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..
Tag Archive for Oswald
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.
I remember how Mr. Hayek’s voice broke when he told my 5th grade class that President Kennedy had been killed.
Two days later I cheered when Ruby shot Oswald.
For more than forty-five years the the authenticity of a photo of Lee Harvey Oswald in his backyard has disputed. Oswald said it was fake. And JFK conspiracy theorists — who believe the assassination was part of a government plot — cite it as a key piece of evidence in their case”
Better make that “a few JFK conspiracy theorists,” I don’t know of any working JFK journalist or published historian who says the Oswald backyard photos are “key” to understanding the case. Read more
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.
The really pressing question on the minds of Americans in 2015… pic.twitter.com/zUqdWcZ1fY
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) August 27, 2015
I can understand why David Sirota and his retweeters are impatient about the attention to Trump. Among the issues facing the United States of America in the 2016 presidential election–the broken immigration system, extreme inequality, endless wars, out-of-control gun violence, and the assault on voting rights– the question of who perpetrated one homicide in Dallas 52 years ago may seems trivial, far-fetched, and perversely beside the point.
A 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.
No. They were not available for many years leading to speculation that Oswald might have had other sources of income. Oswald’s tax returns were made public in 1996 with the permission of his widow, Marina Oswald Porter. You can view them here.
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
“First of all, nobody ever goes that way for a visa. Second, it costs money to go that distance. He (Oswald) stormed into the embassy, demanded the visa, and when it was refused to him, headed out saying ‘I’m going to kill Kennedy for this.’…..What is your government doing to catch the other assassins? It took about three people.”
Lee Harvey Oswald was linked to the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle alleged to have been used to shoot President Kennedy by the hair and fiber analysis of FBI expert Paul Stombaugh. The Warren Commission’s final report drew conclusions from Stombaugh’s testimony that buttressed assertions about Oswald’s guilt, particularly the association between hair and fiber evidence allegedly tying Oswald to the rifle.
The Commission considered Stombaugh’s testimony of “probative value,” the report stated.
But a devastating recent study by the Justice Department and the FBI shows that close analysis of cases involving hair and fiber testing raises grave concerns about the role of similar scientific testimony by law enforcement experts in criminal convictions.
Ron Capshaw, a writer in Midlothian, Virginia, argued here two years ago that Lee Oswald had fired a rifle shot at former U.S. Army General Edwin Walker on April 10, 1963. Walker, cashiered for proselytizing troops with his right-wing, white supremacist politics, was a harsh critic of JFK.
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.