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Bulk of Long-Awaited Kennedy Assassination Files Finally Released

© AP Photo / Jim AltgensPresident John F. Kennedy is seen riding in motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas, Tx., on Nov. 22, 1963. In the car riding with Kennedy are Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, left, and her husband, Gov. John Connally of Texas.
President John F. Kennedy is seen riding in motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas, Tx., on Nov. 22, 1963. In the car riding with Kennedy are Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, left, and her husband, Gov. John Connally of Texas. - Sputnik International
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What had been anticipated as the final release of files relating to the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy will not be so final after all: only 2,891 of the roughly 3,200 remaining secret documents related to the case were actually released on Thursday.

Facilitated by US President Donald Trump's approval, the bulk of the files were ultimately released, less than a month before the 54th anniversary of JFK's killing on November 22, 1963. This release of 2,891 files by the US National Archives was intended to comply with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which stipulated the documents' release to the public no later than October 26, 2017. The law, approved by Congress and signed by then-President George H.W. Bush, was aimed at putting to rest the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy's death.

The CIA and other agencies have long resisted making the information public, sparking controversy among politicians and ordinary Americans, and at the last minute managed to block the release of some of the last cache of files. 

Last week, White House officials told US media that some documents from the 1990s may be withheld, and it is those files that it is believed remain sealed today, out of fears they could reveal sources and operations pertaining to the 1990s internal review of the assassination.

President Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Main Street, minutes before the assassination. Also in the presidential limousine are Jackie Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife, Nellie - Sputnik International
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Ahead of the release, President Trump pledged that he would allow "the long blocked and classified" files "to be opened," pending analysis. However, thousands of pages are still being withheld at the request of US government agencies, among them reportedly the US State Department, the FBI and the CIA.

In a White House memo released Thursday, Trump said that the American public expects and deserves access to the files. "I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted," he said. "At the same time, executive departments and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns. I have no choice — today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation's security."

The remaining documents are to undergo a six-month review process, with a new release deadline of April 26, 2018. 

This file photo taken on November 8, 2013 shows a historic photo dated November 22, 1963 showing former US President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arriving in Dallas, Texas (Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston) being held up by the photographer against Air Force One in the background as former US President Barack Obama arrives at Love Field in Dallas, Texas - Sputnik International
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Earlier, Congressman Walter Jones, sponsor of a bill which would guarantee the release of the files, told Sputnik that Americans "have a right to the truth" regarding the Kennedy assassination, and criticized the CIA for its attempts to block the release. According to the politician, the JFK assassination was "one of those tragedies, like Pearl Harbor, like 9/11," which changed America's direction.

"Anybody that does not want the American people to know the truth, they've got something to hide," he stressed. Jones added that President Trump "would be a hero with the majority of people as it relates to the Kennedy assassination" if he went ahead and released the files.

The murky official conclusion regarding Kennedy's death – that he was killed by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald, has led to a variety of conspiracy theories surrounding the president's death. The most popular among them claims that Kennedy was killed by the CIA or other elements of the US government. Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the mafia, Israeli intelligence, and a variety of other groups have also been named as possible conspirators. The CIA theory, popularized by director Oliver Stone's 1991 film "JFK," has remained the most popular. The film was one of the factors inspiring the creation of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.

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