Now there’s one more thing we are told to blame on the pandemic ― the continued secrecy around the federal government’s files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Never mind that it’s been 58 years since the president was shot to death while riding in an open convertible through the streets of Dallas. Never mind that all sorts of conspiracy theories have flourished in the dark hothouse of official secrecy. Never mind that Congress set a deadline of Oct. 26 — today — for the remaining files in the government archives to become public.
In a “the-dog-ate-my-homework” moment, the White House announced on Friday afternoon that it would delay the release of the remaining files because the pandemic slowed down the review by federal agencies. Unlike Christmas toys stuck on ships from China, the assassination archives have been in the same place throughout, so it’s a little hard to follow why COVID-19 is to blame.
Now, the administration promises, some remaining records may become public by Dec. 15, to put a little space between their release and the anniversary of the assassination, out of respect for the Kennedy family. By our math, the time interval from now until that sad anniversary would have been longer.
The rest of the files will be released by Dec. 15 next year, the White House promises. This time for sure. Ten other presidents have served since JFK was murdered. Biden’s immediate predecessor once tweeted that he would release the remaining records, but when push came to bureaucratic shove, he backed off his bold promise.
Although we are not inclined toward conspiracy theories, the decades of foot-dragging by administrations of both parties makes us wonder: What exactly is in those files? For those who were hoping for a greater contrast between the Trump and Biden administrations, this secrecy will remain a disappointing point of similarity, at least for another year.
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