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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In seeking to expand the range of informed debate about the events of 1963 and its aftermath, welcomes comments that are factual, engaging, and civil. more

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.