The National Archives has finished processing the records about the JFK assassination that government agencies allowed to be released to the public without objection. However, there are thousands of records that remain withheld in whole or in part, which contain the most sensitive government information about the JFK assassination that agencies were not willing to release in the initial processing. President Trump promised that all of these withholdings will be subject to another review within six months to make sure that only very limited information is withheld- information related to live sources. The Trump review remains to be done. For that reason, the most sensitive information about the assassination has yet to be released. The news article that follows is based on what agencies allowed to be released this fall without objection. — AARC Editorial Staff
With More to Come, New JFK Documents Offer Fresh Leads 54 Years Later
alf-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don’t believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
President Donald Trump promised via Twitter this fall that all the JFK assassination documents will be public by the end of April 2018 “to put any and all conspiracies to rest.”
Instead, the 34,963 documents released so far in 2017 have fed the fire tended by researchers and others who believe there is much more to the story how a U.S. president was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago.
“To this point, as expected, we haven’t had a document that lists the conspirators in the murder of President Kennedy,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and author of The Kennedy Half Century. “What we have gotten is a lot of rich material, not just about the Kennedy assassination but the times.”
It was a 1991 movie, Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” that led Congress to require the secret documents to be released more than two decades later after they were reviewed for national security purposes and to protect past informants. The film, which challenged the official version of the assassination, brought conspiracy theorists into the mainstream and led other Americans to question the official version of events.
McClatchy’s Washington bureau, the Miami Herald and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have pored over thousands of newly released JFK documents. Here are some of the new or bolstered leads revealed thus far by the new material.
Dallas mayor was CIA asset
One particular document from the August release has created much buzz. It that shows that Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas at the time of the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting, became a CIA asset in late 1956.
The CIA had withheld the information on grounds that it was not considered relevant. No related documents have been released, but even alone it is important. Cabell’s brother Charles was deputy director of the CIA until he was fired by Kennedy in January 1962.
“That shows why Dallas was the place,” said Zack Shelton, a retired veteran FBI agent who fervently disbelieves that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman. “I think the investigation or focus is going to be turned more into Oswald not being the lone wolf.”
Shelton, now 67 and retired in Beaumont, Texas, was an FBI agent in Chicago combating organized crime in the 1980s. In the process of helping bust a contraband ring involving an alleged mafia hitman named James Files, Shelton was told that Files had curious things to say about the Kennedy killing roughly 20 years earlier.
That tip to Shelton launched a chain of events that led to Files confessing from prison in Illinois that he was one of several gunmen in Dallas on the fateful day, and that he fired from the famous grassy knoll.
Many historians dismiss Files’ claims, but Shelton maintains that Files was indeed an assassin and was part of the Cosa Nostra mob organization headed in Chicago by Salvatore “Sam the Cigar” Giancana. Files was released from prison in 2016 after a long stint for attempted murder.
The CIA and FBI documents released so far say nothing about Files or another assassin he allegedly worked with named Charles Nicoletti, but that’s no surprise to Wim Dankbaar. He’s a Dutch national with a website and videos devoted to debunking what he considers a myth — that Oswald killed Kennedy or that he acted alone — and promoting the view that Files assassinated Kennedy.
“Do you really think they haven’t deep-sixed the incriminating files?” Dankbaar asked in a testy telephone interview.
The November tranche of new documents does include some about Giancana’s courier, a former Chicago cop who went by the alias Richard Cain and met in Mexico City with CIA staff; he was also an informant for the FBI. A 1992 biography written by Giancana’s family said the mob boss had told his younger brother that Cain and Nicoloetti, not Oswald, were in the Texas Book Depository from where shots at Kennedy were fired.
In addition, several new documents discuss the CIA and its work with mobsters to prevent Fidel Castro’s rise to power in Cuba and later oust him.