The National Archives is releasing another 676 government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s the third public release so far this year.
Last week, President Donald Trump ordered all remaining records released to the public. He also directed agencies to take another look at their proposed redactions and only withhold information in the rarest of circumstances.
This represents the first in a series of rolling releases pursuant to Trump’s directive.
Most of Friday’s release comprises 553 records from the CIA that previously were withheld in their entirety. There also are records from the Justice and Defense departments, the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the National Archives.
In the chaotic aftermath of the assassination, followed two days later by the murder of the shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald while in police custody, FBI Director J, Edgar Hoover vented his frustration in a formerly secret report found in the files. It opened: “There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead.”
But, reflecting on Oswald less than an hour after he died, Hoover already sensed theories would form about a conspiracy broader than the lone assassin.
“The thing I am concerned about, and so is (deputy attorney general) Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin,” he said.
He also reported: “Last night we received a call from our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.”
Hoover said he relayed that warning to Dallas police and was assured Oswald would be sufficiently protected. Oswald was shot dead the next day by Jack Ruby.
A document from 1975 contains a partial deposition by Richard Helms, a deputy CIA director under Kennedy who later became CIA chief, to the Rockefeller Commission, which was studying unauthorized CIA activities in domestic affairs. Commission lawyers appeared to be probing for information on what foreign leaders might have been the subject of assassination attempts by or on behalf of the CIA.
A lawyer asks Helms: “Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or agent” — here the document ends, short of his answer.
The Warren Commission in 1964 concluded that Oswald had been the lone gunman, and another congressional probe in 1979 found no evidence to support the theory that the CIA had been involved. But other interpretations, some more creative than others, have persisted. (AP)
Here’s a look back at Lee Harvey Oswald as the National Archives releases more of the remaining documents.