Now that thousands of previously-withheld records surrounding the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have been released to the public, Americans are able to gain more insight into what has been a subject of intrigue for the past 50 years.
Under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, Congress imposed the Thursday deadline to release the 3,100 unseen files back in 1992. Most of the documents, which have been held in the National Archives, are already public.
According to a report in The Hill on Friday, the files contain unclear photos snapped by U.S. intelligence, barely-legible hand-written notes regarding information on CIA-planned mob hits on former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and memos surrounding assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and his killer, Jack Ruby.
Here are some of the highlights:
The former CIA director revealed that LBJ thought Kennedy’s assassination was payback for the U.S. having assassinated the president of Vietnam.
“President Johnson used to go around saying that the reason President Kennedy was assassinated was that he had assassinated President Diem,” he wrote.
A memo from former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover quotes a source within the USSR saying that the Soviets were shocked by the news of Kennedy’s death. The source said the news sparked “great shock and consternation and church bells were tolled in the memory of President Kennedy.”
“According to our source, officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union believed there was some well-organized conspiracy on the part of the ‘ultraright’ in the United States to effect a ‘coup,'” the memo added, noting that Soviet leaders instructed agents to immediately gather information on President Johnson following news of Kennedy’s death.
In 1962, Kennedy proposed creating a bounty system that would pay Cubans for killing communists. Castro’s life was worth just 2 cents.
The proposed system is detailed in a report from the White House and would have offered rewards ranging from 2 cents to $1 million. Officials planned to drop leaflets by air over Cuba that would have described the prizes for specific communist leaders.
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