CIA translator on the missing Oswald Mexico City call

“So he was contacting one or two embassies trying to get financial aid in order to Mexico City [sic] where he was at the time … he did say he was broke.”

— CIA translator Anna Tarasoff, telling HSCA investigators about a missing phone call in which Oswald, or someone using his name, requested financial assistance from the Soviets to leave the U.S. This call was lengthy, in English, and in other ways is far different from the two transcribed calls that are extant in CIA records.

Learn more about this story, and read the complete transcript.

35 thoughts on “CIA translator on the missing Oswald Mexico City call”

  1. Let’s put ourselves in LHO’s shoes. Let’s imagine we’re carrying out Operation A (let’s say a fake assassination attempt by Alek Hidell and the Cubans, or whatever), and don’t know anything about Operation B (let’s say a few fired right-wing CIA and military generals and their TX relatives and mayor to get rid of Kennedy in Texas and have him replaced by a Texan “patriot” that trusts the CIA with the assistance of some “eager to free Cub ” mobsters, wrapping it up with a dead patsy). We aren’t real smart, but we know who all we’ve dealt with, what we’ve seen, where we’ve been, what we’ve done, how it would look. We’re having a sandwich on the second floor and hear a series of shots from multiple locations–or, less plausibly, maybe even we’re dropping a few shells into the hood or trunk and are surprised to hear other shots and see the POTUS go down. How would we react? Who could we trust? What would we do? How would we protect ourselves? I don’t know about you, but the first thing I’d do is bug out of there quickly. Then I’d get on a bus going home, because everything I have is there, and I need my gun–I’m not going to die for my country like THIS. But I’d be worried, scared, mistrustful. I might feel I’m being followed, or “telegraphing my pass.” I’d probably hop off the bus at a crowded station, unexpectedly, try to duck behind someone or in a store real quick. He’ll, there was a cop car at the gas station, was he looking for me? Then I’d hop a cab. I wouldn’t have taken a direct route, I’d stop short or even better, go beyond my stop and double back. Who can I trust? Previous allies are now potential if not probable foes. They’re honking for me out front, is it safe to go out and meet them? No way. I’ll take the bus and get out of here. Am I being followed? I won’t get on the bus, I’ll double back and walk to a different stop on a different line, away from town. Officer Tippit is driving around frantically looking for me, he knows what I look like (even before it’s announced on the radio), he’s on a mission. He stops one car and looks in the back, maybe due to that call about a car with a riffle in the back. I’ve made it a few blocks, but I can’t beat a cop car traversing the area. Looking over my shoulder at a racing car sound I see the cop car, and double back to walk past him. He stops, noticing me, recognizing me, and backs up crooked on Tenth. This doesn’t feel right, I don’t know him, how can I trust him? “Hey, there you are,” says Officer Tippit. “Hop in, I have an extra uniform for you. What went wrong? Everybody’s shitting bricks. I’ll get you to an airport. Hurry, it’s risky to be out on the street!” Nah, this doesn’t feel right, I’ll just tell him I’ll make it on my own, but he sees my hand in my pocket, he can’t make any overt grab for his gun in the car, against an ex-Marine. And he can’t just shoot me, people will gather quickly and there will be questions about the extra uniform and how he recognized an average looking “perp.” Stick to the plan, get the patsy in the car. As I’m backing away, he tries to calm me and gets out of the car to reassure me. He even starts to go for his gun to nudge me to get in and stick with the team’s plan. No way, I’m not going down like this. Shame, but if it’s you or me, dude, you lose. One of the witnesses hears me cursing the dumb cop as I hastily scoot through the back streets. I didn’t want to do that, but I’m probably already being framed well for the POTUS assassination, so I’m all in now. Soon sirens are all over the place. I have to get somewhere and hide. I was calm earlier, I hadn’t done anything, but now I’ve just killed a man, a cop at that, probably with a wife and kids. He was probably in on it, based on the tack he was taking, but it still sucks, maybe he was just a pawn like me, taking me to someone else that would pull the trigger. The radio calls are going out, I can’t stop those, citizens are looking for me, following me, and sirens everywhere. Should I go inside the theater? Am I safer inside or out? Has someone been following me the whole time? By foot, in a car? I’ve reloaded, but I need to get off the street, fast, give me time to think… Here they are, this is it! I can’t roll over on the CIA. Like it says on my ring, Semper Fidelis. But I deny everything about the President, not taking the fall for that. And I’m not admitting shooting the dumb cop, or I’ll be hung or beaten to death in my cell. I give some glib remarks about why I got my gun and why I left, why I went to the theater, what vehicles I was in. Where my stuff is. my history. Those don’t hurt me. I better shut up though, they’re using some of the things I’m telling them to doctor up pictures to match what I’m saying. Make sure the public knows I’m a patsy, even if I’m not in a position to tell them everything. Be careful, Marina, these guys are playing for keeps! A good lawyer will get me out of this, when I tell them what I know under lawyer-client privilege. If some “friend of the cops (and Mafia)” isn’t encouraged and crazy enough to shoot me first. Sure doesn’t help that Tippit’s partner was chosen to keep out shooters… How many people did it need to plan, plot, and pull the Marionette strins? A half dozen, from Dulles to the Cabells, a trusty conservative cop or two, a CIA operative or two. How many bit players? Who cares? Mission accomplished. The CIA covers their ass and gathers as much dope as they can on the FBI and Secret Service. Vice versa the others, nobody trusts anybody, and everybody better stick to the official story if they know what’s good for them. Do you really want to mess with zealots that are willing to so easily take out a President in revenge for the Bay of Pigs and the fallout it caused? And oh, by the way, we still owe RFK one…

  2. Cuban embassy officials identified Oswald. So I’m hearing there may have even been a passport or some other official photo they had. Can’t see the Cubans as conspiring in this.

