President Donald Trump has several months to determine whether or not he will release more secret government files pertaining to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The irony that Trump claimed that the father of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had a hand in the assassination of JFK makes this decision even more anticipated.
There are approximately 3,600 top-secret government files on the assassination that have not been disclosed to the public, and that due to a 1992 law that was put in place to seal those records until October 26, 2017.
According to someone inside the White House, the Trump administration is “familiar with the requirements,” and they are working “to enable a smooth process in anticipation of the October deadline.”
The documents were gathered together by the Assassination Record Review Board, which was established under the 1992 law.
Some claim there aren’t any “bombshells” in the documents.
Judge John R. Tunheim of the Federal District Court in Minnesota, said he didn’t think there were any bombshells in the documents, but “wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something important.”
“Today, with a broader understanding of history, certain things may be far more relevant,” he said.
Martha W. Murphy, the Archives official who oversees the records, said that high-level security clearance researchers are working to prepare the files for release and hopes to release them possibly earlier than October, perhaps as early as the summer. She also does not believe there are is any shocking information in the documents.
“As you can imagine, we’re not reading them for that, so we’re probably not the best people to tell you,” she said. “I will say this: This collection is really interesting as a snapshot of the Cold War.”
Of course, there is always the chance that Trump could continue the secrecy of these files.
According to the law, he can extend the secrecy if he certifies to the National Archives that it was “made necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations” and that “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”
Beyond releasing the 3,600 never-before-seen JFK files, the Archives is reviewing another 35,000 assassination-related documents, previously released in part, so they can be unsealed in full. Short of an order from the president, Murphy said, the Archives is committed to making everything public this year: “There’s very little decision-making for us.”
Many of the documents are known to come from the files of CIA officials who monitored a mysterious trip that Oswald paid to Mexico City several weeks before the assassination – a trip that brought Kennedy’s future killer under intense surveillance by the spy agency as he paid visits to both the Soviet and Cuban embassies there. The CIA said it monitored all visitors to the embassies and opened surveillance of Oswald as soon as he was detected inside the Soviet compound for the first time.
Other documents are known to identify, by name, American and foreign spies and law-enforcement sources who had previously been granted anonymity for information about Oswald and the assassination. At least 400 pages of the files involve E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA operative turned Watergate conspirator who claimed on his deathbed that he had advance knowledge of Kennedy’s murder.
The Review Board, created by Congress to show transparency in response to the public furor created by Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-minded 1991 film “JFK,” did force the release of a massive library of other long-secret documents from the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and other federal agencies, as well as from congressional investigations of the assassination.
Many showed how much evidence was withheld from the Warren Commission, the independent panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warren that investigated the assassination and concluded in 1964 that there was no evidence of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death.
The documents showed that both the CIA and FBI had much more extensive information about Oswald—and the danger he posed to JFK—before the assassination than the agencies admitted to Warren’s investigation. The evidence appeared to have been withheld from the commission out of fear that it would expose how the CIA and FBI had bungled the opportunity to stop Oswald.
Here’s Hunt’s confession.
The CIA and FBI are also involved in helping to determine the next steps in whether to encourage the release of the documents or not. The FBI has assigned 21 researchers to review the documents.
Review the documents? Haven’t these guys already done this? It’s been over 50 years! All of that should have been dealt with years ago.
So, there are two scenarios here. The first is the Trump releases the documents ahead of something big that will take place in our politics or the start of more warmongering. The second is that he withholds the information and claims national security, yada, yada, yada, in which case, I think it safe to say that will only solidify confirmation as to who is really running things in Washington.