New JFK files tell less than anticipated, Oswald remains lone killer
The National Archives released nearly 2,900 of the 3,100 previously unseen documents late in the evening close to the expiry of a deadline for them to be made public.Updated: Oct 27, 2017 22:32 IST
Researchers, historians and conspiracy theorists will all have to wait at least another six months to get their eyes and hands on all documents from the JFK files as President Donald Trump ordered a truncated release on Thursday, bowing to pressure from the CIA, FBI and other federal agencies.
The National Archives released nearly 2,900 of the 3,100 previously unseen documents late in the evening close to the expiry of a deadline for them to be made public. Senior administration officials said the rest will be rolled out in the coming weeks as agencies re-review the material adjudged sensitive, with the outside limit of April 2018.
The big question, the mother of all conspiracy theories — whether assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted on his own or as an agent of the Soviet Union, its client state Cuba or organised crime, the mafia, or all of the above — will remain unresolved. Or, not so fast, as experts trawl through the dump for clues.
The release nearly didn’t happen.
But there were no answers in the newly revealed documents to the most anticipated questions about Oswald’s trip to the Soviet and Cuban embassies — ostensibly for visas — in Mexico City just days before the assassination. The CIA, which was watching Oswald, could have prevented the killing, according to one theory.
The pushback against a full release, which Trump had teased in the last some days, came mostly from the CIA and FBI, the two agencies charged with foreign intelligence and law enforcement that are at the heart of most conspiracy theories ranging from the credible to the unbelievable.
In a note to government agencies, Trump wrote that though he wanted Americans to be fully informed about all aspects of “this pivotal event” — the assassination of President John F Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963 — “I have no choice - today - but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation's security”.
Agencies that want to extend the block beyond that period will need to satisfy a clause enshrined in the President John F Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 — “only in the rarest cases is there any legitimate need for continued protection of such records”.
First Published: Oct 27, 2017 22:06 IST