Thousands of assassination-related documents were released by the National Archives last week, and they show that the CIA were worried from the outset that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the real killer.
Politico.com reports: Specifically, key CIA officials were concerned by the mid-1970s that the agency, the FBI, the Secret Service and the White House commission led by Chief Justice Earl Warren had never followed up on important clues about Oswald’s contact with foreign agents, including diplomats and spies for the Communist governments of Cuba and the Soviet Union, who might have been aware of his plans to kill Kennedy and even encouraged the plot. (There is no credible evidence cited in the documents released so far that Cuban leader Fidel Castro or other foreign leaders had any personal role in ordering Kennedy’s murder.)
Since the release last week, researchers do not appear to have identified any single document that could be labeled a bombshell or that rewrites the history of the assassination in any significant way. Many of the documents, which were made public only online, are duplicates of files that had been released years earlier. Other documents are totally illegible or refer to CIA and FBI code names and pseudonyms that even experienced researchers will take months to decipher. Several documents are written in foreign languages.
None of the files released last week undermines the Warren Commission’s finding that Oswald killed Kennedy with shots fired from his perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas’ Daley Plaza—a conclusion supported by 21st century forensic analysis—and that there was no credible evidence of a second gunman.
But the new documents do revive the question of why the CIA, so skeptical internally of many of the commission’s other findings by the 1970s, never acknowledged those suspicions to later government investigators—or to the public. Documents released decades ago show that CIA and FBI officials repeatedly misled—and often lied outright—to Chief Justice Warren and his commission, probably to hide evidence of the agencies’ bungling in their surveillance of Oswald before the president’s murder. The CIA appears also to have been determined to block the commission from stumbling on to evidence that might reveal the agency’s assassination plots against Castro and other foreign leaders.
In 2013, the CIA’s in-house historian concluded that the spy agency had conducted a “benign cover-up” during the Warren Commission’s investigation in 1963 and 1964 in hopes of keeping the commission focused on “what the Agency believed was the ‘best truth’ — that Lee Harvey Oswald, for as yet undetermined motives, had acted alone in killing John Kennedy.”
But what if the “best truth” was wrong? According to documents made public last week, the CIA was alarmed by the mid-1970s to realize that no one had properly followed up on clues about an especially mysterious chapter in Oswald’s life—a six-day, apparently self-financed trip to Mexico City beginning in late September 1963, two months before the assassination. The reason for the trip has never been determined with certainty, although he told his wife, Marina, that he went there to obtain a visa that would allow him to defect to Cuba, much as he had once attempted to defect to the Soviet Union.
The CIA acknowledged long ago that the agency’s Mexico City station had Oswald under surveillance during the trip, and that he met there with Cuban and Soviet diplomats and spies. The CIA station chief said later he was convinced that Oswald had a brief sexual relationship with a Mexican woman who worked in the Cuban consulate. Although there is no credible evidence of Soviet involvement in the assassination, Oswald’s other contacts in Mexico included—shockingly enough—a KGB assassinations expert who doubled as an accredited Soviet diplomat. A top-secret June 1964 FBI report, made public in the 1990s but apparently never seen by key investigators for the Warren Commission, suggests that Oswald was overheard threatening to kill Kennedy during his visits to the Cuban diplomatic compound in Mexico.
The files released last week also show that the CIA and other agencies failed to pursue clues that Oswald, who publicly championed Castro’s revolution even while serving in the Marine Corps, had been in contact with Cuban diplomats years before the Mexico trip—possibly as early as 1959, when he was deployed to a military base in Southern California. The information initially came to the FBI and the Warren Commission from a fellow Marine who recalled how Oswald boasted about his contacts with Cuban diplomats in Los Angeles, where Castro’s government then had an office.
The account from the fellow Marine was of “a lot more possible operational significance” than was realized in the months after the assassination but was never “run down or developed by investigation,” according to a 1975 CIA internal memo released last week. “The record of the beginning of OSWALD’s relationship with the Cubans starts with a question mark.”
That 27-page memo, which does not identify its author, is among the most intriguing of the documents in last week’s batch unsealed by the National Archives. Copies of the document were found inside larger CIA files released last week, including thick agency files labeled HELMS HEARING DUPLICATE. That seems to suggest the memo was given to former Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms, who led the agency from 1966 to 1973, when he was later summoned to testify secretly to Congress about his involvement in the CIA assassination plots against Castro and other foreign leaders. Similar documents about the Kennedy assassination and Oswald were written in the 1970s by a senior CIA counterintelligence official, Raymond Rocca, who had served as the agency’s chief liaison to the Warren Commission.
