1,500 secret CIA and FBI JFK assassination files released
The US National Archives has released nearly 1,500 documents relating to the government’s investigation into the assasination of former president John F Kennedy in 1963.
The documents, including secret cables and internal memos, were released in line with federal statute, which has called for records relating to the assassination by gunman Lee Harvey Oswald to be made public.
Though there was no indication that the files revealed any new information, historians who are skeptical that Oswald was solely responsible for the assassination have eagerly anticipated the release.
Cables and memos from the CIA discussed Oswald’s visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City, as well as discussions of Cuba’s potential involvement in Kennedy’s death.
One memo described how Oswald called the Soviet embassy while in Mexico City to ask for a visa to visit the Soviet Union.
He also visited the Cuban embassy to obtain a travel visa to visit Cuba and wait there for his Soviet visa.
One month before Kennedy’s death, Oswald re-entered the US through a crossing point at the Texas border.
Another memo, dated one day before the killing, said Oswald had communicated with a KGB officer while at the Soviet embassy that September.
After Kennedy died, Mexican authorities arrested a Cuban embassy employee who had communicated with Oswald and said he had “professed to be a Communist and an admirer of Castro”.
Fidel Castro, then the leader of Cuba, was an adversary of Kennedy’s administration and appeared in a CIA document that detailed what is said were government plots to assassinate him.
The document, labelled “Secret Eyes Only”, mentioned one scheme that “involved the use of the criminal underworld with contacts inside Cuba”.
Another document contained considerations by the US government about whether Oswald had been swayed by one of Castro’s newspaper interviews, where he warned of retribution if the US helped take out Cuban leaders.
Other files included several FBI reports on the agency’s efforts in investigating and surveilling major mafia figures, including Santo Trafficante Jr and Sam Giancana.
These files also revealed that the agency regularly kept tabs on anti-Castro groups in southern Florida and Puerto Rico in the 1960s.
In 2017, then-president Donald Trump blocked the release of hundreds of records, after the CIA and FBI raised concerns of “potentially irreversible harm”.
Despite these concerns, about 2,800 other records were released.
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