President Trump assured Americans early Friday that hundreds of records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy would be shared with the public and promised “great transparency,” despite a delayed release.
In a memo late Thursday, Trump cited “potentially irreversible harm” to national security if he were to allow all of the records to be released. The president placed those files under a six-month review, while letting 2,891 others come out, racing a deadline to honor a law passed in 1992 that mandated their release after 25 years.
“JFK Files are being carefully released. In the end there will be great transparency. It is my hope to get just about everything to public!” Trump tweeted early Friday.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called the delay “inexcusable.” The self-described government transparency organization offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who leaked the withheld documents.
Trump insisted that he “had no choice” but to hold the documents back. The White House said that the FBI and the CIA made the most requests within the government to withhold some sensitive information.
A CIA spokesperson told Fox News that the agency had released all but 18,000 of its more than 87,000 documents related to the assassination of Kennedy, and promised that the outstanding records would be made available.
According to the CIA spokesperson, some of the withheld documents would contain redactions in order to “protect information in the collection whose disclosure would harm national security—including the names of CIA assets and current and former CIA officers, as well as specific intelligence methods and partnerships that remain viable to protecting the nation today.”
The 1992 law mandating the release of the JFK documents said that all of the files “shall be publicly disclosed in full” within 25 years – that meant by Thursday of this week – unless the president certified that the “continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense; intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations.”
The law does not suggest penalties for noncompliance of the mandate, but says that House and Senate committees are responsible for oversight of the records.
The remaining documents are expected to be released to the public in April 2018.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.