The US National Archives and Records Administration (Nara) released 2,800 previously unreleased records pertaining to the assassination of President John F Kennedy, on 26 October. However, the release of hundreds of other related documents were reportedly blocked due to pressure from the CIA and the FBI.
The Trump administration reportedly bowed to pressure from US intelligence agencies, providing them with an additional six months to review and possibly redact the remaining unreleased records. WikiLeaks is now offering a $100,000 (£76,223) bounty in exchange for the unreleased JFK files. "WikiLeaks issues a $100,000 reward for the withheld JFK documents should they show violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error," the whistleblowing organisation tweeted yesterday.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also took to Twitter to express outrage at the six-month delay to the release of some of the secret JFK records. "The agencies have had literally 25 years to prepare for the scheduled release today. The delay is inexcusable," he wrote.
In another tweet, Assange took yet another jab at US intelligence agencies, claiming that the delay in full release of JFK records showed how the agencies are "determined to make Trump look weak by delaying JFK files after he promised their release today".
News of the release of the JFK files were hyped by US President Donald Trump, who announced his approval of the files being made public through a tweet.
Trump said in a memo to the heads of US agencies that he had "no choice" but to accept the request for redactions, adding that the American people deserved access to as many of the JFK files as possible. "Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted," he wrote, Reuters reported.
A spokesperson for the CIA told Reuters that around 18,000 CIA records, part of the collection, remain unreleased. However, these documents will reportedly also be released eventually with just 1% of the material left redacted.
"Approximately 88% of the records in the Collection are open in full. An addition 11% are released in part with sensitive portions removed. Approximately 1% of documents identified as assassination-related remain withheld in full. All documents withheld either in part or in full were authorized for withholding by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), an independent temporary agency that was in existence from 1994 to 1998," Nara said in a statement.
The White House said in a statement that the remaining records pertaining to the JFK assassination would be released later "on a rolling basis" by April 2018. The files will contain "redactions in only the rarest of circumstances," the statement added.