The JFK assassination files that Donald Trump withheld at the CIA's request likely show the agency and the FBI had been following alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald long before the president's murder on Nov. 22. 1963.
Assassination buffs like the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato and author and former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon agree that the CIA from right after the assassination and Oswald's slaying by Jack Ruby sought to cover up its prior knowledge that Oswald was a threat to the president.
Shenon in a piece for the Guardian says the agencies knew about Oswald's plans and could have prevented the assassination. Immediately following the assassination, the agency sought to build the case, as presented by the Warren Commission, that Oswald was a "lone wolf," Shenon said.
CIA/Allen Dulles historian David Talbot goes further, claiming that the CIA was behind the assassination because it opposed what it saw as Kennedy's softening against communism. Talbot in a Facebook post lists withheld files that possibly link the CIA to the assassination.
Trump, who presents himself as a fearless, independent decision maker, said he had no choice but to block the release of thousands of files, because of the CIA's "national security" concerns. His memo justifying the blocking of a significant portion of the files mentioned threats to law enforcement and "foreign affairs."
It's hard to believe that the Russians, or ISIS, or any other hostile country or group could learn any secrets from the assassination files. "National security" for years has been the government's excuse for withholding information from the American public. The Nixon administration cried "national security" in seeking to stop the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
A law passed by Congress ordered the release of all assassination documents from the National Archives by Thursday. The CIA, and the president, defied that law. Trump did order a review of redacted information for possible release. The review is to be completed by April.
Sabato expressed doubts whether the complete information will ever be made public, contrary to the law.
As the CIA maintains its coverup, doubts about the Kennedy assassination will continue to swirl.