  3. Robert Howard

    After release of the updated Destiny Betrayed, and the updated chapter in John Newman’s Oswald and the CIA, there is enough information IMO, not, to know everything about the Mexico City caper, but enough to dot the I and cross the T, regarding what was going on with Oswald’s file amongst the various governmental agencies to demystify the impersonation and ramifications thereof. There is only one other aspect to all of it, that I would like to know besides a indisputable ID of the impersonator, and that is the issue mentioned in a Government Doc., that “Oswald’s brother was in MC before 11/22/63.
    I have a library of books about the JFK assassination, but with
    Robert Oswald’s book all I have is the 4 chapter summary that was in Look Magazine Oct 1967. Did Robert ever bring that up in his bio?
    [Notwithstanding there is still John Pic’s potentiality, my own gut feeling is that the person was actually Anthony Osswald who was in Mexico City
    before the assassination see Oswald 201 File Vol 3, for more info]
    but would like to know which end is up.

  4. Is Robert McClelland a pathologist? Did he ever see the brain? Did he see any X-rays of the skull? If not, how could he have made any accurate statement about the head wound ballistics?
    Exactly what percentage of witnesses heard a shot from the grassy knoll? Have you ever been there? I have-it is scarcely bigger than a boulevard strip.
    The Zapruder film shows Connolly’s lapel jumping up within frame of JFK reacting to his first shot-evidence that no matter what Connolly’s perceptions were he and JFK were hit essentially simultaneously.
    The Zapruder film is not an autopsy- it cannot confirm the direction of a shot, only the location of a wound- and only the head wound,as no other wound is seen on the film. Was Joannides anywhere near Dealy Plaza at the time of the assassination? What difference did a CIA report make when all of the real police work was done by the FBI and the Secret Service.?

    1. George Simmons

      Dr Robert Mclelland was a doctor of medicine who, at the time of the assassination, had observed in excess of 200 gunshot wounds. He was present in the trauma room with the president. He tells us he observed a large gaping wound in the rear of the presidents head, which he considered to be an exit wound. Compelling evidence.
      As for the number of witnesses who heard shots coming from the grassy knoll, even John Mcadams on his website puts the number at 33. That’s 33 eyewitnesses to account for.
      The point about George Joannides is that it shows how the CIA deliberately misled both the Warren Commission and the HSCA, preventing an open and honest investigation. We need to ask why they did this.

  5. George Simmons

    Photon, I certainly believe it entirely possible that LHO had prior knowledge of what was going to happen that day, and that this knowledge made him believe he was in danger.
    Photon, you write – “There was no conspiracy, there was no other shooter. After 50 years, there has been nothing to suggest otherwise”
    That’s quite a statement to make when you consider the following:

    Dr Robert Mclelland, one of the Parkland Doctors always maintained that the wound to the rear of JFKs head was a wound of exit.
    Multiple witnesses at the assassination scene stated they heard gunshots coming from the grassy knoll area.
    Governor Connolly always maintaned that the bullett which struck him was NOT the same bullet which struck JFK, which would disprove the magic bullett theory.
    The Zapruder film, highly suggestive of a head shot to the front.
    The George Joannides story, which shows how the CIA deliberately misled both the Warren Commission and the HSCA, thereby making sure that an open and honest investigation of the assassination did not take place.
    Therefore, Photon, I would suggest that there is plenty of evidence out there which casts huge doubt on the official version of events.

  6. I like the way John Kirsch claimed the Marines called Oswald a lousy shot. NOBODY who completes USMC boot camp is a lousy shot, PERIOD. He made Sharpshooter, which is a hell of a lot better than a ” lousy shot”.
    His best scores were from a sitting position, the same position he took to shoot JFK. Winston Scott had absolutely nothing to do with JFK, Dallas,Lee Oswald or anything else to do with the assassination. So he died of an MI- cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US. The fact is that no conspiracy buff can come up with a plausible reason for Lee Oswald being the ONLY TSBD employee to run out of the building when nobody who worked there even knew JFK was SHOT at the time! NOBODY- except the assassin who was on the sixth floor who saw the hit through a 4X scope. Look at the original reports- it was minutes before anybody reported Kennedy was hit. Unlike the grassy knoll shot, a near -impossible left to right shot requiring adequate lead and constant transverse movement of the weapon, the sixth floor shot required absolutely no movement of the weapon; the target was centered and merely became smaller with time,an effect made negligible with the scope. There was no conspiracy, there was no other shooter. After 50 years there has been nothing to suggest otherwise. Oswald murdered a Dallas police officer in broad daylight in front of multiple witnesses. WHY? Why did he pull the trigger on another police officer while being arrested- unless he knew that a police officer had been killed?

