How The CIA Came To Doubt The Official Story Of JFK’s Murder

By Philip Shenon and Larry Sabato via Politico Magazine,

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, the CIA appeared eager, even desperate, to embrace the version of events being offered by the FBI, the Secret Service and other parts of the government. The official story: that a delusional misfit and self-proclaimed Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald killed the president in Dallas with his $21 mail-order rifle and there was no evidence of a conspiracy, foreign or domestic. Certainly, the CIA’s leaders told the Warren Commission, the independent panel that investigated the murder, there was no evidence of a conspiracy that the spy agency could have foiled.

But thousands of pages of long-secret, assassination-related documents released by the National Archives last week show that, within a few years of Kennedy’s murder, some in the CIA began to worry internally that the official story was wrong—an alarm the agency never sounded publicly.

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.)

The CIA documents also offer tantalizing speculation about the chain of events in late 1963 that explained Oswald’s motives for killing Kennedy, which have previously never been established with certainty—how he may have become enraged after reading a detailed article in his hometown newspaper in New Orleans in September suggesting that his hero Castro had been targeted for assassination by the Kennedy administration. According to that theory, Oswald, who had rifle training in the Marine Corps, then set out to seek vengeance on Castro’s behalf—to kill Kennedy before the American president managed to kill the Cuban leader.

If that proved true, it would have raised a terrible question for the CIA: Was it possible that JFK’s assassination was, directly or indirectly, blowback for the spy agency’s plots to kill Castro? It would eventually be acknowledged the CIA had, in fact, repeatedly tried to assassinate Castro, sometimes in collusion with the Mafia, throughout Kennedy’s presidency. The CIA’s arsenal of weapons against Castro included a fungus-infected scuba suit, a poison-filled hypodermic needle hidden in a pen—and even an exploding cigar. The Warren Commission, never told about the CIA’s Castro plots, mostly ducked the question of Oswald’s motives, other than saying in its final report that he had expressed a “hatred for American society.”

JFK historians and the nation’s large army of private assassination researchers are still scrambling to make sense of the latest batch of tens of thousands of pages of previously secret CIA and FBI documents that were unsealed last week by the National Archives. The documents—441 files that had previously been withheld entirely, along with 3,369 other documents that had been previously released only in part—were made public under terms of a 1992 law that requires the unsealing of all JFK assassination-related documents by October, the law’s 25-year deadline.

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.


Still, the newly released documents may offer an intriguing glimpse of what comes next. The National Archives is required to unseal a final batch of about 3,100 never-before-seen JFK-assassination files by the October deadline, assuming the move is not blocked by President Donald Trump. Under the 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, the president is the only person empowered to stop the release. (Congressional and other government officials have told us in confidence that at least two federal agencies—likely the CIA and FBI—are expected to appeal to Trump to block the unsealing of at least some of the documents. Even after 54 years, some government officials apparently still want to keep secrets about this seminal event in U.S. history. The CIA and FBI acknowledged earlier this year they are conducting a final review of the documents, but have been unwilling to say if they will ask the president to block some from being released.)

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’ Dealey 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 Dealey Plaza, the newly released documents suggest that at least some of those conspiracy theories might be true.



NoDebt Pinto Currency Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:45 Permalink

The history re-write is now reaching way back in the mold archinves and determining that "the Russians did it" after all!Please beam me off this planet.  The fucking CIA did it and LBJ was the benefactor (if not directly involved), exactly as Iridium Rebel said.Won't be long before the Russians are accused of doing 9/11, too.  (No, I'm not kidding, they're going to try to make it stick.) 

