JFK investigation report to be released

By: Hadley Bjerke, News Editor

Source: history.com

Thousands of pages of long-classified documents about the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be released to the public this week on the order of President Trump. The documents are expected to be released by Thursday and will likely contain multiple references to the activities of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City, where he traveled in September 1963, just two months before he shot and killed Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Those documents, said Kennedy assassination expert and author Gerald Posner, could be embarrassing to prominent Mexicans, who may have provided information to the CIA and other U.S. agencies in the days before and after the assassination. “There may not be deep, dark secrets in there, but the release could be embarrassing to people who were involved,” said Posner, author of the 1993 book Case Closed, which determined that Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy. “You have to remember that Mexico City in the 1960s was a hodge-podge of intrigue where everyone was spying on everyone else,” said Posner.

The documents, contained in more than 3,000 files, were to be released automatically by Oct. 26 under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 unless Trump decided to stop them. Each file could contain hundreds of individual documents. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he would allow the release of the documents. “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted.

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, political consultant and author, told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last week that he urged Trump to release the documents and that CIA Director Mike Pompeo “has been lobbying the president furiously not to release these documents.” Posner and Stone, who have different conclusions about who killed Kennedy and why, have joined together for public events in recent weeks arguing for the release of the documents. Although the files contain information that is decades old, their release could still potentially compromise the sources and methods used by intelligence agencies. Kennedy’s assassination rocked the nation, and Lyndon Johnson, the new president, created a special commission led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the killing. The Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that Oswald acted alone.

However, multiple aspects of the assassination have fueled conspiracy theories for more than 50 years. Among the reasons is Oswald’s murder on Nov. 24, 1963, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby which led to speculation that Ruby targeted Oswald as part of a larger plot. Another is the revelations in the 1970s about the various attempts by the Kennedy administration, led by the president’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro spurred theories that Castro had President Kennedy killed before Kennedy could kill Castro. In 1975 and 1976, a Senate investigation led by then-senator Frank Church, D-Idaho, revealed abuses by the CIA and FBI and many of the details of plots to kill Castro. A House investigation report in 1979 concluded that Kennedy was probably killed as the result of a conspiracy.  

If Trump allows the documents to be released, they will be free of any redactions, so readers will be able to see them as they were originally written. That, Posner said, is one reason that those named in them have reasons for concern. Also, Posner said, there will be news about issues unrelated to the assassination itself including a handwritten letter by Jackie Kennedy about JFK’s funeral and a letter from former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.