Robert DeNiro’s 2006 movie, “The Good Shepherd,” is one of the best films about the early days of the CIA, with Matt Damon playing a character loosely based on James Angleton. Joe Pesci has a brilliant cameo as mobster Meyer Lansky.
While it may be uncomfortable for members of the Intelligence Community to read some of these chapters, Talbot has done detailed research in his effort to stitch together a story. It may appear to most readers as prosecutorial or adversarial in tone, but this perspective needs to be read and understood, even if it is only part of the story of the CIA in the 1950s.
Fifty three years ago today, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald came to the attention of a group of senior CIA officers in Langley, Virginia. Oswald had recently visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. A CIA wiretap captured a man identifying himself as “Oswald.”
The CIA officers conferred about Oswald and his actions and signed off on a cable about him. They are identified on the declassified CIA cable whose authenticity is not disputed.
They were: assistant deputy director (ADDP) Tom Karamessines; Soviet Russia division counterintelligence officer Stephan Roll; liaison officer Jane Roman, Special Projects Group (SPG) officer Ann Egerter; chief of the WH/3 desk (Mexico )”John Scelso” aka John Whitten; and chief of operations for Western Hemisphere, William J. Hood.
“This CIA evaluation has come to be considered the Holy Grail of the Letelier-Moffitt case,” according to Peter Kornbluh who directs the Archive’s Chile Documentation Project. “Since direct evidence from Pinochet’s secret police files disappeared long ago, like so many of his victims, the CIA’s detailed assessment is the most compelling evidence we are ever likely to have.”
Viewed dispassionately, “conspiracy theories” are controversial political messages about secret power. They purport to tell us how the world really works, as opposed to official accounts of government and experts. At a time when the credibility of federal government and news organizations is low, conspiracy theories flourish at the expense of public authority.
Credible or not, conspiracy theories have shaped the course of the 2016 presidential campaign. Conservative strategists Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone claim that Hillary Clinton has organized a conspiracy to conceal her own dire medical condition. Liberals Ezra Klein and Cass Sunstein warn that conspiracy theories distort our political discourse and endanger the political process. Who’s right?
James Angleton, chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.
Legendary CIA counterspy James Angleton was interviewed by federal investigators in 1973 about a reported meeting with Watergate burglar Howard Hunt, according to a declassified CIA history made public this week.
Angleton responded by dissembling about his relationship with Hunt and threatening legal action against the source of the story.
The report, first obtained by Judicial Watch, sheds new light on the agency’s role in the burglary that brought down President Richard Nixon in 1974 and changed the course of American politics.
James Jesus Angleton, chief of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff, reached the peak of his powers during the Nixon’s presidency. But his backstage role in the Watergate affair has gone largely unnoticed.
“I asked him [RFK], perhaps tactlessly, about Oswald. He said that there could be no serious doubt that he was guilty, but there was still argument whether he did it by himself or as part of a larger plot, whether organized by Castro or by gangsters. He said that the FBI thought he had done it by himself, but that McCone thought there were two people involved in the shooting.”
— Arthur Schlesinger writing about a conversation with Robert Kennedy on Dec. 5, 1963, quoted in Schlesinger’s Journals: 1952-2000, p. 214.
Jefferson Morley and Alan Dale discuss the unique challenge of sifting misinformation, disinformation, and government secrecy while trying to established a rational and factual foundation of thinking about the assassination of President Kennedy.
David A. Phillips oversaw CIA anti-Castro psychological warfare operations in 1963.
Writing in OpEdNews in 2013, attorney Jim Lesar posted the latest development in the evolving story of the role of the CIA in the events leading up to President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas 50 years ago.
Antonio Veciana, a retired anti-Castro fighter, has confirmed that he saw an undercover CIA officer named David Phillips in the company pro-Castro activist Lee Oswald two months before Oswald is said to have shot and killed President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Veciana’s account calls attention to continuing CIA secrecy in the JFK story. Lesar is a veteran FOIA litigator who represents me in my lawsuit against the CIA, for the records of one of Phillips’s colleagues.
“If the CIA did find out what we were doing [talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba], this would have trickled down to the lower echelon of activists, and Cuban exiles, and the more gung-ho CIA people who had been involved since the Bay of Pigs…. Read more
Our 9th program featuring analysis and discussion of topics relevant to the study of President Kennedy’s assassination. This week we focus upon investigative journalist, Gaeton Fonzi, his essential book, The Last Investigation, his legacy and the publication of his 1996 article on General Fabian Escalante:
The assassination of JFK is a meme that has eclipsed the historical event. Donald Trump’s contention that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the death of the liberal president not only endures but flourishes online and redounds to the benefit of its authors. Why?