has repeatedly dismissed such accusations.

According to Morley, about 70% of 16,000 documents are in CIA hands and 23% in the FBI's.

NBC News reported the CIA said it is adhering to the JFK records protocols, planning to release the documents by the Dec. 15 deadline.