History buffs and conspiracy theorists alike were thrilled by the late-October release of more than 2,800 records from John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination file. Among the tidbits that came out were FBI memos describing plots to murder Cuban leaders like Fidel Castro for $100,000 and Che Guevara for $20,000, and a private investigator asking questions about call girls and sex parties involving JFK and Hollywood stars. And one re-released document reveals that an anonymous call was placed to a reporter in England 25 minutes before JFK was shot telling him to “call the American embassy in London for some big news and [the caller] then hung up.”
But there’s so much more the government is hiding. At the last minute, President Donald Trump bowed to pressure from the FBI, CIA and other agencies and agreed to delay the release of some of the 54-year-old case’s most sensitive documents for another six months. “Anything you would have wanted to know that’s fresh and different just isn’t there,” Kennedy expert Gerald Posner, the author of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, tells In Touch of the newly unclassified files, which he describes as “a document dump” full of illegible memos, many with little context. Though some of the newly released documents “are interesting,” he adds, “there’s just nothing that moves the case in terms of who killed Kennedy.” Posner believes the most telling and surprising information about the case “is still in the files that are held behind.”
JFK obsessives have long clamored for more details about Oswald’s visit to Mexico City. One CIA memo that was released — dated Nov. 23, 1963 — shows that he made contact with a KGB agent at the Soviet Embassy there just two months before JFK’s death. “That’s the area the CIA has been least cooperative with over the years,” explains Posner (who, for the record, believes Oswald is JFK’s killer and acted alone). “What we’re hoping for is that [the next release] is going to have documents from the CIA about what they may have learned about Oswald a couple of months before the assassination and whether they knew he was a danger and didn’t tell anyone. If so, that would be pretty explosive and would certainly be a real embarrassment for the CIA.” Another document with testimony from a 1975 presidential commission on CIA activities that were included ended up being a big tease. It shows that an attorney asked a former CIA honcho if there was any info showing Oswald could have been a CIA agent — but it mysteriously cuts off before he answers the question. “We know from history that the CIA director denied Oswald had anything to do with [the agency],” explains Posner, “but still, what was the answer?”
Another major file that was missing? “There was supposed to be a handwritten document from Jackie Kennedy somewhere in these files about [JFK’s] funeral plans,” says Posner. It wasn’t there. “Everyone was waiting for that. The Jackie stuff would have been fantastic.”
Lee Harvey Oswald in police custody in Dallas, TX following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on Nov. 22, 1963.
It’s all bound to come out eventually, as Trump has since promised to reveal everything else the government is holding back. “I will be releasing ALL JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living,” he tweeted on Oct. 27. Posner can’t wait. “I think that Trump’s going to make sure that he gets those documents out in six months,” says Posner. “I’d be surprised if anything stays sealed after that.”
For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of In Touch — and for more exclusive content sign up for our newsletter!
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.