We may receive some startling news this week.
We may finally dispel one of the nation’s most disturbing conspiracy theories if the U.S. National Archives releases secret files regarding the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
But is it all just another distraction to get us talking about something else other than Donald Trump’s disrespect of Gold Star families, his Emoluments Clause violations, the green berets killed in Niger, tax cuts for the rich, a rise in white supremacy, Russian involvement in his election, North Korea, healthcare, and unraveling the economic and social gains we made under former President Barack Obama?
In a Saturday morning tweet, President Donald Trump announced:
“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as president, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”
The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the more than 3,000 files the public has never seen and more than 30,000 previously released with redactions.
Trump could still block the release, though, on the supposition that publicizing the documents might harm intelligence, law enforcement, military operations or foreign relations.
For those reasons, some hope Trump reconsiders.
Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, and Larry Sabato, argue that the release of all the documents simultaneously would be a “logistical nightmare:”
“At worst, especially if the White House blocks the release of some of the files, this month’s document release will simply cement the idea among the nation’s army of conspiracy theorists that, 54 years after those gunshots rang out over Dealey Plaza, the truth about the assassination is still being hidden.”
Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, agrees. She said there have been concerns over classified assassination-related documents stored at the National Archives created decades after President Kennedy’s murder.
“Some of the records within this collection were not created until the 1990s.”
Walters added the documents need to be scrutinized to guarantee there would be no “identifiable harm” to national security if made public.
It is for this reason a congressional official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was pressuring Trump to block the release of some documents, possibly to protect CIA tactics and the identity of still-living agency informants.
The agent said:
“Everything is in flux. I guess the president could change his mind at the last minute. But unless there is a dramatic change of heart, there will not be an absolutely full release of this information. I think you’ll see a lot of the files next week. Just not all of them, unfortunately. And a lot of documents that should have been released in full won’t be—there will be deletions.”
Former president George H.W. Bush passed the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act in response to the uproar over Oliver Stone’s conspiracy film JFK. This resulted in millions of pages of documents being made public in the 1990s.
The public has never seen 3,100 documents, however, nor has it seen the full text of more than 30,000 files, mostly created inside the intelligence community, previously partially released.
Last year on the campaign trail, Donald Trump floated the theory that JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was affiliated with Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) father.
Cruz and his father deny this accusation.
Trump claims to be releasing the JFK documents out of transparency, yet he still has not produced his tax returns despite promising during his campaign to do so.
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