Those researching the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy are becoming increasingly worried that President Trump and hence the National Archives staff are facing pressures that could thwart the full release of assassination records..
By unanimous votes in the U.S. House and Senate in 1992, Congress enacted the so-called “JFK Act” mandating a long process to release all relevant records ending this fall despite the behind-the-scenes resistance through the decades of the CIA and FBI.
But the insider publication Politico published on Oct. 16 a column The JFK Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco by authors Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato.
“The federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos,” they wrote.
“Within the next two weeks,” they continued, “the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department. And there is every indication that the massive document dump — especially if any of it is blocked by President Donald Trump, the only person empowered under the law to stop the release of the files — will simply help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories.”
They and others are reporting that the Trump White House is experiencing pressure from investigative agencies to sharply redact or outright suppress on national security grounds sensitive information despite the expectation that nothing could be so important as the facts regarding who killed a president in broad daylight, leaving large majorities disbelieving the 1964 Warren Commission report, according to decades of public opinion polling.
Our Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) has differed sharply with the tone of Shenon-Sabato reporting that argues that the Warren Report was correct in concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to kill Kennedy, as indicated by our recent column here.
However, the authors’ insider connections help suggest that they made be correct in reporting the more narrow point that proponents of suppression are using their considerable clout to thwart researchers yet again.
For that reason, CAPA has created a petition to the president and now quote longtime JFK researcher Jefferson Morley in his column on JFK Facts.org today: What you can do to free the JFK Files.
“You can do two things,” Morley wrote:
1) Call your Congressman and Senators and tell them to sign H. Res 556 and S. Res 281, introduced by Rep. Walter Jones and Sen. Charles Grassley, calling on President Trump to release all the secret JFK files and to reject any requests from the CIA and the FBI for continuing secrecy. These petitions, also signed by leading liberal Democrats such at Sen Pat Leahy and Rep. John Conyers, show that full JFK disclosure enjoys wide support.
Shenon and Sabato aptly note that Trump’s friend and political adviser Roger Stone said last week that he has been informed authoritatively that the CIA is urging Trump to delay the release of some of the JFK documents for another 25 years. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead,” Stone said in a statement on his website, which CAPA monitors also.
Trump’s friend Dr. Jerome Corsi, White House correspondent for the Alex Jones Infowars show and previously senior writer for the conservative website WND, is among others who have advocated for release.
Those advocates represent a broad range of the public. For decades, pollsters have found that large majorities of Americans do not believe the Warren Report conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy, acting alone. CAPA is scheduled to co-host with the South Texas College of Law in Houston a mock trial of Oswald from Nov. 16-17 at the school.
Regarding document release, the Justice Integrity Project published in coordination with a CAPA conference in March about records release a column JFK Experts Seek Compliance With Records Release Deadline by CAPA board member Andrew Kreig that showed the large numbers of relevant experts, ranging from Warren Commission supporters to critics, who called for full release of documents.
Those advocating release included several surviving staff from the Warren Commission, including Murray Laulicht, a former Warren Commission assistant counsel who is uncle to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor. Others included former House Select Committee on Assassinations General Counsel Robert Blakey and former Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese.
Looming in the background of all this, of course, is the previous release of some four million pages of suppressed documents on the assassination and publication of some 2,500 books about it.
Many of the documents and books, plus innumerable articles by experts and whistleblowers, suggest that the Warren investigation led by Chief Justice Earl Warren was a cover-up, and that Oswald was closely tied to investigative and intelligence agencies, and perhaps was a complete patsy who has been falsely blamed for a fatal shot in Dallas. Former CIA Director Allen Dulles was a member of the Warren Commission and independent investigators have found troves of evidence of a likely cover-up justified to many participants on seemingly patriotic or other so-called national security grounds that in effect protect the reputations of the intelligence, law enforcement and military organizations acting in secret then and now.
As a starting point for fact-based inquiry, CAPA’s chairman Dr. Cyril Wecht among others, has been in the forefront of those asserting that medical evidence shows that the fatal bullet could not have traversed the path as claimed by the Warren Commission and FBI in blaming Oswald, whose portrayal by officials as a deranged lone nut conflicts with his little known record as a Marine working on the super-secret U-2 spy plane program and various other sensitive matters.
That brings the decades of debate full circle to pending document release.
“The CIA has not confirmed or denied reports that it has appealed to Trump to block the release of some of the files on grounds that the documents might still somehow endanger national security if made public,” Politico reported. “In a cryptic statement last week, the spy agency said only that it “continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information.”
“As it stands now,” Shenon and Saboto continued, “the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents — tens of thousands in total — that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once — all on the same day — sometime between now and the deadline on October 26.”