Release the Files! What’s the Truth? Who Killed Kennedy?

Donald Trump authorizes the release of 2,800 files pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy


Lexi Davis and Zoie Cecil

In the past month, the public has been granted access to thousands of classified government files pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However, hundreds of documents are still being withheld from the general population due to “potentially irreversible harm” to the nation’s security, according to Donald Trump. The three hundred documents not yet released have been placed under a six-month review. Be that as it may, public officials state that, “only in the rarest of cases,” will these files stay classified after the six-month review.

The reason behind this large release in confidential files is a law signed in 1992 by George H.W. Bush. This law requested that the sitting president release the files pertaining to the assassination of JFK twenty-five years after the law was signed if the information within the files would not cause harm to the nation’s security.

Much controversy has surrounded the death of the 35th president of the United States, and the reluctant release of these files has only added fuel to the fire.

John F. Kennedy’s grandson, John Schlossberg, tells Time that, “for decades, conspiracies surrounding his death have shifted focus away from the important lessons of his life and the critical issues of the moment,” indicating that the Kennedy family disapproves of these oversteps in questioning the death of one of their relatives.

Schlossberg believes the information within these files are not really newsworthy at all. The grandson of the former president claims that the newly released files, “contained no particularly revealing or transformative insights,” as reported by Times.

These responses could potentially create a flurry of new conspiracies, as Schlossberg waves off the release of the files. However, he quickly points out that it is appropriate the the government be straightforward with information regarding the death of President Kennedy.

In an interview with Time, Schlossberg asserts, “To be sure, declassification is a good thing for a democracy. The more government transparency, the better.”

The government is now allowing these files to be seen by the public, to prove that they are not hiding any information pertaining to the death of President Kennedy. The National Archives has recently released more than 2,800 new files on the assassination on its website.

President Trump also wishes to provide some clarity to the matter, as one of his tweets point out: “JFK Files are being carefully released. In the end there will be great transparency. It is my hope to get just about everything to public!”

Many students are also intrigued by these files, and what they could further reveal about the death of President Kennedy.

Senior Nancy Diallo discusses her interest in the announcement of new information on the assassination.

“I know that they had an assembly in the Senate after JFK was shot to see like what was happening and everything,” Diallo said. “I think that it’s really interesting that apparently no one has seen the official phone record from that day since that time. It’s just ‘disappeared.’”

As distrust of the government has increased over the years, more and more teens and millennials are becoming wary of the credibility of U.S. government officials. The reluctance to release all of the files has continued to build tension among many, as citizens become more and more uneasy. Having waited decades, some might be upset at the delay of announcing the last 300 files.

“With the release of the files, there are even more people or groups of people the general public can be suspicious of,” Diallo said. “So it’s really increased the suspicion surrounding JFK’s death, not decreased it.”

The wariness shown by the public has grown in recent times. Some believe that the JFK files could possibly point out the CIA or FBI as dubious agencies that do not always have the most innocent of intentions when it comes to domestic and foreign affairs. While the files may point out some embarrassing mishaps by the FBI and CIA, not releasing the files will more likely than not, create more distrust in the government.

Credibility is something that AP US History Teacher Zach Rodeman explains is a must within the government: “Ultimately, at the end of the day, I think we live in a time period right now where, whatever your politics are, there’s concern about government.”

Worry about the trustworthiness of the government has risen as an opaqueness has become more and more prominent within politics and the government administration. The publication of the JFK files poses as a symbolic movement towards clarity among the government.“If we’re going to continue to strive to be the best that we all can be, transparency and establishing some baseline of credibility with the public, is tantamount,” Rodeman said. “I think it’s important to, if you’re going to do it, do it all; everything, words and all. People have clamored for this for a long time.”

While the mood around the release of the files is an eager one, Marcus McGuinn, a government teacher at Hickman, believes that the files will do little to actually explain the death of President Kennedy in more depth than is already provided.

“I think that the files being released does little to actually help create a better understanding of the assassination of President Kennedy,” McGuinn said. “It didn’t reveal any new information that would help the Baby Boomer generation come to terms with what they witnessed. It made us excited about our own history again which I appreciate.”

It is possible that the 3,100 files that were supposed to be released regarding the assassination are just the tip of the iceberg, and therefore do not give any groundbreaking information about the event, as compared to documents that are still classified. The files released may be an attempt to keep the public content with wanting more of the truth in regards to the assassination, while not divulging all of the full report of the event.

Another history teacher at Hickman, Leslie Sieckmann, feels that, “the government is only going to let things be released that have little bearing on changing the way it has been perceived of Lee Harvey Oswald being a lone gunman or the government had any part in his death or cover up of who may have been behind it.”

While there are many points of view on the topic of President John F. Kennedy’s murder, Sieckmann is able to summarize a common theme among many opinions on the topic: “It is a big deal when it comes to being able to trust our government and how certain things are handled within it. It does give a different perspective and theory, but the truth, well maybe one day my grandchildren will know.”