A faithful reader sends a timely reminder: Birch O’Neal, the CIA’s unknown Oswald expert, dissembled to an FBI agent within hours of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
I wrote about O’Neal yesterday. A career CIA counterintelligence officer who died in 1995, O’Neal is perhaps the most interesting new character to emerge from the tens of thousands of JFK assassination files released since last October.
His previously unknown saga sheds new light on a JFK secret the CIA and defenders of the Warren Commission still deny: the agency’s pre-assassination surveillance of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Read more
Some of the best reporting on the new JFK files is coming from USA Today.
In today’s story, the national daily notes an essential newsworthy fact revealed in the newly declassified records.
Within hours of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA started to distance itself from any connection to suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, recently released secret records from the National Archives show.
Reporters ask me, “Is there a smoking gun in the new JFK files?”
I used to say “No.” But after reading the CIA’s latest releases, I have changed my mind.
Now I say, “Yes, there is at least one potential smoking gun in the new JFK files, and it may soon come into public view.”
As I explained to the Washington Post: Read more
The Attorney General spoke with Fox News on Saturday and made a big promise. If what he says is true, this is good news. Unfortunately, some White House statements on the JFK files, have not been accurate so we’ll have to see what happens.
Here’s what Sessions said.
Summers was amazed when doing his documentary for BBC’s “Panorama” in the late 1970s that many of his interview subjects had never been spoken to before. “All of the media of that time, not least the New York Times, had completely failed to really quarry into the story. They simply had not done it,” he said. “They concentrated on the great tapestry of the assassination and the Kennedy era.”
Source: On the trail of the assassin(s) — Irish Echo
Orest Pena’s story is particularly compelling because he was trusted by the FBI agents in New Orleans. As a bar owner of Cuban descent, he saw and heard a lot of interest to law enforcement. Oswald had visited his bar in the summer of 1963 in the company of a man Pena described as Mexican. Pena also said he saw Oswald with FBI agent Warren DeBreuys on several occasions. DeBreuys denied this and denigrated Pena as unreliable.
To launch the New Year, JFK Facts will highlighting key JFK documents that remain secret in part or in full. We will also be focusing on the effort to make sure that all these documents are made public by the legal deadline of October 26, 2017.
The first is a document that has always intrigued me. As described by Rex Bradford of Mary Ferrell Foundation, it is
A transcript of the HSCA interview with Orest Pena, the New Orleans bar owner who told them that he saw Oswald was palling around with FBI agents in New Orleans. There are actually 3 copies of this 1978 interview with different RIF numbers – all still withheld in full
Source: Mary Ferrell Foundation: Mark the Date
A diverse group of JFK authors and investigators have called on the Obama and Trump administrations to order the CIA and other federal agencies to declassify all secret JFK files in their entirely by October 2017.
[Click Here for Open Letter on JFK Records]
The JFK records will pose an early test of the open government policies of Donald Trump. The president-elect has espoused the baseless and debunked conspiracy theory that the father of Senator Ted Cruz was somehow involved in JFK’s assassination.
One of my favorite JFK Facts stories came from a woman named Monica Jimenez who pulled a gun on Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis when he tried to intimidate her mother, Maritz Lorentz, about her JFK assassination story. Jimenez. was fifteen years old at the time. The threat suggests Sturgis had something to hide when it came to JFK.
The investigative web site Muckrock has a great follow-up story. It turns out there’s a whole lot more to be learned about Sturgis: namely, an FBI file containing 75,000 documents.
Source: Help release the FBI file on Watergate burglar (and alleged CIA asset) Frank Sturgis
The JFK is remembered around the world. Claudio writes from Buenos Aires: Read more
Director Peter Landesman, says the movie will “change the accepted history of Watergate and the dissembling of the presidency and modern American politics.”
Source: Watergate Deep Throat Movie ‘Felt’: Cast Surrounding Liam Neeson | Deadline
Not long after the first anniversary of Fidel Castro coming to power, Vice President Richard Nixon was “becoming very active and aggressive” about US. policy toward Cuba with the help of the CIA.
Turner joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1951. He worked for the FBI for ten years but grew increasingly concerned with the way J. Edgar Hoover ran the organization. Turner became convinced that Hoover was placing too much emphasis on the dangers of the American Communist Party. Instead, he felt he should be using more resources to tackle organized crime. In 1961 Turner was dismissed from the FBI. He hired Edward Bennett Williamsand sued the FBI but lost. However he did manage to get anti-Hoover testimony by other agents into the record.
Source: JFKcountercoup on William Weyland Turner (1927-2015)
On September 27 and 28, 1963, a man calling himself Lee Oswald visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet embassy in Mexico City. He was seeking visas to visit both countries. As Oswald was a former defector to the Soviet Union who was planning on traveling with his Russian-born wife, he immediately attracted the interest of CIA officers and FBI agents in the Mexican capital.
And so the FBI began searching for Oswald–while President Kennedy was still alive, a story that was withheld from the Warren Commission and is ignored in virtually every book about JFK’s assassination.