John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dallas, Texas while riding in a motorcade in Dealey Plaza.
Kennedy was allegedly fatally shot by a former U.S Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, while he was riding with his wife, Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally’s wife, Nellie, in a presidential motorcade.
A ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission from November 1963 to September 1964 concluded that Oswald acted alone in shooting Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. Kennedy’s death marked the fourth (following Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and most recent assassination of an American President. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became President upon Kennedy’s death.
The Documents Collection
Note: There are some false positives in the search engine, and I am investigating exactly why. I am trying to figure out if there is hidden information that I can’t see embedded in the PDF, or if this is a glitch. Until then — it still works great — just may have some false positives within your search results. I aim to fix that, whatever the issue may be.
On July 24, October 26, November 3, November 9, November 17 and December 15, 2017, along with their final release on April 26, 2018, the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) released previous withheld records relating to the JFK Assassination. Upon this final release, the National Archive stated the following:
“All documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act have been released in full or in part. No documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act remain withheld in full. The President has determined that all information that remains withheld under section 5 must be reviewed again before October 26, 2021 to determine whether continued withholding from disclosure is necessary.”
The entire collection of all records released have been compiled below. Despite the files originally being released in a non-searchable format, The Black Vault converted 100% of the files to a searchable format, and compiled them into a search engine above. In addition, The Black Vault created a 3,032 page index file of the entire collection, with clickable links to download the files. This also can be downloaded below.
The Documents Released
Please Note: Due to the size of the following index, which is more than 47MB in size, we recommend to download (right click, save as…) the .pdf file to your desktop, and open it from there.
CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE INDEX OF DOCUMENTS RELEASED [3,032 Pages, 28.3MB]
Or Browse Directory of Raw Files: [ July & October 2017 Release | November 3, 2017 Release | November 9, 2017 Release | November 17, 2017 Release | December 15, 2017 Release | April 26, 2018 Release | ARRB Hard Drives | ARRB Emails (.pdfs) or (raw .csv files) ]
The Documents Released – .Zip Files
Download the July and October Release: (right click – press save as): [ .zip 39.1GB]
Download the November 3 (searchable .pdf) Release: (right click – press save as): [ .zip 3.7GB ]
Download the November 9 (searchable .pdf) Release: (right click – press save as): [ .zip 7.0GB ]
Download the November 17 (searchable .pdf) Release: (right click – press save as): [ .zip 16.4GB ]
Download the December 15 (searchable .pdf) Release: (right click – press save as): [ .zip 41.1GB ]
Download the April 26 (SEARCHABLE .pdf) Release: (right click – press save as): [ JFK-April2018.zip 38.5GB ]
Or for a smaller, segmented download (but is not searchable) I have left the following .zip files available for download:
Download the April 26 (non-searchable .pdf) Release: (right click – press save as): [ jfk201804a.zip 1.1GB | jfk201804b.zip 1.0GB | jfk201804c.zip 1.2GB | jfk201804d.zip 1.1GB | jfk201804e.zip 1.15GB | jfk201804f.zip 1.4GB | jfk201804g.zip 1.1GB | jfk201804h.zip 0.95GB | jfk201804i.zip 1.1GB | jfk201804j.zip 1.1GB | ]
The Documents Withheld
(Note: These statistics below will likely change now that the April 26, 2018, release is in the public domain (and downloadable above). This section will be updated soon…)
This “withheld” list was released via the FOIA to The Black Vault in FOIA Case #NARA-NGC-2018-000072.
It shows 22,933 Documents totaling 442,606 Pages are being withheld, though the list needs clarification.
According to NARA: “We conducted a search and were able to locate an EXCEL spreadsheet that lists everything that has not been released since December 15th, 2017 (the last release date). We are releasing this document if full with no redactions. The spreadsheet lists the JFK record number, the decision, the file number, document date, number of pages, and the origination agency.”
However, upon investigation, NARA also listed the entire set of PARTIALLY released records, along with those completely withheld. Digging deeper, and with the help and verification of Jimmy Falls of the news agency WhoWhatWhy we came up with the same numbers, using two entirely different methods.
It confirms there are 3,082 Documents, totaling 217,114 Pages that are not yet released to the public. (Note: There may be 174 duplicate file numbers on the list of 3,082. I am confirming they are, in fact, duplicates, so this number may shift slightly in the coming days. Additional information is also being reviewed, which may actually make this number grow. Stay tuned…)
We cross referenced the list below, with the master NARA list of released documents, and came up with the same exact conclusion and both verified these numbers. I then called NARA on the telephone on 1/30/2018 to confirm — and they informed me that these records are in the process of being reviewed through April of 2018 for possible release. Although more than 2,200 of the 3,082 should already be online, I told her that I believed they were not, and NARA recommended to wait until at least April of 2018, as more documents are reviewed, released and organized.
Update on 2/9/2018: Jefferson Morley of JFKFacts.org has recently posted some articles regarding the EXACT number of documents currently withheld. Although first reporting the numbers above, he did submit a correction saying the number may be smaller based on additional information obtained from Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation. It is believed that some of these records listed as “withheld” and/or “Redact” do actually exist in the Mary Ferrell Foundation archive, or at NARA possibly in only paper form (or digital and set to be released at a later date).
