It has been more than five decades since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. The event spawned dozens of conspiracy theories while the U.S. government insisted the murder was the work of a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. Still, much of the data, documents, and witness testimony have never been released to the public. Here’s what we know is being withheld.
How we know information related to the Kennedy assassination is being withheld
On February 4, 2016, the National Archives released a list of 3,063 documents that have been “fully withheld” since JFKs death. The list was released after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Politico and others.
Curious JFK documents that have yet to be released
The following are some of the more curious documents related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy that have yet to be released.
· Oswald’s “personality” studies recorded immediately after his arrest.
· A telegram from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to the State Department sent just a week after the assassination.
· A handwritten note from Yuri Nosenko, a KGB officer who defected from the Soviet Union to the United States.
· A pair of 1959 telegrams from the State Department to Moscow (and their response) concerning Oswald’s brother Robert.
· A document related to Oswald’s “contacts with Cuban and Soviet embassies”.
Withheld documents concerning J. Edgar Hoover
· Several communications from J. Edgar Hoover including one titled “Reaction of Soviet and Communist Party officials to JFK assassination” that he sent to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s chief of staff, Marvin Watson, a week after the assassination.
· A communication from Hoover to the Deputy Secretary of State regarding Oswald’s security.
· A series of 1964 memos sent to J. Lee Rankin, general counsel of the Warren Commission, regarding Jack Ruby, the Dallas night club owner who killed Oswald two days after the assassination.
Documents concerning Regis Kennedy (a key witness who died before he could be questioned)
· Regis suffered a heart attack the day before he was scheduled to testify before a grand jury regarding confiscated home movies of the assassination. The unreleased files contain an untitled communication from Justice Department files from Regis Kennedy to the special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans field office on May 18, 1967.
· At least five communications from Jacqueline Kennedy to President Lyndon B. Johnson in the days immediately following the assassination.
Documents concerning Frank Sturgis (one of the five Watergate burglars and an undercover operative)
· Sturgis’ 1975 testimony before the Church Committee (a United States Senate Select Committee to study the government’s role in intelligence activities).
Withheld documents concerning James Jesus Angleton (chief of the CIA’s counterintelligence branch from 1954 to 1975)
· Angleton’s testimony from the 1975 U.S. Senate investigation into abuses by the CIA (including the hiring of organized crime figures for “off the books” assassination activities).
Documents concerning David Atlee Phillips (CIA officer involved in covert U.S. plan to assassinate Castro)
· Phillips’ secret testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
Illegible material (many CIA documents related to the JFK case are deemed “illegible” and as such, will not be released)
· A communication from the general counsel of the Warren Commission to the CIA’s Richard Helms (who ran the panel that eventually concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin).
· Several communications from the CIA’s station in Mexico City before and after the assassination, including a cable to “Director Info Havana”.
· A secret communication from the CIA to the Office of Naval Intelligence before the assassination that mentioned Oswald.
· The CIA “operational” files of E. Howard Hunt, another of the Watergate burglars and a career spy.
· A CIA file on Jack Wasserman, a lawyer for New Orleans mafia boss Carlos Marcello (was involved in CIA plots to overthrow Castro in Cuba and a suspect in the JFK assassination).
Complete list of withheld documents
Below is the complete list of JFK assassination documents that are currently withheld. According to the National Archive, per the 1992 JFK Records Act, they should be released by October 2017 – unless the next president decides to keep them classified.
View list of JFK assassination documents still being withheld from the public (PDF).