Sunday 22 April 2018

Secret files on JFK assassination to be released after Trump gives his approval

President John F Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas shortly before he was shot. Photo: AP
President John F Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade in Dallas shortly before he was shot. Photo: AP

Jill Colvin

Thousands of never-before-seen and classified documents relating to the assassination of John F Kennedy look set to be released this week after US President Donald Trump said he would not block their publication.

He tweeted: "Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as president, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened."

The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the remaining files relating to Mr Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

The trove is expected to include more than 3,000 documents that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been previously released but with redactions. Congress mandated in 1992 that all assassination documents be released within 25 years, but Mr Trump has the power to block them on the grounds that making them public would harm intelligence or military operations, law enforcement or foreign relations.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia centre for politics, and the author of a book about JFK, tweeted: "This is the correct decision. Please do not allow exceptions for any agency of government. JFK files have been hidden too long."

The anticipated release has had scholars and armchair detectives buzzing.

US President Donald Trump has agreed to the release of thousands of never-seen government documents related to the assassination. Photo: AP
US President Donald Trump has agreed to the release of thousands of never-seen government documents related to the assassination. Photo: AP

But it is unlikely the documents will contain any big revelations on a tragedy that has stirred conspiracy theories for decades, Judge John Tunheim said.

Mr Tunheim was chairman of the independent agency in the 1990s that made public many records and decided how long others could remain secret. He said: "There could be some jewels in there because our level of knowledge in the 1990s is maybe different from today."

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.

His stated reason for going was to get visas that would allow him to enter Cuba and the Soviet Union, according to the Warren Commission, the investigative body established by former president Lyndon B Johnson. However, much about the trip remains unknown.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News