    1. Photon: There is no suggestion in this post that Win Scott was involved in the assassination. The post simply identified that he suspected a conspiracy. If you have studied the report of events leading to his death, it is not implausible that there was foul play, nor is there any proof that there was. My question was and is, did anyone pursue the possibility at the time.

  7. JK: I was wondering if you are experiencing any of the dangers as reported in mainstream media, or is the violence occurring further north, or is it all pure propaganda?

    I tend to agree with you about fiction as a vehicle, except when it appears in the mainstream prematurely, or attracts an uninformed following, or is used as a tool of disinformation.

  8. JK: And I meant to say: IF Scott suspected a conspiracy, and IF Scott was murdered, THEN it is possible that he was murdered because he intended to publish those suspicions.

  9. Note: the very fact that Oswald was tested at all by the military for Russian proficiency speaks volumes. I think they were grooming him to be a fake defector, whether his Russian language skills were good or not.

  10. Re: Robert Morrow

    Robert has reported drug dealings among the Bushes and the Clintons in the 1980s.

    Robert is correct.

  11. Eric Hollingsworth

    How would an average American have known that Mexico City was the place to go to get a transit visa to the USSR via Cuba? I doubt that information would show up in the Times-Picayune or the Morning News. Maybe in The Militant or The Worker?

    For that matter, how would one find out that Helsinki was the place to get a fast visa into the USSR, or even that the Albert Schweitzer College would be a good cover for traveling to Helsinki?

    Oswald’s first cousin, Marilyn Murret, was (is) a well-educated person who supported herself by teaching abroad. She also took a trip though Mexico and Central America to Panama, in July and August of 1963.

    John Pic, Oswald’s half brother, seemed to find it somewhat troubling that Ms. Murret knew that Oswald was in Europe shortly before his defection, apparently before anyone else knew. Unfortunately, Albert Jenner’s questioning of Pic displayed the frustrating lack of perspicacity that plagued the Warren Commission in general.

    I have no reason to doubt that Marilyn Murret is a fine, upstanding, and patriotic person. She seemed to hold Lee Oswald in fairly high regard. But she remains somewhat of a cipher.

  12. I do think Oswald went to Mexico City and I think it was part of the framing job place on Oswald by US intelligence. Also, he may have been trying to get into Cuba to murder Castro.

    And the fact that the CIA was trying to push phony photos of an “Oswald” and a phony phone call … probably means Oswald was pictured with someone in the surveillance tapes of the embassies; someone whose identity could not be revealed.

    Larry Hancock & Bill Simpich – 2 experts on this matter – can not give us a clear opinion on whether Oswald went to Mexico City or not. I think he did on behalf of US intelligence.

    1. Robert,

      I like your site. The info on Barry Seal is valuable; so is the Dudman article from 11/30/63.

      Re Oswald in Mexico City: Poor paper trail (visa, ticket Marina found in 1964), and not much else. Appears for sure he was impersonated in MC. But not clear he or his impostor was really trying to get to Cuba. Appears more like a shoddy set-up.

      I’ve doubts, moreover, Oswald would have been used by anyone to try to kill Castro. Oswald wasn’t a trained killer. He also was the wrong gender for the job.

      It is puzzling, however, that the CIA pushed the so obviously phony photograph of the heavy-set guy as a photo of Oswald. That reeks of incompetence. Or perhaps of Win Scott’s trying to convey a message that Oswald was set up.

      1. Good – I am glad you like my site. Not many places have collected all that material on CIA drug smuggling together. Like the JFK assassination, it is a heavily suppressed topic.

        David Atlee Phillips: “- when the record comes out, we will find that there was never a photograph taken of Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City. We will find out that Lee Harvey Oswald never visited, let me put it, that is a categorical statement, there, there, we will find out there is no evidence, first of all there was no proof of that. Second there is no evidence to show that Lee Harvey Oswald visited the Soviet Embassy.” [1987 CA debate, quoted in Mark Lane’s Plausible Denial.]

        That comment by David Atlee Phillips is as good a reason as any to believe that Oswald *did* in fact go to Mexico City, the bailiwick of Phillips.

      2. Since you mention the bus ticket, I’m guessing your source is Plausible Denial. Actually there’s a great deal of evidence that Oswald went to Mexico City — Mark Lane just left most of it out.


  13. I doubt Oswald went to Mexico City.

    The facts for it are scant. Contra is the Sylvia Odio story, which to me is credible.

    In any event, whether one believes Odio or the Warren Commission, the events of the time period in question point toward Oswald’s being used by conspirators.

    1. Good point, Jonathan. Does anyone have any proof (photos or voice recording) that Oswald WAS in Mexico City in late 1963? All I’ve seen is transcripts and a photo of some balding heavy set man who was posing as Oswald but who is obviously not him.

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