JFK Files Fuel Conspiracy Theories

By Jessica Varvil

 

On Oct, 26th, President Donald Trump authorizedthe release of more than 2,800 records and documents related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. This release was in accordance with an act passed in 1992 that required the declassification of these documents within 25 years.

Though he released many records related to the assassination that were previously withheld from the public, Trump stated in his memorandum that “it would take more time to process and release thousands more documents that were also supposed to be made public.” The unreleased documents are set to be reviewed and released by April 26, 2018, according to the same memorandum. The six-month review is meant to catch potential risks to national security and was recommended by intelligence agencies.

The thousands of memos and other documents were made available online through the National Archives website and distributed widely by media organizations such as the New York Times and CNN. Speaking to the reason for his declassification, Trump wrote in his memorandum that “The American public expects — and deserves — its Government to provide as much access as possible to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records so that the people may finally be fully informed about all aspects of this pivotal event.”

The sheer volume of documents released has ignited the curiosity of many would-be conspiracy theorists and casual readers alike. One titillating tidbit stems from a document that apparently cuts off after agency director Richard Helms is asked about CIA involvement in the Kennedy assassination, a popular theory.

The deposition in question was from April 1975 to the Rockefeller Commission on CIA Activities, and covered such subjects as Lyndon B. Johnson, Helms, and CIA involvement in conspiracy theories. The beginning of the document indicates that the file is an excerpt from a longer deposition. The final question, left unanswered by Helms, reads “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…” David Berlin, the questioner, was an attorney for the Rockefeller commission.

A 1966 memo from J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director at the time, to the white house describes intelligence on the Soviet Union’s knowledge of the JFK assassination. The memo states that “Our [Soviet] source added that ‘now’ the K.G.B. was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy.” Johnson served as vice president under President Kennedy, and succeeded him after the assassination.

The theory that the CIA orchestrated the assassination of John F. Kennedy is only one of many. Others theorize that the Soviet Union, and possibly other communist powers, had it in for the popular president. This rival account may be supported by the revelation that the CIA intercepted a call from Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin, to the Soviet Union’s K.G.B itself.

CNN reported that “a CIA memo from the day of Kennedy’s assassination outlined a CIA intercept of a call from Oswald, then in Mexico City, to the Russian embassy in Mexico.” According to the document, a K.G.B officer spoke to Oswald, who communicated in broken Russian to obtain a passport or visa.

Further supporting the theory of Soviet involvement, one document exposes a meeting between Oswald and “Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a senior agent in the 13th Department [of the K.G.B.] which was responsible for assassinations,” according to the Daily Mail reports.

Other potential bombshells involve alleged proof of Johnson’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan, Cuban intelligence related to the assassination, and a potential tip-off of a British media source before the Kennedy assassination had actually taken place. Though these documents have provided renewed vigor to an old debate, the April release of more sensitive documents will most likely provide deeper information for morbidly interested, or simply concerned, citizens.

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