Officials say there are no obvious bombshells in the material expected to be released today; there will be nothing to suggest that Oswald was not the gunman in Dealey Plaza or, as many Americans believe, that there was a conspiracy in the assassination of Kennedy.
Still, they say, the new information will be intriguing to historians and murder researchers who have sought for nearly six decades to connect the dots about a turning point in American history, and to try to understand what possible justification the government might have. to retain any information. any information about the assassination of a president. Here are some things we hope to learn more about when the docs are released:
Oswald’s Mysterious Journey to Mexico City
Several of the newly declassified documents will refer, directly or indirectly, to the activities of undercover CIA agents at the agency’s Mexico City station who mounted an aggressive surveillance operation against Oswald when he visited the Mexican capital in September. of 1963, just a few weeks before the murder. Previously released files from the CIA station in Mexico show that Oswald, a self-proclaimed Marxist who apparently tried to obtain a visa to defect to Cuba, made contact in the Mexican capital with Soviet and Cuban spies, including a specialist in assassinations of the KGB. Those documents suggested that the CIA station in Mexico botched evidence that, if quickly released to the Secret Service and other agencies in Washington, could have saved Kennedy’s life.
The CIA veteran who hid his background from Congress
George Joannides served as a spy agency liaison to a special House committee in the 1970s that reinvestigated the Kennedy assassination. House staff members later said they were outraged to learn after the investigation that Joannides, who died in 1990, had an apparently blatant conflict of interest, as the CIA never revealed to lawmakers that he had run spy operations. during the Kennedy administration to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel. Castro: A CIA effort that many historians believe could have been linked to the assassination. Washington journalist and murder investigator Jefferson Morley has filed a widely publicized federal lawsuit for years seeking the release of Joannides’ personal files.
Oswald’s 80 Volume 201 “Personality” Archive
Most of Oswald’s “201,” a military-derived term for labeling personal files, was made public years ago, but some parts have been kept secret for reasons of national security or privacy. According to the CIA, the file contains virtually everything the spy agency learned about Oswald before and after the assassination. It is reported to have a total of over 50,000 pages. The existence of this file has long suggested that the CIA knew much more about Oswald before JFK’s death, and specifically the threat he might pose to Kennedy, than the agency wanted to admit. According to the CIA, the file was created in December 1960, almost three years before Kennedy’s assassination, after Oswald’s failed defection to the Soviet Union in 1959. The Warren Commission, the White House panel led by the president of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren, who investigated the Kennedy assassination and concluded in 1964 that Oswald had almost certainly acted alone: he was never given the full file, for reasons never adequately explained. An internal CIA memo dated February 1964, declassified decades later, shows that the agency knew that at least 37 documents were missing from the archive when it was reviewed in the days after the assassination, including Oswald-related documents that the FBI and the State Department shared. with the CIA Later today, we should know more about the parts of the file that are still redacted.
Internal correspondence from the National Archives made public this year shows that the Archives, which is home to millions of pages of once-secret documents, has often fought with other federal agencies, notably the CIA and FBI, to insist in which they publish files related to murders. , as required by the JFK records law.
While declining to comment on the details of the documents due to be released this week, William J. Bosanko, director of operations for the National Archives and Records Administration, suggested in a statement to POLITICO Magazine that the Archives and the CIA have resolved some of their differences. , which will result in “greater openness and transparency” that will allow more documents to be made public.
He noted that since last year, virtually all murder-related documents in the FBI files have been made public.
Mark Zaid, a Washington lawyer who specializes in national security issues and has fought in court with the Archives to force the release of documents related to the assassination, said in an interview that he “does not expect irrefutable proof” in the archives. posted this week. him though he welcomed any new signs of transparency, especially since “much of this information is long overdue for release.”
Government officials say the CIA, Justice Department, Pentagon and other agencies that continue to withhold documents related to the assassination will, at Biden’s request, issue so-called transparency plans later today that will explain to the public in broad terms what kind of of documents are being withheld, and why. In an order expected to be released this week, Biden will direct the agencies to continue working with the Archives to release the rest of the library of documents related to the assassination.
Under the JFK Records law, only the sitting president of the United States has the power to withhold murder-related documents beyond the 2017 deadline, meaning Biden could divulge everything at will. However, he suggested last year that he would continue to abide by a balancing act cited in the law, which allows documents to be kept secret indefinitely if their release would cause “identifiable harm” to “military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or foreign relations condition that is of such severity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”