Dec 24, 1963: Top CIA official seeking to investigate Oswald is ‘sandbagged’ by his bosses

The spy who sang

John Whitten is a rare hero of the JFK story. He was a senior CIA official who sought, behind the scenes, to conduct an honest investigation of what the agency knew about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, before President Kennedy was killed.

But at a meeting on Christmas Eve 1963 deputy director CIA Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton shut down Whitten’s efforts to investigate Oswald’s contacts among pro- and anti-Castro Cubans and relieved him of his responsibilities for investigating JFK’s assassination.

Whitten’s story, which I first reported in the Washington Monthly in 2003, illuminated the inner workings of the CIA in the days and weeks after JFK was killed. It is the story of a “good spy” whose pursuit of the truth about JFK’s death cost him his career. Read more

Sign up now for JFK Lancer November In Dallas Conference

The annual Lancer conference is the best of its kinds. It honors the legacy of President Kennedy, and strives for abetter understanding the facts of his assassination.

Source: 2018 JFK Lancer November In Dallas Conference

After JFK was killed, former president Truman called for the abolition of CIA covert operations

Truman's complaint

Truman’s complaint

“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former president Harry Truman in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. It was exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy.

“It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas,” Truman wrote.

The former president never explicitly linked JFK’s death to the clandestine service, but the timing and venue of his piece was suggestive.

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Birch O’Neal: the CIA’s unknown Oswald expert

Birch O'Neal

Birch O’Neal, counterintelligence officer who opened the CIA’s Oswald file in 1959

One of the most significant new JFK files concerns a CIA officer you probably never heard of.

Birch O’Neal is virtually unknown in the vast literature of JFK’s assassination. He is not mentioned in the reports of the Warren Commission or the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He figures in no conspiracy theories.

Yet O’Neal played a seminal role in the story of the CIA and accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. As a mole hunter for counterintelligence chief James Angleton, O’Neal controlled the agency’s Oswald file from November 1959 to November 1963.

O’Neal’s story is still sensitive, more than 20 years after his death in 1995. Last November the agency released a heavily redacted version of O’Neal’s personnel file. Of the 224 pages in the file, 177 contain redactions, and three are wholly secret.

But one important page was released. Read more

The busboy who tried to help a wounded Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 dies

That was the night an assassin took aim at Robert F. Kennedy, a candidate for president of the United States. Romero, just 17 at the time, squatted next to the fallen U.S. senator, cradled Kennedy’s head, and tried to help him up before realizing how gravely wounded Kennedy was.

Source: The busboy who tried to help a wounded Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 dies. His life was haunted by the violence – Los Angeles Times

Dec. 16, 1963: Behind closed doors, the Warren Commission is baffled

With the FBI’s report on Kennedy’s assassination, the Commission undertook to select staffers and figure out how to approach its work.

Chief Justice Warren complained about the leaks of the FBI report:  “I have read that report two or three times and I have not seen anything in there that has not been in the press.”

The Commissioners then held a wide-ranging discussion of JFK’s assasination, including:

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JFK fictionalized: ‘November Road’ goes through New Orleans

November RoadI like fictionalizations of the JFK story, not because they confirm (or refute) my own views but because they illuminate how November 22 has refracted through American culture and thinking. For example: November Road (Audiobook) by Lou Berney.

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‘Fear and loathing’ began in Dallas

Bill Kelly points out that Hunter S. Thompson coined his immortal phrase “fear and loathing” on the day of JFK’s assassination. In three words, the gonzo journalist had captured a mood that would never go away.

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Silence like a cancer grows

Did you know that Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was a response to JFK’s assassination? I didn’t.

How Jack Ruby got away with murder 

Fifty-two years ago this week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s last resort for all criminal cases, reversed Ruby’s murder conviction and death sentence and ordered a new trial because of the trial judge’s egregious legal errors. Because Ruby died before he could be retried, in the eyes of the law, he will always be an innocent man.

Source: How Jack Ruby got away with murder in the shooting of JFK’s assassin [Opinion] – HoustonChronicle.com

‘Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy’

What Cuban leader Fidel Castro said  on November 23, 1963 about JFK’s assassination: Read more

What happened when Oswald was arrested?

Oswald at Texas Theater

Lee Harvey Oswald being arrested at the Texas Theater, November 22, 1963

In a 2013 essay for Time magazine,the late Gary Mack wrote about this photo of Oswald’s. The photo is interesting but the editorial treatment is fascinating Read more

A trip through history in Dallas 

My first thought — which I actually muttered out loud as a got closer to the corner of Elm and Houston – was, “what a perfect spot for an ambush.”

Source: A trip through history in Dallas | Opinion | virginiamn.com

Nov. 5, 1963: JFK considers secret talks with Castro

Fidel Castro

Was JFK going to make peace with Cuba?

On November 5, 1963, President Kennedy was exploring the idea. You can hear JFK talking about it with aides on this White House tape recording. (The substantive conversation starts at :25 in the recording.) Read more

In his last decision before his Supreme Court nomination, Brett Kavanaugh sided with the CIA

 

kavanaugh trump

Brett Kavanaugh, the future of justice?

The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on July 9th that the CIA does not have to pay my court costs incurred in the long-running FOIA lawsuit Morley v. CIA. The split decision was joined by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by President Trump later that day to serve on the the Supreme Court. Read more