Trump to allow release of Kennedy assassination files

Washington - US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will allow the release of the remaining, long-classified files on former president John F Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

"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 on Twitter.

The records are to be made public by October 26 under a law that requires they be opened 25 years later unless the president determines that releasing them would harm defence, intelligence, law enforcement or foreign relations and that the harm would be "of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."
Most files related to the assassination have been made public, but thousands of pages have remained closed to the public.
Kennedy's slaying in Dallas on November 22, 1963, was a pivotal moment in US history and has remained a popular subject for conspiracy theorists despite an official investigation's conclusion that a lone gunman was responsible for the attack.
The CIA and other agencies had reportedly sought to keep some of the documents classified, according to media reports.
Trump confidant and noted conspiracy theorist Roger Stone claimed he had urged Trump to release the documents, which he believes show CIA ties to the killing.
Trump himself has promoted conspiracy theories in the past and even alleged during last year's presidential campaign that Republican rival Ted Cruz's father had ties to Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
The National Archives and Records Administration has said that a panel reviewed the documents for release and that "we assume that much of what will be released will be tangential to the assassination events."
A White House official said Trump was releasing the documents because he believes they "should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise."
Lawmakers from both political parties were calling on Trump to release the documents in resolutions in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Congressman Walter Jones, who is leading the push in the House, thanked Trump for his commitment to transparency and said he looked forward to the full release later this month.
The National Archives hold some 5 million pages of records related to the assassination, but only 1 per cent has so far been completely withheld from the public.
Larry Sabato and Philip Shenon, researchers who have written books on Kennedy, warned in newspaper Politico earlier this month that the release of the documents could prove chaotic as thousands of pages of new information are released "that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination."
Sabato, professor at the University of Virginia, welcomed Trump's decision as the correct choice and called on him not to allow any exceptions for agencies to keep some information private.


Saturday, October 21st 2017
By Anne K Walters, dpa

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