This could very well be the case, and I am very open to the above numbers not being the 100% set in stone record count. But, this brings up a very important factor when sifting through these papers and tackling this topic, and that is the sheer volume and erroneous information that is currently floating around about what really is there — and what is not.
When I built the government document archive here on The Black Vault, I have always utilized only information given to me straight from the U.S. Government to report and create statistics like the above. I was originally told the spreadsheet I received was of entirely “withheld” documents (which my FOIA request asked for) but upon review, I noticed that was not the case, and I confirmed that with NARA who stated that as well over the telephone.
The next step, using only the spreadsheets released officially, I (along with Jimmy Falls of WhoWhatWhy) confirmed the above numbers as those not matching as being released, and as Mr. Bradford confirmed, was accurate on the surface. But, digging deeper, he goes on to say he believes some of these (all of these) reside at his archive, or at NARA (or possibly both) but just not online.
I do not have ‘membership’ access to the Mary Ferrel Foundation archive, so I can not verify myself if 100% of these documents reside there or are withheld. But after conducting some searches on their search engines, and on Google which will hit the MFF database, I did find reference to many of the documents that I spot checked at random, but they have no download link and do not appear to be in the archive, in full. Some examples (and please correct me if I am just lacking a proper membership to view) include: document numbers 157-10014-10152, 157-10014-10158 and 179-20001-10145 which were randomly chosen. These are NOT found in MFF’s archive. These appear as “redact” on the NARA list, which Mr. Bradford stated were in the MFF archive. He asked for examples of these not appearing in the MFF archive, and I believe these are examples, as such. Again, please correct me if I am mistaken… but I only find references to the documents, but not the documents themselves. In addition, they say “Withheld in full” as well on MFF supporting they have yet to be released, despite NARA giving the impressions they were “partially” released and marked as “redact”.
Let me say I have nothing but respect for the Mary Ferrell Foundation and their service to the public of archiving information relating to the JFK Assassination. I am not ‘fighting’ the counter-argument that the number is smaller, but rather, stating that based off the official released lists, the above numbers I posted are accurate based on what they gave me and have released publicly. Whether or not some of the records I deem as “not released yet” have, in fact, been released — that goes into again, that larger issue which I believe, is part of the game the U.S. Government is playing. Massive document dumps, incorrect indexes, non searchable formats, erroneous information, etc. all make all of our jobs, as researchers, reporters, journalists, archivists, or curious minds that much harder.
But, let me end with this explanation on the way I look at it. NARA, along with the U.S. Government, is touting these digital releases as the collection of previously withheld, or partially withheld records. They state:
“The National Archives is releasing documents previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act. The vast majority of the Collection (88%) has been open in full and released to the public since the late 1990s. The records at issue are documents previously identified as assassination records, but withheld in full or withheld in part. These releases include FBI, CIA, and other agency documents (both formerly withheld in part and formerly withheld in full) identified by the Assassination Records Review Board as assassination records. The releases to date are as follows.”
If records being released show that the government is still reviewing a record, but history shows us the records have been released (as the MFF states they have some already) — then this review process is taking much longer than it has to and is much more disorganized (on the part of the U.S. Government) then I first feared. Or, the other way to look at it, is despite a previous (redacted) version of some of these records released in the past, maybe the above number reflects documents still to be reviewed again, and further released without as many redactions. That, may be encouraging, if true.
Bury the public in massive amounts of data, and another generation will pass before any sense is made of it.
– CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE INDEX OF DOCUMENTS WITHHELD (as of January 29, 2018)
Download: [PDF, 791 Pages, 5.1MB] or [Excel, 0.9MB]
Discuss The JFK Files
Assassination Reports and Records
Final Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations US House of Representatives, January 2, 1979 [716 Pages, 43.27MB]
From Bright Ideas to Social Research: The Studies of the Kennedy Assassination, May 1965 [38 Pages, 1 MB]
Central Intelligence Agency Records
Arthur James Balletti Et Al – Unauthorized Publication or Use of Communications – Assassination of John F. Kennedy, 14 May 1962 [7 Pages, 9.1MB]
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Files on Key Players
| Banister, Guy [297 Pages, 32.9 MB]
Banister, Guy – Release #2 [335 Pages, 20.3 MB] – William Guy Banister (March 7, 1901 – June 6, 1964) was an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an Assistant Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, and a private investigator. After his death, he gained notoriety from allegations made by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that he had been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was an avid anti-communist, alleged member of the Minutemen, the John Birch Society, Louisiana Committee on Un-American Activities, and alleged publisher of the Louisiana Intelligence Digest. He also supported various anti-Castro groups in the New Orleans area: “Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front”; “Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean”; “Friends of Democratic Cuba”. According to the New Orleans States-Item newspaper, “Guy [Banister] participated in every anti-Communist South and Central American revolution that came along, acting as a key liaison man for the U.S. government-sponsored anti-Communist activities in Latin America.”
