Newly released JFK documents point to what the CIA was hiding

President John F. Kennedy shortly earlier than his assassination. His spouse, Jackie Kennedy, is subsequent to him. (Common Historical past Archive/Common Photographs Group through Getty Photographs)

Simply seven weeks earlier than the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA intercepted a curious cellphone name to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico. “My title is Oswald,” stated the caller, talking in damaged Russian, in search of details about his request for a visa to return to Russia. It was certainly Lee Harvey Oswald, the Marxist misfit quickly to be recognized as Kennedy’s accused murderer. On this occasion, Oswald didn’t get very far. Looking for an replace on his visa request, the Soviet official who answered the cellphone informed Oswald he had no replace to offer after which hung up on him.

Most of a 23-page inside CIA memo documenting that cellphone name and different particulars of Oswald’s pre-assassination journey to Mexico Metropolis — a go to that has been the topic of limitless hypothesis — was launched years in the past. However a couple of beforehand labeled parts of that memo had been lastly launched this week, a small a part of the greater than 13,173 newly unredacted paperwork disclosed by the Nationwide Archives underneath a 1992 legislation requiring the discharge of all authorities materials regarding what was arguably probably the most surprising and consequential crime in American historical past.

So what was the CIA hiding all these years? The long-concealed part speaks for itself. “This piece of data was produced from a phone faucet heart which we function collectively with the workplace of the President of Mexico,” the memo reads, explaining how the CIA intercepted Oswald’s name to the Soviets. “It’s extremely secret and never identified to Mexican safety and legislation enforcement officers, who’ve their very own heart.”

Briefly, like a lot of the newly disclosed JFK papers, the memo didn’t comprise any bombshells that show an elaborate conspiracy to kill Kennedy. As a substitute, it was the CIA making an attempt to cover the way it does its enterprise — on this case, forging a relationship with a overseas official to function a secret listening heart on Mexican soil.

The Kennedy assassination stays to this at this time the mom of all conspiracy theories, giving rise to numerous books and films arguing — take your decide — that the Mafia or the Cubans or the Russians or the CIA itself performed a hidden function within the president’s homicide. And there may be little doubt that the company’s failure to launch all of its data regarding the assassination has fueled the concept of an enormous authorities cover-up. “What are they hiding?” Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son and namesake of Kennedy’s brother and, to many, a infamous conspiracy theorist himself, requested two months in the past when a brand new lawsuit was filed to drive the discharge of the remaining materials.

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President John F. Kennedy

Kennedy shows the fight flag of the Cuban touchdown brigade, and declares to an viewers of 40,000 that it “might be returned this brigade in a free Havana.” The brigade was shortly stopped, nonetheless, by Castro’s military throughout the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Corbis through Getty Photographs)

However the newest launch solely underscores the purpose that what has been hidden from the general public is essentially about extremely delicate company assortment actions and unique plans for operations that, whereas in some situations extremely embarrassing and by at this time’s requirements indefensible, bear little if any relevance to the crime itself. A main instance is among the newly disclosed paperwork — a seven-page Aug. 31, 1962, Protection Division memo about Operation Mongoose, the key operation to overthrow Fidel Castro’s authorities that had been licensed by Kennedy (and overseen by his brother Lawyer Common Robert F. Kennedy) after the disastrous failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Written greater than a 12 months earlier than Kennedy’s assassination, the memo tells us nothing about that occasion. However it does reveal the extraordinary lengths to which the officers operating Operation Mongoose had been ready to go to attain Kennedy’s desired consequence: “Prepare for caches of restricted Soviet-Czech arms to be ‘found’ in chosen Latin American nations, ostensibly smuggled in from Cuba,” one part of the memo reads. Briefly, it was a plan to border the Cubans by linking them to a gun-smuggling operation that the U.S. itself would conduct.

In that sense, the doc meshes completely with the guiding considering behind Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon plan to stage a so-called false flag terror assault on the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay that might be used as an excuse to launch a U.S. invasion of the island. “We might blow up a ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,” learn one beforehand launched memo from the Joint Chiefs of Employees. (The concept was rejected by Kennedy.)

However the newly launched August 1962 Pentagon memo reveals that the concept of launching covert U.S. army operations in opposition to Cuba didn’t disappear. The memo mentions obvious proposals to dispatch saboteurs to explode oil refineries, electrical crops and a paper mill in Cuba. It’s removed from clear how a lot, if any of this, was really carried out. Because the memo itself notes: “Every operation entails threat, not solely bodily threat for the saboteurs, but in addition threat of attribution to the U.S. in case of seize. Care might be taken to offer these the looks of being completed by inside resistance teams, and in isolating group members from press sources upon return.”

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Just like the CIA’s earlier try and assassinate Castro utilizing infamous Mafia figures, all of this was unquestionably unsavory — and as particulars have emerged through the years, and have given the Cubans no scarcity of speaking factors to hammer the U.S. authorities.

Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle and a newspaper in a yard. This {photograph} is among the controversial yard pictures used within the investigation of the Kennedy assassination in 1963. (Corbis through Getty Photographs)

However what, if something, does it inform us about Oswald himself — and whether or not he had any secret contacts with anyone within the U.S. authorities within the months earlier than the assassination? He was, in fact, on the FBI’s radar display. An agent in Dallas was assigned to maintain tabs on him provided that he had beforehand defected to the Soviet Union) and the agent’s transient, testy dealings with Oswald — specifically an indignant letter Oswald wrote the agent after he had tried to interview his spouse — was destroyed and hidden from the Warren Fee, a panel appointed by President Lyndon Johnson that investigated the assassination. However it has been an article of religion amongst many JFK conspiracy theorists that one thing way more sinister was happening — that CIA operatives working to overthrow Castro had some kind of “operational relationship” with Oswald and, utilizing anti-Castro Cubans in america, had been someway manipulating them.

However there may be nothing in any of the CIA materials that was launched this week, to not point out the 1000’s of pages of paperwork that had been beforehand disclosed, that factors to that. In truth, the CIA memo on Oswald’s journey to Cuba suggests in any other case. The memo establishes that, in fact, the CIA was conscious of Oswald and had a file on him. However right here is how the information of Oswald’s arrest went down inside a clearly chaotic CIA headquarters.

“When phrase of the capturing of President Kennedy reached the places of work of our working divisions and staffs on the afternoon of Friday 22 November 1963, transistor radios had been turned on in all places to observe the tragedy,” the memo reads. “When the title of Lee OSWALD was heard, the impact was electrical. A cellphone message from the FBI got here at about the identical time, naming OSWALD because the doable murderer and asking for traces.”

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At that time, here’s what occurred, per the memo: James Jesus Angleton, the chief of CIA counter-intelligence, handed the FBI’s message on to one thing known as the Particular Investigations Unit. One other operative, a girl named Betty Egerter, “instantly acknowledged” Oswald’s title and “went for his file.” The Mexico desk chief known as in to remind his colleagues “that we had one thing on Oswald.” A cable was dispatched to Mexico Metropolis asking “for extra info on OSWALD.” At that very second, the CIA station in Mexico Metropolis despatched its personal cable as a “reminder of the data the Station had despatched in on him.”

President John F. Kennedy

Kennedy fields a query at a press convention on April 14, 1961, three days earlier than the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and simply three months into Kennedy’s presidency. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs)

What emerges from this account will not be a lot a portrait of CIA officers horror-struck that their function within the president’s homicide may be uncovered however of presidency bureaucrats scrambling to search out particulars concerning the accused murderer and canopy themselves, little doubt nervous that they may be blamed for not paying extra consideration to him earlier than the homicide.

Will the brand new launch settle something? After all not. Even with this week’s launch, the CIA acknowledged in a letter to the White Home simply made public that the company continues to be withholding “restricted” materials that may reveal, amongst different issues, the names of explicit CIA workers, “intelligence belongings and sources, particular tradecraft and intelligence strategies nonetheless in use, particular operational particulars, overseas intelligence liaison relationships, sure CIA installations” and, maybe most intriguing, “still-classified covert motion packages nonetheless in impact.”

On the Yahoo Information “Skullduggery” podcast, Jefferson Morley — a former Washington Publish reporter and prolific writer who runs an internet site devoted to the assassination — argued that the CIA is taking part in a “shell sport” and concealing paperwork that may in the end reveal Kennedy was “killed by enemies in his personal authorities who had the flexibility to make it appear to be one thing else.” However how did that work? “That’s shrouded in secrecy and so I can’t clarify the mechanics of a conspiracy,” he stated.

Philip Shenon, a former New York Occasions reporter who wrote his personal ebook on the assassination entitled “A Merciless and Stunning Act,” provided a unique perspective. Oswald — who had bought the Italian-made rifle that was used to kill Kennedy after which left it behind when he fled the sixth flooring of the Texas College E-book Depository after the assassination — was too erratic and unstable to have been a part of any conspiracy, he stated.

Nonetheless, Shenon acknowledged, the brand new launch of fabric gained’t settle the matter. “That is the last word rabbit gap,” he stated on “Skullduggery.” He then cited the view of then-Sen. Richard Russell, the Georgia Democrat who Johnson had named to the Warren Fee to research the assassination. When it was throughout and the fee launched its report naming Oswald because the lone gunman, Russell was quoted as saying “individuals will nonetheless be debating these conspiracy theories a thousand years from now.”