Everything We’ve Learned From The Declassified JFK Documents So Far

The US government released 2,800 previously classified files related to the assassination.

John F Kennedy HBO documentaryImage Picture HBO

2,800 previously classified files connected to the assassination of President John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963 were released to the public for the first time revealing never-before-released details on events in and around that fateful day.

With so much material to read through, it’s probably worth breaking down some of what has been gleaned from the thousands and thousands of documents carefully being dissected. Here is everything loaded has learned so far.


A British Newspaper Was Warned In Advance

Perhaps the mist intriguing thing to come out of the files so far concerns claims a reporter at the Cambridge Evening News received an anonymous phone call urging him to ring the US embassy. He was told they would have big news. This call apparently came in around 25 minutes before JFK was killed, according to a memo from the deputy director of the CIA to the director of the FBI.

“The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American embassy in London for some big news and then hung up. After the 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 MI5 calculations, about 25 minutes before the president was shot.” The memo can be read here.

Oswald Spoke To A Member Of KGB Assassination Unit

A record of an intercepted phone call in Mexico City indicates Oswald was at the Soviet embassy there on September 28, 1963 and spoke to Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, the consul there.

A CIA memo refers to Kostikov as “an identified KGB officer” and part of Department 13, a unit “responsible for sabotage and assassination”.

Oswald then called the embassy on October 1, speaking in broken Russian and identifying himself by name. He asked whether there was “anything new concerning the telegram to Washington.” The documents can be viewed here.

Police Were Looking For Oswald Before JFK Assassination

Memos published by the New Orleans division of the FBI indicates the bureau’s Dallas division was trying to track down Oswald in early as October of 1963.

An agent wrote that he forwarded information to Dallas authorities, based on “Cuban sources” which indicated Oswald was a person of interest to the FBI. “That office is presently conducting inquiries to locate Lee Harvey Oswald,” the memo says.

Lee Harvey Oswald JFK's killer?

USSR Was Worried About The US Launching Nuke

The documents suggest several Soviet officials felt a conspiracy was behind Kennedy’s death, citing potential right wing extremists or even JFK’s successor Lyndon B. Johnson. They also appeared to dismiss any ties to Oswald, describing him as a “neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else” in one memo.

Most startling of all, is the revelation that they were genuinely fearful of nuclear attack in the wake of JFK’s death. One document offers up the following: “Our source further stated that Soviet officials were fearful that without leadership, some irresponsible general in the United States might launch a missile at the Soviet Union.”

Cuba Reacted With Happy Delight

According to a CIA memo, the Cuban ambassador to the US reacted with “happy delight” to the news of JFK’s death. Despite this reaction, Cuban leader Fidel Castro insisted his country had no involvement in any plot to assassinate Kennedy, when House investigators visited back in 1978.

The FBI Was Suspicious From The Start

A memo from J. Edgar Hoover, dated November 24, 1963, indicates the FBI director  was already suspicious. “The thing I am concerned about,” Hoover said, “is having something issued so that we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”

Who killed JFK?
Who killed JFK?

Dallas Police Were Warned Of Threat To Kill Oswald

According to a memo from Hoover, the FBI warned Dallas police of a potential death threat against Oswald but they ultimately failed to act on it. “Last night we received a call in our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald,” Hoover wrote on 24 November, 1963.

“We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection. This morning we called the chief of police again warning of the possibility of some effort against Oswald and again he assured us adequate protection would be given … However, this was not done.”

Jack Ruby Had Connections In The Dallas Police

Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald outside of Dallas police station, apparently “had a B-girl operation where drinks were pushed heavily with no interference from the police department.”

That’s according to a memo from an FBI informant, sent days after Ruby shot Oswald dead. The informant also admitted to being surprised the informant was surprised Ruby “actually killed Oswald” rather than wounding him “in the leg with a .22 caliber weapon in order to get publicity”. You can read the memo here.

The CIA Was Involved In Multiple Assassination Attempts

Alarmingly, the documents detail frequent attempts by the CIA to assassinate various foreign leaders, most notably Castro. A 1975 “summary of facts” shows the  the CIA also considered killing Indonesian president Sukarno and Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba.

Receipts and financial accounts also indicate tens of thousands of dollars was paid out in propping up various clandestine projects and anti-communist activities directed at countries like Cuba, the Congo, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.