This article originally appeared on the New York Times website.
The FBI has taken over the investigation of the JFK killing, according to new documents released by a group of former agents and law enforcement officials, in a way that appears to defy years of precedent.
The revelation came Monday as the Justice Department launched a new criminal probe into the slaying.
The release of the documents by the group, known as the JFK Archive Project, comes amid mounting pressure from civil rights groups and other groups to investigate the assassination and to examine the way in which the FBI handled the case.
The FBI is also investigating whether the government was improperly able to gather crucial evidence from a private witness and whether it suppressed other information from the committee that would have helped the government prove Oswald acted alone.
The documents released Monday are the first public admission of the new probe.
They offer a rare glimpse into how the FBI, which for decades was a partner in the investigation into the assassination, handled the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy.
The new documents come as the new Congress is debating legislation that would create a special committee to investigate Kennedy’s assassination.
A committee that could be chaired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been stalled by President Donald Trump’s decision to not provide funding for the probe.
But the new documents offer a glimpse into the FBI’s role in the assassination.
The New York Post is not naming the committee members because they are not yet in office.
In one document, the FBI has agreed to provide a “sheriff’s report” that will detail how it handled the investigation.
The document, which has not been made public, says that the FBI “adopted a policy of ‘do nothing,’ as opposed to ‘do everything,’ when dealing with non-citizen threats.”
The documents, which were provided to The Washington Post, also say that the “FBI has taken responsibility for not acting in good faith” in “defining the scope of the task.”
The documents, dated March 1, 1963, say the FBI had to do a thorough job in identifying the potential threat, including “specially tailored investigations, interviews, etc.”
The FBI was working on its own investigation of possible criminal activity, including possible collusion between Oswald and the Ku Klux Klan.
But a lawyer for the president, John Dean, had requested the FBI do nothing.
The lawyer said he wanted the FBI to take on “an investigation that would make it very difficult for Oswald to ever obtain a visa or other immigration status.”
Dean said that he did not know whether the assassination had been covered up because it would have affected the political outcome of the election.
“There are plenty of questions that have been raised in regard to this, including the FBI not acting properly,” Dean said in a statement Monday.FBI Director James Comey told Congress last month that he and the FBI staff on the case, which included several retired FBI agents, had been told to “do nothing.”
But Comey said he had been assured by the Justice Dept. that they had “a responsibility to do everything we could to protect the American people.”
The new FBI documents also appear to contradict the Justice Department’s assertion that the agency acted without authorization in trying to stop Oswald from carrying out the assassination because of his membership in a secret organization called the Knights of the Ku-Klux Klan.
The Justice Dept.’s statement about the Kennedy assassination says that Oswald, who had recently moved to the Dallas suburb of Midland, Texas, in 1962, began to act suspiciously when he met the group’s president, Louis Farrakhan, in the 1960s.
Kennedy was in Dallas at the time.
Farrakan, the Nation of Islam’s leader at the same time, was also a member of the Knights.
The Times previously reported that in 1963, the Justice department told the FBI that Farrakahn was not a “domestic terrorist” because he was a member.
But in a recent interview with ABC News, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the agency’s investigation was not focused on Farrakahans membership in the Nation or other groups because the agency was “not concerned that there was a domestic terrorist element in the organization.”
In the documents, FBI agents describe Oswald’s alleged involvement in the Klan in 1964.
A source familiar with the matter said in the documents that Oswald met Farrakhaas “personal assistant” at the Masonic Lodge of Texas in Dallas.
A second source familiar on the matter told The Times that in the spring of 1964, Farrakas personal assistant, a black woman named Helen Jones, began attending a meeting in Dallas with Oswald, where she had her first conversation with Oswald.
Jones told Oswald that she had worked for the FBI in the 1970s as a domestic intelligence analyst, and that she was a “white woman” with “black hair.”
She said she had learned about the Klan and Oswald’s interest in it from a friend.
In the document,