Two Top Republicans to Call for Full JFK Disclosure

"The American people are sick and tired of not being given the truth."

Photo Credit: Reuters

Two senior Capitol Hill Republicans plan to introduce a congressional resolution calling for full disclosure of U.S. government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) will introduce their JFK resolution before the end of the month, according to Jones.

“I want to make sure that the information that is owed the American people is made available,” the veteran North Carolina conservative said in an exclusive interview with AlterNet. “The American people are sick and tired of not being given the truth. “

The JFK Records Act of 1992 mandated full disclosure of all government records related to the assassination within 25 years. Some four million pages of records were released in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Another 100,000 pages of assassination-related material from a dozen government agencies must be made public by the statutory deadline of Oct. 26, 2017.

Under the law, the CIA, FBI and other government agencies can postpone release of still-secret JFK records after October 26—but only with the written permission of the president.

“We going to take a very positive approach and thank the agencies that have the information and are making it public,” Jones said. “At the same time we want to put some pressure on the agencies to release all the information they have.”

CIA Hedging

The CIA declined to say if it plans to seek postponement of the release of the Agency’s remaining JFK records.

“CIA continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information,” said spokesperson Nicole de Haay in a written statement released Thursday.

The unreleased records include CIA files on two senior officers involved in assassinations and four Watergate burglars, as well as the secret congressional testimony of numerous JFK witnesses.

“I hope they will not request any postponement,” Jones said. “We’re talking about something that happened 54 years ago.”

While JFK scholars and journalists have called on Trump to "give us the full story of the JFK assassination," Jones and Grassley are the first elected officials to lend their clout to the cause.

Jones stressed that the JFK Records Act was approved by a vote of 435-0 in October 1992.

“The first President Bush signed this law and everybody in Congress, Republican and Democrat, voted for it,” Jones said.

Jones said he and Grassley plan to thank Bush and enlist the support of all the members of the House and Senate who voted for the JFK Records Act in 1992, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

Enduring Interest

The JFK assassination story endures in American culture and politics, though most Americans are too young to remember the event itself.

In 2016, Hollywood generated popular feature films about JFK’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, and his successor, Lyndon Johnson, while candidate Donald Trump briefly pushed the bogus theory that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in JFK’s murder.

“I was a sophomore in college in 1963,” Jones recalled. “I’m from that generation that remembers the tragedy of Dallas very vividly.”

Over the years, Jones said he has maintained “an interest in the assassination and all the questions raised about it: did [accused assassin Lee Harvey] Oswald act alone? Did he have accomplices?”

Jones said he had not been in touch with the White House about his plans.

“Right now, we’re just laying the foundation, reminding the American people what was done in 1992," he said. "We want to start that process again. If we can build some national interest and support for what’s being done [by the releasing agencies], that might help.”

Jones likened his JFK resolution to congressional efforts to declassify a portion of the 9/11 Commission report.

“We spent three years beating the drum for release of the 28 pages from the 9/11 report,” he said. The 28 pages, released this summer, revealed multiple links between the hijackers and associates of Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington. 

Four Revelations

The first batch of JFK records, released by the National Archives in July, generated several new revelations that cast doubt on the official story.

One top CIA counterintelligence official came to doubt the lone gunman theory in the mid-1970s and suspected Cuba might have been involved, according to Politico.

WhoWhatWhy reported on records showing that Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of JFK’s murder, was a CIA asset, something that was suspected but not confirmed.

For AlterNet, I wrote about how CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton repeatedly deceived Warren Commission investigators about the agency’s knowledge of Oswald’s pre-assassination activities.

Collectively, the latest revelations pour cold water on the theory that the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, was involved in JFK”s murder, while raising questions about the “Castro did it” conspiracy theory.

Mostly, the new documents illuminate how the CIA resisted investigation and why the public, and agency officials themselves, came to doubt the official story of a lone gunman.

History

In the telephone interview, Jones said he was “optimistic and positive” about the prospects for full JFK disclosure by October 26.

“You can’t justify not making this information public,” he said.

Asked why the issue still matters more than a half century after JFK’s assassination, Jones replied. “If you don’t know history, you have no future.”

You can access the JFK records at the National Archives. At the Black Vault, a superior interface makes the new documents easy to search. The most complete online source for JFK files and information is found at the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

Jefferson Morley is AlterNet's Washington correspondent. He is the author of the forthcoming biography The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin's Press, October 2017).

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