John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, is the subject of countless conspiracy theories concerning his assassination. Much like 9/11, almost everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news about JFK being shot. Although the majority of JFK’s files is publicly available, a final batch remains locked away. Now, Donald Trump has announced that the last papers in JFK’s file are due to be released on Thursday 26th October.
As President, Trump can extend the classified status of the files but his Tweet this morning indicates that he is ready to release the documents. Trump said that he would allow the release “subject to receipt of further information”. A White House official confirmed that the President could release the files but stressed that the president could hold back if sensitive information was still in the files. Furthermore, no one has yet confirmed whether the remaining files will be released with partial redactions or in their entirety.
The files themselves consist of over 3,000 documents. Historians and archivists are eager to sift through the details of the assassination and the investigations that followed. Historians are careful to admit that the files might not contain any major bombshells, but they may shed light on Lee Harvey Oswald’s connections and movements before the assassination.
The release of the files goes back to the 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. The law stated that the files were to be released 25 years after the bill’s passing. Trump has been quick to claim credit after a disastrous week but many have made it clear the decision was taken 25 years ago. Trump claiming credit makes little difference as the date was agreed beforehand. The real credit goes to the late John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016), the Senator from Ohio who introduced the bill on July 22, 1992.
Ironically, Trump himself engaged in a conspiracy theory relating to a photo of Ted Cruz’s father and Lee Harvey Oswald. Trump claimed that Ted Cruz’s father was linked to the assassination during the presidential campaign. Such a claim drew controversy at the time while today, it was the subject of many jokes on social media.
However, national security could still delay the release. Some sources claim that there may be operations referenced dated by to the 1990s that might still be active or relevant. Trump has promised to look into the matter, but further delays will only compound the problem of conspiracy theories running wild. Even partial redactions may spur some to claim that the truth will still be hidden from the public.
Regardless, all eyes are on the 26th of October as many hope to find the answers to one of America’s biggest and most enduring conspiracy theories.