RTIwala Explains JFK Files: The documents related to the investigation into Kennedy’s murder were scheduled to be released 25 years after the passage of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The documents consist of files from the CIA, the FBI, the Defense and State departments and other agencies. The collection spans from the early years of the Kennedy administration into the 1970s. The law called for the records to be made available based on the approval of the President. Over 2,800 files were made public on Thursday. However, some files remained withheld due to national security concerns, according to a memo from President Donald Trump.
The released documents include discussions of investigative leads about assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s travels, including a trip to Mexico before the assassination. It has been the subjects of long-generated speculation that who did Oswald meet on that trip.
The Files Uncensored
One memo from then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, dictated on Nov. 24, 1963, says the FBI had sent an agent to the hospital hoping for a confession from the alleged assassin before he died. After the attempt was unsuccessful, the memo illustrates Hoover’s urgent desire to have “something issued so that we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” Another Hoover memo details information from a source within the USSR on the Soviet reaction to Kennedy’s death. .” The Soviets were shocked by the development and preferred Kennedy as the head of the U.S. Government as they felt they had a “mutual understanding” with him. The Soviet Communist Party believed the assassination was an “ultraright” act and in effect a “coup.”
Many of the documents contain raw intelligence information that is unconfirmed. But it will definitely fuel already widespread speculation about the plot. The total collection contains more than 5 million records.
Trump’s remark on the release of files
Trump issued a memo to the heads of executive departments certifying the declassification Thursday. But he also noted that some documents expressed reservations. Therefore, he ordered that federal agencies be given 180 days to re-review whether certain documents related to national security require continued redaction or withholding. “Executive departments and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns,” reads the memo from Trump.
“I have no choice today but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation’s security. To further address these concerns, I am also ordering agencies to re-review each and every one of those redactions over the next 180 days.”
Trump said on Twitter Friday that the files are being “carefully released,” but his hope to get “just about everything to [the] public.”
The 2,891 records that were released were posted on the National Archives’ website. The vast majority of records related to the assassination, roughly 88 percent have been available since the late 1990s, with an additional 11 percent of the documents released, with redactions, since then.
(Inputs by Gehna Kundra)