Last week, the U.S. government released thousands of pages of previously classified documents about the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Almost all of the documents were released automatically under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Record Collections Act of 1992. Trump confirmed on Saturday that he would allow for the release of the final batch of records, amounting to tens of thousands of pages, “subject to the receipt of further information.”
The documents contain multiple references to assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City where he visited the Cuban embassy several times. Other details include Oswald’s travels two months before he shot and killed Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Gerald Posner, author of the 1993 book Case Closed, concluded that Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy.
Posner said the disclosure could be embarrassing to prominent Mexicans, who may have provided information to the CIA and other agencies in the days before and after the assassination. Although the files contain information that is decades old, their release also could potentially compromise the sources and methods used by intelligence agencies.
Posner predicted in a CNN interview last week, “There will be no smoking gun in there. There is nothing about a second shooter on the grassy knoll. There is nothing that is going to establish a conspiracy. It’s going to fill in our understanding of the history of the case, but anybody who thinks it’s going to turn the case of its head and suddenly show that there are three or four shooters at Dealey Plaza, it’s not the case.”
Earlier this month, political consultant and Trump confident Roger Stone reported on his website that the CIA wants the president to delay the record release for another 25 years.
Stone wrote a book claiming that President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s vice president, was involved in Kennedy’s assassination.
He tweeted Monday that much of the released documents will contain important information that will likely be redacted.
The Deep State boys will undermine the President’s order by redacting & withholding as much information as they canhttps://t.co/IDQUE9m9Tv
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 24, 2017
Although Posner and Stone have different conclusions about who killed Kennedy, and why, they joineded together in recent weeks to argue for the release of the documents.
Upon taking office after Kennedy’s death, President Johnson created the Warren Commission, led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, to investigate the killing. The commission concluded in 1964 that Oswald acted alone.
The commission tried to discredit the multiplying conspiracy theories that were the result of the “publicizing of unchecked information,” which led to “myths” and “distorted” interpretations. It didn’t work.
Yet some of the contents of the newly-released documents have been know for years for various sources.
Government agencies, Hollywood bigwigs and amateur sleuths have floated theories of what happened to Kennedy: a plot by Cold War adversaries like Cuba and the Soviet Union; an elaborate Mafia-backed hit; a covert federal government coup. And it’s been going on for more than 50 years.
Here are some of the events that have fueled conspiracy theories:
Oswald’s murder Nov. 24, 1963, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby led to speculation that Ruby targeted Oswald as part of a larger plot.
The revelations in the 1970s about the various attempts by the Kennedy administration — led by the president’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy — to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro spurred theories that Castro had President Kennedy killed before Kennedy could kill Castro.
Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 and returned in 1962. Some speculate that he was recruited by Soviet leaders while there.
Oswald traveled in Mexico City in September 1963, where he met with officials at the Cuban embassy there as he tried to get a visa to travel to Cuba and then to the Soviet Union.
The Kennedy administration attempted to recruit members of the Mafia to kill Castro, leading to theories that the Mafia was somehow involved in the Kennedy assassination.
A 702-page CIA dossier, known as the “Family Jewels“, compiled in 1973 by former Director of Central Intelligence director James Schlesinger, describe how Richard Bissell, a CIA officer, approached the CIA’s Office of Security to establish whether it had “assets that may assist in a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action. The mission target was Fidel Castro”.