JFK Assassination Files Released to Public
About 2,800 classified files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 has been released following President Donald Trump’s approval.
The president said the public deserved to be “fully informed” about the event, which has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories.
However, some documents have been withheld at the request of government agencies.
One memo revealed that the FBI had warned police of a death threat against the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wrote: “We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection.”
Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine and self-proclaimed Marxist, was shot dead in the basement of the Dallas Police department two days after JFK was killed.
As the documents are pored over and analyzed, other findings include a CIA memo that suggests Lee Harvey Oswald spoke with a KGB officer at the Russian embassy in Mexico City. The memo says the KGB officer Lee Harvey Oswald spoke with worked for a department “responsible for sabotage and assassination”.
Another memo showed that Soviet officials feared an “irresponsible general” would launch a missile at the USSR in the wake of JFK’s death.
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One memo tells how a British regional newspaper, the Cambridge News, received an anonymous call about “some big news” in the US, hours before the assassination.
A copy of the memo was released by the National Archives in July, but had gone unreported.
JFK was shot dead on November 22, 1963 as he travelled through Dallas in an open-topped limousine.
The Warren Commission’s report into the shooting, published in September 1964, said that Lee Harvey Oswald had fired the fatal shots from the Texas School Book Depository building.
There was “no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign”, the commission said.
A 1992 law passed by Congress required all records related to the assassination – around five million pages – to be publicly disclosed in full within 25 years.
The deadline was October 26.
More than 90% of the files were already in the public domain.
Allegations of a government cover-up are unlikely to be assuaged by reports that the CIA, FBI, Department of State and other agencies lobbied at the last minute to keep certain documents under wraps.
In a memo directing heads of executive departments to release the files, President Trump said the American public deserves to be “fully informed about all aspects of this pivotal event”.
“Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted,” he wrote.
Some redacted documents are undergoing a further six-month review, but it is possible those records could stay secret after the deadline on April 26, 2018.
According to White House officials, President Trump was reluctant to agree to agency requests to hold the remaining documents.
“I have no choice – today – but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security,” the president added in his memo.
The JFK assassination records have been released on the National Archives website.