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50 years later, sealed JFK files still raise questions

Serious researchers and conspiracy theorists alike note that several hundred pages of investigative documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy remain classified. Many questions hinge on a deceased CIA agent and his activities before the assassination. 

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This photo from the State Department obtained by Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter and author, shows a passport photo of CIA Agent George Joannides. Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, several hundred still-classified pages from government files concern the deceased CIA agent.

US State Department via Jefferson Morley/AP

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Five decades after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot and long after official inquiries ended, thousands of pages of investigative documents remain withheld from public view. The contents of these files are partially known — and intriguing — and conspiracy buffs are not the only ones seeking to open them for a closer look.

Some serious researchers believe the off-limits files could shed valuable new light on nagging mysteries of the assassination — including what US intelligence agencies knew about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before Nov. 22, 1963.

It turns out that several hundred of the still-classified pages concern a deceased CIA agent, George Joannides, whose activities just before the assassination and, fascinatingly, during a government investigation years later, have tantalized researchers for years.

"This is not about conspiracy, this is about transparency," said Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter and author embroiled in a decade-long lawsuit against the CIA, seeking release of the closed documents. "I think the CIA should obey the law. I don't think most people think that's a crazy idea."

Morley's effort has been joined by others, including G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel for a House investigation into the JFK assassination in the 1970s. But so far, the Joannides files and thousands more pages primarily from the CIA remain off-limits at a National Archives center in College Park, Md.

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