Jim Garrison, New Orleans DA, and object of CIA attention. (Credit: LYNN PELHAM/TIMEPIX )
The CIA retains two secret files on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, the crusading prosecutor who inspired Oliver Stone’s hit movie “JFK.”
The files–whose existence is reported here for the first time– are among the 3,600 secret U.S. government records related to JFK’s assassination that are scheduled to be released in October 2017. Earlier this week, Politico and NOLA,com reported on the existence of the 3,600 records, which was first disclosed on May 12 by JFK Facts.
The Garrison files contain 16 pages of undated and unclassified material, according to the National Archives’ online database of JFK assassination records
One file– labelled “CIA File on Garrison, James”–contains ten pages of material. The other–described as “Illegible Document, Garrison Investigation”–has six pages.
There’s no one more interesting and important in the JFK story–and indeed the history of the CIA–who is more important than the late James Angleton.
Wistar Janney, CIA officer who monitored Jim Garrison
In response to last week’s post on the CIA’s still-secret file on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, author Peter Janney sent the following comment about the CIA’s secret monitoring of Garrison’s JFK investigation.
The fact that counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton oversaw this effort is very telling. Angleton’ job was to prevent penetration of the agency by a foreign powers. Yet his Garrison Group showed no interest in whether Garrison was cooperating with or advancing the agenda of another intelligence service. So why did Angleton care? To me the most plausible explanation is that Angleton feared Garrison might uncovered evidence of a counterintelligence operation in New Orleans or Angleton’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald. Or both.
To the story Janney, the son of a CIA officer, adds an important detail that I had forgotten.
James Angleton, chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.
Yes. It was James Angleton’s idea.
In May 1963, deputy director Richard Helms asked Angleton, the legendary chief of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff, to assess the problem of Cuba for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Angleton wrote a 16-page working paper, “Cuban Control and Action Capabilities” that was so sensitive it would remain classified for the next 35 years.
Angleton’s conclusions were stark. Castro’s minions were marching into Latin America aided and abetted by their masters in Moscow, he said.
“In both internal and external activities the guiding hand of the Soviet Bloc, particularly the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Communist China was evident to varying degrees,” Angleton wrote. “Many aspects of the Cuban [security] programs could not have been carried out without external support in terms of funds, experience and expert training.”
“Conspiracy theories,” writes author Annie Jacobsen in a New York Times forum, are “the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of how we live.” A JFK conspiracy theory (or anti-conspiracy theory) is a story we tell ourselves in order to make sense of what happened on November 22, 1963.
Where the accused assassin was laid to rest.
The global coverage of the sad story of Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother suing Baumgardner funeral home for his brother’s coffin demonstrates the enduring public interest in the smallest details of the JFK story.
While custodians of the conventional wisdom in the U.S. media turn up their noses at such fare, the UK’s Daily Mail uses the story to float the notion that Oswald was “in fact a covert U.S. intelligence agent,” a proposition for which there is a good deal of circumstantial evidence.
A friend forwards this CSPAN interview in which retired Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee talks about finding the diary of his sister-in-law Mary Meyer, the mistress of President Kennedy, and how CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton took possession of the diary
Mary Meyer, former JFK mistress, was murdered in Washington DC in October 1964.
British historian John Simkin adds new detail to the story of the diary of JFK’s mistress Mary Meyer.
British historian John Simkin adds important detail to the story of Ben Bradlee and CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton after the assassination of President Kennedy.
I find Simkin to be a credible and knowledgeable writer. If he has made any mistakes, please let me know via email.
In response to Ben Bradlee’s thoughts on JFK’s assassination, a friend asks, “Do you think Bradlee feared tangling with Angleton? Angleton was supposedly livid because Bradlee spread the story that Angleton had lock picked the studio of Mary Meyer [JFK’s mistress, slain in October 1964]?”
John Simkin breaks down the mysteries of a key JFK story: Yuri Nosenko and the Warren Report.
Howard Willens, former staff attorney on the Warren Commission, remains one of its most vigorous public defenders 50 years later. As I reported yesterday, he agreed to answer questions from JFK Facts via email. Because all of the questions were submitted at once, there were no follow up questions. In any case, my intent was not to conduct a hostile interrogation but to elicit his thoughts and hopefully start a dialogue. (I found his journal from 1964, which he has posted on his website, to be a valuable document for understanding the limitations of the Commission’s approach to its investigation.)
Now let’s hear from him. Read more
The best-read JFK Facts stories in the month of June were: Read more
Howard Willens, Warren Commission defender.
Howard Willens, a former Warren Commission staffer, acknowledged in a an email interview with JFK Facts that deputy CIA director Richard Helms was “not truthful” with the Commission and there is “no doubt” that counterintelligence chief James Angleton did not cooperate with the inquiry into JFK’s assassination.
While vigorously defending the Commission’s conclusions, Willens admitted he was naive about the CIA. Asked about a passage in his journal from March 1964 in which he wrote that senior CIA officials “did not have an axe to grind” in the commission’s investigation, Willens acknowledged “my comments about the CIA were naive to say the least.”