SECRET files released by the US government in October 2017 helped shed light on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Donald Trump stepped in to order the “long anticipated” file dump — but the CIA and other agencies pressured him to hold back some of the material for now. Here’s what we know.
Who killed JFK?
No one knows for sure who killed JFK but the official version is that the culprit was Lee Harvey Oswald.
The US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November 22 in 1963 as he travelled in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza.
Shortly after, Oswald, a 24-year-old self-proclaimed Marxist, was arrested in a nearby cinema after police hunted a killer of one of their fellow officers.
He denied shooting anybody, claiming to reporters that he was a “patsy”.
Later he was accused of shooting the President dead with his $21 mail-order rifle from a window of the sixth floor of a nearby school textbook warehouse.
Two days after the assassination and his arrest, Oswald was being escorted from Dallas Police Headquarters to county prison.
As he was taken out in front of the world’s media, a man called Jack Ruby stepped forward and shot him dead.
Ruby was later found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.
He appealed but died of an illness in jail before his new trial could take place.
The Warren Commission in 1964 reported that Oswald had been the lone gunman, and another congressional probe in 1979 found no evidence to support the theory that the CIA had been involved.
But some say this was a cover-up.
What are the assassination files?
For decades, the existence of secret government files linked to JFK’s assassination has helped fuel conspiracy theories that others besides Oswald were involved in his murder.
The government was required by Thursday, October 26, 2017, to release the final batch of files related to Kennedy’s assassination.
The collection includes more than 3,100 documents comprising hundreds of thousands of pages that have never been seen by the public.
About 30,000 documents were released previously with redactions.
The National Archives posted the files on its website.
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Why has Donald Trump released them?
A White House official told reporters: “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.”
But the President held back reluctantly on the release of a final few hundred documents at the behest of intelligence agencies.
“I have no choice,” Trump said in a memo, citing “potentially irreversible harm” to national security if he were to allow all records to come out now.
The remaining 300-or-so files were to undergo a 180-day review period before a decision would be made on their release.
But later Trump said: “After strict consultation with (Chief Of Staff) General Kelly, the CIA and other Agencies, I will be releasing ALL JFK Files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living.”
It is unclear whether this will take place before or after the 180-day review.