|Estes, Billie Sol – [34 Pages, 4.44 MB] – Billie Sol Estes (January 10, 1925 – May 14, 2013) was an American businessman; a former financier best known for a business scandal that sent him to jail for fraud multiple times and complicated by his ties to friend and future U.S. President Lyndon Johnson. Estes was living in Granbury, Texas at the time of his death. His body was discovered on May 14, 2013 at his home in DeCordova, Texas. Please note: This was a limited release on his full file, which is estimated to be 77,000 pages in length. I amended my request after some electronic communication with the FBI by stating, “I understand the Estes made some (unfounded) claims about the death of John F. Kennedy towards the end of his life, connecting the murder to LBJ. That’s a small nutshell, but in essence, what I am looking for is anything related to JFK’s assassination and LBJ.”|
|Garrison, Jim – [ 160 Pages, 10.13 MB ] – Earling Carothers “Jim” Garrison (November 20, 1921 – October 21, 1992) – who changed his first name to Jim in the early 1960s – was the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana, from 1962 to 1973. A member of the Democratic Party, he is best known for his investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was played by Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s JFK.Requesting additional records on Garrison, other than the above, the FBI informed me that records may have BEEN DESTROYED. In addition, others may exist at the National Archives. I am awaiting a response.|
| Pavlick, Richard [ 289 Pages, 16MB ]
United States Secret Service File [ 601 Pages, 29.39MB ]
Secret Service Release #2 [ 9 Pages, 1.7MB ] – Richard Paul Pavlick (February 13, 1887 – November 11, 1975) was a retired postal worker from New Hampshire who stalked U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy, with the intent of assassinating him. On December 11, 1960 in Palm Beach, Florida, Pavlick positioned himself to carry out the assassination by blowing up Kennedy and himself with dynamite, but delayed the attempt because Kennedy was with his wife and children. He was then arrested before he was able to stage another attempt.
John “Handsome Johnny” Roselli was rumored by many to have played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Roselli was also involved with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
Although I have filed multiple FOIA requests to multiple agencies, the below are the only records to have come back:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – [1,306 Pages, 52.58MB] – The FBI finally released 1,306 pages of Roselli’s file. There are approximately 17,000 more pages. See the below letter.
Please Note: The FBI acknowledges that there is a nearly 18,000 page FBI file on Johnny Roselli, however, there are enormous fees to go along with obtaining the file. $530 to obtain the records on CD while a printed copy would cost $1,769.40.
If anyone would like to sponsor the rest of this file, I would put all 18,000 pages on The Black Vault and archive it here for research.
National Security Agency (NSA) – The NSA claims that they can “Neither confirm nor deny records exist” on Roselli. Is this simply a standard response? Or are they hiding information?
Weisberg, Harold NARA Release #1 – [22 Pages, 2.2MB]
Harold Weisberg (April 8, 1913 – February 21, 2002) served as an Office of Strategic Services officer during World War II, a U.S. Senate staff member and investigative reporter, an investigator for the Senate Committee on Civil Liberties, and a U.S. State Department intelligence analyst who devoted 40 years of his life to researching and writing about the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. He wrote ten self-published and published books and approximately thirty-five unpublished books related to the details for those assassinations, mostly with respect to Kennedy’s assassination. Weisberg was a strong critic of the Warren Commission report and of the methods used in investigating President Kennedy’s murder. In this regard, he was avant-garde, embarking on a course that many other conspiracy theorists would later come to follow. Weisberg is best known for his seminal work, Whitewash, where he wrote: “Following thousands of hours of research in and analysis of the vast, chaotic, deliberately disorganized, padded and largely meaningless 26 volumes of the testimony and exhibits of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and its 900-page Report – millions of words of which are not needed and are merely diversionary – I published the results of my investigation in a book, Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report. In this book, I establish that the inquiry into the assassination was a whitewash, using as proof only what the Commission avoided, ignored, misrepresented and suppressed of its own evidence.” On February 21, 2002, Weisberg died of cardiovascular disease at his home in Frederick, Maryland.
National Security Agency Records
National Security Agency Records on the JFK Assassination Batch 1 [214 Pages, 17.3MB]
National Security Agency Records on the JFK Assassination Batch 2 [492 Pages, 47MB]
Report of the Assassination Records Review Board
The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 created the Assassination Records Review Board as an independent agency to re-examine for release the assassination-related records that federal agencies still regarded as too sensitive to open to the public. The Board finished its work on September 30, 1998, issued a final report, and transferred all of its records to the National Archives and Records Administration.
Warren Commission Report
The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 29, 1963 to investigate the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy that had taken place on November 22, 1963. Its 889-page final report was presented to President Johnson on September 24, 1964 and made public three days later. It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy and wounding Texas Governor John Connally and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald two days later. The Commission’s findings have proven controversial and have been both challenged and supported by later studies.
The Commission took its unofficial name—the Warren Commission—from its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren. According to published transcripts of Johnson’s presidential phone conversations, some major officials were opposed to forming such a commission and several commission members took part only with extreme reluctance. One of their chief reservations was that a commission would ultimately create more controversy than consensus, and those fears proved valid. (Source: Wikipedia)
Warren Commission Report (Full) [910 Pages, 88.9MB]