Trump is almost certain to block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy
A bipartisan group of Congressman are urging President Trump to insist on “full public release” the government’s JFK assassination records by October 26 and to “reject any claims for the continued postponement of …. those records.”
In two “sense of Congress” resolutions introduced Wednesday on Capitol Hill, the legislators call for the CIA, FBI and other federal agencies to release all of their records related to the November 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy.
JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963 generated six official investigations and widespread belief that the liberal president was the victim of a conspiracy and not a lone gunman.
After the box office success of Oliver Stone’s conspiratorial epic “JFK, Congress unanimously approved the JFK Records Act on October 26, 1992, mandating release of all government records related to JFK’s death within 25 years.
Most of the JFK files have been made public but some 35,000 documents remained fully or partially redacted and have never been seen by the public, researchers or the media. By law, federal agencies must obtain the written permission of the president to keep these documents secret after this month.
“Transparency in government is critical not only to ensuring accountability; it’s also essential to understanding our nation’s history,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa) in a written statement. “…Americans deserve a full picture of what happened that fateful day in November 1963. Shining a light on never-before-seen government records is essential to filling in these blank spaces in our history.”
The CIA and FBI have not yet revealed whether they will appeal to Trump for continuing secrecy.
“CIA continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information,” said spokesperson Nicole de Haay told Alternet last month.
In an email, the FBI press office said, “We do not have a comment to provide and suggest you reach out to the White House.”
The White House did nor respond to request for comment.
According to the National Archives online database, the unreleased records include CIA files on two senior officers involved in assassinations and four Watergate burglars, as well as the closed-door testimony of numerous JFK witnesses, such CIA spymaster James Angleton.
The resolutions have attracted diverse support. The House measure, introduced by Jones, is co-sponsored by several members who served in Congress in 1992, and voted for the original JFK Records Act.
They include liberals Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), currently the longest serving member of Congress, Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), the longest serving woman in the House, Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)
The Senate resolution (S. Res 281) was introduced by Grassley (R-Ia), the conservative chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and co-sponsored by liberal Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vermont), the ranking member of the committee.
“Chairman Grassley and I both believe that a government of, by, and for the people simply cannot be one that needlessly hides information from them,” Leahy said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing our efforts to make our democracy ever more transparent to the American people.”
Jones said he will send a letter to all members of Congress seeking their support for the non-binding resolutions.
Jones also said he plans to contact Roger Stone, a confidante of Trump and JFK conspiracy theorist. On Wednesday Stone joined anti-conspiratorial author Gerald Posner in a public statement calling for release of the JFK files.
“I will ask Mr. Stone to please use his influence with Donald Trump to encourage the president to join in this effort,” Jones added.
During the 2016 presidentail campaign Trump concocted a bogus JFK conspiracy theory to smear Republican rival Ted Cruz.
The first batch of the last JFK records, released by the National Archives in July, generated several revelations that shed new light on the JFK story.
One top CIA counterintelligence official came to doubt the lone gunman theory in the mid-1970s and suspected Cuba might have been involved, according to Politico.
Collectively, the latest revelations pour cold water on the theory that the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, was involved in JFK’s murder, while raising questions about the “Castro did it” theory and the role of the CIA in the events leading to November 22, 1963
Whether any JFK records will remain secret after this month is up to President Trump. The conspiracy-theorist-in chief has three weeks to decide.
The release of long-secret JFK assassination files by the National Archives has drawn the attention of news organizations nationwide.
Four revelations stand out so far.
1) WhoWhatWhy reported on documents showing that Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of JFK’s assassination, was a CIA asset in the 1950s. His brother, Charles Cabell, was a high-ranking CIA official until 1962.
The coverage of the first batch newly-released JFK assassination records in Politico, the Washington Post, WhoWhatWhy, AlterNet and other national publication confirms the public interest in–and historical importance of– the government’s long secret files about the murder of President Kennedy in 1963.
But the documented fact, first reported in JFK Facts, that a batch of CIA records about suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald has gone missing since 1997, underscores the need for congressional legislation to insure that the goal of full disclosure is achieved.
It was a private moment between two aspiring statesmen.
On the evening of May 19, 1976, President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France visited President Gerald Ford in Washington. Giscard, a calculating centrist, had come for a state visit. Ford, the former Michigan congressman, had succeeded the disgraced Richard Nixon. Both men were new to their high offices.
In the limousine ride to the state banquet at George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Giscard asked Ford about a sensitive issue: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 13 years before.
