Angleton

What the last of JFK assassination files will show us

A report on what we will learn, if and when President Trump releases the last of the government’s JFK assassination files in April 2018.

“If Lee Harvey Oswald was, as cliche has it, a “lone nut,” he was the one and only isolated sociopath monitored by top CIA counterintelligence officers in the weeks and month before JFK was killed.”

Read the full story, with documentation, here.

 

Oswald lived in a surveillance state

In response to my post on Oswald under surveillance, a Twitter friend asked if surveillance was the reason why Oswald rented a room under a fake name (“O.H. Lee”) six weeks before the assassination of JFK.

I said no.  Read more

Oswald under surveillance: the last JFK secret

WaPo Oswald

The CIA paid close attention starting in 1959.

While JFK researchers seek to come up with an accurate count of just how many JFK assassination files remain secret in advance of the April 2018 deadline for full disclosure ordered by President Trump, we can be sure the number is more than 1,000 and maybe higher than 3,000.

The precise number, however, matters less than what is still secret–and this we know with certainty.

One of the most important JFK stories in the unreleased files is the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963.

A Senate investigator’s memo, released in December 2017, gives the exact date that the surveillance of Oswald began: November 11, 1959.

This is one of the most important JFK records released in the Trump era, so its details are worth understanding.

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Stansfield Turner RIP: CIA director who tried to clean up after Angleton

Stansfield Turner, a Navy admiral who sought to reform the CIA in the wake of scandals generated by counterintelligence chief James Angleton, has died at age 91.

Turner was controversial within the agency because he curbed covert operations and demanded the agency cut ties with known human rights abusers. This made him unpopular with operations officers but it was the right thing to do.

From Rhees Shapiro’s obituary in the Washington Post. Read more

A comment on Angleton and Oswald

David Lifton, author of Best Evidence, writes:

“Jeff: I think you’ve framed the question too narrowly….. Read more

Was Angleton culpable in JFK’s assassination?

I’ve been debating the question with CIA historian David Robarge, 

In Washington Decode, he asserts “that the US government did not have actionable information that Oswald was a clear threat to the President before 22 November 1963.”

That is true.  He says, correctly, that historians “must fairly assess why people acted based on what they knew at the time.”

That is exactly what I did in THE GHOST. And that’s why I think Angleton was culpable in the death of JFK.  Read more

‘Does this not make LHO a CIA asset?’

A reader responds to THE GHOST:

“this is brilliant and pioneering work on LHO and the assassination. I guess the only thing I don’t quite get is, if you conclude that Angleton was using Oswald in some way(s), does this not make LHO a CIA asset? And if it makes him a CIA asset, doesn’t that directly implicate the CIA in JFK’s murder, no ifs, ands or buts (though still understanding that there are many grey and unexplained areas)?”

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How the CIA tracked Oswald 

From my story in AlterNet

The latest batch of JFK assassination files, released December 15, illuminate a story that the CIA still denies: the surveillance of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the years before he shot and killed President John F. Kennedy.

Source: The New JFK Files Reveal How the CIA Tracked Oswald | Alternet

The surveillance of Oswald led the CIA to use him in an operation against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in the summer of 1963.

Tomorrow: Oswald and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee

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The Age on James Jesus Angleton

Jefferson Morley’s account is a compelling study in eminence grise: the spectre in the government machine.

Source: The Ghost review: Jefferson Morley’s life of CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton

‘A terrific book weaving together so many different threads’

From Peter Hillman of LewRockwell.Com.

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From the JFK files, a spymaster’s dictum on national security

From the new JFK files comes the long-suppressed testimony of CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Among other things, he spoke on the nature of the national security state: Read more

Classic Angleton: on the Cold War, detente, and assassination

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My JFK debate with CIA historian David Robarge

In a November 2017 post for the Washington Decoded blog, the chief historian of the CIA, David Robarge, joined the discussion of the causes of the assassination with JFK researchers.

As I said in my first comment on Robarge’s review of The Ghost, I take his criticism as a compliment. Clearly, my book has struck a nerve with the CIA and those who defend the widely disbelieved theory that a lone gunman killed President Kennedy for reasons known only to himself.

That nerve is the still-unexplained role of Angleton, the legendary counterintelligence chief, in the events leading up to the gunfire in Dealey Plaza.

In his review, Robarge asks

if Angleton was using Oswald for the limited purpose of helping him conduct the molehunt, then why blame him for an ‘epic’ counterintelligence failure by not stopping Oswald?

Let me explain by responding to Robarge’s comments on  four of the most important findings in The Ghost.

1) Angleton and JFK’s assassination

James Angleton

James Angleton testifies

Robarge says that I claim “Angleton and the CI Staff supposedly were, or should have been, preoccupied with Oswald.” He says, “Morley denies that he ever wrote that, but then how can he declare that Angleton’s “pre-assassination interest in Oswald” “indicates his “culpability in the wrongful death of President Kennedy?”

Here’s how. Robarge and I agree that Angleton opened an Office of Security file on Oswald in November 1959, an unusual procedure intended to assist Angleton in the mole hunt. The CIA did not share Angleton’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald with the Warren Commission, the Rockefeller Commission, the Church Committee, or the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

Why this material evidence was withheld from investigators is not hard to guess. To admit that senior CIA officers had been following the suspected assassin for four years would have opened the agency up to legimitate questions and investigation. Angleton and others might well have have lost their jobs. So the CIA fed a lie to the Warren Commission–we didn’t know much about Oswald–and the story stayed buried for decades. When the truth could be denied not longer, it was downplayed.

In a 2013 article for a CIA journal, Robarge acknowledged that the CIA had not informed the Warren Commission about its plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro and described this deception as a “benign cover-up.”

I’m not alone in wondering how any CIA coverup in the murder of a sitting president could qualify as “benign,” but I agree with Robarge that it was a cover-up.

The CIA’s failure to disclose Angleton’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald also qualifies a cover-up, which Robarge also seems to view as benign. I’m not so sanguine.

To summarize what I wrote in The Ghost:

Every piece of paper about Lee Harvey Oswald that came into the CIA between 1959 and 1963 was routed into a file controlled by Birch O’Neal, chief of the mole-hunting Special Investigations Group.

As the ex-Marine made his way from Moscow to Minsk to Fort Worth to New Orleans to Mexico City to Dallas, Angleton’s mole hunters in the SIG were informed at each step of the way. And, to repeat a point that Robarge does not care or dare to dispute, as of November 15, 1963, Angleton knew Oswald was in Dallas.

(See my recent Daily Beast piece “CIA Spyhunters Knew Oswald Was in Dallas.“)

And when Oswald was arrested for killing JFK a week later, the CIA concealed the nature of Angleton’s interest–the mole hunts–from the FBI and the Warren Commission.

Read more

Correcting some mistakes in the Weekly Standard

In response to Max Holland’s piece on the new JFK files in the Weekly Standard, I sent the following letter: Read more

The Spybrary reviews ‘The Ghost’

The Spybrary podcast, which covers espionage fact and fiction, notes that the facts of James Angleton’s CIA empire far exceed how his career is depicted in spy fictions like William F. Buckley’s novel Spy Time and Robert DeNiro’s movie, The Good Shepherd.

“Whatever you think you know about Angleton, I guarantee there’s something in THE GHOST that will surprise you.”