AFP, among multiple media outlets, reports that President Donald Trump will not block the release of top-secret files concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Some in the intelligence community had wanted to keep the records secret, the theory being that they might reveal still current sources and methods. However, Trump would like to see them released in the interests of transparency.

What is known about the Kennedy assassination?

While President and Mrs. Kennedy were proceeding in a motorcade, riding in an open car, down a Dallas street on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 pm Central Time, a former Marine and communist named Lee Harvey Oswald opened fire from a window on the sixth floor of the School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza.

Oswald got off three shots. One shot passed through the president’s upper back and exited his throat then hit then Texas Governor John Connelly. The second shot, the fatal one, hit the back of the president’s head, spewing brains, scalp, and skull fragments into the car. Oswald was eventually caught, only to be murdered himself by a nightclub owner named Jack Ruby.

Conspiracy theories

Ever since the Kennedy assassination, Conspiracy theories have swirled around the event, spawning at least two feature motion pictures, “Executive Action” in 1973 and the more famous Oliver Stone film “JFK” in 1991. The idea of a shadowy conspiracy stemmed from the desire of people not to have one of the most traumatic events in American history be caused by the actions of a single, disturbed man.

A tragedy as grand as the murder of a president had to have been the result of a conspiracy, usually a right-wing one in the imaginings of people like Stone. Kennedy was killed because he was going to withdraw troops from Vietnam, make peace with the Soviets, or even (in one believes “The X-Files”) reveal the truth about alien invaders.

Even Donald Trump engaged in a little JFK conspiracy mongering during the presidential campaign when he suggested that Ted Cruz’s father, a Cuban immigrant, was somehow involved in the alleged plot. The accusation was as crazy as anything Trump has ever said, but it did have the effect of causing Cruz to angrily deny the charge, which was the whole point of making it.

Conspiracy theorists are, understandably, eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the new documents, hoping that they will point to some tidbit of information that will long last make sense of the last time we lost a president to an assassin’s bullet. One can safely predict that they are likely to be disappointed.