Trump plans to release thousands of classified JFK assassination documents

Thousands of classified documents the public has never seen would be released by Oct. 26

Published October 21, 2017 10:37AM (EDT)

Donald Trump, John F. Kennedy   (AP/Wilfredo Lee/Salon)
Donald Trump, John F. Kennedy (AP/Wilfredo Lee/Salon)

President Donald Trump announced on Saturday morning that he would allow the release of thousands of never-before-seen classified documents that may provide the public with further insight into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened," Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Trump's decision means that roughly 3,600 files, which have never been made public, and over 30,000 files, which have been released previously but only with redactions, would be made available by the National Archives by Oct. 26, when the 25-year order that keeps them sealed is set to expire, Politico reported.

When Congress passed the JFK Records Act of 1992 it "mandated the files be made public in 25 years," but still allowed "government agencies that created the paper trail can still appeal directly to the president to keep them hidden," Politico reported in 2015. The report also highlighted the reasons the trove of documents may be embarrassing for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Martha Murphy, head of the National Archives’ Special Access Branch, said that files would, at the very least, give a "beautiful snapshot of Cold War America and the intelligence community," according to Politico.

Scholars have said that the documents might be able to provide more information about JFK's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald and whether or not he worked alone, as the Warren Commission had concluded.

White House spokeswoman Linsday Walters told Politico on Saturday that the Trump administration was hoping "to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public," by next week.

As president, Trump also has the authority to withhold the documents from the public if he deemed they would harm intelligence agencies or national security.

By Charlie May

MORE FROM Charlie May