U.S. President Donald Trump has delayed the release of some still-secret files on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but nearly 3,000 records on the history-changing killing were cleared for issue and published by the U.S. National Archives.
According to White House officials, Trump said in a memorandum that he had "no choice" but to keep some files secret because of national security concerns raised by the FBI and CIA. They said he directed the agencies to further review those records over the next six months.
The White House officials said Trump has told the agencies to keep the files secret "only in the rarest cases."
Under an October 26 deadline, the U.S. National Archives had been expected to release some 3,000 documents never previously seen by the public and more than 30,000 that were only partially released. By early on October 27, 2,891 documents had been posted on the site.
Academics have said they do not expect the files to offer major new details on why Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
Some of the documents were expected to focus on efforts by the CIA and FBI to determine what contact Oswald had with spies from Cuba and the Soviet Union on a trip to Mexico City in September 1963.
According to the released archives, Oswald met Valery Kostikov, a KGB agent who worked for the Soviet intelligence agency's 13th department -- which was responsible for assassinations -- about two months before Kennedy was killed.
The document, dated November 23, 1963, states:
According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Lee Oswald was at the Soviet Embassy there on 28 September 1963 and spoke with the consul, Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov. This was learned when Oswald called the Soviet Embassy on 1 October, identifying himself by name and speaking broken Russian, stating the above and asking the guard who answered the phone whether there was "anything new concerning the telegram to Washington." The guard checked and then told Oswald that a request had been sent, but nothing had as yet been received.
The FBI believed the meeting between Oswald and Kostikov was related to Oswald's visa or passport application.
One of the files recounts the Soviet government’s reaction to the assassination, reporting that some officials in Moscow assumed the killing was a "coup" by the "ultraright" that would be blamed on the Soviet Union.
An unnamed informant told U.S. spies that the KGB had proof that U.S. "President [Lyndon] Johnson was responsible for the assassination."
Kennedy's killing is still scrutinized by people who doubt the word of the U.S. government, lawmakers, and the media. But the files are not expected to give a definitive answer to a question still asked by some: whether anyone other than Oswald was involved.
A panel called the Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that Oswald had been the lone gunman, and a congressional probe in 1979 found no evidence to support the theory that the CIA had been involved.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress ordered that all records relating to the probe be made public within 25 years, but gave the president power to block their release for national security reasons.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, The Telegraph, and The New York Times