Jackie Kennedy Would Want JFK Assassination Papers Made Public, Says Her Former Secret Service Agent
On Thursday, the government will release thousands of long blocked and classified documents about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
According to Jackie Kennedy’s former Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, that’s exactly what the former first lady would have wanted.
“It was my understanding that she wanted all the information released,” Hill tells PEOPLE. “She wanted people to have as much information about what actually happened as possible.”
Hill says that’s also one of the reasons why the first lady didn’t immediately change out of the clothes she was wearing when her husband was shot and killed while riding by her side in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963. Just hours after her husband was shot, Jackie wore her bloodstained, pink Chanel suit to the inauguration of Vice President Lyndon Johnson.
“She told us she wanted people to see what had happened. She wanted people to see the blood-spattered clothing that she was wearing because she was sitting right next to her husband. Because she wanted everybody to understand that this was a tragic event,” explains Hill, who wrote the memoir Five Presidents about his time as a Secret Service agent for former commanders in chief Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Hill says Jackie didn’t often speak of her husband’s assassination at age 46 and didn’t explicitly tell the agent she wanted all of the government documents related to his death released.
“It was based on my understanding and knowledge of her,” he says. “I don’t think she would have denied access to any of the information from the public.”
He adds, “Over the years, the entire family tried to put [the assassination] behind them. They didn’t want to recognize the fact that he had been assassinated.”
This Thursday, Oct. 26 is the deadline set in law by Congress mandating the public release of the still-secret documents, barring any action by the president to block their release, CNN reported.
President Donald Trump said Saturday that he plans to allow the release of the documents, which include FBI and CIA files.
A White House official told reporters Saturday: “The President believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise.”
Conspiracy theorists who believe the government played some role in JFK’s death are anxiously awaiting the release of the documents.
But according to CNN, historians who have studied the assassination say the documents are unlikely to reveal any bombshell information.
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Nevertheless, Hill believes it’s “in everybody’s best interest” that all the files are released, if only to finally put to rest the conspiracy theories that “the government is hiding something.”
“That has been the feeling all along that the government must be hiding something because all of this information hadn’t been released and it’s been 54 years,” he says.
“I think that it is time that everybody have access to all the information that there is about the case and then they can draw their own conclusions,” Hill adds. “I believe what is going to be released is factual and they will be happy and satisfied.
“For a certain number of people — there will be more conspiracies, theories,” he acknowledges, “but there is nothing you can do about that. They are just theories. They are not based on fact anyway. None of them.”
He adds that he’s hopeful the documents will shed new light on the motives of the president’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was in police custody two days after JFK’s death when Oswald was shot dead by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
“It’s been the question that everyone has,” Hill says. “We certainly would have loved the chance to interrogate him but that was denied because of the fact that he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. So we never had that opportunity to really delve into his mind and try and figure out exactly why he did what he did.”