Labeled “SECRET” and stamped “REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED” on each page, the 1975 memo lists several important clues about Oswald that went unexplored in the months and years after Kennedy’s death. (Versions of the same CIA memo were part of the flood of millions of pages of documents released after the 1992 law, although it has never attracted detailed attention outside a small circle of assassination researchers. Brian Latell, a respected former CIA analyst on Cuban intelligence, cited a version of the document in his 2012 book Castro’s Secrets, which suggested much closer links between Oswald and Cuba than had previously been known.)
The 1975 document noted the failure of the CIA, FBI and the Warren Commission to interview a key witness in Mexico City—Silvia Duran, the Mexican woman who worked in the Cuban consulate and was reported to have had the affair with Oswald. She is the “sole live witness on the record regarding Oswald’s activities,” yet her testimony “was taken and presented, solely, by the Mexican governmental authorities,” the CIA memo said. Duran, who is still alive, has repeatedly insisted she had no sexual relationship with Oswald, although she readily acknowledges that she helped him with his unsuccessful visa application for Cuba.
It was that same CIA memo that offered a detailed theory of the chain of events that led Oswald to kill Kennedy—how Oswald, who lived in his hometown of New Orleans for much of 1963, may have been inspired to assassinate the president if, as seemed probable, he read an article on Monday, September 9, in the local newspaper, that suggested Castro was targeted for murder by the United States.
The article, written by a reporter for The Associated Press in Havana and then published prominently in the Times-Picayune, was an account of an AP interview with Castro two days earlier, in which the Cuban strongman angrily warned the Kennedy administration that he was aware of U.S. assassination plots aimed at Cuban leaders, presumably including him, and was prepared to retaliate. The article quoted Castro as saying: “U.S. leaders would be in danger if they helped in any attempt to do away with leaders of Cuba.”
The CIA memo suggested that if Oswald, who was known to be an “avid reader” of the Times-Picayune, saw the article, it might have put the idea in his head to kill Kennedy as retaliation for the threat the United States posed to Castro—an idea that would have been in his mind as he left for his trip to Mexico that month. The possibility that Oswald read the article “must be considered of great significance in light of the pathological evolution of Oswald’s passive/aggressive makeup” and “his identification with Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution,” the CIA memo said.
Immediately after the assassination, the CIA’s Mexico City station warned CIA headquarters that the AP article might contain a vital clue about Oswald’s motives for killing Kennedy—and even about possible Cuban involvement. But according to the 1975 analysis, “There is no evidence in the files on the Kennedy assassination that the Castro interview was considered in following up leads or in dealing with the Warren Commission, although Mexico Station specifically directed headquarters to the AP story very shortly after the Dallas killing.”
Previously released internal documents from the Warren Commission show that one of the commission’s most aggressive staff lawyers believed that Castro’s remarks to the AP—and the possibility that Oswald read the article—might be of great significance in explaining Oswald’s motives. But the internal files show that more senior staff members decided against any reference to the AP article in the commission’s final report for fear of feeding conspiracy theories about a possible Cuban link to Kennedy’s death. It does not reflect well on the legacy of either the CIA or the commission that, half a century after those gunshots rang out in Daley Plaza, the newly released documents suggest that at least some of those conspiracy theories might be true.
November 22, 1963, eight Assassins were paid 50,000 each, to assure our Leader of the free world JFK, would never survive another day. The meeting the day prior of the plan and the participants who wanted him dead would surprise you. All conspiracy theories, and recent books still do not tell you the truth, as they were also paid by the CIA, since the original patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald story, is proven to not even be possible. This is the true story and explanation to what really took place that day. It’s disturbing, embarrassing, and hurtful our nation, planned his assassination; for money, power, and different political ambitions. This is a non monetized, brief encounter to the JFK Murders explained from the film that is over 3 hours long. “JFK 911 A Rich Mans Game” that were shortened to get to THE POINT of the JFK murders truth, and explains why the other conspiracy theories are NOT TRUE. AND THIS IS THE TRUTH YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR!
( PRESIDENT George Herbert Walker Bush If the American People! Ever Find Out What ! We Have Done ! THEY Would Chase Us ! Down the Street and Lynch Us.”
Jeb Bush to intelligence operative Al Martin, who had worked closely with Jeb Bush during the Iran-Contra scandal and was threatening to go public: “There is no constituency for the truth.”
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