All of the U.S. government’s files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are supposed to be released by October 26. But one batch of the CIA records on suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, has gone missing.
The records were part of a 7-volume file on Oswald, held by the agency’s Office of Security (OS), which is responsible for protecting CIA property and vetting agency personnel. Declassified CIA records show that volume 5 of the file records existed in 1978. The contents of the missing file are not known.
The disappearance of the records, discovered by JFK researcher Malcolm Blunt, is significant because the Office of Security was the first component of the CIA to open a file on Oswald, an ex-Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959.
The first nationally known analysts to weigh in on the new JFK files are Phil Shenon and Larry Sabato, former New York Times reporter and University of Virginia professor respectively. In a story for Politico Magazine, they purport to tell the story How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK’s Murder.
The tipoff to the story’s limitations is the headline, which sounds a bit odd: how the CIA came to doubt the official story…
The CIA was the source for key parts of the official JFK story–that a lone gunman killed President Kennedy out of “hatred for American society.” The CIA’s doubts only surfaced in the spring of 1975 when the official story was shredded by revelations about the agency’s pre-assassination knowledge of Oswald and plots to kill Castro.
To people interested in the new JFK releases, I can highly recommend item 3) on Bill Kelly’s Top Ten Newly Released Records.
In this May 1964 conversation about the assassination of JFK, Drew Pearson, one of the nation’s leading syndicated columnists, failed to dispel the conspiratorial convictions of Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union.
Three years later, Pearson’s fellow investigative reporter Jack Anderson would break a story that shattered Washington’s confidence in the official JFK story and lent credence to Khrushchev’s view.
The answer is no. There is no one piece of evidence in the 113,00 pages of JFK records scheduled to be released by October 26, 2017, that will change people’s minds about what happened long ago in Dallas.
But the new JFK files, if released in their entirety, will fill in the two key gaps in the JFK assassination story that have long been obscured by government misconduct, official secrecy, and lazy journalism.
In response to my recent post on a declassified April 1972 CIA memo ordering that “no defector or source” be asked about Lee Harvey Oswald, a faithful reader asks:
Where is April 1972 in the Nosenko chronology? Was there a time at which saner CIA people simply told Angleton to back off from his Nosenko-KGB theories?
The answer is that Angleton was motivated both by his interest in Nosenko and his desire to block CIA people from questioning the dubious official story of Oswald as a lone assassin about whom the agency knew little.
In fact, as Angleton knew better than anyone, the CIA had monitored Oswald’s movements, politics, personal life, and foreign contacts for four years before JFK was killed.
The other relevant question is, “Where is April 1972 in the Oswald chronology?” Read more
On April 5, 1972, CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, backed by director Richard Helms, issued a blanket order:
“the agency was not, under any circumstances , to make inquiries or ask any source or defector about Oswald”
The order, found in the massive batch of JFK files released online this week, came nine years after Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24 year old ex-Marine. The order was issued after officials in the agency’s Soviet Bloc division asked a Russian defector about the accused assassin who lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962.
The CIA memo,
classified as a state secret for the past 35 years [Ed note: Paul Hoch tells me the memo was released with a name redacted in 1998] sheds light on how Angleton, a legendary spy chief known for his brilliance and paranoia, tightly controlled the JFK investigation for years after the crime. No one at the CIA was supposed to ask questions about Kennedy’s accused killer. Read more
The National Archives’ long-awaited release of JFK assassination files, which began on Monday, has some holes in it.
At least 12 CIA documents that were supposed to be released online Monday are still in the possession of the Agency, according to the Archives.
Among the missing documents are ten pages of notes on the FBI/Army Intelligence file of Tony Cuesta, an anti-Castro militant who implicated a Cuban exile marksman in the assassination of JFK.
The CIA also retains a 47-page file on Cuesta, which is supposed to be released this year, according to the National Archives online database.
The omission of the Cuesta file and 11 other documents from this week’s release was inadvertent, according to archivist James Mathis.
In an email to JFK Facts, Mathis wrote.
How exactly can I start downloading these files and reading them? Are the files themselves online for us to download and read without payng and ordering them from the National Archives?
Arnaldo Fernandez on the History Channel’s misguided, and now disappeared, JFK series.
After mixing Oswald with the anti-Castro and CIA-backed paramilitaries of Alpha 66 in a weird pot made of “special intent to kill President Kennedy soup”, Baer keeps on blighting a big-budget TV show by ignoring the body of the evidence, writes Arnaldo Fernandez. With an insert by Milicent Cranor on the History Channel’s version of the “jet effect”.