Trump Promises To Release Remaining JFK Documents

Former President Donald Trump vowed to declassify the remaining files related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy if he’s reelected next November. About 15,000 documents remain classified, representing about 70 percent of the total number and 95% of those belonging to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In 1992, Congress passed the Kennedy Assassination Records Act, which directed that government agencies declassify and release records related to the assassination after 25 years. In 2017, then-President Trump promised to make all records public in accordance with the act, but while several thousand were released, most were not. In 2021, the Biden administration released 1500 and 13,000 more were released in 2022.

The killing of Kennedy in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963, and later the murder of Oswald by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby before he could testify has fueled rampant speculation as to Oswald’s motives and questions over whether he acted alone. Over the years, the event has also been fertile fuel for the imagination of television and movies, such as Oliver Stone’s film “JFK” and the 90’s television show “The X-Files”.

The questions have also fueled a number of conspiracy theories, that range from accusations of the involvement of Fidel Castro or the Mafia to wide reaching conspiracies involving the CIA, a desire by Kennedy to make silver certificates legal tender instead of Federal Reserve notes and even a plot by military and business leaders who feared that Kennedy wanted to end the Cold War.

While President Lyndon Johnson appointed a commission chaired by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the assassination, the public came to distrust its conclusion that Oswald acted alone. Revelations in the 1970s around Watergate and the CIA’s involvement in coups in Iran, Guatemala and Chile, eroded public trust, which culminated in a select committee of the House of Representatives concluding that there was a conspiracy. That conclusion continues to be embraced by conspiracy theorists and disputed by most scholars.

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