Closing The Loop

Two weeks ago, the National Archives released a long-awaited trove of documents regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Just days later, the CIA made public a new set of files taken from the fatal raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In total, these add up to nearly a million documents of significant public importance—but their release was a classic document dump.

The files were disorganized and cumbersome, with no quick way to cull through the documents that don’t matter and get to the documents that do. Our conservative estimate is that it would take a single person nearly six full work weeks to go through the Abbottabad files as they are currently produced. On the proper platform, though, reviewers would be able to search all documents for keywords and phrases, to build sophisticated search parameters, to flag documents with customized tags, to look into valuable metadata, and more.

So, we threw them into Logikcull and offered research accounts to the public, for free. Today, there are dozens of academics, attorneys, journalists—and even a federal judge or two—using Logikcull to make that data intelligible. Here are some of the highlights of what you can find within the JFK and Abbottabad files, made easy with Logikcull.

Search for Key Players and Potential Assassins

If you’re in the JFK files, you’re probably at least a little curious as to who might have killed J.F.K. Sure, it could have been Lee Harvey Oswald. But was he acting as part of a Soviet plot? Or was organized crime behind the attack? Did Ted Cruz’s father show up anywhere? President Donald Trump has insinuated that he might have had a hand in Kennedy’s demise, after all.

You could run a simple search for, say, “Rafael Cruz,” and instantly find the documents containing his name. Or you could use a wildcard search to dive deep into the many documents that discuss Cuban emigrants, the pro-Castro students like Cruz was at the time and anti-Communist exiles planning to overthrow Castro. For example, Cuba* will return Cuba, Cuban, Cubans, etc.

You could also go into the Advanced Search Builder and build a complex search for all documents with the word Oswald within ten words of Cruz. You'll find a note about Oswald being arrested with another Cruz, but nothing about Rafeal Cruz.

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Find Out About Trump’s Small Yacht

Donald Trump doesn’t show up in the JFK files, but he does make an appearance in the Abbottabad files. This particular document recounts “The Incredible Life of Prince al Waleed ibn Talel,” a Saudi prince and billionaire. (Surprisingly, this is not a prequel to “Prince Alwaleed And The Curious Case Of Kingdom Holding Stock.”)

Here, in French and Arabic, our narrator laments that the prince only possessed the 26th-largest private boat in the world, the “Kingdom 5KR.” The yacht had been previously owned by the sultan of Brunei and Donald Trump, but measured an embarrassingly small 86 meters. Sad!

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Collaborate with Colleagues to Dig Deep into the Documents—and Osama’s Video Game Stash

You’re searching through the Abbottabad files and notice a copy of a user agreement for Steam, the video game platform.  A bit more sleuthing and you stumble across Osama bin Laden’s guide to Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, the 1999 strategy game that pits the United Nations against terrorists called “the Brotherhood of Nod.” (We’re not making this up.)

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In Logikcull, you can leave comments on the documents and tag users using the @ symbol, to draw their attention to particularly “hot” docs—great for organizing a review involving multiple reviewers and large-scale projects.

Review Document Drafts and Alterations

The JFK files are decades old, typed out on paper and scanned. Sadly, that means they’re missing valuable metadata, such as a document’s track changes information. Osama bin Laden’s files, however—well, that’s a different story. Logikcull allows you to quickly find documents with revision histories, even emails whose attachments have revisions. Then you can dive right in. Here, for example, you can see revisions to a study on Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

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Separate Documents by Type

With just a click of a button, you can segregate files by type, moving between documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more. Focus in on the PowerPoint presentations in the Abbottabad files and wonder at the graphic design skills behind this educational .ppt.

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Get to the Heart of the Conspiracy Quicker

With Logikull, you can quickly search and organize documents in bulk. In the JFK files, you can search for all documents mentioning “conspiracy” and label them all with a conspiracy tag with just a few clicks. That trove will include this doozy, a report on the CIA’s involvement in a various (international) assassination attempts.

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Or, you could jump into Osama bin Laden’s mind. Not only was he the mastermind behind one of the world’s worst terrorist organizations, but the Abbottabad files also reveal that he was a bit of a conspiracy theorist himself. His files include several books claiming that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” as well as a document on “Bloodlines of the Illuminati.”

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You know you've found a hot doc when the author needs to disclaim “I am not a conspiracy theorist,” then engages in a long discussion of whether Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a legitimate member of the "Illuminati-aligned" Bundy clan.

(These are Osama bin Laden’s files, after all. They were bound to be weird.)

This post was authored by Casey C. Sullivan, who leads education and awareness efforts at Logikcull. You can reach him at or on Twitter at @caseycsull. 

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