Why The Mary Ferrell Foundation Is Suing To Gain Access To JFK's Assassination Records

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, remains one of the most fascinating events in United States history, especially when it comes to conspiracy theories. And there are plenty to go around. One claims Kennedy was a victim of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) , acting on an order put forth by then-vice president Lyndon Johnson. All in all, some 214 individuals, 82 assassins, and 42 groups have been linked with the assassination (via Britannica). 

Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the murder, and after almost a year, it found that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, concluding there were no other agents involved, reports History. Despite this, many believed that the government wasn't telling the whole story. This is primarily because the government to date has failed to release all of the information it has collected. One organization committed to fighting for the release of those records is the Mary Ferrell Foundation, a nonprofit established by Mary Ferrell shortly after Kennedy's death.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation wants complete disclosure

The Mary Ferrell Foundation claims to house the largest online collection of records regarding Kennedy's assassination, but that's less than 25% of the amount of records the government has, per the foundation. The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 contains more than five million pages of records, and the foundation claims that the government has failed to implement the act. As a result, it filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and the National Archives after the president announced that it was postponing the release of thousands of records. 

The organization states that it is safe to assume that most of the documents related to JFK's assassination have been declassified, and there is no smoking gun. That said, the agency has reason to believe the government might be hiding information that sheds light on more nuanced aspects of the how it and the CIA behaved during the height of the Cold War (via NBC News).

The public has a right to know

Jefferson Morley, vice president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, told NBC News, "It's high time that the government got its act together and obeyed the spirit and the letter of the law," adding that the public has a right to the records. The organization explains that as long as there is a lack of transparency, there will be doubt, especially since declassified files show that Kennedy had plans to withdraw from Vietnam in 1963 and was working toward Cold War peace without knowledge of the State Department.

Even Robert Kennedy Jr., JFK's nephew, agrees that people have a right to know what's in the records. "The law requires the records be released," he said, per NBC News. "It's bizarre. It's been almost 60 years since my uncle's death. What are they hiding?"  Moreover, Joseph E. Uscinski, a political science professor at the University of Miami, said that the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories are the most popular in the world, adding that the government's failure to disclose information is partially to blame for the lack of trust.