16K JFK assassination records still held by feds; lawsuit seeks their release

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Lawsuit seeks release of JFK assassination records still held by feds
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Since this fateful day in 1963, the JFK secret files have slowly been made public. But not all of them.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It has been 59 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. But documents from the JFK killing remain under lock and key by the U.S. government.

Since this fateful day in 1963, the JFK secret files have slowly been made public. But not all of them -- 16,000 records remain detained in the National Archives, even though they were supposed to be released in 2017.

The I-Team has reported in recent years that President Kennedy was the target of several assassination plots, including two in Chicago, just weeks before he was killed in Dallas.

READ MORE | Feds focused on Chicagoans, Outfit figures in JFK files

When President Kennedy was murdered while riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza, there were more than a half-dozen active assassination threats known to the Secret Service at the time.

Hit squad plans had been uncovered by authorities in Tampa, Florida, and in Miami, a few days before the attack occurred in Dallas, in which ex-U.S. military sharpshooter and Soviet sympathizer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested.

"When that bullet struck the head of the president, it struck me too, because I saw it coming," retired Secret Service agent from Chicago, Abraham Bolden, told the I-Team in 2007. He said he had tried to warn his supervisors about the brewing assassination threats, including a pair of plots that targeted JFK in Chicago.

Bolden, the first African American agent assigned to a presidential protection detail, said Kennedy was due to attend the Army-Air Force football game at Soldier Field on November 2nd. JFK's route from O'Hare to the Loop was publicized.

JFK called off the trip at the last minute after two secret threats, one by a right-wing radical and Kennedy denouncer, Thomas Vallee, who was arrested with an M1 rifle and 3,000 rounds of ammo. The second apparent plot was exposed when a Chicago motel manager reported what she saw in a room rented by two Cuban nationals.

"Had seen lying on the bed several automatic rifles with telescopic sights, with an outline of the route that President Kennedy was supposed to take in Chicago that would bring him past that building," said Bolden.

A lawsuit is asking National Archives officials to finally release the last 16-thousand Kennedy assassination records. Those files could finally unlock the remaining mysteries of JFK plots in Chicago, and elsewhere, that failed, and the one in Dallas that didn't.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation, the nation's largest online repository of Kennedy assassination records, filed the lawsuit. The next court date is in early January. The suit is asking President Biden and the National Archives to immediately unlock the remaining records.