Trump Has Big Decision to Make on Secret JFK Files
3.6K government files will be released unless he intervenes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2017 7:12 AM CDT
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President John F. Kennedy in Washington on April 12, 1961.   (AP Photo/RMB)

(Newser) – A happy day for historians and conspiracy theorists could be right around the corner. A 1992 law mandated that all materials related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination be maintained in a single collection—and that those documents that had been kept secret be released 25 years later. That would put the files squarely in public hands by Oct. 26, reports Politico—assuming President Trump doesn't intervene. Researchers at the National Archives are already preparing an estimated 3,600 files for public viewing, along with 35,000 other assassination-related documents previously released in part, and say they could actually begin unsealing some this summer. Only the president has the right to "justifiably close" any of the records due to be opened.

A large number of the "missing" documents were filed by CIA officials who tracked Lee Harvey Oswald's 1963 visit to Mexico City. Politico gives context: "Historians agree that the trip, which Oswald apparently undertook in hopes of obtaining a visa to defect to Castro's Cuba ... has never been fully investigated." Those files had been kept secret for fear they would damage US-Mexico relations, and while the chair of the agency that handled the documents says he knew of no "bombshells," he "wouldn't be surprised if there's something important" in them. A White House official simply says the Trump administration is working with the National Archives "to enable a smooth process in anticipation of the October deadline." Politico in 2015 looked at why the files' release could embarrass the CIA. (Did JFK's diary contain a conspiracy theory?)

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