In reply to by Pinto Currency

fleur de lis HowdyDoody Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:09 Permalink

Proof positive that not only is Langley a nest of psychopaths, but morons as well.CIA involvement in JFK's murder in broad daylight has been common knowledge for decades.Now they are trying damage control by playing dumb, as if we would believe their crazed stories after all this time.The problem is that whatever shreds of credibility the CIA managed to salvage after JFK and all their other murder sprees was well and truly destroyed after 911.They have reduced themselves to a .gov version of MS13.A reputation like that can never ever get cleaned up, so they will always remain dirty until the end of time.Every last CIA psychopath high and low knows very well that 911 was an inside job, and more than a few of them participated in the murders of 3,000 people in NYC.And in broad daylight as usual.Not that it will ever clean them up but just as a matter of claiming to work in the interest of America they could start by solving the murders of Officer Terry Yeakey, Col. Sabow, Col. Cutolo, Col. Rowe, and so many other magnificent Americans who were destroyed thanks to unAmerican CIA wet workers/serial killers and their unAmerican .gov puppeteers.   

In reply to by HowdyDoody

WernerHeisenberg Newsboy Fri, 08/04/2017 - 22:23 Permalink

Final Judgement by Michael Collins Piper is the definitive book on the JFK murder.  Pretty much the whole deep state was involved, for all of the many reasons other investigators have identified.  But, the prime motivation was JFK opposing Israel getting the bomb.  Just like 9/11, there were many groups involved, but the Mossad was running the show.  Video of MCP talking about his book prior to his suspicious death:

In reply to by Newsboy

Art duTrait WernerHeisenberg Fri, 08/04/2017 - 23:33 Permalink

+1 That book was a real education for me. Joint operation of the Mossad, the CIA, and the organized crime syndicate led by Meyer Lansky. Within a few weeks of the assassination, Jfk's policy of evenhandedness in the Middle East was completely overturned by Johnson, who then immediately started sending shiploads of military aid to Israel. Result: The Israelis were armed to the teeth for the 1967 war, and not afraid to attempt to sink the USS Liberty during that conflict, so deep was our President in their pockets.

In reply to by WernerHeisenberg

TahoeBilly2012 Déjà view Sat, 08/05/2017 - 01:24 Permalink

I changed my mind on the JFK story because I watched the docomentary on the rifle forensics. I now think it was the lone gunmen. Reason, why would ANY professional outside help provide him with a lousy, cheap $20 used rifle.  I don't buy it that that was for "street cred", to make it look organic. I think Oswald acted alone, maybee had some Cuban or Soviet outside encouragement, but no enough to get him a proper rifle and scope. 

In reply to by Déjà view

chubbar TahoeBilly2012 Sat, 08/05/2017 - 08:06 Permalink

You obviously didn't spend any time thinking about the rifle forensics, specifically the ability to cycle the bolt, reaquire the target and fire 3 shots rapidly while leaning out of a window. When this scenario was reproduced using highly skilled sniper marksman in a mock up range, only one out of 6 were able to accomplish the firing in a manner even close to what happened that day and that was after several attempts. That being said, no one understands how JFK's head snapped backwards and an exit wound was in the back of his head from a shot that supposedly originated from his right rear quarter, as was documented by one of the attending surgeons. This story isn't even close to being believeable after even the most casual review. This article is more bullshit.

In reply to by TahoeBilly2012

Withdrawn Sanction chubbar Sat, 08/05/2017 - 08:49 Permalink

....or w/a crappy Manlicker/Carcano rifle that was not even sighted in, acc. to the ballistics examiners.   Also, no powder residue on LHO's hands...LHO was the designated patsy. There is not a mono-causal explanation here like the withdrawal from Viet Nam (which would would have gored MIC's ox), or the reduction in the oil depletion allowance (goring big oil's ox), or shattering the CIA into a thousand pieces, or dropping el-BJ from the 1964 ticket (which would have likely landed el-BJ in a vote was scheduled in the Senate for 2pm later that day) and so on.  There were multiple interests simultaneously served by getting JFK out of the way. This article is complete misdirection.  While there may have been individual agents in the CIA and FBI who were trying to uncover the truth, both agencies' top brass were in this thing up to their necks...from the get go.   And in those positions were able (like Hoover) to obstruct, sidetrack, and derail any competent investigation.  Had a friend ask me, "so you're saying it was a conspiracy to kill JFK?"  Yes, says I.  And then pointed out that it wasn't just me, but the House Select Committee on Assassination in the mid-70s came to the same conclusion...and then promptly folded up their tent.  

