Trump announces that he will release classified JFK documents
A law passed in 1992 mandated that thousands of classified JFK files be released by October 26th of this year. However, the publication of some of these documents can be halted by the President if they are considered too sensitive for release.
“The president believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” said a White House statement.
However, Trump announced the release on Twitter in usual aggrandizing fashion, taking full credit for the decision to release the files:
The reason for Trump's attitude here may be simple: he wants to appear populist by releasing classified files pertaining to a major and still controversial historical event. By giving doffer for conspiracy theories, he looks like a man of truth, opening the vaults and releasing once-unknown information - except for that small fact that it was a scheduled release, and not all Trump's decision.
Roger Stone, a mutual friend between Donald Trump and conspiracy theorist Texan Alex Jones, said: “I had the opportunity to make the case directly to the president of the United States by phone as to why I believe it is essential that he release the balance of the currently redacted and classified J.F.K. assassination documents.”
Conspiracies come to Trump naturally, as they rolled off his tongue during the 2016 campaign. On the subject of Ted Cruz's father, Trump had said:
“You know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot... what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible.”
But besides this goofiness, what can we actually expect to see in the classified files? Gerald Posner, who wrote a book called Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, explained:
"There's going to be no smoking gun in there. But anybody who thinks this is going to turn the case on its head and suddenly show that there were three or four shooters at Dealey Plaza -- it's not the case...Oswald did it alone. But what the files are doing and why they're important to come out is they fill in the history of the case and show us how the FBI and CIA repeatedly hid the evidence."
Posner said that it is true that the CIA and the mafia conspired to kill a major world leader. Yet, it was not Kennedy, but Fidel Castro, of Cuba:
"They tried seven times and they couldn't even wound him. ... They couldn't get rid of Castro, but somehow these same guys who were an 'F' there pulled off the perfect crime in Dallas, and 54 years later we can find not a shred of evidence about it. I just don't buy it."
I'm not averse to conspiracy theories. The idea that powerful people would get together and do insane things behind the scenes seems certain. Yet, the idea that people as incompetent as our government agencies, and intelligence officials, could kill a President and keep it absolutely secret, remains far-fetched.