On April 5, 1972, CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, backed by director Richard Helms, issued a blanket order:
“the agency was not, under any circumstances , to make inquiries or ask any source or defector about Oswald”
The order, found in the massive batch of JFK files released online this week, came nine years after Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24 year old ex-Marine. The order was issued after officials in the agency’s Soviet Bloc division asked a Russian defector about the accused assassin who lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962.
The CIA memo, classified as a state secret for the past 35 years [Ed note: Paul Hoch tells me the memo was released with a name redacted in 1998] sheds light on how Angleton, a legendary spy chief known for his brilliance and paranoia, tightly controlled the JFK investigation for years after the crime. No one at the CIA was supposed to ask questions about Kennedy’s accused killer. Read more
The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 marked a turning point for President John F. Kennedy. His bold but deft diplomacy spared the world a war that might have gone nuclear. Peace proved popular and JFK’s approval ratings soared. Here’s how it started.
On the Monday following the tragic and astonishing events in Dallas, President Kennedy’s body was laid to rest in Arlington cemetery. A host of foreign dignitaries took part, including British Prime Minister Home, French President Charles de Gaulle, and many others.
Meanwhile the federal government’s response to the assassination was taking shape. Read more
“…So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
— JFK’s commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963. Read more
“Judging from everything, the U.S. government does not want to involve us in this matter, but neither does it want to get into a fight with the extreme rightists; it clearly prefers to consign the whole business to oblivion as soon as possible.”
– Soviet Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan, writing to his government after talks with U.S. officials at Kennedy’s funeral. The telegram was part of a collection of documents given by Russian President Boris Yeltsin to President Clinton in 1999.
At the funeral ceremony, Mikoyan approached Jacqueline Kennedy, who “clasped both his hands in hers and in a voice filled with deep emotion” said: “Please tell Mr. Chairman [Khrushchev] that I know he and my husband worked together for a peaceful world, and now he and you must carry on my husband’s work.” (Brothers, by David Talbot, p. 254)