The release of long-secret JFK assassination files by the National Archives has drawn the attention of news organizations nationwide.
Four revelations stand out so far.
1) WhoWhatWhy reported on documents showing that Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of JFK’s assassination, was a CIA asset in the 1950s. His brother, Charles Cabell, was a high-ranking CIA official until 1962.
From Booklist Online
“Serving up a suitably intriguing profile of this quintessential spy, journalist Morley’s (Snow-Storm in August, 2012) mosaic-like biography painstakingly pieces together the complex webs of subterfuge and deception Angleton created during his storied career.”
Pre-order THE GHOST here.
I recently spoke with S.T. Patrick on the Midnight Writer News podcast, about the CIA during the Kennedy era, with particular emphasis on the role of James Angleton in the events leading up to the assassination. Read more
Exceptional reporting. Exceptional writing. Thank you for your dedication to seeking justice in this case. We have been waiting a long time to read what you wrote. The facts have led us here
In May 1964, top CIA officials stonewalled the official investigation of the murder of President John F. Kennedy by concealing or downplaying evidence about the Cuban contacts of the accused assassin, according to newly declassified documents.
The documents, released online last month by the National Archives, show how two CIA spymasters concocted a series of false and misleading statements that served to steer the Warren Commission investigation away from evidence that might point to a conspiracy.
The long-secret records, stamped with the words “Reproduction Prohibited,” shed new light on two key issues related to the death of JFK: 1) the agency’s plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the time JFK was killed; and 2) the CIA’s pre-assassination knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine, who was arrested for killing Kennedy.
The first nationally known analysts to weigh in on the new JFK files are Phil Shenon and Larry Sabato, former New York Times reporter and University of Virginia professor respectively. In a story for Politico Magazine, they purport to tell the story How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK’s Murder.
The tipoff to the story’s limitations is the headline, which sounds a bit odd: how the CIA came to doubt the official story…
The CIA was the source for key parts of the official JFK story–that a lone gunman killed President Kennedy out of “hatred for American society.” The CIA’s doubts only surfaced in the spring of 1975 when the official story was shredded by revelations about the agency’s pre-assassination knowledge of Oswald and plots to kill Castro.
In response to my recent post on a declassified April 1972 CIA memo ordering that “no defector or source” be asked about Lee Harvey Oswald, a faithful reader asks:
Where is April 1972 in the Nosenko chronology? Was there a time at which saner CIA people simply told Angleton to back off from his Nosenko-KGB theories?
The answer is that Angleton was motivated both by his interest in Nosenko and his desire to block CIA people from questioning the dubious official story of Oswald as a lone assassin about whom the agency knew little.
In fact, as Angleton knew better than anyone, the CIA had monitored Oswald’s movements, politics, personal life, and foreign contacts for four years before JFK was killed.
The other relevant question is, “Where is April 1972 in the Oswald chronology?” Read more
On April 5, 1972, CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, backed by director Richard Helms, issued a blanket order:
“the agency was not, under any circumstances , to make inquiries or ask any source or defector about Oswald”
The order, found in the massive batch of JFK files released online this week, came nine years after Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24 year old ex-Marine. The order was issued after officials in the agency’s Soviet Bloc division asked a Russian defector about the accused assassin who lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962.
The CIA memo,
classified as a state secret for the past 35 years [Ed note: Paul Hoch tells me the memo was released with a name redacted in 1998] sheds light on how Angleton, a legendary spy chief known for his brilliance and paranoia, tightly controlled the JFK investigation for years after the crime. No one at the CIA was supposed to ask questions about Kennedy’s accused killer. Read more
The National Archives has begun the long-awaited release of JFK Assassination Records.
I will start writing about these records as soon as I have reviewed them. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. You can download the documents now. Please send me anything you think is his historically significant or interesting, whether or not it directly relates to JFK’s assassination.
What’s in these documents? I summarize what is know in a recent article for Newsweek: “Donald Trump and the Kennedy Assassination: America’s Most Powerful Conspiracy Theorist Will Decide Fate of Secret JFK Trove.”
Peter Savodnik, writing about the Russians and the Trumps on the Vanity Fair web site, says yes.
In my upcoming Angleton biography, I review the case and come to the opposite conclusion: Pete Bagley (and Jim Angleton) were wrong: Nosenko was a bona fide defector.
On the 50th anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty on June 8,1967, people wonder how could the United States let the deaths of 34 servicemen go unpunished.
“The next day, the CIA produced its first analysis, which exonerated the Israelis. The paper concluded, erroneously, that there was ‘little doubt that the Israelis failed to identify the Liberty as a U.S. ship before or during the attack.” The Liberty “could easily have been mistaken” for El Quesir,” the memo asserted, a claim that the U.S. Navy would soon repudiate. The report was ‘compiled from all available sources,’ probably by [James] Angleton, the Israeli desk officer.”
On June 3, I gave an hour-long talk on James Angleton, Cuba, and the assassination of JFK in Dulles, Virginia.
Angleton was the chief of CIA counterintelligence from 1954 to 1974. He was key power broker in Cold War America
Tune in for a true tale of the Deep State.
James Angleton’s real life is the most intriguing, moving, and at time shocking spy story in American history. In The Ghost, Jefferson Morley has capture the man in all of his brilliant and sometimes delusional eccentricity. A must read’ for anyone who wants to understand just how strange and secretive the CIA was at the height of the Cold War.
–David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Director.