Scholars Await Trump Decision on Secret JFK Files

National Archives will release them next month, unless president intervenes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 27, 2017 8:25 AM CDT
Scholars Await Trump Decision on JFK Assassination Records
In this Nov. 22, 1963, file photo, President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas.   (Jim Altgens)

The anticipated release of thousands of never-before-seen government documents related to John F. Kennedy's assassination has scholars and armchair detectives buzzing. Now, they're waiting to see whether President Trump will block the release of files that could shed light on a tragedy that has stirred conspiracy theories for decades, per the AP. The National Archives has until Oct. 26 to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy's 1963 assassination, unless Trump intervenes. The CIA and FBI, whose records make up the bulk of the batch, won't say whether they've appealed to the Republican president to keep them under wraps.

"The American public deserves to know the facts, or at least they deserve to know what the government has kept hidden from them for all these years," says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of a book about Kennedy. It's unlikely the documents contain any big revelations about Kennedy's killing, says Judge John Tunheim, who was chairman of the independent agency in the 1990s that made public assassination records and decided how long others could remain secret. But, "there could be some jewels in there because in our level of knowledge in the 1990s is maybe different from today," he says. Still, Sabato and other JFK scholars believe the trove of files may provide insight into assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico City weeks before the killing, during which he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies. The White House didn't respond to emails seeking comment. (Read more John F. Kennedy stories.)

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