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.
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.
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 specter is haunting the JFK research: the specter of Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov (1933-2002). It has recently slipped through Jefferson Morley’s remarkable study on the secret life of CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton (The Ghost, St. Martin’s Press, 2017): “Kostikov had been visited by a Cuban government official named Rolando Cubela” (page 150). Read more
“If I interpret your March 5 post correctly, it seems that you have ultimately decided that Oswald did it, either alone or in concert with one or more people, and that the CIA, at worst, was guilty of gross negligence in preventing Oswald (alone or with others) from committing the assassination.”
Politico’s Thomas Maier mines the new JFK files to competently retell the oft-told but still-disturbing story of how respectable CIA officials and murderous Mafia dons tried and failed to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
A faithful reader sends a timely reminder: Birch O’Neal, the CIA’s unknown Oswald expert, dissembled to an FBI agent within hours of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
I wrote about O’Neal yesterday. A career CIA counterintelligence officer who died in 1995, O’Neal is perhaps the most interesting new character to emerge from the tens of thousands of JFK assassination files released since last October.
His previously unknown saga sheds new light on a JFK secret the CIA and defenders of the Warren Commission still deny: the agency’s pre-assassination surveillance of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Read more