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.
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."
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) October 26, 2017
The remaining documents are to undergo a six-month review process, with a new release deadline of April 26, 2018.
"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.