His­toric re­lease

PRES­I­DENT DON­ALD TRUMP CLASHES WITH SPY AGEN­CIES OVER JFK FILES

Shepparton News - - WORLDNEWS -

WASH­ING­TON: It was a show­down 25 years in the mak­ing.

With the world itch­ing to fi­nally get a look at clas­si­fied Kennedy as­sas­si­na­tion files and the dead­line for re­lease just hours away, in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials were still an­gling for a way to keep their se­crets.

United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the one man able to block the re­lease, did not ap­pre­ci­ate their per­sis­tence. He did not in­tend to make this easy.

Like much else sur­round­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the 1963 killing of Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy, last week’s re­lease of 2800 records from the JFK files was any­thing but smooth.

It came to­gether only at the last minute, with White House lawyers still field­ing late-ar­riv­ing re­quests for ad­di­tional redac­tions in the morn­ing and an ir­ri­tated Trump con­tin­u­ing to re­sist sign­ing off on the re­quest, ac­cord­ing to an ac­count by two White House of­fi­cials.

The tale of the fi­nal hours be­fore the con­gres­sion­ally-man­dated 25-year re­lease dead­line adds a new chap­ter to the story of Mr Trump’s trou­bled re­la­tion­ship with his spy agen­cies.

Un­der a 1992 law, all of the records re­lated to the as­sas­si­na­tion were to be made pub­lic un­less ex­plic­itly with­held by the pres­i­dent.

Just be­fore the re­lease, Mr Trump wrote in a mem­o­ran­dum he had ‘‘no choice’’ but to agree to re­quests from the CIA and FBI to keep thou­sands of doc­u­ments secret be­cause of the pos­si­bil­ity re­leas­ing the in­for­ma­tion could still harm na­tional se­cu­rity.

Ac­cord­ing to White House of­fi­cials, Mr Trump ac­cepted some of the records con­tained ref­er­ences to sen­si­tive sources and meth­ods used by the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity and law en­force­ment and that de­clas­si­fi­ca­tion could harm Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy in­ter­ests.

But af­ter hav­ing the scope of the redac­tions pre­sented to him, Mr Trump told aides he did not believe them to be in the spirit of the law.

‘‘Af­ter strict con­sul­ta­tion with Gen­eral Kelly, the CIA and other agen­cies, I will be re­leas­ing all JFK files other than the names and ad­dresses of any men­tioned per­son who is still liv­ing,’’ Trump wrote.

‘‘I am do­ing this for reasons of full dis­clo­sure, trans­parency and in or­der to put any and all con­spir­acy the­o­ries to rest.’’

Pic­ture: War­ren Com­mis­sion via AP

His­toric: An over­head view of Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy’s car in Dal­las mo­tor­cade on Novem­ber 22, 1963, from the War­ren Com­mis­sion.

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