national archives jfk
WhoWhatWhy are reporting that it's unlikely the National Archives will release the 30,000+ JFK assassination documents they were mandated by law to release today. Despite WhoWhatWhy being on the Archives' mailing list for updates, the Archives have been unable to provide any information whatsoever on the number of documents that will be released and whether or not any government agencies have requested documents or sections be redacted or withheld from release. Some agencies apparently have not even sent in their objection letters yet! This is despite the fact that they've had 25 years to prepare - today is the deadline after all - and Trump has signaled that the documents should be released. WhoWhatWhy writes:
Pete Williams, Pentagon Correspondent for NBC News, says he has been told that some agencies have not even gotten their objections in yet to NARA.

In an exchange this morning on a listserv for JFK records researchers, Williams wrote [he approved dissemination of his comments]:
We've been told by intelligence officials that the memo has not even been sent to the White House yet, specifying which material the agencies want withheld. Our understanding is that the CIA is asking only for some redactions, not for documents to be withheld in their entirety. But other agencies involved in the process have not yet finished their submissions.

These officials believe that little material, therefore, will come out today. "There's a mad scramble going on in the executive branch to get this done," one official tells us.
He later added:
I just talked to an official at another US agency whose documents are at issue. His understanding is that some material will come out today but the remainder will be postponed to a later date. However, the issue of what to do now is still being discussed, and no decisions have been made.
This is ridiculous and inexcusable. The fact that some agencies have yet to send their memos should be taken as a tacit sign that they have no objections. They had a deadline; they didn't meet it. The Archives should not cater to their incompetence and/or mendacity. The fact that they are appearing to do exactly that only makes them complicit.

UPDATE

Despite his positive tweets, Trump made a last-minute decision to delay the release of documents for 6 months, implying that to do so would pose a threat to "national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns" - a threat that could cause "potentially irreversible harm to our Nation's security." The full statement is below. But the fact remains: all agencies had plenty of time to determine all of this before the deadline. They were obviously banking on securing a presidential delay. But why now? What could possibly pose such a threat to national security when practically everyone involved is dead or senile? What difference does six months make? And who actually believes that any really incriminating documents still exist in the first place?
THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Temporary Certification for Certain

Records Related to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

The American public expects - and deserves - its Government to provide as much access as possible to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records (records) so that the people may finally be fully informed about all aspects of this pivotal event. Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted. At the same time, executive departments and agencies (agencies) have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns. I have no choice -today - but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation's security. To further address these concerns, I am also ordering agencies to re-review each and every one of those redactions over the next 180 days. At the end of that period, I will order the public disclosure of any information that the agencies cannot demonstrate meets the statutory standard for continued postponement of disclosure under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (44 U.S.C. 2107 note) (the "Act").

Accordingly, by the authority vested in me as President and Commander in Chief by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby certify that all information within records that agencies have proposed for continued postponement under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act must be temporarily withheld from full public disclosure until no later than April 26, 2018, to allow sufficient time to determine whether such information warrants continued postponement under the Act. This temporary withholding from full public disclosure is necessary to protect against 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.

I hereby direct all agencies that have proposed postponement of full disclosure to review the information subject to this certification and identify as much as possible that may be publicly disclosed without harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations.

Any agency that seeks to request further postponement beyond this temporary certification shall adhere to the findings of the Act, which state, among other things, that "only in the rarest cases is there any legitimate need for continued protection of such records." The need for continued protection can only have grown weaker with the passage of time since the Congress made this finding. Accordingly, each agency head should be extremely circumspect in recommending any further postponement of full disclosure of records. Any agency that seeks further postponement shall, no later than March 12, 2018, report to the Archivist of the United States (Archivist) on the specific information within particular records that meets the standard for continued postponement under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act. Thereafter, the Archivist shall recommend to me, no later than March 26, 2018, whether the specific information within particular records identified by agencies warrants continued withholding from public disclosure after April 26, 2018.

The Archivist is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

DONALD J. TRUMP

###

The White House · 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW · Washington DC 20500 · 202-456-1111
UPDATE (Oct. 27)

By early today, some 2891 documents had been posted on the Archives website. That may seem like a lot, but it's not. Here's the lowdown on the figures, thanks to WhoWhatWhy. Most of the archive has been online since the mid-90s, but with redactions. Yesterday, all of those documents were supposed to have been made available without redactions. In addition to those, about 3100 documents have never been released in any form - bringing the total of documents expected to have been released to a whopping 30,000 or so. Of the 2891 documents released today, only 52 are "new". The rest are all unredacted versions of previously available docs. In other words, the Archives are still sitting on about 27,000 unredacted documents, and over 3000 withheld documents. Word is that you can send your thanks to the CIA and FBI for this unnecessary delay.

Documents will continue to be released "with agency-proposed redactions on a rolling basis in the coming weeks".