Before Donald Trump made his false claim that Ted Cruz’s father once associated with accused presidential assassin Lee Oswald, six previous U.S. presidents had offered opinions about who killed JFK. Read more
The CIA shadowed Martin Luther King during his stay at a Miami hotel in July 1966 with the help of a spy whose identity still remains a secret a half century later.
The revelation is found in a 48-page file on King, portions of which were made public late last year, along with thousands of JFK assassination files.
President Trump has ordered all federal agencies to release the rest of their JFK-related files by April 26, a directive which covers the agency’s King file as well.
Trump’s order, issued last October, exempts from disclosure only “the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living.” So if the CIA’s spy is deceased, his or her name is supposed to be made public this week.
“Surveillance was a joint effort of IDEN A [the spy] and local ODENVY [CIA’s code name for the FBI],” according to a cable from the chief of the agency’s south Florida station. The surveillance took place in July 1966 when King and two associates stayed at a Miami airport hotel.
While the FBI’s surveillance of King is notorious, much less is known about the CIA’s interest in the civil right leader. Such eavesdropping violated the agency’s charter barring operations on U.S. soil.
The cable describes the spy as a “cleared and witting contact,” meaning he or she had a working relationship with the agency at the time. Approximately five lines of text that identify the spy have been blanked out in the document released to the National Archives in November 2017.
The spy listened in on King’s conversations from an adjacent hotel room for six hours.
“References were made to the Florida Gubernatorial Race, a trip to Bimini [an island in the Bahamas] and several miscellaneous sex experiences,” the cable reported.
After King and associates checked out the next day, the CIA’s spy searched their rooms, according to the cable. The informant found a phone message in a trash can asking King to call Harry Wachtel, a New York lawyer who served as King’s legal counsel.
The CIA’s spy claimed, inaccurately, that Wachtel was “an identified member of the Communist Party.” In fact, the FBI only had a report that Wachtel once had been active in the National Lawyer Guild, a leftist organization that some charged was a communist influenced.
The spy also found an envelope bearing the name of an unmarried woman who supposedly stay in the hotel room.
It seems likely that the CIA spying on King’s private life and is hiding the results. Nine of the next ten pages in the King file are completely classified, along with the spy’s name.
The memo supports the idea that the CIA worked with the FBI to obtain defamatory information about the civil rights leader less than two years before he was slain in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
You can read the CIA’s partially declassified King file here.
Phil Shenon has a long piece in The Guardian excavating the sad story of Charles Thomas, a U.S. diplomat who investigated Lee Harvey Oswald’s actions in Mexico in the 1960s. Thomas was rebuffed by top CIA officials, including counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Thomas was denied an expected promotion and later committed suicide.
The story illuminates a central mystery of the JFK assassination story but not quite in the way than Shenon proposes.
The most important revelations in the new JFK files concern the CIA (and possibly NSA) surveillance of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
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.
As the April 26 deadline for release of the last of the JFK assassination files approaches. President Trump will be hearing from his new CIA director Gina Haspel on the issue of what can and cannot be made public.
What will Haspel say? Read more
Will President Trump enforce the law when it comes to JFK assassination files later this month?
As President Trump’s April 26, 2018 deadline for full disclosure looms, key JFK files remain beyond public view.
These files concern a subject the mainstream media coverage has shied from: the pre-assassination surveillance of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963.
When I sued the CIA for certain JFK assassination files in December 2003, I knew any litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was sure to take a long time.
It sure has. Read more
On Monday March 19, a three-judge federal appellate court in Washington, D.C. will hear oral arguments about the “public benefit” of disclosure of CIA files related to the assassination of President Kennedy.
With the release of the last of the U.S. government’s JFK assassination files set for April 26, 2018, the judges have to pass judgement on a still-timely question: is there any public benefit from learning more about the events of November 1963? Read more
The Foundation makes four recommendations for the improving the release of the last of the U.S. government’s JFK assassination files, now scheduled for April 26, per written orders of President Trump.
The final countdown for disclosure of the last of the U.S. government’s JFK assassination files begins next Monday with prospects for full disclosure, as mandated by law, still in doubt.
On the perennial, perhaps boring, question of a JFK assassination conspiracy, the question may boil down to: who do you believe?
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba in the 1960s, was a tireless Latin revolutionary. Charles de Gaulle, president of France, was a conservative continental statesman. They both came to the conclusion that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated by right-wing enemies within his own government.
Politico’s Thomas Maier mines the new JFK files to competently retell the oft-told but still-disturbing story of how respectable CIA officials and murderous Mafia dons tried and failed to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
Along the way, Maier drops this claim: