Trump keeps secret “sensitive” files on Kennedy assassination
A photo of President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, after landing in Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day of the crime, held together with the Air Force One presidential plane on November 8, 2013 at Dallas Love Field Airport
After more than half a century of suspense, the US government released thousands of files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Thursday, but postponed the release of others labeled as “very sensitive.”
The publication of the 3,100 files still classified as secret was expected, 50 years after the death of the young president, on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Finally, 2,891 were broadcast online at the US National Archives website.
Experts in the field expect no explosive revelation or information to bury conspiracy theories about murder.
However, the avalanche and variety of document promise to keep fans busy: from FBI director memos to interviews with witnesses in Dallas who provided clues behind the murder, a milestone in US history. Some extend into the 1970s and include hard-to-read handwritten notes.
“Americans expect – and deserve – that their government grant them the greatest possible access” to those files “so that public opinion will finally be fully informed on all aspects of this crucial event,” Trump wrote in an official memo.
But the president said he agreed to temporarily retain some files related to the murder for review. Government sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said most of the requests for review came from the CIA, the FBI and other agencies.
Photo taken on November 8, 2010 shows a historical photo of the 1964 assassinated syndicate of President John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, (ceded by the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Municipal Archives), at a location at the headquarters of the Police in Dallas, Texas.
“Executive departments and agencies have proposed that certain information should continue to be edited for reasons of national, legal and foreign policy security,” Trump said.
“I had no choice but to accept those issues so as not to cause potentially irreversible damage to the security of our nation,” he added.
The president gave them six months to explain the reasons that justify the retention of those documents, officials said.
“There is sensitive information in these files,” said a person responsible, mainly related to informants and their participation in the investigations.
The decision to release the archives is in line with a Congressional Act of October 1992 which required that the documents on the murder of the young president in the national archives be made public 25 years later.
– Conspiracy Theories Will Survive –
One of the documents includes a transcript of a conversation two days after the assassination with then-director of the FBI, Edgar J. Hoover.
Hoover said the FBI informed police of a threat to the life of Lee Harvey Oswald the night before Oswald was killed. But police did not take action, Hoover said.
The Warren Commission, created a few days after the death of the charismatic president, concluded in 1964 that Kennedy was killed by a lone sniper, exmarine Lee Harvey Oswald.
That verdict never managed to end the speculation that there was a sinister and complex plot to assassinate the 35th president of the United States.
Hundreds of books and films, such as Oliver Stone’s “JFK” (1991), have fueled conspiracy theory, pointing to Cold War rivals such as the Soviet Union or Cuba, the Mafia and even Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson .
“Many people think that with these documents they will have the definitive solution for this case,” said Gerald Posner, author of the book “Case Closed”, which concludes that Oswald actually acted alone. However, he warned AFP: “That’s not going to happen.”
However, it is thought that new elements could come up about an intriguing chapter in Oswald’s life: his trip to Mexico City about seven weeks before the assassination where, as other declassified files reveal, he met with Russian and Cuban spies.
Those spies “had reason to wish Kennedy’s death,” said AFP Philip Shenon, author of “A Cruel and Shocking Fact: The Secret History of Kennedy’s Murder.”
The CIA and the FBI may be blocking information to hide their flaws, said Larry Sabato, a political analyst and author of “Kennedy’s Middle Century”
“They had all indications that Oswald was a social misfit and a sociopath,” but no agency warned the Secret Service, in charge of presidential security, he said.
Oswald had deserted the Soviet Union in 1959 but returned to the US in 1962. He was killed two days after killing Kennedy by night club owner Jack Ruby while being escorted by police.