Inside the CIA, JFK suspicions turned to James Angleton

William Colby, CIA
William Colby, CIA director 1973-75

A recent Daily Mail article on JFK’s assassination highlighted James Johnson’s new book, Murder Inc.: The CIA Under President John F. Kennedy which argues Cuba government may have been involved.

There are many reasons to doubt this conspiracy theory, which I detailed in this 2012 article for Salon. Those reasons still apply. But Johnson is right about one thing: The central role of James Angleton, CIA counterintelligence chief in obstructing the JFK investigation is highly suspicious. Those suspicions, in fact, reached the highest levels of the CIA itself.

In a 1978 report, declassified in 2018 , veteran CIA officer Joseph Burkhalter Smith told congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi that William Colby, CIA director 1973 to 1975, suspected Angleton might have hidden operations relevant to JFKs assassination.

As far as the Kennedy assassination goes, said Smith, “The only thing I can now, and I’m quoting Colby, there could have been operations that Angleton[‘s] staff was running that he wouldn’t even tell the director.”

This is not to promote a “theory” that Angleton was involved in a conspiracy to kill the president. It is part of the historical record that shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Angleton obstruction justice in the JFK investigation. I’m going to write more about this in the days and weeks to come.


  1. thomas tucker says:

    Interesting that he says “many files may have been destroyed.” it would surprise me if they hadn’t been.

  2. “When we went to the CIA files, we took very seriously the hypothesis that they had been edited in some way. We talked to the agents who had created them, we made sure that each of the agents was given a release from their secrecy oath and was carefully instructed that if they lied to us, there would be prosecution.”

    Bob Blakey

    They lied.

  3. Michael McDonald says:

    A conspiracy directed by Castro is an old canard that continues to make the rounds.
    Shooters of Cuban nationality remains very possible but all the research ever since
    the Big Event has pointed to reactionary, fiercely anti-communist elements in intelligence, the military,
    and organized crime. Angleton, who most certainly knew the truth about the assassination,
    propogandized Russian-Cuban responsibility from the beginning.

  4. Brian Lynch says:

    Angleton was undoubtedly a player in the coverup. He was covering up the tracks of the CIA’s involvement in the coup d’etat. This was not the CIA’s first rodeo . They had been used several times to remove Latin American leaders in the 1950’s. By whom? The Power Elite. The Cia, KGB, etc., are merely pawns who do the dirty work for the REAL power in this world.

  5. robert e williamson jr says:

    I can see it now.

    [redacted] who had been compromised by the [redacted} because of his involvement in the [redacted} affair, which was now in danger of being {redacted] used “his guys” to perform the [redacted] action as ordered by [redacted] who owned him.

    The perfect blackmail caper. Well almost.

    Thank you guys for caring so much!

  6. robert e williamson jr says:

    I cannot get away from the fact that the CIA cannot be trusted to keep it’s own house in order.

    It seems to me that any request for information that might support what seems to be the roundly accepted idea that even when ordered present files to inquiries CIA refused to do so or claims the files do not exist would lead to the next logical step. Which should be to let the investigation body go through the files.

    We now know that during the Warren Commission, the HSCA, the Church Committee and Pike Committee investigations were hampered by CIA’s or
    NSA’s refusal to cooperate by withholding evidence or pertinent files.

    Once CIA claimed it didn’t have or couldn’t find certain files the Public, it would seem to me, would have legitimate reason to investigate further. The need obviously based on the knowledge that for some reason CIA was failing to monitor and manage it’s own record keeping behavior.

    What benefit would that be to the public? For starters it would enable oversight other wise not being conducted. Over sight mandated by law and to be conducted by Congress.

    Other wise CIA/NSA could be accused of developing procedures that enable rogue activity, activity outside the rule of law. Which it seems to me has occurred.

  7. robert e williamson jr says:

    FYI RE: My comment of January 9, 2018 4:40pm 2nd to last paragraph. The first three words are a misstatement. What I should have said is McCone “should have known. I failed miserably as a detective and writer here.

    McCone was not a green rookie and his appointment as CIA director, no doubt the handy work of one Allen Dulles simply seems way too convenient considering the timing of the activities at the NUMEC facility.

    These guys always pre-stage people at extremely critical positions and this is how they never fail. They know shere they are going and why. Something incredibly helpful when deception is a major influence to the success of a mission.

    If you look you will see that McCone was preceded by Lewis Strauss and succeeded by Glenn Seaborg. McCone was appointed Chair of USAEC July 1958 around the same time Shapiro founded NUMEC and he was there until Jan 1961. Strauss and Seaborg I believe knew about the plans Shapiro and Israeli interests had for NUMEC. By no stretch of the imagination was this a half baked conspiracy.

    Because of the transition of personnel involved, Strauss, McCone, Seaborg and Allan Dulles and the sudden very serious problem at USAID, which can be connected to CIA, I believe these personnel moves were designed to protect the secret mission of NUMEC. I believe and stand by the rest of the paragraph. This seems the type of thing JJA excelled at, but like I said even JJA needed help.

    Because of JFK problems with other Air Force generals and McCone’s service as Under Sec of the Air Force this all seems pretty fishy.

    Check his wiki McCone knew about the Israeli Dimona plant and reveal this knowledge in Dec 1960 while still at the USAEC.

    My apologies along with my thanks!

  8. Steven Carroll says:

    This and the Salon article do nothing to debunk the Castro had a hand in it theory. The theory that the coverup was done because the CIA was negligent fits exactly. Merely stating “they didn’t inform the Warren Commission” is quite ridiculous. You’re basically saying they didn’t inform the official investigating body that they were negligent.
    Also, your repeated attempts to paint the Miami Cuban students actions after the assassination as sinister reeks of desperation. Their colleague in New Orleans got into a confrontation with Oswald months before. After Oswald’s arrest for the assassination, Bringuier notified the Miami group that Oswald was the one he had been arrested with for fighting. As if going to the press with that information was “A CIA operation.” These Cubans in Miami actually called Joannides informing him of the same information, and telling him they wanted to go to the press. He said he would call back and never did. The group went to the press anyway, because……. why wouldn’t they? Their whole purpose centered on Castro and communism being evil, and Oswald had just confirmed it to the world.
    Missing(because you don’t have an excuse) is any mention of Rosselli and his testimony to the Senate.
    I admire your lawsuit and quest for documents. But your bias shows when you write this stuff a lot of the times.

  9. Larry says:

    McCone was celebrating the assassination the evening of 11/22/63 as revealed in his newly released handwritten journal for the year 1963. Right before the big event he personally dropped McGeorge Bundy at the Pentagon as the seconds ticked away for the ambush to happen:

  10. Buck Zephyr says:

    Oswald was recruited for one reason, to kill Castro. Then after certain people infiltrated the White House using sexual liaisons, there was a need to urgently kill JFK. Oswald was pulled from the job after problems in Mexico getting visas to Cuba. JFK was doing LSD in the White House and having sex with a KGB agent. JJA became concerned and had patsy Oswald (MKUltra influenced) shoot JFK. Oswald only fired two shots. The third shot that blew JFK’s brains all over Elm Street is the reason why the Secret Service worked very hard to coverup and get JFK out of Dallas.

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