Donald Trump approved the release the Oswald Files, documentation about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and most were made public last night but many of the most sensitive ones were withheld for six months while the administration decides what to do with them.


The final batch of documents being released contain more than 3,100 pieces – which is just 1% of the total files on the subject. Around 3,800 were already released back in July. The majority of the documents were released in the late 1990s, but with some portions redacted. Congress determined in 1992 that the files had to be released 25 years in the future. George H.W. Bush signed that act into law on Oct. 26, 1992, making today the last possible day to release the documents. Thus, timing is what allowed Trump to be the one to give the green light.

The documents were released late yesterday, Oct. 26, and can be read on the National Archives website. They contain the activities of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald over the nine months prior to the shooting, as well as other artifacts. Oswald had been in Mexico City for two months before, and the documents discuss what they knew before and after about the man. Some believed that Oswald “may have been Castro’s agent.”

Information varies: Oswald may have been Castro’s agent by ABC News Politics on Scribd

The documents also say that the FBI believed Oswald’s visit to Mexico was for help with a passport or visa, possibly for the Soviet Union. A CIA memo from the day of the Kennedy assassination described a call intercepted by the CIA placed by Oswald, while in Mexico City, to the Russian embassy in Mexico. It states that Oswald spoke with the consul, an “identified KGB officer,” “in broken Russian.”

The files also contained information on how the United States thought the Soviet Union reacted to Kennedy’s death. “According to our source, officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union believed there was some well-organized conspiracy on the part of the ‘ultraright’ in the United States to effect a ‘coup,'” the memo said. “They seem convinced that the assassination was not the deed of one man, but that it arose out of a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part.” That same source also claimed that the USSR had no connection to Oswald.

Soviet reaction to JFK death by ABC News Politics on Scribd

Oswald was never determined without a doubt to be the assailant. When nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot Oswald during a police transfer, speculation grew that Kennedy’s assassination was the result of a US intelligence plot. Later, a Senate investigation concluded that Kennedy’s death was likely the result of a conspiracy, as it found evidence that the CIA and FBI were plotting to kill then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

FBI concludes Oswald not an FBI informant by ABC News Politics on Scribd

The Oswald Files confirm that the CIA did have a plot to murder Castro. Kennedy’s brother General Robert Kennedy said they had hired someone “to approach Sam Giancana [a Sicilian mobster] with a proposition of paying $150,000 to hire some gunman to go into Cuba and kill Castro.”

Now public: CIA plans to assassinate Castro by ABC News Politics on Scribd

Now public: CIA plans to assassinate Castro by ABC News Politics on Scribd

Another document, dated Nov. 24, 1963, states that the FBI received a death threat on Oswald the day before Ruby killed him. J. Edgar Hoover at the time said the Dallas office got a call “from a man talking in a calm voice” saying a member of a committee was being sent to kill Oswald. The Dallas FBI put extra coverage on Oswald in the transfer but he was shot dead anyway. “Ruby says no one was associated with him and denies having made the telephone call to our Dallas office last night, the document read.

Memo dictated by J. Edgar Hoover by ABC News Politics on Scribd

In response to Oswald being killed even after a death threat was made, Hoover was concerned about civil rights activists cropping up in Oswald’s defense. “Oswald having been killed today after our warnings to the Dallas Police Department was inexcusable,” Hoover dictated. “It will allow, I am afraid, a lot of civil rights people to raise a lot of hell because he was handcuffed and had no weapon. There are bound to be some elements of our society who will holler their heads off that his civil rights were violated — which they were.”

In the same memo, Hoover makes it clear that the public must believe that Oswald acted alone. “There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead,” the FBI director said. “The thing I am concerned about…is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” It is unclear from the memo if Hoover believed it was a conspiracy or that Oswald acted alone, but he did not want the public’s fear spiraling out of control.

In addition, a Cuban intelligence officer in 1967 said “oh, he was quite good” when another officer joked that Oswald must have been a “good shot.” When asked why he said that, the intel officer said, “I knew him.”

Not all the documents were released yesterday – only 2,891 were made public so far. But Trump says more will be released as they are reviewed. “JFK Files are being carefully released. In the end there will be great transparency. It is my hope to get just about everything to the public,” the president tweeted.

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