As hopefully more than 25 percent of registered voters head to the polls today to decide a lot of municipal contests, it’s an appropriate time to mark the shocking electoral upset pulled off exactly one year ago Wednesday by our now 45th president, Donald J. Trump.
Love him or hate him, just about everyone must agree Trump’s first 10 months in office have been very entertaining.
Another chapter in this president’s unique public engagement methods, chiefly via Twitter, is playing out now as Trump has teased and then delivered on the release of long-secret records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Even Trump critics should acknowledge the chief executive in this instance is trying to be as transparent as possible.
He wants to release all the JFK records, with as few exceptions as possible, in an effort to quash once and for all the many conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s sad demise on a sunny day in Dallas in 1963.
In fact, Trump is fighting his own intelligence agencies on their intransigence to fully comply with a law mandating the release of the files. That law was passed by Congress in 1992.
Back then, Congress was surely thinking it would be of little to no consequence to anyone — and of great benefit to truth seekers — to release a full accounting of the government’s probe into Kennedy’s death. After all, that national tragedy is now 54 years ago.
So, there would be no problem with making everything public at this point, right?
Wrong, according to our intelligence agencies, whose job it is to guard national security and protect sources.
They bombarded Trump with last-minute requests for redactions and exceptions as more than 2,800 documents were released Oct. 26.
Trump, to his credit, pushed for the release of more after further reviews. And there was, indeed, another document dump last Friday. This time, it included about 676 files, including paperwork that declared assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had absolutely no connection to the CIA or was not involved with the agency in “any conceivable way.”
But the spirit of the 1992 law is still not being met.
For example, University of Virginia historian and Kennedy author Larry Sabato has been poring over the files and complained “a lot of the good stuff, maybe all of it, has been held back.” That includes a 144-page document with the arduous title “Material Reviewed at CIA headquarters by House Select Committee on Assassinations staff members.” Sabato notes there is writing on only a few pages, and the rest of the document is redacted.
Why? To protect sources who are probably long dead, as Sabato notes.
We thought Trump was totally off his rocker when he started clashing with the CIA and other spy networks as he took office.
But now we see what he might have been getting at — these agencies have long had free rein and that environment has certainly led to abuses. The JFK file release drama is just another illustration of that.
Bottom line: Trump is sometimes not as crazy as you might think.
A final note here that’s worth chewing over.
James Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993-95, told Fox News the theory “that I tend toward” has Oswald being recruited by the Soviet KGB to kill Kennedy in retaliation for embarrassing the Soviets and Khrushchev during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
But, as the theory goes, the Soviets ended up calling off the job. Oswald, however, still went through with it.
That would explain Oswald’s meeting with a KGB assassination agent in the months leading up to Kennedy’s death.
Sounds logical, though no one is ever going to know for sure.
— Times Leader