After nearly 54 years of speculation and conspiracy, the US National Archive has published nearly three thousand previously top-secret documents that shine a light on John F Kennedy’s assassination.
But the data dump only served to fuel rumours that the US Government is hiding important information from the public, after it was revealed that just 2,800 of the total 3,200 documents have been published.
Ahead of the files’ release, US President Donald Trump boasted on Twitter: “The long anticipated release of the JFK Files will take place tomorrow. So interesting!”
Mr Trump rolled back on the tweet in a memo on the day of publication that explained he could not allow all the files to be published because of a threat to US security.
“I have no choice — today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security,” he said.
In 1992, Congress ordered that all remaining files related to the investigation into Kennedy’s death should be fully opened to the public through the National Archives in 25 years except for those the president authorised for further withholding.
It has been reported that Mr Trump wanted to publish all the documents, but eleventh-hour lobbying from security bosses persuaded the President to change his mind.
There will now be an 180-day review period for the US Government to analyse the remaining classified files.
JFK files release: Donald Trump withheld hundreds of JFK documents
A White House statement said that the rest will be released “on a rolling basis,” with “redactions in only the rarest of circumstances,” by the end of the review on April 26.
I have no choice – today – but to accept those redactions
Of the roughly 5 million pages of JFK assassination-related records held by the National Archives, 88 percent have been made accessible to the public since the late 1990s, with a further 11 per cent available with portions redacted.
Only one per cent of the most-sensitive documents have been withheld entirely, according to Reuters.
Among the horde released files was a file that explains how a local newspaper in the UK was tipped off about “some big news” in the US just 25 minutes before JFK was shot.
A memo to the director of the FBI said: “The British Security Service (MI5) has reported that at 18.05GMT on 22 November an anonymous telephone call was made in Cambridge, England, to the senior reporter for the Cambridge News.
JFK assassination: John F Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963
JFK files release: The US Government has kept hundreds of files out of the public eye
“The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news and then hung up.”
John F Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
From his vantage point on the sixth floor of the Texas School Books Depository, Oswald shot the former president twice using a bolt-action sniper rifle as his motorcade drove onto Dealey Plaza.
Oswald, 24, was arrested shortly after the shooting but was murdered by cabaret owner Jack Ruby before he could be brought to trial.
JFK files release: Donald Trump was persuaded by security services not to publish all the JFK files
JFK’s assassination ripped a hole in the fabric of US politics and ignited countless conspiracy theories suggesting Oswald was not a lone gunman.
The most well-established of these conspiracies suggests a second gunman shot at the President from a nearby grassy knoll.
There is no evidence to substantiate this theory, though a US House of Representatives report in 1979 concluded that there was a “high probability” that two gunmen were involved.
With hundreds of files still under wraps, it looks like Americans will have to wait until at least April to know for sure what happened to one of the nation’s most admired presidents.