On Thursday US President Donald Trump ordered the release of 2,800 documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy.
Though Trump yielded to pressure from the FBI and CIA to block some 300 records, there are now 5million declassified documents pertaining to the killing of the first and only Irish-American Roman Catholic to hold office.
From a tantalising tip-off to a local British newspaper to an alleged KGB connection, here is what we’ve learned so far…
An anonymous tip-off in Cambridge
A memo addressed to the director of the FBI reported an anonymous phone call being made to the senior reporter of the Cambridge News 25 minutes ahead of the assassination.
The memo reads: “The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news and then hung up.”
It continued: “After word of the President’s death was received the reporter informed the Cambridge police of the anonymous call and the police informed MI5.
“The important point is that the call was made, according to M15 calculations, about 25 minutes before the President was shot.”
The Cuban Connection
In 1978 a team of investigators travelled to Cuba where they met with Fidel Castro. According to the files, Castro “assured the Committee that neither he nor his government had any involvement in the assassination.”
Nevertheless, a further form from the CIA notes that the Cuban ambassador to the US reacted with “happy delight” to news of the killing.
1975 documents detail the CIA’s role in foreign assassinations and said plans to assassinate Castro were undertaken in the early days of the Kennedy administration. A further document says the agency was involved in plots against the Cuban leader as early as 1959 or 1960.
Lee Harvey Oswald
To date, there is no evidence to suggest Lee Harvey Oswald worked with anyone else in his plot to murder the president. Among the files however are a document which suggests Oswald made contact with Valeriy Vladimirovich Kotikov, a member of the Soviet KGB assassination department at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, around two months before President Kennedy’s death.
There is also a memo from the New Orleans division of the FBI which states the Dallas FBI was already trying to track Oswald in October, a month before the shooting.
Another memo revealed the FBI had warned police of a death threat against Oswald, prompting FBI director J Edgar Hoover to write: “We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection.”
Oswald, a former Marine, was shot dead in the basement of the Dallas Police department two days after the assassination.
In the wake of the assassination, a document citing intelligence from Russia on the day of the killing stated: “Soviet officials were fearful that without leadership, some irresponsible general in the United States might launch a missile at the Soviet Union. It was the further opinion of the Soviet officials that only maniacs would think that the ‘left’ forces in the United States, as represented by the Communist Party, USA, would assassinate President Kennedy.
“According to our source, Soviet officials claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had no connection whatsoever with the Soviet Union. They described him as a neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else.”