The U.S. National Archives announced it would release the files on the assassination of former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy this Wednesday, Dec. 15. However, perhaps the most essential information will remain classified at the request of the National Security Agency (NSA).
The so-far secret documents were compiled by a congressional oversight board in 1992 and there were several attempts to make them public, but none materialized under pressure from the U.S. intelligence community.
In 2017, Trump promised the release of some 10,000 documents related to the Kennedy assassination, but both the FBI, CIA and other national security agencies protested the decision. They claimed the files contained information too sensitive for the public or were “state secrets” that could cause “harm” and recommended releasing them redacted, according to Politico.
Trump said he would make public all documents related to the assassination, without redaction, but with his second term failing to materialize, his promise did not come true.
Biden had planned to release the documents in October, but put it off, saying that because of the pandemic, the work had been delayed.
President Biden hinted that some of the files might be permanently classified because of national security concerns.
The delay in releasing the files has fueled various “conspiracy” theories about who killed the former president and the selective release will not quell speculation about what really happened.
The Kennedy family itself criticized Biden’s decision.
According to Daily Mail, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, JFK’s nephew, said: “It’s an abuse. It’s an abuse of American democracy. It’s an outrage. It’s an outrage against American democracy. We’re not supposed to have secret governments within the government. How the hell is it 58 years later, and what in the world could justify not releasing these documents?”
Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, also said it does not engender confidence in people that the government chooses to hide the real facts.
“I think for the good of the country, everything has to be put out there so there’s greater understanding of our history,” the former lawmaker said.
The official story
JFK was sitting in the back seat of a convertible with first lady Jackie Kennedy when he was shot in the neck at 12:30 a.m.
He was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.
Lee Harvey Oswald was singled out as the perpetrator and was arrested in a theater shortly thereafter.
Oswald denied having killed Kennedy.
Days later he was assassinated by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby in the presence of police and the media in the basement of a police station.
Ruby said the anger he had over Kennedy’s death motivated him to kill Oswald. However, it is unclear why the suspect in the JFK assassination had such basic security when the whole country was enraged.
One of the conspiracy theories that gained momentum over the years precisely because of the intelligence community’s insistence on keeping the files secret is that the CIA planned and executed his assassination.
JFK had given a speech saying he would “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds,” he also disavowed “secret societies” acting with impunity in the shadows.
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it,” JKF said according to the online library that bears his name.
And referring to the CIA, Kennedy said it was a “machine” that combined diplomacy, military, economic and scientific political operations that any free country would not want:
“Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.”
Many interpreted his speech as an indication that he would shut down the CIA.
JFK also had an anti-war stance and wanted to end conflicts with communist nations peacefully during the Cold War, which also angered the CIA, who considered his view “traitorous.”
But gaps in the official story, such as Oswald acting alone when there are indications that bullets came from several directions, to the assassination of Oswald, who should have been under heavy police custody. Instead, however, the place was full of journalists and ordinary people, enabling Ruby to get close and shoot him fatally, adding fuel to the fire of conspiracy theories about what happened to JFK that day.