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.”

That’s not smoking gun proof of a conspiracy but it’s pretty solid evidence that Phillips was not entirely acting in good faith on questions related to Oswald. Which raises the question: what sort of person doesn’t testify in good faith in an assassination investigation?

Phillips’s 358-page personnel file was partially declassified in 2018. Scores of redactions remain, including the details of his appointment to the CIA in 1956.

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