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Overview

The tragic events of November 22, 1963 began a massive, 10-year F.B.I. investigation unmatched by any other before or since. In December 1977 the F.B.I. was forced to release its files on the assassination of President Kennedy under the Freedom of Information Act.

This important microfilm edition of The F.B.I. Files was filmed from the first photoduplicated copy of the original documents. Now students and researchers everywhere in the fields of history, political science, journalism, government, and law have access to more than 90,000 pages of information about:

 

  • the events of November 22, 1963
  • the capture and investigation of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald
  • background information and motives as to the actions of Oswald's murderer, Jack Ruby
  • the findings of the Warren Commission--findings that are still questioned to this day
  • information and insight into the day-to-day workings of the F.B.I., one of the world's most powerful law enforcement agencies
  • insights into the character of F.B.I. czar J. Edgar Hoover
  • background for the study of current investigations into alleged unauthorized F.B.I. activities

All legible files are included in this collection, though some have been visibly censored to delete material classified by the F.B.I. as allegedly secret or "exempt from disclosure." The collection is divided into four series, which represent the arrangement of these materials at the time of release:

 

  • Series I--The Kennedy Assassination: begins with the events of November 22, 1963, and includes letters and memoranda from high government officials, including J. Edgar Hoover, plus material on every lead in the case that had to be pursued
  • Series II--Lee Harvey Oswald: the largest series in the collection and contains a massive body of material which paints a comprehensive picture of the accused assassin
  • Series III--Jack Leon Ruby (Rubenstein): contains material obtained from those who knew Jack Ruby, the murderer of Lee Harvey Oswald, plus F.B.I. material on Ruby-Oswald conspiracy theories
  • Series IV--The Warren Commission: contains 32 files on the F.B.I.'s reports to the Warren Commission and memos and reports of investigations conducted by the F.B.I. at the Commission's request. Topics covered include security on the day of the assassination, the later protection of Johnson, and the threats against the Commission.

Students and researchers welcome access to these files and find them particularly useful in studying what continues to be an ongoing debate over this important event in American history.

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