Category: Assassination

Oswald letters intercepted by CIA. Where are they?

This is a follow up to my earlier post about how the CIA read Lee Harvey Oswald’s mail before President Kennedy was killed.

I’m trying to figure out if any of the letters that were captured by the Agency’s HTLINGUAL mail surveillance program are publicly available. The final report of the Assassination Records Review Board does not mention any. Does that mean no Oswald letters were intercepted?

If you have any insight/knowledge into this issue, send me an email.

Three Congressmen seek White House meeting on JFK files

Rep. Jim McGovern
Rep, Jim McGovern (D-Mass) Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Expressing concern about the delay in the release of thousands of secret JFK assassination files, three Congressmen are seeking a meeting with “the appropriate Executive Branch official with knowledge and relevant information of the decision to postpone the release of the remaining records.”

Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and JIm McGovern (D-Mass.) signed a March 29 letter to President Biden saying it was “imperative that the remaining documents be released as soon as possible.”

ICYM: My friend, David Ferrie

Dave Ferrie watermarked
Pilot in training Rick Bauer (left) with his trainer David Ferrie (photo credit: Rick Bauer)

Back in 2014, Rick Bauer shared his memories of David Ferrie, a man who has been the object of JFK conspiracy speculation for decades.

In Oliver Stone’s “JFK” Ferrie was memorably portrayed by Joe Pesci. In real life, Ferrie was fervently right-wing in his politics and hostile to President Kennedy. He knew Lee Oswald from a young age and he seemed to know of a plot against JFK in 1963, though his exact role in the events leading to the assassination are difficult to determine. He died suddenly in 1967.

Read more: David Ferrie: Up close and personal.

David Atlee Phillips, redacted

David Phillips
David Atlee Phillips

Another CIA officer who was knowledgeable about Lee Harvey Oswald and whose CIA file remains partially off limits to the public in 2022 is David Atlee Phillips. He was a decorated Cuba operations officer who later became chief of the CIA’s Latin America division.

The funny thing about David Phillips? He had trouble keeping his Oswald stories straight. In November 1976, he told one story to Ron Kessler of the Washington Post–that the CIA overheard Oswald offering to supply information to a Soviet official in Mexico City six weeks before Kennedy was killed.

The next day Phillips, testifying under oath to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), retracted the story–a performance that HSCA counsel Richard Sprague called “slithery.”

Nothing in the JFK files? Take a look at Birch O’Neal.

Birch O'Neal
Birch O’Neal as a young man. A counterintelligence officer, O’Neal opened the CIA’s Oswald file in November 1959.

As for those 14,000+ JFK files that still contain redactions, some friends tell me, “There’s nothing in there of significance.” This is reassuring. But is it true?

We may find out later this year. President Biden has ordered all JFK files to released by December 15, 2022. I’m looking forward to seeing the unredacted files of those CIA officers most knowledgable about Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK was killed.

For example, Birch Dilworth O’Neal. O’Neal’s 224 page CIA personnel file, released in April 2018, still has scores of redactions.

Why is Birch O’Neal significant?

What did Nixon mean by ‘the Whole Bay of Pigs thing?’

Helms/Nixon
President Nixon and CIA Director Richard Helms.

It is one of the enduring mysteries of the Watergate affair: Whatever did President Richard Nixon mean when he told aides on June 23, 1972 that the CIA had to shut down the Watergate investigation, lest it blow “the whole Bay of Pigs thing?”

The phrase, said White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, was Nixon’s coded way of referring to the assassination of JFK.

Haldeman was right, and now’s there’s proof.

Oliver Stone explains how JFK’s assassination changed U.S. foreign policy

In this excellent interview Abby Martin actually lets Oliver Stone explain why the JFK assassination story is important today. What emerges is Stone’s earnest and wide-ranging intellect, a likable quality in a man so often slandered and libeled by critics fearful of his conviction that President Kennedy was killed by his enemies. His interpretation is succinct and, for some, too disturbing to believed: “The president is removed for political reasons.”

The CIA Was Reading Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mail

Excerpt from a declassified 1975 Senate memo listing of Americans whose mail was illegally opened by the CIA between 1959 and 1975. Note that the dates are rendered in DAY/MONTH/YEAR format, not MONTH/DAY/Year)

One of the most significant JFK disclosures in recent years is a declassified memo stating that the CIA opened, read, and copied the correspondence of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who supposedly killed President Kennedy.

This spying was conducted by a super secret office in the Counterintelligence Staff, known as the Special Investigations Group, or CI/SIG.

Watergate @ 50: a new history

In the New York Times, historian Douglas Brinkley praises Garrett Graff’s new history of Watergate scandal, that convulsion of American politics in 1972-74 that culminated in the only resignation of an American president. Brinkley also notes some key questions that Graff’s book does not answer. He asks:

Were such central players as Howard Hunt and James McCord cooperating with the C.I.A. even as they orchestrated the break-in?

It’s a central issue that my forthcoming book on the CIA and Watergate, Scorpions’ Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate, answers that question with a definitive yes.  Both Hunt and McCord had backchannel relationships with CIA director Richard Helms before their arrest.

To get the whole story, pre-order Scorpions’ Dance here.

Source: Book Review: ‘Watergate,’ by Garrett M. Graff – The New York Times

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