Trump Signals He Will Allow Release of JFK Documents

President Donald Trump says that he will allow the JFK assassination document release scheduled for next week (Oct. 26), but there was a caveat. That came in a tweet Saturday, which left open the possibility something could still happen to block at least part of the release.

Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.

— Donald J. Trump(@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2017

Actually, the release of the CIA and FBI documents has been scheduled for a quarter of a century by law (the Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act), but according to reports, some in the intelligence community had suggested keeping at least some of the documents under wraps for national security purposes, a power the President has and essentially signaled in the tweet he could still exercise.

Others wanted nothing held back and some news outlets were suggesting the timing of the release might help distract from allegations of the President's possible ties to Russia.

The President, no stranger to conspiracy theories himself, may also have a personal interest in some of the released documents. During the campaign he suggested the father of rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) had been with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before the shooting, a suggestion that offended and angered Cruz, who called then candidate Trump a "pathological liar."

"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,” said a White House official speaking not for attribution.

Most of the assassination documents (88%) have already been released, according to a JFK-related Web site that has been counting down the days, with the remainder now being released next week comprising 3,810 documents, including formerly redacted and withheld documents.

According to a spokesperson at the National Archives midday Monday (Oct. 23), it had yet to get the word from the White House about just what would be released, but that it would be released online, but perhaps in more than one tranche of info.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.