I’ve never been inclined to believe conspiracy theories. I don’t think aliens landed in New Mexico. I have no faith Elvis and Tupac are hanging out in Belize. And I’ve never been convinced there was a secret plot of kill President Kennedy. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald did it. By himself. Because that is what the facts tell me.
Now, a few years ago a Gallup poll showed 61 percent of Americans thought someone helped Oswald, so I am open to that possibility. Show me even a little reasonably solid evidence to suggest foreign agents, mafiosos or rogue politicos were involved, and I’ll take it to heart. But I’ve never seen that. Instead, I’ve read endless pages of people stirring together coincidence, conundrums and half-baked theories, then acting as if that witches’ brew is the same as evidence.
Oliver Stone did it so effectively in his 1991 conspiracy film “JFK” that Congress was moved to pass the JFK Records Act. That law is why the National Archives is being forced to release the last of the JFK files this week. Or rather, they were supposed to. Instead, at the last moment the White House suddenly said hold on – we need to review some of these documents more thoroughly to make sure national security is not compromised. This was done, according to senior administration figures, largely at the behest of the CIA and the FBI.
Let me make this clear: For 26 years, this legal deadline for final, full disclosure was looming. Everyone knew it. And truly with less than six hours to go on the final day for compliance, suddenly we were told officials needed more time to consider some of them.
Like I said, I generally don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but I do understand why behavior like this makes others believe. Because it looks so much like someone is hiding something. Maybe what we are witnessing in this whole saga is just monumental incompetence or excessive caution or something else entirely. My money is on something like that. But I suspect the handling of these papers – all these years later – is pushing folks toward the conspiracy camp, not away from it.