In reply to by chubbar

Soundgardener TahoeBilly2012 Sat, 08/05/2017 - 11:57 Permalink

The rifle found in the book depository was first reported as a 7.65 Mauser. "The man who found the gun, Deputy Eugene Boone, signed a sworn affidavit claiming the weapon in question had been identified as a Mauser. Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig, who was present when the rifle was found, even claims to have seen “7.65 Mauser” written stamped on the murder weapon. In his final testimony, Boone admitted that he had had been mistaken in his initial identification of the murder weapon. The Carcano story became part of the official history.But Roger Craig never changed his story. Craig’s refusal to change his story about the Mauser, like all the other officers had done, caused him to be ostracized by his peers. He was fired from the Dallas Police Department in 1967, apparently for discussing sensitive information with a journalist. Roger Craig never found steady work again, he lost his wife, and then began suffering a series of bizarre accidents which left him severely injured. He was shot at, driven off the side of the road, and at one point his car engine mysteriously exploded. The injuries induced by these incidents left Mr. Craig in almost constant physical pain. In 1975, Roger Craig took his own life."Multiple murder weapons. Multiple Lee Harvey Oswalds. Multiple bodies. The lone gunman theory is ludicrous, given the two wounds suffered by JFK (throat & back), the three wounds suffered by Texas Governor John Connelly, plus the windshield, street sign, etc. The Zapruder film was obviously modified to hide the fact that the President's vehicle was stationary when he was shot. Quite impressive technology for the time. Oswald was apprehended in the movie theater by a swarm of police officers, patrol cars, and—of course—camera-wielding journalists. How fortuitous..Oh and George Bush Snr wasn't the only future President who 'forgot' he was in Dallas on the day JFK was murdered. Turns out Nixon was too. What's that saying: "Everyone remembers where they were when they heard X" - the modern version is "when they heard about 9/11". When I grew up it was "when they heard JFK had been shot". Here's a composite photo of JFK & Officer Tippit, the spitting image of the President, coincidentally murdered less than an hour after JFK was shot (not to furnish the conspirators with a spare corpse as close a resemblance to JFK as possible or anything...) faked Oswald photos:

In reply to by TahoeBilly2012

armageddon addahere TahoeBilly2012 Sat, 08/05/2017 - 21:03 Permalink

Assuming Oswald was the shooter. But what if he was the patsy as he said while in police custody? What if someone else did the shooting and Oswald was arrested and killed so the case could be closed with no proper investigation? Maybe they didn't waste money on a gun that was just a prop.Another question. If Oswald was a trained Marine sharpshooter why would he buy such a shitty weapon for the job of assassinating the President?One more then I will stop. The cop who found the rifle first identified it as a mauser, later it somehow turned into a Mannlicher Carcano. Which was it and why were they switched?

In reply to by TahoeBilly2012

ThirteenthFloor armada (not verified) Fri, 08/04/2017 - 22:01 Permalink

Armada, JFK was on three things that was burning the deep state -

1) issue silver backed money from treasury - end fed
2) make CIA report to JCOS, and cut their projects off in Cuba
3) end Cold War have no Vietnam, and basically cut the MIC way back.

More than deep state could handle so CIA big boys took him out and killed him and pot load of the witnesses.

In reply to by armada (not verified)

NoDebt Chupacabra-322 Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:49 Permalink

No, the part that boggles the mind is that as obvious a lie as we all think it is, the CIA has determined that a vast majority of people will totally believe and accept this horseshit.I wish I was born with a 40 (or 80) fewer IQ points and a functional memory hole.  I would be a good sheep if I was.  This is a laughably transparent lie. 

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Billy the Poet NoDebt Fri, 08/04/2017 - 22:03 Permalink

Help is on the way! In the year 2081, amendments to the Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General's agents enforce the equality laws, forcing citizens to wear "handicaps": masks for those who are too beautiful, radios inside the ears of intelligent people, and heavy weights for the strong or athletic.

In reply to by NoDebt