Scholars are eagerly awaiting the anticipated release of thousands of never-before-seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Now, they’re waiting to see whether President Donald Trump will block the release of files that could shed light on a tragedy that has stirred conspiracy theories for decades.
The National Archives has until October 26 to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, unless Trump intervenes.
The CIA and FBI, whose records make up the bulk of the batch, won’t say whether they’ve appealed to the Republican president to keep them under wraps.
The still-secret documents include more than 3,000 that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been released previously, but with redactions.
‘The American public deserves to know the facts, or at least they deserve to know what the government has kept hidden from them for all these years,’ said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
‘It’s long past the time to be forthcoming with this information,’ he said.
It’s unlikely the documents contain any big revelations about Kennedy’s killing, said Judge John Tunheim, who was chairman of the independent agency in the 1990s that made public many assassination records and decided how long others could remain secret.
Sabato and other JFK scholars believe the trove of files may provide insight into assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to Mexico City weeks before the killing, during which he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies.
Oswald’s stated reason for going was to get visas that would allow him to enter Cuba and the Soviet Union, according to the Warren Commission, the investigative body established by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but much about the trip remains unknown.
Among the protected information up for release are details about the arrangements the U.S. entered into with the Mexican government that allowed it to have close surveillance of those and other embassies, said Tunheim, a federal judge in Minnesota.