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JFK Files Released, Allegations Uncovered

November 3, 2017

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Fulfilling a promise made more than two decades ago, President Donald Trump released documents detailing the extent of the knowledge held by the US federal government in the aftermath of the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. The information, colloquially referred to as the “JFK Files,” uncover various assertions an allegations related to Kennedy’s life, death, and the immediate aftermath. Not every file was released, though, with Trump deciding to withhold some documents due to perceived national security concerns. However, the 52 documents that were declassified help paint a clearer picture of an assassination the public knows little about in some cases, and obscure what little information is available in others.

Likely most relevant to the Kennedy assassination in the files is a claim from the Federal Bureau of Investigations that some unnamed caller contacted the Bureau, threatening to kill Lee Harvey Oswald the day before he was shot and killed. A document, dated November 24, 1963, shows former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover commenting on Oswald’s death at the hands of a man named Jack Ruby. In the document, however, Hoover describes a call from a man claiming to be a member of a committee to assassinate Kennedy’s assassin. Hoover then claims to have pressure police forces to protect Oswald in order to ensure his safety from would-be assassins, but Oswald was killed by Ruby anyway.

Interestingly, Hoover then claims that the FBI had proof of Oswald’s guilt, including intercepts of communications between Oswald, Cuba, and the Soviet Union, heavily implying a communist plot. At this time, there has been no official FBI response to said allegations, and Oswald did not live long enough to stand trial to formally convict him of Kennedy’s assassination, or to prove links between Oswald and the Soviets. However, a cable conversation from 1967 released in the documents reveals that at least one Cuban official claimed to know Oswald, asserting that he knew Oswald was a good shot.

On the other hand, the documents reveal communications from the Soviet Union alleging an “ultraright” conspiracy, attempting to set up a coup. Later memos released with the documents claim no connection between the USSR and Oswald, instead simply describing Oswald as a random gunman and a pawn of a much larger scheme.

Regardless of the conclusions, the documents do not outline a conclusive decision as to exactly what Oswald was after when he decided to kill Kennedy. It does not outline why Jack Ruby could confront and kill Oswald. It does not prove or disprove Soviet or American allegations of organized foul play. Instead, the documents serve to provide more intrigue to a historical event that has been picked apart and analyzed again and again.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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