President Trump teased the release of thousands of what have been, up until now, long secret files related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November of 1963:
President Trump teased the release of thousands of government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Wednesday, minutes before landing in Dallas, the city where the former president was shot and killed.
“The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!” Trump tweeted.
The president headed to Dallas to attend GOP fundraisers and receive an update on the recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Trump has said he doesn’t plan to block the release of files related to Kennedy’s killing ahead of the National Archives’ Thursday deadline to make them public.
Congress passed a law in 1992 mandating the release of the files within 25 years, but the president has the power to stop it in the interest of national security.
Trump’s advisers have reportedly urged him to block at least some of the files. The White House has not said whether the president will do so.
“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 over the weekend.
Here’s more on the controversy, and why these documents have remained secret for so long:
The records that are still classified are mostly FBI and CIA records, and were gathered by a Assassination Records Review Board. Congress enacted the law calling for the ultimate release of records following public interest around the 1991 Oliver Stone film ‘JFK,’ which heavily promoted the theory that Oswald didn’t act alone.
Among the documents that could get released is a file on CIA-backed Cuban exile group that Oswald may have tried to infiltrate.
President Donald Trump is caught in a push-pull on new details of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, jammed between students of the killing who want every scrap of information and intelligence agencies that are said to be counseling restraint. How that plays out should be known Thursday, when long-secret files are expected to be released.
On one side is an alliance of sleuths and scholars pushing for Trump to mind the 1992 law that requires the release this week of all 3,150 still-secret files on Kennedy’s killing on Nov. 22, 1963. For them, Trump has tweeted his intent to “allow the release of the long blocked and classified JFK FILES.”
But U.S. intelligence agencies are apparently citing the same law to urge him to keep some files out of public sight on national security grounds. For this group, Trump’s tweet offered a caveat that he intends to disclose the materials “subject to the receipt of further information.”
Here’s what some experts think we’ll find:
The chances are slim, according to the judge who led the independent board that reviewed and released thousands of the assassination documents in the 1990s. The files that were withheld in full were those the Assassination Records Review Board deemed “not believed relevant,” Judge John Tunheim of Minnesota told The Associated Press. But Tunheim said it’s possible the files contain information the board didn’t realize was important two decades ago.
JFK experts believe the files will provide insight into the inner workings of the CIA and FBI. But they stress that it will take weeks to mine the documents for potentially new and interesting information.
Some of the documents are related to Oswald’s mysterious six-day trip to Mexico City right before the assassination, scholars say. Oswald said he was visiting the Cuban and Soviet Union embassies there to get visas, but much about his time there remains unknown.
The to-be-released documents contain details about the arrangements the U.S. entered into with the Mexican government that allowed it to have close surveillance of those and other embassies, Tunheim said. Other files scholars hope will be released in full include an internal CIA document on its Mexico City station, and a report on Oswald’s trip from staffers of the House committee that investigated the assassination.
We’ll all know for sure tomorrow!