Howard Willens, a former Warren Commission staffer, acknowledged in a an email interview with JFK Facts that deputy CIA director Richard Helms was “not truthful” with the Commission and there is “no doubt” that counterintelligence chief James Angleton did not cooperate with the inquiry into JFK’s assassination.
While vigorously defending the Commission’s conclusions, Willens admitted he was naive about the CIA. Asked about a passage in his journal from March 1964 in which he wrote that senior CIA officials “did not have an axe to grind” in the commission’s investigation, Willens acknowledged “my comments about the CIA were naive to say the least.”
When asked if the Commission knew that the Special Investigations Group, an office within the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff, had been well informed about Oswald’s family travels and politics between 1959 and 1963, Willens did not respond directly. He said he was “aware of this CIA interest,” without addressing the specific question of SIG’s interest in Oswald.
Willens said he did not think the Warren Commission should have taken testimony from Angleton, who used the super-secret SIG to monitor Oswald and to investigate possible Soviet spies in the ranks of the CIA.
“There is little doubt that Angleton, if called, would have been as non-responsive as Helms,” Willens added.
Willens gave no quarter in his defense of the Commission’s controversial conclusions declaring “no contrary evidence has emerged after 50 years.” He declined to debate in any way Mark Lane or the Commission’s original critics. When another Commission staffer said that Lane made a living “telling lies,” Lane threatened to sue but was not willing to defend his arguments in court, according to Willens.
Willens also dismissed the conspiracy theory of former CIA analyst Brian Latell who argues that the Castro government had advance knowledge that Oswald intended to kill Kennedy.
I will post the complete Q&A with Howard Willens tomorrow.