‘‘Is there any information in the Kennedy assassination that somehow proves that Oswald was a CIA agent or an agent…” It is still classified as classified. One of the main questions of American politics – “Who killed John F. Kennedy” – continues to disturb the minds. The official version: a lone psycho was acting.
And maybe there would be no doubt about this if all the documents were finally declassified. But it gets delayed over and over again. A partial publication only adds fuel to the fire.
It was a pre-election trip to a troubled state – John F. Kennedy understood that the visit to Dallas would not be easy, for the votes of the Texans still had to fight. The route of the limousine with the motorcade for November 22, 1963 was developed by Secret Service agents, but they did not make a secret of it. Local newspapers provided all the details.
Main street, long open top limousine, several motorcycles, many people and cameras, the clock is 12:30. First, Kennedy grabs his shoulder, a few moments later a bullet pierces his head. Jacqueline’s wife – obviously in shock – climbs onto the trunk to pick up a piece of her brain. These shots instantly hit the television screens, the tragedy was played out, in fact, live.
The official version of events was approved by a commission led by Chief Justice Earl Warren ten months later. The information was collected by 80 FBI officers, they conducted over 25 thousand interrogations and compiled two and a half thousand reports on tens of thousands of pages.
Verdict: Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from the carbine. The of-fender was on the sixth floor of the school book depository building. The first bullet pierced Kenn-edy’s neck and wounded Texas Governor John Con-nally in the front seat of the car. The second hit the back of the president’s head. He died half an hour later.
Oswald, according to the official version, acted alone. Two days after his arrest, while being escorted from the police station, he was shot dead by the owner of a local restaurant, alleg-edly for personal reasons.
The commission’s conclusions were immediately greeted with a flurry of criticism. Doubted then and do not believe now: how many shots and attackers were, what are Oswald’s motives, and in general – whether he is to blame. Every detail is controversial. Alternative versions – the sea. And the documents of the investigation were published extremely reluctantly.
Pulled out of the archive
In 1992, Congress passed legislation requiring that everything related to murder be made public within 25 years. However, by 2017, this did not happen; about ten percent of the Warren Commission’s archives remained classified as “secret”. The Donald Trump administration has ordered the release of 2,800 more papers, but this is far from a complete list.
In October, they waited for another portion, but Joe Biden took a break for a couple of months. What appeared on December 15 on the website of the National Archives and Records Administration is only a small part. The rest is promised to be shown in the coming year. Philip Chenon, an expert on the Kennedy case, told Politico magazine that something will never be declassified for security reasons.
One hundred and fifty files, which have become available to anyone, do not contain sensational revelations, but there are many interesting things. The focus is on the alleged “Soviet footprint” and Oswald’s ties to Cuba.
Guest in Soviet Russia
“Good afternoon. This is Lee Harvey Oswald. I was with you last Saturday, talking to the consul. I don’t remember his last name, but he promised to send a telegram to Washington. I would like to know if there is any news?” A man from the Soviet embassy in Mexico asked anxiously as he answered the phone.
The CIA intercepted this conversation. According to their version, it was not the diplomat who spoke to Oswald on the phone, but the Soviet intelligence officer Valery Kostikov. This was two months before the murder. True, the very fact of Oswald’s communication with the Russians did not surprise even then. After all, Oswald lived in the USSR for three years.
He went to the Soviet Union shortly before his twentieth birthday, in October 1959. When he served in the Marine Corps, he allegedly learned Russian and saved 1,500 dollars from his salary. Received a visa in Helsinki, arrived in Moscow by train. Almost immediately he announced his desire to obtain citizenship. And in order not to be expelled, he injured himself. As a result, he managed to settle in Minsk – he worked at an electronics factory, a roof over his head was provided and constantly looked after a strange guest.
The story of the flight of the former infantryman was published by some American newspapers on the front pages. Therefore, he was a rather famous character.
After a couple of years, Oswald changed his mind about staying in Soviet Russia: life there seemed boring to him. And he returned to his homeland – together with his Russian wife Marina and their little daughter. They settled in Dallas.
Adventures of an American in Moscow
Judging by the archives published on December 15, the FBI had a quite “pleasant” interlocutor among American journalists – Norman Ray Rannion. He covered the Kennedy campaign and the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962). The reporter told the competent authorities about his acquaintances with Soviet colleagues. In a note dated October 24, 1962, he shares his impressions of the Izvestia correspondent in Washington Barsukov.
And in the next document, dated November 8, 1962, Rannion describes to the FBI representative journalist Aline Mosby, who was then working in Moscow. One day she was found in a ditch – partially undressed. Examined at the American Embassy and concluded that the woman had been drugged. This story is not related to the Kennedy assassination, but it is nevertheless filed to the case – apparently because Mosby interviewed Oswald when he lived in Minsk.
Mosby was the first American correspondent assigned by a major news service to Moscow and then Beijing. She shared her memories of Russia in the book “View from Narodnaya Street No. 13”. She died in 1998. And Rannion in 2015, at the age of 85. On the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, he wrote a column that drew a barrage of comments from the “Oswald Didn’t Do It” series. “Okay, the aliens did it,” the journalist joked.
Other “Soviet traces” in declassified materials: On March 5, 1964, the CIA demands from its operational office to request information about 19 Soviet citizens who lived in Minsk. And a week later – information about Minsk from the point of view of history and geopolitics.
By the way, Moscow then shared with Washington everything that was known about Oswald’s stay in the USSR. Soviet newspapers wrote about him as “a neurotic maniac, a traitor to his country.”
There is also such a file: an employee of the Soviet embassy in Australia (allegedly a Pole driver) called the American diplomatic mission in Canberra twice. The first time was on October 15, 1962, a year before the murder. He spoke about the planned assassination attempt on the president, for which the customers were ready to pay one hundred thousand dollars. The Australian intelligence agencies, with whom the CIA discussed these calls, called the informant crazy. In addition, in Canberra, not a single Pole was identified in the Soviet embassy.
One of the conspiracy theories says: Kennedy was removed by the CIA and the Pentagon with the help of Cuban migrants who hated the American president because of his decision not to invade the island and not topple Fidel Castro. This kind of peacefulness disappointed the military, the secret services, and even the mafia. The restaurateur Ruby, who killed Oswald, is considered a mafia. There is no evidence for this version. However, in published documents, Cuba is mentioned quite often.
In late September 1963, Oswald arrived in Mexico City and applied for a transit visa at the Cuban embassy, stating that he wanted to visit the island on his way to the Soviet Union. For five days he wandered between consulates, quarreled with officials, and he was still refused. The Cubans, apparently, were afraid that he would rather harm than help the construction of socialism. During the investigation, there were suggestions that Oswald was trying to get a visa to hide after the murder.
The file, dated May 14, 1963, is a report on “Cuban subversion” in Latin America. Next is an undated CIA document – handwritten and linked, apparently, to Lee Oswald’s stay in Mexico City. A certain Phillips appears there. Perhaps this is exactly the intelligence officer who is credited with having connections with Cuban migrants.
Many documents date back to the 1970s. There is a 1975 review of the alleged connections between Oswald and Castro. In September 1963, Fidel gave a long interview to the Associated Press correspondent Daniel Harker and, to put it mildly, spoke unflatteringly about the American president. Oswald obviously read this article, the question is whether he was inspired by it. Further – the testimony of Nelson Delgado about how exactly Oswald was going to get to Cuba. Then – the testimonies of several more people.
In a note dated May 23, 1975, there is information about how some “important source of communication” retold the tirade of the talkative third secretary of the Cuban embassy. He boasted in the Soviet diplomatic mission: “Wait, we will show you what we are capable of. It will happen soon. Wait – and you will see!” This happened in early November 1963 – a few weeks before the assassination of Kennedy.
Another document contains an interesting episode, but only indirectly related to the tragedy. A CIA contact in Cuba discusses that Fidel Castro could be eliminated with a poison syringe disguised as a ballpoint pen. And coincidentally, on November 22, 1963, a CIA officer hands such a pen to an agent in Paris.
Wall of silence
Reports, handwritten notes, tables, retellings of conversations – information collected by the CIA, FBI, Petagon. Some files (scans of original documents) cannot be read: letters are blurred.
Among the piles of papers is information about the communists and liberals of the 1940s. The oldest document is from October 11, 1941: international affairs officer Edward Carter planned to discuss a committee for aid to the Soviet Union.
There is also a hint of alternative versions in the declassified dossiers: several FBI reports on the surveillance of major American mafiosi Santo Trafficante Jr. and Sam Giancana. They have been featured frequently in conspiracy theories.
The incompleteness of the published materials only fuels the imagination of those who doubt the results of the official investigation. And the longer the authorities hide the details, the more alternative theories will appear. Documentary filmmaker Oliver Stone has already announced a four-part film about the “wall of silence” around America’s worst crime.