JFK files release: When are they coming out, and what do we already know?

The documents represent just 1 per cent of the total amount of documents 

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 25 October 2017 15:22 BST
What are the JFK files?

The Trump administration is expected to release thousands of pages of documents about the investigation into the assassination of President John F Kennedy to the public, the final batch of documents related to the 1963 tragedy that shook American life and politics.

The documents are expected to be released Thursday, and could contain a trove of information related to the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald in the months before he shot the US president during a Dallas, Texas parade.

What might be in these documents?

First off, the final batch contains more than 3,000 files, and each of those files could contain hundreds of individual documents. Those documents are said to include a handwritten note from Jackie Kennedy after the killing about funeral plans, and other potentially interesting records like that. In total, the remaining files represent just 1 per cent of the total documents.

Reports indicate that the last batch of JFK assassination documents may also contain several references to Oswald’s travels to Mexico City in September 1963, just two months before Kennedy was killed in his motorcade.

The documents could detail the actions of prominent Mexican officials who at the time may have provided information to the CIA and other American agencies just before the assassination.

Others note that the JFK documents could contain information on CIA agents involved in monitoring phone calls in Mexico City, or involved in larger spy operations in Central and Latin America.

Will that have any implications for anyone today?

Gerald Posner, the author of the 1993 book Case Closed, told USA Today that some details may be embarrassing for informants at the time who have moved on to high profile positions.

“There may not be deep, dark secrets in there, but the release could be embarrassing to people who were involved,” Mr Posner, whose book determined that Oswald acted alone in the killing, said. “You have to remember that Mexico City in the 1960s was a hodgepodge of intrigue where everyone was spying on everyone else.”

“There may be people who were informing to the CIA at the time who have moved on to careers in politics and business, and the revelation that they were informing will be embarrassing to them,” he continued.

Who is currently thought to be responsible for the assassination?

Oswald is, by and far, the most frequently blamed. The killer, who spent some time in the US military, and also travelled to Russia, was killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby while being transferred by police after the shooting. His death sparked speculation, though, that there was something larger at foot — including conspiracies that Kennedy’s death came as the result of a US intelligence plot.

A House investigation report in 1979 concluded that Kennedy was likely killed as a result of a conspiracy. A Senate investigation in 1975 and 1976 led by then-senator Frank Church — known as the Church Committee — found evidence of abuses by the CIA and FBI and many details of plots to kill then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a country frequently cited as having reason to try and kill the America president.

Why are these documents being released now?

Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who has worked as a political consultant and is an author, told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last week that he had urged Donald Trump to release the documents, and that CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been lobbying the President to keep the files classified.

The files could potentially reveal sources and intelligence gathering methods used by the intelligence communities, even though they are decades old.

The files were set to be released automatically by October 26, unless Mr Trump decided to stop them.

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