JW Sues National Archives Challenging the Withholding of RFK Department of Justice Records
BK NOTES: This suit was with drawn by Max Holland after it was learned that many if not most, and possibly all of the records being sought have been released under the JFK Act.
See: Series 2: Records from the JFK Presidential Library...Sub-series 2
Kennedy Family Continues to Keep Secret Government Records in Violation of the Freedom of Information Act
) – On Washington,
DC February 12, 2013, Judicial Watch
filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of author/historian
Max Holland against the National Archives and Records Administration ( NARA).
The suit challenges the withholding of Robert F. Kennedy’s records while he
served as Attorney General, including “assassination records” relevant to the November 22, 1963 murder of his
brother, former President John F. Kennedy. (Holland v.
National Archives and Records Administration (No. 13-00185)). These
records are currently under control of the Kennedy family under the auspices of
the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in . Dorchester, Massachusetts
Judicial Watch filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests in fall 2012 with
after press outlets reported that the JFK Library was in possession of more
than 60 boxes of records from Robert F. Kennedy’s tenure as the U.S. Attorney
General. Contained in these boxes are diaries, notes, phone logs, messages,
trip files, memoranda, reports, and other records concerning the Cuban missile
crisis, the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and law enforcement
activities of both the FBI and Justice Department. NARA
Although it has been reported that numerous government archivists and historians believe these records—an undetermined number of which are government records—should be made publicly available, none of the records are available for review and they remain under control of the Kennedy family.
In response to Judicial Watch’s
September 26, 2012, FOIA request,
produced a list describing a group of records that were referenced by the press
reports, including records involving the JFK assassination. Judicial Watch
subsequently filed a FOIA request with NARA
on NARA December 5, 2012, on
behalf of author/historian Max Holland seeking access to the following records:
Copies of the seven records identified in the enclosed “Documents from the Robert F. Kennedy Papers: Attorney General’s Confidential File which have been identified by the JFK Assassination Records Review Board as ‘assassination records.’”
To complete the public record on the Kennedy assassination, Congress established the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), an independent agency, to “gather and open” all “assassination records” concerned with Kennedy’s death, as mandated under the President John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act of 1992, 44 U.S.C.§ 2107 (Supp. V 1994).
According to Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit, seven records deemed to be “assassination records” by the ARRB, which issued its final report in 1998, remain secret to this day. They include some of the president’s personal records; documents describing Central Intelligence Activities in
a Cuban Information Service message dated1/26/63entitled, “THE PLANES THAT WERE
NOT THERE;” a State Department incoming cable from Cuba ;
and a document entitled, “Information on Lincoln Bubble Top Automobile sinse
[sic] returning from Mexico .” (A Lincoln
Continental with a removable bubble top was the presidential limousine used by
President Kennedy). Dallas
Judicial Watch and its client, author/historian Max Holland have, requested all of these records be disclosed pursuant to FOIA law. “Over a six-year period in the 1990s, the
government spent millions of tax dollars and untold man-hours in an effort to
gather in one place all assassination-related documents,” U.S.
said. “It was and remains outrageous that relevant government documents in the
papers of the attorney general at the time are somehow out of reach.” Holland
“The JFK records are clearly government records and they should be disclosed in accordance with FOIA law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This lawsuit is about much more than the Kennedy assassination. It goes to the heart of how much control a presidential family may assert over public records. These records do not belong to the Kennedy family – the records belong to the American people.”