Thousands of never-before-seen new JFK files are being released on Thursday, October 26, along with thousands of more files that were previously redacted. These have been scheduled to be released since 1992, but President Donald Trump could have decided to hold them back. In 1992, the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act was approved by Congress and signed by former President George H.W. Bush. This act required that all JFK assassination records be disclosed within 25 years, which falls on October 26, 2017. Federal agencies could contest that release, but only the President could have a final say in whether some files would be held back for national security reasons. Despite urging from some security officials to not release all the files, Trump has indicated thus far that he plans to release them all.
Since 1992, nearly five million pages of JFK-related files have been released, either in full or redacted form. Thursday marks the last set left to be released. That includes 11 percent of files that were previously only released in part, due to sensitive information, and an additional one percent of JFK files that were withheld in full.
The files being released on October 26 will include:
- 3,100 files never before released, totaling tens of thousands of pages
- 30,000 pages of National Archives files previously released with redactions, now with those redactions removed
It’s not known exactly what will be in the files, but experts have some ideas. Most believe the files won’t contain a new bombshell reveal about JFK. But some topics that experts believe may be in the released documents include:
- Mentions of Cuba and the Soviet Union, including how the NSA kept tabs on Cuba’s agents, The Intercept reported.
- Possible CIA operations in Mexico City
- Details about the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald while he was in Mexico City
- NSA’s knowledge of Cuban agents’ cover names
- Files on top CIA officers from the 60s and 70s who were following Oswald before the assassination
- Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter, said that these top officers would likely include CIA officer William K. Harvey, who led agency assassination operations and had frequent feuds with Robert F. Kennedy
- Also possibly files on CIA officer David Phillips, who oversaw ops against Fidel Castro and was well-versed on the surveillance of Oswald when he was in Mexico City
- Files about the Watergate burglars,
- CIA personality profiles about Oswald.
- A secret communication between the CIA and the Office of Naval Intelligence marked as “unintelligible.” The communication was about Oswald, weeks before the assassination. In 1963, Oswald’s appeal of a dishonorable discharge was denied, leaving him outraged. Some hope the “unintelligible” communication will be revealed, but others think it’s lost forever.
Some officials surmised that national intelligence had urged Trump told delay the release because of recent diplomatic tensions between Cuba and the United States, including claims that Cuba used some type of sonic device against U.S. diplomats and spies. Others have said the security agencies were concerned about potential embarrassments, such as pages on Watergate burglars that might indicate they were connected to the CIA.