- Thousands of previously classified files related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination have been released.
- They detail things like Lee Harvey Oswald’s activities leading up to the shooting, bizarre tip-offs before Kennedy’s and Oswald’s deaths, and the CIA’s efforts to overthrow Fidel Castro.
President Donald Trump on Thursday approved the release of more than 2,800 previously classified documents related to the 1963 assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.
The trove of documents, released late on Thursday by the National Archives, offer up an array of details around the assassination itself, the ensuing investigation, and the government’s foreign-policy endeavors.
Here are some highlights:
US officials wanted to offer just $0.02 for the killing of Fidel Castro.
One document details a plot orchestrated by Kennedy Administration officials — called Operation Bounty — which sought to offer various financial rewards to Cubans for “killing or delivering alive known Communists.”
The main objectives for Operation Bounty were to overthrow the Cuban government and “to put pressure on Cuban Communists by creating distrust and disunity,” according to the document.
The US planned to drop a series of leaflets throughout Cuba informing citizens of the rewards and explaining the terms. The proposed payments ranged from $100,000 for government officials and $57,700 for “department heads.” Castro, however, appeared to merit a different reward.
“One final leaflet may be deemed advisable and that one announcing a .02¢ reward for the delivery of Castro,” the document said.
Oswald met with a Soviet official affiliated with the KGB’s ‘Assassination Department’ just weeks before shooting Kennedy.
The CIA learned of the meeting — which occurred on September 28, 1963 — through an October 1 phone call it intercepted between Oswald and an embassy guard.
The call revealed that Oswald had met with the consul, Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, whom the CIA referred to as “an identified KGB officer” who was affiliated with the KGB’s 13th Department, “responsible for sabotage and assassination.”
During the call, Oswald spoke in broken Russian, identified himself by name, and asked the guard who answered the phone if there was “anything new concerning the telegram to Washington.” According to the document describing the call, the guard checked and told Oswald that a request had been sent, but nothing had yet been received.
One FBI liaison officer speculated that Oswald’s meeting with Kostikov at the embassy had been to “get Soviet support for a US passport or visa matter,” the document said.
The document does not speculate or conclude that Oswald acted against Kennedy on Russian instructions or with KGB assistance.
A local newspaper in England got a bizarre tip-off just minutes before the assassination.
A British reporter for the Cambridge News received a phone call just 25 minutes before Kennedy was shot, and was instructed to “call the American Embassy in London for some big news” before the anonymous tipster hung up, according to an FBI document.
After the reporter learned of the assassination, he informed local police about the call, who passed the information along to MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency. MI5 then informed the FBI of the call, and described the Cambridge News reporter as “a sound and loyal person with no security record.”
The FBI appeared to take the information seriously — it was sent through to the highest levels of the agency, including then-Director J. Edgar Hoover.
The current staff of the Cambridge News appeared shocked on Friday after the document was released. The paper’s political correspondent Josh Thomas tweeted that staff will “get to the bottom of this.”
Scenes in the @CambridgeNewsUK newsroom this morning. We’ll get to the bottom of this #jfkdocuments pic.twitter.com/sWx5RNQdNZ