Exclusive: What Angleton told JFK investigators about the mole at the CIA

On June 15, 1978,investigators from  the House Select Committee on Assassinations interviewed James Angleton, retired CIA counterintelligence chief about his handling of the JFK assassination investigation in 1963 and 1964.

The interview, which sheds new light on Angleton’s conspiracy theories about a mole in the ranks of the CIA, was never transcribed or made public–until now.

In a Web exclusive, JFK Facts is offering a downloadable PDF transcript of  Angleton’s closed-door HSCA interview.

Excerpts:

On Yuri Nosenko

If I had two hours of life and I was asked by the FBI, do you think Nosenko is a dispatched agent? I would probably say yes.

No surprise there.

On Lee Harvey Oswald:

 

Number one I’m not an assassination expert, I mean all of that stuff in Epstein’s book about Mexico and Oswald and all of that kind of stuff is completely, I mean that’s others who told him that. I’m not that expert because the counterintelligence staff had no jurisdiction over the Oswald matter.

No “official jurisdiction” that is. Legally, the FBI had counterintelligence responsibility for monitoring Oswald. At the CIA, Angleton’s Counterintelligence Staff controlled the Oswald file from December 1959 to November 1963.

On the limits of his assassination investigation:

Ms A: Were you conducting any kind of an independent inv… investigation apart from the Warren Commission’s…’’

Angleton (interrupts): No

Ms A:

Work?

Angleton:

‘’No, our whole concern was the eh… story told by …[pause]…. Nosenko.

Thanks to the inestimable Malcolm Blunt for finding and sharing the Angleton HSCA interview tape.

And a tip of the hat to Damian Turner, Jim McClure, and Leslie Sharp for the transcription.

12 comments

  1. “In a Web exclusive, JFK Facts is offering a downloadable PDF transcript of Angleton’s closed-door HSCA interview.”

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  2. JohnR says:

    Its like trying to follow the testimony of a 16 year old girl. Did the man ever speak in complete sentences? I can’t believe this man was ever in charge of anything. It’s slightly humorous how testy he became when they brought up Philby.

    • Angleton had been duped by Philby for years, he was caught totally unaware when Philby was finally unmasked by the Brits.

      Many spooks are weirdos, but Anglton was the cream of the crop when it came to being weird. Eccentric is too kind a word to use for the fruitcake.
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  3. Scott Sullivan says:

    Yes, God bless the transcribers here. It goes from riveting to rambling to incomprehensible in the space of seconds.

  4. DB says:

    I always found the below statements from Angleton interview by Trento fascinating, I’m assuming it is accurate. IMO it really summarizes the CIA under Dulles/Helms leadership. Almost any misdeed was possible.

    You know, the CIA got tens of thousands of brave people killed. . . We played with lives as if we owned them. We gave false hope. We – I – so misjudged what happened.”

    I asked the dying man how it all went so wrong.

    With no emotion in his voice, but with his hand trembling, Angleton replied: “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other. Outside of their duplicity, the o­nly thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back o­n my life, I regret. But I was part of it and I loved being in it. . . Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Carmel Offie, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.” Angleton slowly sipped his tea and then said, “I guess I will see them there soon.”

  5. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Interesting, on page 28 he brings up Oswald. But after two questions he steers the subject back. “No our whole concern was Nosenko”.
    Were you serving in any kind of liaison capacity between the Agency and the Warren Commission?”
    “Eh no, not really…”
    “Were you conducting any kind of an independent inv… investigation apart from the Warren Commission’s…” Angleton (interrupts): No.
    It seems he brought the subject up to make the point Counter Intelligence was not involved in the JFK investigation. When in fact he took it over in December of 63.
    Does this not tie in with what Jane Roman said?

  6. Alan Dale says:

    Thank you for making the transcription available to all.

    • Alan, I hope you get a chance to listen to the tapes. With your propensity for grasping the nuance of the spoken word it would be fascinating to have your evaluation. Having transcribed one section I can tell you I was startled by my reaction to the voice of Angleton. He was at once engaging, believable, convincing . . . and obviously inebriated; he was also – most likely – deceiving and manipulative.

  7. Ronnie Wayne says:

    It’s on the tip of my tongue but I can’t remember the name of the CIA official initially put in charge of the JFK investigation.
    He either pried too deep quickly or was po’d over files being with held and was replaced by Helms with Angleton. I know this is common knowledge but I’m drawing a blank at the moment and it’s bugging me. B(?)_____ _____
    Can anyone help?

  8. David S says:

    Any public statement by Angleton is gold, because you get an insight into the mind of an evil genius who did almost all his work within the shadows. So, thank you for this.

    The questioning was incompetent. I didn’t see one intelligent, pointed question. Basically, the interview is simply ” Let Jim ramble on the tape”

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