Source: AP via Salt Lake City Tribune
Five decades after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot and long after official inquiries ended, thousands of pages of investigative documents remain withheld from public view. The contents of these files are partially known — and intriguing — and conspiracy buffs are not the only ones seeking to open them for a closer look.
Some serious researchers believe the off-limits files could shed valuable new light on nagging mysteries of the assassination — including what U.S. intelligence agencies knew about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before Nov. 22, 1963.
It turns out that several hundred of the still-classified pages concern a deceased CIA agent, George Joannides, whose activities just before the assassination and, fascinatingly, during a government investigation years later, have tantalized researchers for years.
"This is not about conspiracy, this is about transparency," said Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter and author embroiled in a decade-long lawsuit against the CIA, seeking release of the closed documents. "I think the CIA should obey the law. I don’t think most people think that’s a crazy idea."
Morley’s effort has been joined by others, including G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel for a House investigation into the JFK assassination in the 1970s. But so far, the Joannides files and thousands more pages primarily from the CIA remain off-limits at a National Archives center in College Park, Md.
Others say the continued sealing of 50-year-old documents raises needless questions in the public’s mind and encourages conspiracy theories.
"There is no question that in various ways the CIA obfuscated, but it may be they were covering up operations that were justifiable, benign CIA operations that had absolutely nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination," said Anthony Summers, a British author who has written extensively about the JFK case.
"But after 50 years, there is no reason that I can think of why such operations should still be concealed," Summers said. "By withholding Joannides material, the agency continues to encourage the public to believe they’re covering up something more sinister."
To understand the attention to the Joannides files, it’s necessary to go back to 1963 and to review what’s known about Oswald that put him on the CIA’s radar.
It’s also important to recall the differing conclusions of the two official investigations of the JFK killing — one denying any conspiracy, the other suspecting one — and how much or how little cooperation investigators received from CIA officials, including Joannides himself.
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