WASHINGTON, D.C. — The long-awaited release of government files relating to the assassination of 35th president John F. Kennedy have been delayed yet again as President Donald Trump awaits arrival of the official forms needed to release the documents.
Trump, who announced plans last Saturday to release the files, said he would make the documents public “subject to the release of further information”.
By law, the once-classified documents are required to be released on Oct. 26, 2017, the 25th anniversary of the the signing of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. But the order to do so requires the president’s signature.
“There’s a mad scramble going on in the executive branch to get this done,” one official told NBC News (https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/jfk-assassination-files/release-jfk-assassination-file-delayed-deadline-looms-n814691).
Attorney Mark S. Zaid said on social media that the Archives hadn’t yet been given the green light to release the documents as of Thursday afternoon.
“#NARA has NOT been given green light to post any #JFK #assassination records yet,” Zaid tweeted.
Technically, President Trump could block the release of certain documents if they are deemed to be “an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations” and if “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure,” according to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.
Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who used himself as a human shield to protect President Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy after the first shots rang out in Dallas, said on Thursday that he hoped the document release would provide the country with long-awaited answers.
“I’m hoping that within that material — and there’s lots of it — there will be some indication as to the motive, the reason why he (Lee Harvey Oswald) did what he did,” Hill told MSNBC.
Hill said he still blames himself for not reacting faster when the shots rang out.
“Deep down I still have that sense of guilt that I should have been able to get there quicker, and I didn’t,” he said. “I was the only one who had a chance to do anything.”
Lee Harvey Oswald, who officials claim acted alone in the murder of John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed two days later by Dallas club owner Jack Ruby.
Ruby later claimed that he acted on orders of people who were “higher up” and was found dead in his jail cell from what officials at the time claimed was complications stemming from cancer.
A 2013 poll conducted on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination showed that 62% of respondents asked said they did not believe the government’s official story surrounding the murder (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2013/11/20/poll-62-percent-believe-broader-plot-killed-kennedy/?utm_term=.f660a657e520).
Further, a House Select Committee on Assassinations Final Report (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=800) found that there was a “probable conspiracy” to murder JFK, based on the evidence examined.