Five months after a Judicial Watch lawsuit forced the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to finally start releasing a secret stash of records from Robert F. Kennedy’s tenure as Attorney General, the government agency is making available the last 26 boxes of material.
Back in July the NARA, an agency responsible for preserving government records and increasing public access to them, finally began releasing the files though if falsely represented that the move was voluntary. The reality is that Judicial Watch had to force the move by filing a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests then suing the NARA.
For years the Kennedy family has wielded its power, keeping the government records secret in violation of FOIA laws. They include more than 60 boxes of documents, including phone logs, messages, trip files, memoranda, reports, and other records concerning the Cuban missile crisis, the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and law enforcement activities of both the FBI and Justice Department.
This week the NARA announced that it was making available to the public the last of the files, approximately 7,500 pages, which completes the archival process of files from Kennedy’s years as Attorney General. The move was “done in collaboration with the family of Robert F. Kennedy,” the NARA announcement says. “The National Archives is pleased to open these additional historical materials and to complete our review of the Attorney General’s records,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. “As President Kennedy’s Attorney General, closest advisor and confidant, Robert F. Kennedy played a vital role in the Kennedy Administration’s policy decisions. I know that researchers and the public will benefit from exploring these documents.”
Like this week’s press release, the NARA’s July announcement indicated the move was a voluntary decision and, not surprisingly, omits that JW had to take legal action to accomplish it. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, delivered a similar quote: “The National Archives is pleased to open these additional historic materials as the nation and world continue to mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s administration. As President Kennedy’s Attorney General, closest advisor and confidant, Robert F. Kennedy played a vital role in the Kennedy Administration’s policy decisions. Researchers and the public look forward to exploring these documents.”
The mainstream media has bought it hook, line and sinker, also failing to mention that the Kennedy records would more than likely still be secret if JW didn’t go to court. A group dedicated to investigating the accuracy of information related to John F. Kennedy’s assassination acknowledges JW’s hard work, writing that “the persuasive power of our adversarial legal system is impressive.”
In 2011 Judicial Watch helped expose the tightly kept secrets of another Kennedy brother, the late Senator Edward Kennedy. After a lengthy exchange with the FBI and subsequent lawsuit, JW obtained previously redacted material from Kennedy’s bureau file. The FBI files revealed that, during a tour of Latin America, “Ted” Kennedy “made arrangements to ‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night”; sought meetings with “communists and others who had left-wing views.”
While in Santiago, Kennedy “made arrangements to ‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night”; Sought meetings with “communists and others who had left-wing views”
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- “While Kennedy was in Santiago he made arrangements to ‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night. Kennedy allegedly invited one of the Embassy chauffeurs to participate in the night’s activities.”
- “[I]n each country Kennedy insisted on interviewing ‘the angry young men’ of the country. He wanted to meet with communists and others who had left-wing views. …Ambassador Freeman, Bogota, said the first person whom Kennedy wanted to meet was Lauchlin Currie.” (The document subsequently identifies Currie as a person who “had been mentioned in Washington investigations of Soviet spy rings.”)
- “[I]n Mexico Kennedy asked Ambassador Mann that certain left-wingers be invited to the Embassy residence where interviews could be held. Mann took the strong position that he would not invite such people and stated that if any such interviews were to be conducted, all arrangements should be made by Kennedy himself.”
(Judicial Watch, through separate litigation (Judicial Watch v. FBI (Case No. 10-1568)), also recently forced the FBI to begin the release of the FBI file of the late Ted Stevens, the long-time Republican Senator from Alaska.)“The FBI’s reluctance to follow the law and release this material shows that it, too, is not above politics. Our tough fight with the Obama administration shows that it was not keen on letting the American people know that Ted Kennedy, one of Obama’s leftist politician heroes, liked to hang out with communists and prostitutes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We will continue to investigate why the FBI improperly chose to keep this information secret.”