The FBI will consult with Edward M. Kennedy’s family before releasing its file on the deceased lawmaker to the public — a rarely invoked FBI accommodation, The Boston Globe reported.
Because deceased persons cannot claim privacy rights, media organizations began requesting to gain access to Kennedy’s 3000-page FBI file under the Freedom of Information Act after the Massachusetts senator passed away in August.
There is little precedent and no formal guideline for the FBI allowing family members to have a say in whether portions of a file are released, but the agency said the purpose of the review was to avoid disclosing surviving relatives’ private information.
The FBI will still make the final decision about what to release — family members will not have veto power — and will only consider keeping private information about surviving relatives, not embarrassing facts about Kennedy himself, from the public.
According to the Boston Globe, historians believe the file may contain information about Kennedy’s private life that was compiled during the FBI’s investigations into death threats and possible extortion attempts against the senator. Information about the investigation a 1969 car accident when Kennedy drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and his female passenger was killed could also be in the FBI’s file.