Trump plans to release classified JFK documents
Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has said that he intends to allow the release of classified government documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy "subject to the receipt of further information".
Trump’s announcement on Saturday comes before an October 26 deadline set in law by Congress mandating the public release of the still-secret documents — including FBI and CIA files — barring any action by the President to block the release of certain documents, reports CNN.
"Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK files to be opened," Trump said, appearing to leave open the possibility that some documents could still be withheld.
A White House official told reporters later on Saturday: "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."
The White House said in a statement to Politico earlier this week that it was working "to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public" by next week’s deadline.
Trump himself is no stranger to the controversies and conspiracy theories that have long swirled around the assassination of the 35th US President, reports CNN.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump made the unfounded claim that the father of his Republican rival Senator Ted Cruz was associated with Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, a claim he has never reneged nor apologised for.
Trump’s long-time political adviser Roger Stone, who helped launch his campaign for president, is also an avid conspiracy theorist who wrote a book about the wild claim that President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s Vice President, was involved in the assassination.
Stone tweeted on Saturday morning that he urged Trump to release the classified documents.
Meanwhile, historians who have studied the assassination do not believe the documents will lead to any bombshell new conclusions in the Kennedy assassination, but the documents could shed more light on facets of the investigation and Oswald’s mysterious trip to Mexico City weeks before the assassination.
Some have expressed concerns that the documents could be embarrassing to Mexico and damaging to US-Mexico relations.
Trump can withhold the release of certain documents if he believes their release could pose harm to US intelligence, law enforcement, the military or US foreign relations.