PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN/AP) — John F. Kennedy has now been dead longer than he lived. But questions still arise over who killed President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 despite the recent release of previously classified material.
The 35th President of the United States was shot to death as he and his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, rode in an open-top Lincoln through the streets of downtown Dallas. Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife were sitting in front of the Kennedys.
Shots rang out at 12:30 p.m. local time, mortally wounding the president and seriously injuring the governor. John F. Kennedy was 46.
Less than an hour later, Dallas police officer JD Tippit was shot to death by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested about 30 minutes later inside a movie theater. He was arraigned the next day for the murders of President Kennedy and Tippit.
Then on November 24, Oswald was shot to death on live television by night club owner Jack Ruby as Oswald was being transferred from Dallas police headquarters. Ruby was arrested, tried and convicted but died in 1967 while awaiting a new trial.
History.com states: “The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee’s findings, as with those of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.”
Newly released documents
Government documents newly released regarding John F. Kennedy’s assassination say allegations that Lee Harvey Oswald was connected to the CIA were “totally unfounded.”
A 1975 CIA memo says a thorough search of agency records in and outside the United States was conducted to determine whether Oswald had been used by the agency or connected with it in “any conceivable way.”
The memo said the search came up empty. The memo also said there was also no indication that any other U.S. agency used Oswald as a source or for recruitment.
The National Archives released another 676 government documents related to the assassination — the third public release so far this year.
Most of the latest release comprises 553 records from the CIA that previously were withheld in their entirety. There also are records from the Justice and Defense departments, the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the National Archives.
University of Virginia historian Larry Sabato complained that many of the documents in the latest release were still heavily redacted. He tweeted about a 144-page record, titled “Material Reviewed at CIA headquarters by House Select Committee on Assassinations staff members,” that had writing on only a handful of pages.
One record showed how U.S. officials scrambled after the assassination to round up information about Oswald’s trip to Mexico City weeks earlier. Officials wondered whether Oswald had been trying to get visas at the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City in order to “make a quick escape after assassinating the president.”
A CIA message sent Nov. 24, 1963 — two days after Kennedy was killed — said an “important question” that remained unsolved was whether Oswald had been planning to travel right away or return to the U.S. and leave later.
The message said that although it appeared Oswald “was then thinking only about a peaceful change of residence to the Soviet Union, it is also possible that he was getting documented to make a quick escape after assassinating the president.”
Another record dated April 11, 1964, recounted a visit to the CIA by three staff members of the Warren Commission, which was set up to investigate the assassination.
The memo said the staff members indicated that Thomas Mann, former ambassador to Mexico and then-assistant secretary for inter-American affairs, “still has the ‘feeling in his guts’ that (Cuban leader Fidel) Castro hired Oswald to kill Kennedy. They said, however, that the commission has not been able to get any proof of that.”
KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.