Tag Archive for Mexico City

Why did James Angleton want to wait out the Warren Commission?

The short answer is I don’t know.

The long answer is that we are talking about one of the most pregnant moments in the Warren Commission’s efforts to obtain information from the CIA. It happened in March 1964. Read more

KGB man talks about his time with Oswald

As a historian of the Cold War, I found these comments by retired KGB officer  Nikolai Leonov, to be fascinating. Whatever you think of his ideological convictions,Leonov was an effective secret intelligence professional for decades, a foe that CIA men like James Angleton and Win Scott had to respect..

What a senior KGB insider said about Lee Harvey Oswald

Nikolai Leonov

Insider: Fidel Castro, Nikolai Leonov, and Nikita Khrushchev

Nikolai S. Leonov has an interesting perspective on the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Leonov joined the KGB in 1958 and retired in 1991 with the rank of Lieutenant General. In the spring of 1963, his fluency in Spanish gained him the job as the Russian interpreter for Cuba president Fidel Castro during his first visit to the USSR in the spring of 1963, In the photo above he is the man standing between and behind Castro and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Later that year Leonov was assigned to the KGB Station in the Soviet Embassy in  Mexico City. In October 1963, he was immediately informed when a man named Lee Harvey Oswald called the Embassy seeking a visa to travel to Cuba.

Leonov recalled this encounter in his memoirs (Likholetye [The Troubled Years], 2005). The relevant passage was translated by Mark Hackard for his digital page Espionage History Archive. Here is an extract.

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Untold JFK story: the FBI’s pre-assassination hunt for Lee Harvey Oswald

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.

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Our Man in Mexico: ‘Really great’

Rob writes: “I just finished Our Man in Mexico and wanted to tell you it was really great.”

Our Man in Mexico“Excellent on Win Scott’s FBI to OSS to CIA history; excellent on the Kennedy assassination issues; and just a really enjoyable bio. You have some of the most succinct and informative expositions of the various facets of the story that I have come across. So, kudos!”

Rob is right, and that’s not my bias speaking. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal said about Our Man in Mexico.

You can order the book in hardcover or paperback here.

Enforce the JFK Records Act: collect the key CIA cables and dispatches

Those of us who comb through the CIA’s records about Lee Harvey Oswald’s time in Mexico City are frustrated that there is no easy way to find many of the key cables between Mexico City and Headquarters, or between JMWAVE in Miami and Headquarters.

What we have run into is the working equivalent of a CIA tutorial on how to avoid providing information mandated under the law.

The law requires that this problem be solved.

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Oct. 10, 1963: Six top CIA officers discuss Lee Harvey Oswald among themselves

Fifty two 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 his actions.

The story is well documented in CIA archives.

CIA Oswald Cable

Six CIA officers who knew about Oswald before JFK was killed

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CIA may still have photos of Oswald in Mexico City

One mystery of JFK assassination story is why accused assassin Lee Oswald was not photographed when he visited the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Mexico City two months before President Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

Mexico City mystery man

The CIA thought he was Lee H. Oswald.

The CIA had three photographic surveillance bases to take pictures of visitors to the Embassy. Oswald visited the Embassy at least twice in an unsuccessful effort to obtain a visa. But the CIA says no photograph of Oswald was taken.

The photo to the right, which CIA personnel in Mexico City mistakenly linked to Oswald, depicted a man who was never conclusively identified.

In 1978 investigators from the House Select Committee on Assassinations Read more

Former CIA employee endorses ‘Our Man in Mexico’

former employee called my book about Winston Scott, chief of the CIA’s Mexico City station from 1956 to 1969,  “a realistic picture” of the agency.

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Phil Shenon’s cruel and shocking misinterpretation

Phil Shenon

Phil Shenon,

Phil Shenon and I agree on at least a few things. In any resolution of the mysteries surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mexico City will undoubtedly be important. The investigation into what happened there in 1963 was, for some reason, seriously curtailed by the U.S. government. The government has, since then, fought tooth and nail to keep the full story about what happened there secret.

While I have never met Shenon, I have spoken with him several times by telephone. I first heard from him when he called me around 2011. He introduced himself as a reporter for Newsweek Magazine. He said he was working well in advance on an article for that magazine for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s murder. He wondered whether I would be willing to talk about the HSCA’s investigation in Mexico City. I agreed to speak with him. Read more

Six weeks before Dallas, these CIA officers wrote two misleading memos about Lee Harvey Oswald

Oswald in Custody

Oswald, target of CIA attention

Why would senior CIA officers circulate two inaccurate descriptions of Lee Harvey Oswald with various government agencies six weeks before he allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy?

The answer to the question is elusive. The CIA has never formally offered an explanation, another reason why all of the government’s assassination-related documents need to be released. Presently, key documents about the death of the 35th president will not be released until October 2017 at the earliest. Other documents now found in the National Archives are riddled with redactions hiding key names, dates, words and phrases.

Where has this shameful secrecy taken us? To a place of confusion and suspicion.

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Slawson: Oswald had accessories, not co-conspirators

David Slawson, former Warren Commission staffer who told Politico Magazine he has changed his mind about the commission’s conclusion, writes to say his position has been slightly misinterpreted. He does not believe there was a conspiracy to kill the president but he does think Lee Harvey Oswald had accessories.  Read more

‘Hands down, one of the best books that I have ever read’

Hands down, one of the best books that I have ever read

Order your copy of “Our Man in Mexico” here. Its a great holiday gift for that history buff on your list.

 

An epic non-fiction novel of American history

As a former longtime employee of CIA, I can attest that this book conveys a true picture of the goings on within the agency.”

— From Martha Hanchulak’s review of “Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA.” My first book describes in lucid detail how the CIA’s top man in Mexico viewed President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963: with deep suspicion.

It’s an epic non-fiction novel of American history.

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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