>> Trump Blocks Release of Some JFK Assassination Records
>> A Half-Century Later, US Released JFK Assassination Files
BOSTON (Reuters) - More than half a century after U.S. President John F. Kennedy was struck down by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas, the United States is due on Thursday to release the final files on the investigation into the killing that rattled a nation.
Academics who have studied Kennedy’s slaying on Nov. 22, 1963, said they expected the final batch of files to offer no major new details on why Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down the first and only Irish-American Roman Catholic to hold the office.
They also feared that the final batch of more than 5 million total pages on the Kennedy assassination held in the National Archives will do little to quell long-held conspiracy theories that the 46-year-old president’s killing was organized by the Mafia, by Cuba, or a cabal of rogue agents.
Thousands of books, articles, TV shows and films have explored the idea that Kennedy’s assassination was the result of an elaborate conspiracy. None have produced conclusive proof that Oswald, who was shot dead a day after killing Kennedy, worked with anyone else, though they retain a powerful cultural currency.
“My students are really skeptical that Oswald was the lone assassin,” said Patrick Maney, a professor of history at Boston College. “It’s hard to get our minds around this, that someone like a loner, a loser, could on his own have murdered Kennedy and changed the course of world history. But that’s where the evidence is.”
In 1992, Congress ordered that all records relating to the investigation into Kennedy’s death should be open to the public, and set a final deadline of Oct. 26, 2017 for the entire set to be made public.
President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that he would allow the documents to be made public.
The documents to be released on Thursday will likely focus on efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine what contact Oswald had with spies from Cuba and the former Soviet Union on a trip to Mexico City in September 1963, experts said.
“There was a real concern that Oswald was maybe in league with the Soviet Union,” Maney said.
Kennedy's assassination was the first in a string of politically motivated killings, including those of his brother Robert F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., that stunned the United States during the turbulent 1960s. He remains one of the most admired U.S. presidents.
How Reuters reported the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963./REUTERS
Trump Plans to Release Classified Files on Kennedy's Assassination
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that, subject to receipt of further information, he planned to allow the opening of long-secret files on the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy due for release next week.
Politico magazine earlier quoted Trump administration and other U.S. government officials as saying the president would almost certainly block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files, which the U.S. National Archives is scheduled to make public by an Oct. 26 deadline.
“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump said in a tweet.
The Nov. 22 1963 assassination cut short “Camelot,” as the 1,000 days of the Kennedy presidency became known. Kennedy was 46 and remains one of the most admired U.S. presidents.
Thousands of books, articles, TV shows, movies and documentaries have been produced about the assassination and surveys have shown a majority of Americans still distrust official evidence pointing to Lee Harvey Oswald as the sole killer.
Despite serious questions about the official inquest, and theories purporting that organized crime, Cuba or a cabal of U.S. security agents was involved, conspiracy theorists have yet to produce conclusive proof Oswald acted in consort with anyone.
Over the years, the National Archives has released most documents related to the case, but a final batch, amounting to tens of thousands of pages, remains and only Trump has the authority to decide whether some should continue to be withheld or released in redacted form.
The Washington Post and other media have quoted officials as saying that government agencies have lobbied Trump to withhold some of the documents, arguing that they could expose relatively recent intelligence and law enforcement operations.
Philip Shenon, the author of the Politico article and of a book on the assassination, said he did not think the last batch of papers contained any major bombshells, but may shed light on the activities of Oswald while he was traveling in Mexico City in late September 1963, and courting Cuban and Soviet spies.“From the record we already have, we know he met there with Soviet spies and Cuban spies and other people who might have wanted to see Kennedy dead,” Shenon said.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see what else the government knew about the threat Oswald might pose – how much more they learned about his trip in Mexico City and whether or not they bungled evidence to suggest he was a threat.”
Shenon said it would be interesting, too, to see if there was anything in the documents to substantiate comments Trump made during his election campaign linking Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s father to Oswald.
“It’s the president’s favorite conspiracy theory about the Kennedy assassination ... but I don’t think there is,” Shenon said.
Cruz’s father Rafael has called Trump’s allegations that he was pictured with Oswald in New Orleans before the assassination “ludicrous.”
Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Nick Zieminski