Final Trove of Documents to Offer New Details on JFK Assassination

October 26, 2017 2:48 am Last Updated: October 26, 2017 8:34 am

BOSTON—More than half a century after U.S. President John F. Kennedy was struck down by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas, the United States is due on Oct. 26 to release the final files on the investigation into the killing that rattled a nation.

The final batch of files may or may not offer any major new details on why Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down the first and only Irish-American Roman Catholic to hold the office on Nov. 22, 1963.

Academics fear that the final batch of more than 5 million total pages on the Kennedy assassination, held in the National Archives, will do little to quell long-held conspiracy theories that the 46-year-old president’s killing was organized by the Mafia, by Cuba, or a cabal of rogue agents.

Thousands of books, articles, TV shows and films have explored the idea that Kennedy’s assassination was the result of an elaborate conspiracy. None have produced conclusive proof that Oswald, who was shot dead a day after killing Kennedy, worked with anyone else, though they retain a powerful cultural currency.

Lee Harvey Oswald, accused of assassinating former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, is pictured with Dallas police Sgt. Warren (R) and a fellow officer in Dallas, in this handout image taken on Nov. 22, 1963. (Dallas Police Department/Dallas Municipal Archives/University of North Texas/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS)

“My students are really skeptical that Oswald was the lone assassin,” said Patrick Maney, a professor of history at Boston College. “It’s hard to get our minds around this, that someone like a loner, a loser, could on his own have murdered Kennedy and changed the course of world history. But that’s where the evidence is.”

In 1992, Congress ordered that all records relating to the investigation into Kennedy’s death should be open to the public, and set a final deadline of Oct. 26, 2017 for the entire set to be made public.

President Donald Trump on Oct. 21 confirmed that he would allow the documents to be made public.

The documents to be released on Oct. 26 will likely focus on efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine what contact Oswald had with Communist spies from Cuba and the former Soviet Union on a trip to Mexico City in September 1963, experts said.

“There was a real concern that Oswald was maybe in league with the Soviet Union,” Maney said.

Kennedy’s assassination was the first in a string of politically motivated killings, including those of his brother Robert F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., that stunned the United States during the turbulent 1960s. He remains one of the most admired U.S. presidents.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy signs a proclamation for the interdiction of the delivery of offensive weapons to Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis, at the White House in Washington, D.C. Oct. 23, 1962. (Cecil Stoughton/The White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library/File Photo via REUTERS)
U.S. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson (C) takes the presidential oath of office from Judge Sarah T. Hughes (2nd from L) as President John F. Kennedy’s widow first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (2nd from R) stands at his side aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas just two hours after Kennedy was shot in this Nov. 22, 1963. (JFK Library/Cecil Stoughton/The White House/File Photo via REUTERS)
U.S. President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy walk down the steps of Air Force One as they arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas less than an hour before his assassination in this Nov. 22, 1963. (JFK Library/The White House/Cecil Stoughton/File Photo via REUTERS)
U.S. President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas less than an hour before his assassination in this Nov. 22, 1963. (JFK Library/The White House/Cecil Stoughton/File Photo via REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Television footage of President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy are shown in the presidential limousine in the moments before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, U.S. on November 22, 1963. REUTERS/File Photo
U.S. Secret Service agents and local police examine the presidential limousine as it sits parked at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas under a sign reading “Ambulances Only” as President John F. Kennedy is treated inside the hospital after being shot while driving through the streets of Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. (JFK Library/Cecil Stoughton/The White House/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS)
U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s widow, first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and his brother U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, walk into the White House grand foyer behind his casket upon its return from Dallas to Washington, DC in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, 1963. (JFK Library/The White House/Robert Knudsen/File Photo via REUTERS)
President John F. Kennedy in an undated photograph courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. (REUTERS/JFK Presidential Library and Museum/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS)