Untold JFK story: the FBI’s pre-assassination hunt for Lee Harvey Oswald

On September 27 and 28, 1963, a man calling himself Lee Oswald visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet embassy in Mexico City. He was seeking visas to visit both countries.  As Oswald was a former defector to the Soviet Union who was planning on traveling with his Russian-born wife, he immediately attracted the interest of CIA officers and FBI agents in the Mexican capital.

And so the FBI began searching for Oswald–while President Kennedy was still alive, a story that was withheld from the Warren Commission and is ignored in virtually every book about JFK’s assassination.

Pre-assassination hunt for Oswald
The results of the FBI’s pre-assassination search for Lee Oswald

Many of the records documenting that interest have still not been turned over to this day, despite the mandate of the JFK Records Act of 1992 that the American public is entitled to all “assassination-related” documents.

Searching for Oswald

It started with a phone call. On September 28, 1963 and again on October 1, a man who called himself “Lee Oswald” made phone calls to the Soviet consulate about his visa application. One of these calls was intercepted by the CIA, which shared the information with local FBI agents. They then searched for Oswald in Mexico throughout October and November of 1963.

(Many researchers, including myself, are convinced that these phone calls were faked and that someone was impersonating Oswald. But that’s a different story; you can read about it here.)

The details of the pre-assassination search for Oswald were not shared with the Warren Commission despite their obvious relevance.

The FBI conducted a complete recanvass of all informants, including an agent known as MEX-164 who spent four days a week among Cuban sources.  The unanimous report was that not only did no one recognize him as a visitor to either the Soviet or Cuban embassies, but that they had “not picked up any information concerning Oswald”.

After the assassination, agents Peck and Crawford worked with the FBI’s legal attache in Mexico City. The attache wrote a final report relying on FBI agents Peck and Crawford in late April 1964.

Who was Charles B. Peck?

In his book Robert Kennedy and his Times (p. 264, Arthur Schlesinger referred to Charles Peck as Hoover’s “best FBI crime researcher“.  In Bobby and J. Edgar, (p. 160) Burton Hersh refers to Peck as William Sullivan’s assistant.  Sullivan was the FBI’s top man in domestic intelligence.

Peck is known to have written a report on Cuban military defector Pedro Diaz Lanz in 1959, and on ultra-rightist U.S. General Gen. Edwin Walker back in 1961.  Peck worked in FBI HQ, with an emphasis on Cuba.
Matthew D. Crawford, Jr. was an FBI agent stationed in Mexico.  His role in the Oswald investigation was minor – he seemed to simply follow Peck’s lead.
In other words, some of the FBI’s top counterintelligence agents were looking for Lee Oswald before JFK was killed.
The FBI cover-up
The FBI decided that “it was not advisable” to provide the Warren Commission the names of all the agents that worked on the Mexico City case.  The Agency decided to inform the Commission only about those whose work was “substantive” and whose work caused a “definite interest” to be displayed among Commission members.
How could any of the Commissioners displayed “interest” if they didn’t know about the findings of Peck and Crawford?  The relevant memo has no mention of Peck or Crawford.
The decision to conceal the FBI’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald is another example of how the investigation of JFK’s death was quickly narrowed to avoid information casting doubt on the White House’s preferred conclusion–reached on November 25, 1963, before the investigation had begun–that Oswald had acted alone and unaided.
Here are five of Peck and Crawford’s memos on the hunt for Oswald by date.
What the FBI still withholds
Four of these five memos are based on information drawn from what the FBI calls “134 files,” which concern “counterintelligence assets.” One is based on information from “137 files”, which concern “criminal informants”.
None of the files that contain the underlying information were turned over to the ARRB, despite the fact that the JFK Records Act mandates the disclosure of all “assassination-related” documents. The law was apparently trumped by FBI policy to only turn over these files to criminal investigators.
A forthcoming article on JFK Facts will discuss how other agencies also held back JFK assassination documents from the ARRB.
Finally, let me close by saying that Charles Peck wrote a very special memo on November 22.  This memo went even further than the five already mentioned — after more than a month of investigation, the Bureau still had no idea how Oswald got in or out of Mexico.
Furthermore, on the 23rd, Peck sought out the informants with information about the Soviet and Cuban embassies.  They didn’t know anything about Oswald either!

75 thoughts on “Untold JFK story: the FBI’s pre-assassination hunt for Lee Harvey Oswald”

  1. just to add – I am so glad you know LHO’s movements; and so glad at how trusting you are about all the records which should tell us where he was and what he did; enjoy your fantasy; as for sick bay, here is a definition: sick·bay
    noun: sick-bay; noun: sick bay

    a room or building set aside for the treatment or accommodation of the sick, especially within a military base or on board a ship.

    1. There is no ” sick bay ” in a Naval Hospital. There are wards.
      Allen, you shouldn’t be so gullible as to believe something from someone who tells you a story that does not fit with the facts. As far as ever being to a hospital, I spent one summer doing ACDUTRA at a military hospital.It was a unique experience in that I personally met the Commanding Admiral of the Facility.
      At the time it was called the Naval Regional Medical Center San Diego.

      1. Pardon me for being Pedantically, impertinent perhaps importantly so but was your service at the hospital in patient awaiting disability review or approval, or as a Volunteer?

        Therefore, full-time operational/support service performed by Guard personnel in ACDUTRA status does NOT qualify as active duty for purposes of VA benefits UNLESS the member or former member has a service-connected disease or injury that was incurred or aggravated during the ACDUTRA period.

        Just Curious,

        Willy Bova

      2. “…you mean after they built the “new” balboa Hospital facility…the white Bldgs. around the corner from the old one…the one next to the Park across from the college…the junior college?

      3. “…honestly, everyone…we should always be careful what we say in a public forum…that we don’t ‘cross the line” and slander one another, or defame someone’s character! This is a forum for the discussion of facts and the statement of one’s opinions. We should be careful not to behave too(irrational)aggressively. Rather; we should all behave(logical)assertively in this forum.
        After all; most of us are “only guests” on this site. We should behave accordingly, regardless of how often we may comment.”-DM

  2. uh….Photon – the hospital itself was for the sick; ever been to one? I am glad you are so sure about where LHO was and wasn’t; but I think of it this way – this guy first told this story to friends of mine in the 1960s and then the 1970s – when NO ONE had any real inkling of LHO connections to US intelligence; and this guy has and had NO interest in the assassination, theoretically, logistically, otherwise; I talked to him for quite some time, and on several occasions; he had no interest in the case, the killing, or the Warren Commission – and YET – out of nowhere, he came up with something about 10 years – or more – ahead of most researchers, Oswald’s connection to intelligence – so give it up, or go back to whomever is feeding you your false info so you can feed it to us.

  3. as for me “making up this story.” Moderators: I do believe Photon has crossed a line here, accusing me of lying in a public forum. Your move.

    1. The only time Oswald was in San Diego was for Boot Camp. The only time that he had an opportunity to be hospitalized at the San Diego Naval Hospital was when he was a recruit. End of story.
      When Oswald was at El Toro if he needed hospitalization he would have gone to Long Beach Naval Hospital-about 30 miles across town. If by some circumstance he wanted to go south he would have been hospitalized at Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, an hour closer than San Diego- and on the way.
      If you were a veteran you would have known that every serviceman has a medical record that accompanies him to his service stations. Every medical care treatment given by military medical facilities is in that record-in the 1950s by hand. Those records are still maintained, the Warren Commission had access to Oswald’s.
      Allen, your story is impossible. Either your ” source” made it up, or your misunderstood what he said, or you made it up. There was no sick bay at Balboa Hospital in the first place, so I will assume that your acquaintance was pulling the wool over your eyes.

    2. Actually, Mr. Lowe, you wrote “…Oswald tried to recruit him for ONI.” If you object to being called a liar, don’t lie during your defense. If you want others to believe your anecdotes, post SOMETHING to back them up. Loathe as I am to agree with Photon, I have my doubts about your friends story as well. However, unlike Photon, my doubts don’t stem from any sense of logistical impossibility. I simply find it hard to believe that the ONI goes about recruiting operatives in that manner. Of course, I have no idea. It’s just a feeling.

      Let the record stand that Photon did not object to the idea that Oswald could have visited from El Toro.

    3. “I do believe Photon has crossed a line here, accusing me of lying in a public forum.”~Allen Lowe

      Well, I have been accused of lying as well. It seems that if you have an opinion that isn’t liked by the WC apologists here, that opinion or information is framed as “a lie”.
      My opinion (Lol) is let them own the slur. Their attempts at defamation is a form of ad hominem beyond any other card played here.
      Photon seems to be a master of rhetorical gamesmanship here. But it is transparent and obvious to those who really pay attention.

  4. Photon: wake up; ok, so it’s likely he told me Balboa Naval Hospital and not base; good for you; this conversation was 20 years ago, but none of what you say damages his credibility – or mine. First, you get my account all wrong – I didn’t say “he was recruited by a Marine in boot camp for ONI.” I said that Oswald tried to recruit the gentleman I talked to for naval intelligence; but your response gets sloppier and dumber – there’s no evidence for Oswald’s presence? You have a time machine? Hospital records? This is the LN technique – make a silly statement that sounds, on surface, credible, yet falls apart with any scrutiny. This guy was in sick bay with LHO and LHO spoke openly of his work with ONI. He was there, you were not. He has no reason to lie; you do. End of story.

  5. My dear Photon, I can always tell by your vitriolic reaction that one of the posters has hit a little too close to home. I wonder what it is about his story that’s got you so worked up. Without your reaction, I wouldn’t have even noticed.

    Sure, he got a few details wrong, but the mistakes add to his credibility, not the other way around. I wonder if you understand why? Before you criticize his research, perhaps you should look in the mirror.

    You’re right about one thing, “Balboa Naval Hospital,” as it is INFORMALLY known, WAS one of the Naval Hospitals in San Diego in the 1950’s. That’s a true statement. Of course, that was also true in 1925, and it’s still true. It’s the Naval Medical Center San Diego, located in Balboa Park, where it’s been located for the past 80 years. It’s also named after former Congressman Bob Wilson.

    Here the website:

    If you had jumped in a cab anytime in the past 80 years and told the driver to take you to Balboa Navy Base, he would have taken you to the hospital. He probably wouldn’t have bothered correcting you. It’s a simple, common, and innocent mistake. One made by untold tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people over the years. The mistake is so common, it’s even listed on this Base Directory, even though there’s no such thing.


    As for the rest of his story, well… All I can say for sure is that you cannot know for sure whether or not Oswald ever returned to San Diego, or was at the hospital, unless you have a VERY detailed surveillance record. Do you have such a record? If so, I’m sure we’d love to see it.

    Finally, the poster never wrote that his friend was “recruited by a marine in boot camp.” You made that assumption based on your own limited knowledge.

    Lastly, what would you like to know about the ONI?

    1. JohnR, there is no evidence that Oswald spent any time in San Diego during his Marine Corps service except for Boot Camp. That was the only period of time that he would have been eligible for admission to that hospital. If he had been sick or injured during his recruit training period he could have been hospitalized at Balboa, but by definition he would have been a recruit in Boot Camp-not in any way associated with ONI. If he had been hospitalized he would have been dropped from his recruit series and would have repeated his entire Boot Camp training period. There is no record of Oswald repeating any aspect of Boot Camp, no record of any illness during Boot Camp, no record of any injury requiring medical attention during Boot Camp.
      Perhaps you can define where the “sick bay” at Balboa was. It had hospital wards and clinics scattered about the campus, but no “sick bays”- but of course someone making up a story wouldn’t know that. And yes the hospital has been in Balboa Park since the 1920s- but not in the same place. In the 1980s the plan originally was to move to Helix Heights, but the replacement hospital was built at Florida Canyon, despite seismic concerns. Previously the hospital was directly across from the entrance to the San Diego Zoo. Even at the old site the hospital was near a fault, making interpretation of tissue slides sometimes difficult-as the field of view through the microscope was often jiggling from minor tremors.

      1. I don’t dispute a single point, except to reiterate that it’s impossible for you to account for every single moment of an individual’s service time. For instance, if I left my ship on a long weekend, no one wrote down anywhere that I was visiting my uncle or going to see a girl in another state. If you want to dismiss the man’s story, fine, that’s your prerogative. Just don’t try to tell me that you know for sure he’s lying.

        For someone that knows so much about the ONI, it’s odd that you refer to them in the past tense. Did I miss a memo?

    2. Pages 681-689 of Appenix 13 , Warren Report clearly states that the duty station at MCRD was the only time Oswald was assigned to San Diego. As he reported to Camp Pendelton on Jan. 18, 1957 it is obvious that he completed his Boot Camp training cycle on time-ruling out any hospitalization.
      Camp Pendelton has its own Naval Hospital.
      Oswald was never in the San Diego Naval Hospital.
      After leaving Pendelton Oswald never even had an opportunity for any treatment at San Diego Naval Hospital.
      Allen Lowe’s story is simply ridiculous -either he is gullible enough to believe a story told to him by a confused old man who was unaware of the facts, or he made the whole thing up himself-which seems to be SOP for conspiracy theorists, from Mark Lane to Tink Thompson to the celebrated David Talbot- who seems to have disappeared after we revealed his Dulles CIA-Farm claims were simply made up.

      1. Should be Camp Pendleton-spell check acting up again.
        Oswald did have a sore throat during boot camp ; it was treated as an outpatient, never affected his training schedule.
        Oswald was never in BalBoa hospital

      2. I don’t dispute any of the above. At least that which actually pertains to our discussion. Do try to focus. Oswald WAS stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Twice. It’s not like it’s on the moon in relation to San Diego. More or less 120 miles. He could have visited. Of course, you’ve already written that there is no record of any such visit. But what would exist? Did you actually look it up?

  6. just to clarify one thing, I do know with a good deal of certainty that LHO was ONI; a former relative of a family friend, who I have talked to several times and who is extremely credible (in that he has little or no interest in the JFK assassination literature and clearly, from our conversation, did not even know that LHO had been in Russia) told me he was in sick bay at Balboa naval base in the late 1950s at the same time as Oswald; and that Oswald tried to recruit him for ONI. I have no doubt that this is true because this guy, who has declined over the years to go public on this (out of fear) has never tried to insert himself, in any public or profiteering way, into the historical narrative.

    1. This is typical of the level of gullibility and poor research among CTers. There was no Balboa naval base; Balboa Naval Hospital was one of two Navy hospitals in the San Diego area during the 1950s. The only time Oswald spent in S.D. was when he was at MCRD boot camp when entering the Marine Corps-and no evidence that he was ever in the Balboa hospital, either as a patient or visitor.
      But despite that your great source claims that he was recruited by a Marine in Boot Camp to join the ONI? You don’t even realize how ridiculous that sounds – probably because you have no concept of what the ONI really was
      and what function it performed.

      1. IN 1978 Air Fore Recruits who enlisted without a Specific AFSC job path under Open Enlistment, Where routinely Asked if the would be interested and by definition recruited and encouraged to come to a Discussion and Films about the opertunities of a Top Secret Job pathway, if the Recruits agreed post briefing of a couple hours, they then Filled out AF form 398 to apply for a Top Secret Clearance background invistigation to Take Place. The Films shown mentioned the NSA by name etc…. had extensive detail about assignments particularly Monterey Language and Radio communication positions. I remembered asking a couple questions about SDS membership of Family a member and why they Recruited for intelligence in Basic Training and was told it was the way it’s always been done…. to Paraphrase, So Yes in the Air Force it was Routine to recruit and in the Marines who provide services for Embassy security Non official cover staff it would likely be routine in Basic and it might get discussed by recruits…. Nothing Odd about that, just good accounting for expensive positions to fill.

        Happy Trails

        Willy Bova

  7. At the very least, even for LN believers, the FBI and CIA guilty of blatant negligence in handling of Oswald prior to Nov 22. And that is the most innocent of interpretations.

      1. Exactly. This is the elephant in the room. Some people put on blinders and sit in a corner and look away. That is their choice.

  8. “…my own opinion…Oswald never left the United States! That’s how he got in and out of Mexico undetected!”-DM

    1. “Oswald never left the United States! That’s how he got in and out of Mexico undetected.”~D. E. Mitchell

      That is my conclusion as well. The Oswald’s trip to Mexico was a charade produced by Intelligence. It was a convoluted ruse involving several factions, both intelligence and counterintelligence groups, at times at odds with each other.

      But the accumulated evidence shows Oswald never traveled to Mexico City. He said he had visited Tijuana one day. But that was the only time he visited Mexico.

      Oswald was intelligence himself, likely ONI, this is how he was so easily manipulated by the higher echelons of Intel. At some point, likely with his success in infiltrating the Anti-Castro Cubans, he was designated to be the patsy by Military Intel.

      1. Bill Simpich himself stated that a Cuban statement released in 1964 placed Oswald in the Cuban Embassy on Sept 27.
        As in 1964 Oswald was a world figure with dozens of publically released pictures and films of him in Dallas following the assassination it is not credible that if an imposter visited the Embassy on Sept 27 the Cuban government would not have made it public.
        Again, an episode of CTers( Mr.Mitchell and Mr. Whitten) willfully ignoring a documented fact ( from a CTer no less) because it conflicts with and disproves their erroneous interpretation of events.

        1. “…my memory might be failing, especially at this hour, but if my memory serves me correctly, even Director Hoover indicated to president Johnson during a telephone conversation, that there were indicators that several people had been impersonating Oswald at that time, and that the Bureau in fact, placed Oswald in New Orleans on those dates.”-DM

        2. Photon, as to your closing sentence, the WC ignored many witnesses because it(The Commission)was afraid that their testimony would “conflict and disprove” its own “erroneous interpretation of events”(your quotes). The job of the WC was to get the public to believe Oswald was the lone shooter, whereas the ignored witnesses were right there and in excellent view of what happened. WC members kept telling witnesses, “you must be mistaken”. How could the members justify that??????

      2. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=59595&relPageId=33

        371. Winfred Barnes, FM-5 No. 4516631

        372. John H. Bowen, Fm-5 No. 4329926

        371. Winfred Barnes, FM-5 No. 4516631

        Next Page, http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=11075&relPageId=6
        372. John H. Bowen, Fm-5 No. 4329926

        1960 Winifred Barnes, subject is head of Cuban Esso Company, Havana, Cuba, and is an overt contact of the US Naval Attache, Havana

        No Oswald or OH Lee…, but there was this, a Winifred Barnes call to the FBI on 27 November:

    2. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

      The Cubans got a photo and a signature from Oswald that are proven to be authentic. There is no doubt the LHO killed by Ruby visited the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City that Friday, as there is no doubt either that an impostor made two calls thereafter.

      1. A photo and a signature from Oswald that are proven to be authentic, can be transferred from any document held in the US.

        FBI & CIA forgery experts, can turn their analysis expertise around and commit undetectable forgery themselves.

        Let us not kid ourselves that the clandestine agencies are capable of forgery, fabrication of evidence, disappearance of evidence, coercion, and any other manner of criminal behavior due to their “special” abilities due to lack of proper oversight written into the laws of the National Security State.

        To put anything past these people is naïve.

        1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

          If the photos and signature on the visa application are not conclusive proof, since the originals to be compared were forged, we got also one Cuban consul (Mirabal) and two Cuban officials from the Commercial Office (in the same building of the Consulate) who were adamant in identifying the Oswald in the news as the one in the Cuban diplomatic compound on September 27, 1963. The Mexican employee Sylvia Duran also identified him, although she gave later a dubious description of him as blond, while only the Cuban consul Azcue was not sure. At the Cuban embassy, cultural attaché Proenza saw the same Oswald, and he was also identified as such by the Soviet officials.

          1. But Arnaldo, where does every bit of this information come from? How did this so-framed “foreign information” get across the border? Who controlled access to this information and alleged testimony?
            Di you personally talk to the “Cuban consul (Mirabal) and two Cuban officials from the Commercial Office (in the same building of the Consulate) who were adamant in identifying the Oswald in the news as the one in the Cuban diplomatic compound on September 27, 1963”?
            Or did you read it in a government report?
            It is your immediate source that should be questioned, the alleged information, again; can be forged or lied about.

            From what I know about the whole operation to frame Oswald, I do not think it wise to take anything at face value.

  9. “…the Oswald anomaly; the possibility of someone using Oswald’s identity; the Mexico City circumstance, and so forth; was all(or, most of it anyway)part of the dis-information ploy as well as the back story cover, concerning Oswald.
    There is enough evidence to show Oswald was an FBI informant, and very likely an agent for the Navy as well. Oswald could hardly have known(he may have suspected) that he would wind up as a cutout for the conspirators; the magnitude of the plot being so enormous, that even people today cannot grasp its size and complexity.
    The thing about misinformation( like that of cover stories), is that it combines truth with the untruth, in order to become believable!
    Let’s all take a big step backward for a moment, and look at the sources for the information concerned, that way we might get a clearer or better perspective of what actually transpired.
    First of all; those in control of information coming from the Mexico City station, was Mr. Harvey and Mrs. Goodpasture, one of whom came dangerously close to perjuring herself under oath. Others “in the loop” were David Atlee Philips(and possibly E. Howard Hunt, whose whereabouts at this time are a bit unclear, but likely lead to the station in Mexico City).
    Please understand, the reason for choosing Mexico City in the first place was control. Everything, from start to finish, has to do with control!
    Don’t you find it odd, that the cameras that were placed on the Embassy’s in question were “turned off” at the most critical of moments? That the photos provided of “Oswald” while present, are obviously not Oswald?
    I’d very much like to go on, but I am very tired!

    Read Mr. Morley’s book on the subject!”-DM

  10. Bill, I wonder why you say the false Oswald visited the Cuban consulate on September 28. The Consulate was closed on that day, as were the Soviet Embassy and Consulate. We do have transcripts of phone calls on that Saturday, but Some (including myself) have suspected they were invented later. One of my reasons for suspecting this is that Nechiporenko was adamant that the Soviet embassy phone switchboard was closed on Saturdays.

    1. Peter, I should have said Oswald “supposedly” visited the Cuban consulate on Saturday. The evidence that anyone visited Sylvia Duran that afternoon is unreliable. If I remember it right, Peter, you told me that when you spoke to Nechiporenko his memory deviated from what was stated in his book about the events in Mexico City.

      I should add that I just came across a statement from the FBI to the Warren Commission stating that they did not know about Oswald’s visit to the Cuban embassy until after the assassination. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1134&search=%22Commission_exhibit+833%22#relPageId=827&tab=page

      FBI higher-up Richard Cotter said in his deposition that he was tipped off about the Cuban embassy before the assassination, which has always caught my eye. The November 18 letter from Oswald to the Soviet consulate in DC which discusses Azcue at the Cuban consulate and more was intercepted right before 11/22 – the details of that intercept are still hidden from us. Jim Douglass has a good section on that subject in his book.

      To Photon: If Oswald’s photo was considered unimportant, why did the meticulous Win Scott have the Mystery Man photo sent to the US by airplane that night based on the claim that it was Oswald, send another copy to the WH chief saying “this is a man known to you” – certainly not Oswald, and then say that no one knows who the Mystery Man is? A few questions to ponder.

      In response to Bogman’s suggestion, I always enjoy working in collaboration with other researchers. It’s the best and most harmonious way of doing fruitful work. My email is bsimpich@gmail.com

  11. “The answer to the riddle of Mexico City may just be the riddle itself.” — Charles

    Is that not somewhat the definition of a magic trick? Keep the eyes of the audience diverted for as long as necessary to effect the success of the illusion?

    1. Yes Leslie, I think that is part of it but is also the creation of an unquantifiable risk.

      Just suppose for a moment that the President, the Courts, Congress and the Joint Chiefs were all honest and wanted to get to the bottom of JFK’s murder. They would have to ask themselves if it was worth the risk to open up a massive and dangerous can of worms, exposing who knows what, having faced the October Crisis and the prospect nuclear war only a year earlier.

      They would have weigh that danger against the life of a single man who could not be brought back, a man who as Commander in Chief signs on for unlimited liability as any other soldier. If officials were not honest, they could leverage that risk against those that were. I would think the pressure to cover- up would be immense.

      Think about how many concerns the Mexico City operation touched on. What really was magic was how efficient and logistically easy it was to pull off and yet how many serious alarm bells it rang internally. It speaks to the genius of its authors and to their depth of knowledge regarding the internal workings of U.S. intelligence services.

      1. . if it was worth the risk to open up a massive and dangerous can of worms, exposing who knows what, having faced the October Crisis and the prospect nuclear war only a year earlier. — Charles

        That was a dynamic contemplated very early on by those with integrity who grasped the seriousness of 11.22.63 without fully understanding who was behind it. I’ll bring down the ire of many here, but Johnson was certainly making noises about this concern day one. Those convinced LBJ was responsible for the assassination refuse to even consider his earliest reactions. So be it. I’m not here to defend Lyndon Johnson except to point out that evidently he died a broken man because of Vietnam and evil men do not suffer that level of conscience.

        ‘They would have weigh that danger against the life of a single man who could not be brought back, a man who as Commander in Chief signs on for unlimited liability as any other soldier.’ — Charles

        I’ve thought about that for years: what did it matter that a mere mortal was gunned down in Dallas and how much more significant was his death in Dealey Plaza than that of an officer in Oak Cliff is a lone shooter was resonposible? So why was Jack Kennedy’s death so devastating if it was just a murder by a lone assailant in spite of the fact Kennedy was the president? If it was an isolated and spontaneous murder, those happen every day.

        But Americans were then assaulted with additional arguments to desensitize the events: Kennedy’s personal history, a highly flawed man, meaning his death didn’t matter so much because after all he was a philanderer anyway? Or he was a politician like so many others so it was one less of his kind? Or he made colossal mistakes during his first 3 years in office so the country didn’t really lose anything?

        The question we’re ultimately confronted with is why his assassination mattered in the larger scheme? For good measure, we can even consider that his death was a result of a lone gunman with no global motive other than his own. Things happen, and as you say, Kennedy had signed on for the unlimited liability as any other soldier.

        But Vince Salandria nailed it very early on. He recognized and brought to our attention that the presidency was under attack on 11.22.63, and with that, democracy itself. Anyone paying attention to the past 50 plus years understands why it mattered in the grand scheme. This wasn’t a mere mortal, this was the elected president. The assassination in broad daylight in Dallas was a message from those that orchestrated the assassination, “’We’ are in charge.” That’s why it matters.

      2. ‘What really was magic was how efficient and logistically easy it was to pull off and yet how many serious alarm bells it rang internally . . . It speaks to the genius of its authors and to their depth of knowledge regarding the internal workings of U.S. intelligence services.’ — Charles

        How has the fact that DCI John McCone as MC Station Chief Win Scott’s boss on 11.22.63 escaped even a perfunctory analysis? Do we know whether or not Win Scott was communicating thru channels with his former director Allen Dulles in the lead up to the assassination to the exclusion of McCone? Was Win Scott aware of McCone’s business relationship with William Draper who had been living in MC since the mid-50’s as president of Mexican Light & Power and up until 1961 when Ret. General Maxwell Taylor replaced him temporarily in the lead up to the Mexican government’s nationalization of the Canadian based utility company. Are we to believe that Win Scott and John McCone did not have their fingers on this particular pulse? And when Maxwell Taylor left MC to join the Kennedy administration might not Win Scott have been aware of his departure, particularly given that Taylor would soon be interacting as Chair of the Joint Chiefs with Scott’s boss, John McCone? Draper and Taylor’s bosses at MexLight were old British espionage hands and most certainly familiar with Win Scott’s history and vice versa. For what it’s worth, William Draper was a member of the Society of American Magicians.

  12. I don’t know for sure, obviously, but I don’t think the Oswald operation had any purpose in regards to what the Cubans or the Soviets thought internally. I call it an operation because it matters little if he was impersonated or not. What matters is the result.

    I think this operation’s purpose was mainly intended to provoke a response from the counter-intelligence elements of CIA and FBI. I think the authors of Mexico City must have had a profound understanding of the organizational nature and culture of the various relevant intelligence services

    In my experience, if a rogue faction wants to get its way within a larger bureaucracy for illegal purposes, it makes the paper trail broad and deep to implicate as many people as possible and by using its compartmentalization against itself, it fosters the illusion that official support must exist somewhere very high up.

    The operators desired that they would be discovered in some fashion. The CI staffers also knew that the operators knew that they would be as well. So what could it all mean? I am not sure but that might be just the point. This kind of uncertainty is the perfect recipe to metastasize both the paper trail pre-assassination and the organizational paranoia leading to paralysis post-assassination.

    The answer to the riddle of Mexico City may just be the riddle itself. If you were an honest official, the mere prospect of attempting the disentangling of Mexico City would be fraught with risk.

    1. Or simply that the CIA and FBI never felt that Oswald was more than a disgruntled former defector whose presence was picked up during routine ( and secret) surveillance of a foreign embassy.
      As such he was so unimportant that no photographs were actually obtained or retained of him.
      Occam’s Razor-and the only scenario supported by facts; not wild, unsubstantiated and totally undocumented claims based on incomplete and erroneous assumptions of American intelligence agency techniques.

      1. Yeah, sure. The FBI, which maintained a 2,000 page file on that dangerous subversive Charlie Chaplin, would have been totally blase about a “disgruntled former defector” who had openly declared his intent to betray his country to its deadliest enemy. And the CIA, which was working overtime to sabotage Castro’s government, couldn’t possibly have been concerned about a would-be traitor trying to get into Cuba.

        Virtually every single statement in Mr. Simpich’s post is backed up with a credible source. Your own critique, meanwhile, is backed up by nothing save your high opinion of the CIA and the FBI. “Undocumented,” indeed.

      2. This is truly pathetic. If Oswald had been a genuine oddball defector who behaved as he did in his Halloween 1959 appearance at the US Embassy in Moscow, gave subsequent interviews in which he claimed to be a Marxist, lived in the USSR for almost 3 years, married a Soviet citizen and brought her back to the US, he would (to paraphrase on of my favorite lines from the Sopranos) have had the Feds so far up his posterior orifice he’d have been able to taste Brylcreem. The fact that he’d tried to contact the Soviets and Cubans in Mexico City would have made this surveillance even tighter.

        Oswald had been watched for years at the highest levels of both the FBI and the CIA. Both organizations lied for a very long time about just how much they were aware of him. We know now that Hoover himself once suspected Oswald’s ID had been stolen 2 years before he returned to the US, and that only weeks before the Kennedy assassination, some of the highest ranking people in the CIA reviewed a memo about him.

        BTW, everything I’ve just written comes from applying Occam’s Razor to this situation — the fact that a man who behaved in this fashion for a period of 4 years was able to operate as freely as he was (to the point of his having been given a passport in the summer of 1963 in what can only be described as record time) indicates someone in a position of power in the various security agencies was looking out for him and holding back the guard dogs. And don’t invoke Murphy’s Law. As John Newman once responded to someone who did, Mr. Murphy would have to have been involved in every single aspect of this case for the Officially Sanctioned Story to be correct.

      3. Give some credit to the inteligence of people who work in inteligence. The surveilance cameras were set up to photograph everyone. Whether or not the person is of importance is determined afterwards not before. Do you actually think someone said something like, ” Oh that’s just that no count Oswald guy, lets not waste film.” Geez Photon I’ve read quite a few of your comments and you are a lot smarter than to actually believe that Oswald wasn’t photographed because he was viewed as being unimportant.

      4. Mexico City is the key to the coverup. LBJ is on record saying that very thing. It was not by chance that the CIA covered it up very deeply. Obstruction of justice, and prime evidence of a conspiracy and frame up.

      5. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

        In 1963 an American citizen visiting the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City, attempting to travel illegally to Cuba, was not unimportant at all, moreover if he was a re-defector from the URSS and was openly engaged in pro-Castro activism. By the own CIA protocol, the station in Mexico City must have preserved both the photos and the tapes, as well as taking a closer look at him.

      6. “…this is a deviation from the subject at hand, but i’d like your opinion on something “photon.”
        Are you aware of one “Anwar al-Awlaki?” I’m just sort of curious about your “operational awareness” with regard to “intelligence…”
        Please tell me your opinion,”was Anwar al-Awalaki an Al Quieda member, or was he really a CIA asset “placed” in position to intercept an encrypted code?”-DM

    2. Despite the best efforts and selective deductions of Pro WC agents, things are often exactly what they seem to be- And I guess folks can get caught up seeing plots within plots if the mind wanders- Someone pretending to be LHO makes sure that everyone around the Soviet/Cuban Embassies/ Consulates in Mexico City knows he was there- A few months later the real LHO supposedly kills JFK leaving another blaring and elaborate paper trail behind him. Clearly LHO was supposed to have been removed from the face of the earth at some point before the killing but something went wrong- Many things went clearly wrong for the conspirators, so trying to imagine these sophisticated and elaborate plot twists is giving way too much credit- Bottom line- A fake LHO in Mexico City and a Lone Nut LHO in Dallas cannot co exist- They are like matter and anti matter- Brought together, they are the CIA’s worst nightmare, which is why every molecule of evidence about Mexico City was expunged as quickly as it was discovered, apparently-

      1. I agree B. The great irony in the Mexico City question is there is no document that CIA or FBI could ever produce to wash the matter away and yet not releasing documents only adds to suspicion.

        To the extent that the paper trail and its explanations are incomplete, that informational vacuum only proves that rogue elements were operating off the books.

      2. “…actually Bonnie; if what you said is correct, it is why none of the MC station take concerning LHO, can and will never see the light of day!”-DM

    3. “…perhaps. I think people sometimes fail to remember that the perpetrators of the “big event” had to be prepared to move in several directions, depending how the post assassination dynamics unfolded; one of which was laying the murder of the president at the doorstep of Fidel Castro or even the Soviet Union!
      “What if…” Oswald hadn’t been silenced? “what if..?” There were(and still are), an awful lot of…”what if’s!”-DM

      1. D.E. I very much agree with your “several directions” idea. The word I like to use for it is agility. The plotters had to be quite agile post event. There would have been very many variables beyond direct control that required contingency planning.

        A lone nutter tactic is always like to put things in a box and argue something had to have been this way or that way when in fact it could have been many different ways depending on various results.

        1. “…you know; Gen. Eisenhower always said (paraphrase) that he’d never do anything without a plan and that they were indispensable, even though nothing ever went according to them!
          However: the big difference between a military operation and an intelligence operation: with a military operation, one must make the plan to fit the circumstances! Whereas; with an intelligence operation, one must try to manipulate the circumstances to fit the plans! More or less!-DM

    4. “…with regard to your above statement Charles, i think you really hit a nail on the head! Most certainly! The Mexico City Operation undoubtedly served a multi-fold purpose for those performing their “slight of hand,” throwing everyone off internally! Very Heavy!!
      Excellent point Charles.”-DM

  13. Since writing this, I keep looking at Peck and Crawford’s reports. You can see one of these reports posted above with this article – it cites six pro-Soviet and pro-Cuban organizations where the FBI’s informants have been interviewed. (Studying these groups is a fertile ground of research.) But there’s no indication that any investigation was conducted at the Soviet or the Cuban embassies until the day after the assassination.

    Why is that? Those embassies were by far the most likely places to obtain info on Oswald – what the CIA wrote to Ambassador Mann and the FBI office in Mexico City was that Oswald had visited the Soviet embassy on Sept 28 and contacted it again on Oct 1.

    This memo went out on October 16, referring to him as “Lee Henry Oswald”. Nothing about Oswald’s interest in Cuba. https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=6673&relPageId=2&search=%22Lee_Henry%20Oswald%22%20%22Lee%20Harvey%20Oswald%22

    By early November, the FBI office in Mexico City figured out his real name was Lee Harvey Oswald, and they asked all their informants about any connection Oswald had with Cuba. Granted, intel officers protect their data – but doesn’t it seem likely some FBI agent in Mexico thought Win Scott ought to know that he had Oswald’s name wrong, or of his links with Cuba?

    After all, Scott passed on the Oswald tip to the Ambassador and the FBI office precisely because the CIA had a duty to let the locals know whenever an American citizen came knocking on the doors of Communist embassies. It would seem that duty goes both ways.

    I found a memo today I’ve not seen before, early April of 1964, where the CIA claimed that Scott was truly fooled by the Mystery Man and told the FBI legat Clark Anderson and ambassador Tom Mann that the Mystery Man was Oswald during the afternoon of November 22.

    It also says that Rudd brought the transcripts of all of LHO’s conversations to Dallas. Where are those transcripts – they should be in the Dallas field office files? Mexico City was sending them in bunches to HQ for two days afterwards. We know very little about what went on in the Dallas field office that terrible night other than what Agent Jim Hosty was able to pass on.

    This same memo also says that the FBI was briefed on “additional information” on Oswald by mail on October 28. Where is that memo?

    I think these Mexican informants are a big deal. Why don’t we have their identities at this late date, before they are dead and gone?

    At least one of them flew to the US in May 1964, after his source American Communist Party member Betty Mora had reported that Oswald supposedly met with prominent Cuban Communist Party member Teresa Proenza in the Cuban embassy – not the consulate as commonly reported. Proenza was punished for years after for supposedly plotting against Castro – a perception fueled by the CIA’s AMROD operation discussed in both my book and John Newman’s Oswald and the CIA.

    Some of these documents may still be in the files…when 2017 rolls around, we may be able to finally begin preparing a comprehensive inventory on what remains missing. Those “anomalies”, as Peter Dale Scott calls them, offer some of the best evidence on where to look next.

    1. “(Studying these groups is a fertile ground of research.) ”

      Wondering, Bill, if you or another researcher has ever considered assigning research to those of who are willing to assist? Would have to be part-time, obviously, but might be more productive than the usual back-and-forth in the forums.

    2. Mr. Simpich, what were the allegations made by the fabricator Ylario Rojas Villanueva? I’ve never heard of him. His name appears at the bottom of the second document you linked.

      1. You can find it by going to MFF’s files for Mexico City, look up either him or Daniel Solis – I should say you will spend some time in the bottom of a well. I think it’s a waste of time.

        1. Understood. Thank you for your reply. I was just curious if Villanueva was one of the guys who crawled out of the woodwork after the assassination and tried to tie Oswald to Cuba.

    3. Bill you stated Win Scott “I found a memo today I’ve not seen before, early April of 1964, where the CIA claimed that Scott was truly fooled by the Mystery Man and told the FBI legat Clark Anderson and ambassador Tom Mann that the Mystery Man was Oswald during the afternoon of November 22.” That statement is the key to Plan A to orchestrate the invasion of Cuba as soon as possible Win Scott being part of plan along with Col Robert Ellis Jones cable to strike command in Florida. I have feeling if LBJ had all so been assassinated that plan would have taken place.

  14. I think it’s pretty clear that Oswald was being impersonated in Mexico but the reason may not have been to set him up as the patsy. The reason may have been to convince the Cubans that the real Oswald was a real deal leftist radical in an effort to get Oswald into Cuba. The thought around this may have been to have the Cubans think ‘why would they impersonate Oswald? If they impersonated him then that must mean that the real Oswald was not an inteligence asset.’
    That may also be the reason for the falsified cable that Company headquarters sent to the Company Mexico station that didn’t mention the recent info on Oswald that the Company was aware of. That may have been falsification intended for the Cubans to be aware of as being false in the event that there was a mole in the Company or the cables were not secure. That would get the Cubans to think – ‘they are acting like they don’t know much about this Oswald and trying to get us to accept this impostor.’
    In actuality the cable may have been to insure the Cubans didn’t accept the impostor and help build the legend that the real Oswald was authentic in his leftist believes and support of Cuba.
    So the whole impostor thing may have been to have the real Oswald accepted and allowed into Cuba at a later date in the near future. I think that may have been what David Philips was working on – getting Oswald into Cuba. Philips stated before his death that Oswald wasn’t in Mexico.
    I think that there were those in the Company who knew of Oswald’s false cover and that made him the perfect patsy. The cover up was insured. The Company would never disclose or admit that Oswald was an asset and reveal a sensitive operation that would cause an international incident. Philips also said that he thought rogue elements of the Company may have been involved in what happened in Dallas. I guess the definition of rogue is subject to interpretation.
    This piece about the FBI ‘looking’ for Oswald in Mexico when they knew where the real Oswald was seems like it may have been part of an overall plan to convince the Cubans that the US was trying to foist an impersonator on them. –‘Geez they are trying to get us to believe that they are searching for the real one.’
    I don’t think Philips or Dulles were conspirators. They were covering up but they were covering up a Company operation and Company methods and they couldn’t disclose that an operation they were running was infiltrated and hijacked by conspirators.

    1. “I don’t think Philips or Dulles were conspirators.”

      According to Tony Veciana at this year’s AARC, Phillips asked him about attaining Cuban visas at the Mexico embassy. I’ve forgotten the details, but it appears, at least from Veciana, Phillips was deeply involved in an operation using Oswald.

      1. I don’t doubt that he was involved in an operation using Oswald. I just don’t think that iperation was the hit on JFK.

        1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

          Your point of view seems to be right. As Simpich himself showed in State Secret, the operation using LHO should be aimed against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and rough CIA officers mounted a piggy-back operation that started from placing an impostor in Mexico City and elsewhere (Sylvia Odio´s house, for instance).

      2. In his AARC speech, Veciana said Phillips sent Oswald to Mexico City to get a visa to Cuba, knowing that it was not

  15. This line of investigation is the one, best hope we have of bringing the Assassination of JFK to absolute closure- Once we can prove what was obvious to the CIA in the days immediately after their Coupe D’état, it is over- Once it is proved that a man pretending to be LHO was empathically seeking a Visa to Cuba, before the treasonous murder took place, the Lone Nut, Carcano Cowboy, single bullet magician evaporates- Disinformation Agents must crawl back into their holes and logical deductions can then parse the evidence and the full truth cannot help but emerge- I wish god speed to those undertaking this life affirming task-

    1. Wise logic doesn’t prove facts, but it can make it much easier to do so..it can help connect dots. Woodward&Bernstein used logic here and there during their Watergate research, and it resulted in Richard Nixon flying off the White House grounds in the helicopter, beginning his journey back home to be a private citizen on 8-9-74.

  16. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    The CIA has ever produced neither a photo of Oswald in Mexico City nor a tape of his voice. It amounts to a conspiracy fact by itself, since both the Cuban and Soviet embassies there were under heavy photographic surveillance and at least five transcripts of phone conversations regarding Oswald and recorded by the CIA are available. Moreover, when the COS Win Scott asked Langley for Oswald on October 1963, the response was a piece of disinformation.

  17. This was all part of the plan – to grease the screw – to show that LHO was the Krazy Kid ex-Marine, Communist, Marxist who was stirring things up down there to get ready for his rendezvous with history on 11/22. Even Hoover had to admit to Johnson that the voice recorded on the calls was not the same person they had sitting in the Dallas jail the night of 11/22. And the photos released later of “Oswald” down there proved it wasn’t the guy killed by Ruby on 11/24.

    What I really love more than anything, though, is the photo of the Oswald look alike in Ruby’s nightclub seen here – http://harveyandlee.net/Ruby/LEE_at_CC.jpg. Oh boy, if that doesn’t take the cake I don’t know what will.

    1. I’ve been following the case since 11/22/63; How I wish I’d logged or video-taped the interviews and stories coming out of Dallas and New Orleans in the days following the assassination.
      So many witnesses walked back their stories of seeing Oswald and Ruby together; Or clammed up completely once they realized how dangerous it was to volunteer information to a reporter. Telling an FBI investigator something that didn’t jive with the “official story” was also an invitation to disaster.
      Thanks for the photo.

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