Yes, I did read Bagley’s Spy Wars. I also interviewed him. And yes, I do believe Nosenko was a true defector.
I think Bagley was wrong, for two reasons: lack of a plausible suspect and lack of damage to CIA operations.
Remember Angleton’s theory that Nosenko was a dispatched defector is inextricably bound up in the theory that Nosenko was dispatched to protect a mole already working inside the CIA as of January 1964. So the reader’s question is really two, was Nosenko a mole? And, if so, who was he protecting?
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
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.
On this day 55 years ago, a strange American visitor appeared at the Soviet and Cuban consulates in Mexico City. His name would soon be world famous: Lee Harvey Oswald. Within 24 hours, a joint US-Mexico intelligence gathering operation received wiretap reports on his unusual actions.
In the current issue of the New York Review of Books Max Hastings, conservative British journalist and pundit, contextualizes James Angleton in the history of U.S. intelligence. Hastings writes:
“The Ghost, Jefferson Morley’s shrewd account of Angleton’s career as Langley’s counterintelligence chief from 1954 to 1975, shows the harm that can be done by an energetic spook who is permitted grossly excessive latitude. The Ghost focuses on two manifestations of this.
I make a strong claim about the CIA and Lee Harvey Oswald in this video. I think the new JFK files corroborate my observation. But I’d like to get independent verification, preferably from a reputable fact-checking service like Snopes.
Of all the fascinating and weird things about the JFK assassination story, the veil of official secrecy that still surrounds the subject a half-century later is one of the most fascinating and weird. Read more
Phil Shenon has a long piece in The Guardianexcavating 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.
President Trump will soon announce his decision on whether the last of the U.S. government’s JFK files will be fully released or not. April 26 will be a moment to assess what we know about JFK’s assassination that we didn’t know before, and specifically, what have we learned about the CIA’s role in the events of November 1963.
Among those vouching for the probity of the CIA in the JFK assassination story is the agency’s chief historian David Robarge.Read more
A new JFK assassination tape found among the new JFK files in the the National Archives yields the previously unknown coda of one of the most famous espionage controversies of the 20th century. Read more