Trump says he will release final set of documents on JFK assassination

Donald Trump said that he intends on allowing the release of classified documents, 'in the interest of full transparency'

(Photo: NBC News)
(Photo: NBC News)

On Saturday, President Donald Trump said that he intents to allow the release of classified government documents, regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy “subject to the receipt of further information”.

Trump’s tweet comes as he is staring down a 26 October deadline, set in law by Congress, mandating the public release of the documents – including CIA and FBI files, barring any action by the President to block the release of certain documents.

Trump’s tweet also indicates the possibility that some documents could still be withheld.

On Saturday, a White House official told reports: “The President believes that these documents should be made available, in the interests of full transparency, unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise”.

In a statement, the White House said, to Politico, that it was working “to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public” by next week’s deadline.

John F Kennedy was killed on 22 November, 1963, a case which Washington has been on for 27 years.

The release of thousands of documents regarding the assassination is expected to shine a light on the government’s investigations, possible relationships with Oswald and his foreign trips, including a visit to Mexico City a few weeks before the shooting.

In 1992, Congress ordered the files to be released from the National Archives no later than 25 years from the date of the law’s enactment.

Thousands of documents were published online back in July and historians and researchers are eagerly awaiting the final batch.

“We would like greater detail associated with things that are relevant to President Kennedy’s life and would help us understand who his adversaries may have been and for what reason he would have been viewed as an adversary to powerful elements within the national security establishment,” said Alan Dale, an administrator for several assassination websites.

“A lot of our focus for decades has been: who was Lee Oswald, what was he engaged in, what did he think he was engaged in, and is there any reason to be concerned that maybe the truth about his story has been hidden from all of us for all of these years?”

“Trump’s tweet seems noncommittal,” said Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which runs an extensive digital archive. “And it’s clear the CIA is lobbying him to withhold some files, including but not necessarily limited to CIA correspondence with the Assassination Records Review Board [created in 1992]. I think it’s past time they just release these in full.”

Certain tax records are among the documents unlikely to see daylight, Bradford said, adding: “I’m also concerned about what might fall through the cracks among the voluminous set of currently redacted documents, including important reports related to CIA surveillance of Oswald in Mexico City – these might shed further light on what many believe to be phony planted evidence implicating Castro.”

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