4

Dallas' JFK Experts and Conspiracists Warily Eye This Week's Document Release

Robert GrodenEXPAND
Robert Groden
Jim Schutze
^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Dallas' most famous President John F. Kennedy conspiracy theorist and an FBI analyst turned JFK historian agree on one thing: They don't expect much from the of assassination-related documents set to be released on Thursday.

For the conspiracy theorist, Robert Groden, the release isn't important because all the important stuff — any CIA or Secret Service documents that would buttress theories of a plot to kill Kennedy, have been destroyed.

"We might find some gems in this, but if we do, it will almost be an accident, stuff that they might have missed," Groden said. "But the really important stuff, the stuff about Oswald's connection to the CIA, all of that stuff is going to be withheld. The Secret Service destroyed all of theirs; they burned all of their files, so they won't be there. ... I don't think we're going to find out who actually did it unless Trump gets them to say that Hillary Clinton did it at the age of 16."

For Farris Rookstool III, the longtime Dallas FBI analyst who became the foremost authority on the Kennedy assassination investigations, Thursday's trove is too small to be significant. He says it represents just 1 percent of the total documents that have already be released by the federal government.

Rookstool says all the information that conspiracy theorists like Groden claim is missing or exists and hasn't been released is already out there. The information has just come out in such a way — in spurts and in no particular order — that it's been difficult for everything to be organized in a coherent way.

"We've been receiving, every year for 54 years, one piece of a puzzle that's sent to you randomly. You're not given the picture box to look at and see how to fit it all together," he says. 

The government's clumsy record keeping and information releases results in more confusion, Rookstool says.

"They're not going to be released in a way that's going to make a whole lot of sense to most people," he says.

Rookstool became intimately familiar with the FBI's Kennedy assassination records during his time working at the Dallas field office. When photocopies of the records were made for the House Select Committee on Assassinations during the '80s, the copies were redacted to exclude sensitive information.

Whenever someone in the bureau needed access to the redacted information, he or she called Rookstool in Dallas, where an unredacted copy of the records was kept, and he read the information on a secure telephone. Because of all the time he spent working with the Kennedy file, he says, there's a good chance he's already read whatever will be released Thursday.

Most of the more than 5 million pages of federal government records generated during the investigation were released in the '90s after the passage of the JFK Records Act in 1992. That bill, signed Oct. 26, set a 25-year deadline for the release of all Kennedy investigation related documents, creating Thursday's deadline.

There are about 3,100 files left to be released, but Groden says he won't be spending his day combing through them.

"I'll let other people do that and let me know if they find anything of real value," Groden he says.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.