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The new JFK files: What Politico missed about the CIA role

The GhostThe 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.

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#NewJFKfiles: In 1964 Nikita Khrushchev schooled Drew Pearson on the JFK conspiracy question

Drew Pearson

Drew Pearson, March 1948

To people interested in the new JFK releases, I can highly recommend item 3) on Bill Kelly’s Top Ten Newly Released Records.

3) Drew Pearson’s interview with Nikita Khrushchev.

In this May 1964 conversation about the assassination of JFK, Drew Pearson, one of the nation’s leading syndicated columnists, failed to dispel the conspiratorial convictions of Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union.

Three years later, Pearson’s fellow investigative reporter Jack Anderson would break a story that shattered Washington’s confidence in the official JFK story and lent credence to Khrushchev’s view.

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Beyond the smoking gun: The new JFK files fill in two holes in the assassination story

CIA SealI’ve been hearing from news reporters for major news organizations, who ask, “What’s in the new JFK files? Is there a smoking gun?”

The answer is no. There is no one piece of evidence in the 113,00 pages of JFK records scheduled to be released by October 26, 2017, that will change people’s minds about what happened long ago in Dallas.

But the new JFK files, if released in their entirety, will fill in the two key gaps in the JFK assassination story that have long been obscured by government misconduct, official secrecy, and lazy journalism.

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Why did the CIA’s Angleton want to cut off questions about Oswald?

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

In 1972, CIA chiefs ordered no more questions about accused assassin Oswald

Angleton on Oswald

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

New JFK Files: CIA drags its feet on compliance, failing to release 12 documents

Tony Cuesta

Tony Cuesta, anti-Castro fighter with a JFK story

The National Archives’ long-awaited release of JFK assassination files, which began on Monday, has some holes in it.

At least 12 CIA documents that were supposed to be released online Monday are still in the possession of the Agency, according to the Archives.

Among the missing documents are ten pages of notes on the FBI/Army Intelligence file of Tony Cuesta, an anti-Castro militant who implicated a Cuban exile marksman in the assassination of JFK.

The CIA also retains a 47-page file on Cuesta, which is supposed to be released this year, according to the National Archives online database.

The omission of the Cuesta file and 11 other documents from this week’s release was inadvertent, according to archivist James Mathis.

In an email to JFK Facts, Mathis wrote.

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How can I access the new JFK files?

Tim asks:

How exactly can I start downloading these files and reading them? Are the files themselves online for us to download and read without payng and ordering them from the National Archives?

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 JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald, Part 5

Arnaldo Fernandez on the History Channel’s misguided, and now disappeared, JFK series.

After mixing Oswald with the anti-Castro and CIA-backed paramilitaries of Alpha 66 in a weird pot made of “special intent to kill President Kennedy soup”, Baer keeps on blighting a big-budget TV show by ignoring the body of the evidence, writes Arnaldo Fernandez.  With an insert by Milicent Cranor on the History Channel’s version of the “jet effect”.

Source: Kennedys And King – JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald, Part 5

Angleton, Cuba, and the assassination of JFK

The GhostOn 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

The talk, delivered at the Future of Freedom Foundation’s conference on “The National Security State and JFK,” will be broadcast on CSPAN on Sunday July 9 at noon Eastern Time.

Tune in for a true tale of the Deep State.

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Angleton’s story: ‘Intriguing, moving, and at time shocking’

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.

Get it now: The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.

Who was Valery Kostikov?

Was he a KGB assassin? Did he have contact with Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination of President Kennedy?

Some answers from my piece (co-authored by Rex Bradford)  in Newsweek:  “America’s most powerful conspiracy theorist will decide the fate of CIA trove.”

Think there’s nothing significant in these JFK records? Think again.

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On the deathbed contortions of Howard Hunt


This is an edited version of Howard Hunt’s much-touted “deathbed confession” about the assassination of JFK.

Hunt insinuates, without supporting evidence, that certain CIA officers and Lyndon Johnson were involved in the killing of President Kennedy.

On the one hand, Hunt, ringleader of the Watergate burglars, knew the underbelly of American power as well as anyone. What he says about November 22 is provocative, and not implausible.

On the other hand… Read more

The Conspiracy Theorist-in-Chief will decide the fate of secret JFK documents 

He’s called global warming a hoax, suggested that Barack Obama was not an American and linked autism to childhood vaccinations. And soon, President Donald Trump, America’s most powerful conspiracy theorist, will decide the fate of more than 113,000 pages of secret documents about the ultimate conspiracy theory: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

Source: The Conspiracy Theorist-in-Chief Will Decide the Fate of Secret Documents on JFK’s Assassination | Alternet

Two different views of Antonio Veciana

After I published my review of Antonio Veciana’s book, Trained to Kill, for Newsweek, several people asked me about Dan Hardway’s review of the book AARC web site and W. Tracy Parnell’s blog, purporting to debunk Veciana’s story.

The former is an investigator’s take, the latter a prosecutor’s brief. Dan looks to get beyond Veciana’s self-presentation. Parnell seeks to impeach his credibility. Dan sees Veciana’s story as “modified limited hangout,” Parnell sees it as a fantasy.

Both are worth taking seriously.

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Deep State Chronicles: Angleton and the Wilson Plot

One of the stories I will tell in The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton is how the British secret intelligence services pressured Harold Wilson, the leftist Labour leader, into retiring early.

Some would credit Angleton with good counterintelligence instincts. Others might see a witch hunt or the workings of the so-called “deep state.” In any case, it was vintage Angleton, as Alex Cockburn explains.

Source: “Ashes & Diamonds” by Alexander Cockburn” Read more