JFK Declassified: Reconciling truth, conspiracies

Emily Unruh

Off the top of my head, I could give you at least 7 conspiracy theories for the JFK assassination. For years, the American public has created stories such as, the CIA acting out after backlash from the Bay of Pigs, the Umbrella Man, or Ted Cruz’s dad. Now, October 26th 2017, it seems our questions might be answered. A couple days ago, Trump tweeted “I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.” Before I get into the possible content of the files, we first need to recognize that Trump is not the key reason these documents are being released. The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Record Collection Act of 1992, mandated that no records could be classified beyond 25 years of the enactment. The JFK files were to be released October 26th 2017, unless the current President decided against it, and resealed the files. President Trump, as indicated in his tweet, is allowing the declassification of the files. Over 3,000 files are expected to be declassified, containing information never seen before by the public. When talking about the content of the files, there are many people who hope that the files will confirm their theories of government involvement, or a magic bullet. I’m not sure how much I would consider myself a conspiracy theorist, but I, like 62% of Americans (Mercury News Poll 2013), have looked into multiple theories pertaining to the JFK assassination. One of my personal favorite theories is the theory that Senator, and 2016 Presidental nominee, Ted Cruz’s dad was the shooter. The theory was introduced by President Donald Trump himself in a Fox News interview, in 2016 when Trumpa and Cruz were fighting for the White House. During a telephone interview, Trump said of Cruz, “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Right? Prior to his being shot. And nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don’t even talk about that – that was reported. And nobody talks about it.” While Cruz has denied it, this “Ted Cruz’s Dad” theory has conintued to grow. A point I will throw out is, what if the files confirm Trump’s statement, and that is why he is allowing them to be released? Trump likes to be right, he doesn’t like to be thought of as a joke. His theory, was kind of taken as a joke. Yet now, Trump has the opportunity to release files that could prove he was right. Even against CIA Director, Mike Pompeo’s advice, Trump is allowing thousands of files to be declassified. Even after Trump secured the nomination, he didn’t abandon his story. “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer, there’s a picture of him [Rafael Cruz] and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” Trump said. “I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly in many respects, should be very respected. They got O.J. They got [John] Edwards. They got this. I mean, if that was the New York Times, they would have gotten Pulitzer prizes for their reporting.” This could be another instance of President Trump using his presidency to prove his own thoughts.

Of course, that is just a theory, and one interpretation of the release. Yet, no matter the reason, this Thursday, expect to hear conspiracy theorists once again revive the idea of a governmental plot, a hidden weapon, and a grassy knoll.