News & Politics

Trump Delays Releasing 'Sensitive' JFK Files at Request of CIA and FBI

Part of a file, dated April 5, 1964, details efforts to trace Lee Harvey Oswald's travel from Mexico City back to the United States, released for the first time on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, is photographed in Washington. The public is getting a look at thousands of secret government files related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination, but hundreds of other documents will remain under wraps for now. The government was required by Thursday to release the final batch of files related to Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. But President Donald Trump delayed the release of some of the files, citing security concerns. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

On Thursday, the United States government released thousands of files related to the murder of President John F. Kennedy. President Trump announced the release a few days ago, telling his Twitter followers that they contained some very “interesting” information.

Although most political junkies and history buffs were looking forward to this much-anticipated release, there’s a “but”: at the last moment, Trump decided to delay releasing some documents that were deemed “sensitive” by the FBI and CIA:

Mr Trump released 2,891 records but, after requests mostly from the CIA and FBI, said he had been left with “no choice” but to keep approximately 300 others secret.

In a memo, he said: “Executive departments and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement and foreign affairs concerns.

“I have no choice, today, but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation’s security.”

The next six months will be used to further review these records. Trump added:

At the end of that period, I will order the public disclosure of any information that the agencies cannot demonstrate meets the statutory standard for continued postponement of disclosure.

Of course, some would argue that their sensitive nature is precisely why it’s so important to release these documents. American voters have the right to know whatever the government knows about the murder of JFK. It was their president that was killed, not just the CIA and FBI’s boss.

Still, although it seems that the most important documents haven’t been released yet, the ones that were released on Thursday certainly do contain some gems that nobody knew about beforehand. For example:

1. A reporter at Cambridge News in the United Kingdom received a phone call some 25 minutes before JFK was assassinated. The caller, who wished to remain anonymous, told the reporter that he “should call the American Embassy in London for some big news.” Then he hung up. Less than half an hour later, JFK was shot and killed.

2. Some two months before Lee Harvey Oswald murdered JFK, the CIA intercepted a call he made to a known KGB operative at the Russian Embassy in Mexico. That caused the CIA to speculate that he might be a KGB agent himself. Clearly, not enough was done with that information.

3. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said shortly after Oswald’s arrest that he “received a call in our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organised to kill Oswald.” Although the police assured him that Oswald would be protected, this “was not done.”

That’s all interesting in itself, but it’s not exactly earth-shattering. And that brings us back to the documents that Trump has not released on the urging of the FBI and CIA. What’s in them and when will they be released?

And another question that needs to be answered: how in the world can they “harm foreign relations” (or even intelligence) 53 years after JFK was murdered? Most Americans weren’t even alive when JFK was assassinated.