Nearly 3,000 secret government files related to John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination have been made public more than 50 years after the beloved president was gunned down as he and his motorcade rode through Texas’ Dealey Plaza.
Now, the public is getting an up-close look at authorities’ struggle to make sense of the death and determine Lee Harvey Oswald‘s motive for shooting the politician. The document dump also gives the curious a chance to search for clues that would either bolster or debunk numerous conspiracy theories — although President Trump did hold back some files, citing security concerns.
Here are the most shocking revelations from the documents unveiled Thursday evening:
A British Newspaper Got an Anonymous Call 25 Minutes Before the Assassination
Less than 30 minutes before Kennedy was gunned down, a senior reporter at the Cambridge News in eastern England received an anonymous tip about “some big news” that would soon erupt in the United States, according to the documents released by the National Archives.
“The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news and then hung up,” read a memo from then FBI deputy director James Angleton to director J. Edgar Hoover.
The call came in at 6:05 p.m. local time on Nov. 22 of that year — Kennedy was killed at around 12:30 (CDT).
A Man in a Bar Bet That Kennedy Would Be Killed in the Coming Weeks
At least one week before Kennedy’s death, Robert C. Rawls overheard a conversation at a New Orleans bar in which a man bet $100 that Kennedy would be dead within three weeks, according to a released memo from a Secret Service agent who interviewed Rawls.
Rawls did not remember what the man looked like or even the name of the bar, the documents state.
“[Rawls] advised that, at the time, he paid no attention to the man because he thought ‘it was just drunk talk and a drunk will bet on anything,’ ” the agent recalled in the memo.
“However, he said after the shooting of the President, it occurred to him that there may have been meaning to the remark and he thought it should be reported to authorities.”
The U.S. Determined Assassinating Kennedy Wasn’t ‘Worth It’ for Cuba
A report from the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared that Cuba was likely not responsible for Kennedy’s death, as such a murder wouldn’t have been in the country’s best interest.
The report suggested that officials once believed the Cuban government would have carried out the killing in retaliation for the U.S.’s attempts to kill Fidel Castro.
“The Committee does not believe Castro would have assassinated President Kennedy, because such an act, if discovered, would have afforded the united States the excuse to destroy Cuba,” the report states.
The CIA’s Role in the Assassination Remains Unclear
The documents contained a deposition given by former CIA director Richard Helms before the Commission on CIA Activities in 1975, in which Helms was grilled about whether the CIA was involved in the president’s killing.
“Well, now, the final area of my interrogation relates to charges that the CIA was in some way conspiratorially involved with the assassination of President Kennedy,” commission attorney David Belin said in the deposition.
“Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or agent … “
There, the document ends abruptly.
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Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover Wasn’t Pleased with Oswald’s Death
Just hours after Jack Ruby fatally shot Oswald, Hoover issued a memo saying that he hoped Oswald would give a confession at the hospital before his death, and expressed frustration that “the FBI never got that confession, leaving Hoover with an urgent desire to have ‘something issued so that we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin,’ ” the documents state of the memo.
According to the documents, a memo detailed an anonymous call to Hoover from a man who claimed “he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.