JFK Files: October vs. July 2017 Documents

JFK Files

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The JFK files slated for release today haven’t shown up yet on the National Archives site — it looks like they’re showing up much later than anticipated. And no, those July 2017 files you’re seeing are not the files you’re waiting to view. If you’re on the National Archives site and are wondering why you’re seeing July 2017 documents on the page, you’re not alone. The July documents are not the files that have been all over the news and that many people are waiting to read on October 26, 2017. The July files are from a previous batch of 2017 JFK documents that were released months ago.

On the National Archives page where the new October 2017 files will appear once they’re made public, you’ll also see files labeled “July 2017 Release.” This can be a little misleading to some people, since they’re posted on the archives.gov/research/jfk/2017-release webpage. These are not the new files we’re waiting to see. The 2017 Release page contains all JFK documents that have been released in 2017, not just the October ones.

The July files were released on July 24 at 7 a.m. Eastern and have already been read thoroughly by JFK enthusiasts.

The newest set will be released sometime today before midnight, unless President Donald Trump changes his mind and decides not to release all of them after all. An official with the National Security Council told The Washington Post that some agencies were asking Trump not to allow the release of all the remaining documents, but to continue holding some of the documents back. But from Trump’s most recent tweets haven’t indicated that he plans to hold anything back.

The files being released today 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

If you want to know exactly when the JFK documents are available, there are a few tricks you can try. They’re not guarantee to work, but they’re your best bets. First, follow the National Archives on Twitter and choose to receive mobile notifications whenever they tweet. If you want to get a little more technical, you can automatically monitor both of those National Archives webpages to see when any changes are made to them. VisualPing is one app you can use to keep tabs on changes to those two webpages. The Chrome extension can monitor a page every minute or second and notify you about changes (if you have Chrome open.) The website version can check every hour and email you when changes are made.

It’s not known exactly what will be in today’s 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.
  • 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.

To learn how to read the files, see Heavy’s story below:

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