Missing from the new JFK files: a batch of CIA records on Lee Harvey Oswald

Oswald in Custody
Lee Harvey Oswald

All of the U.S. government’s files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are supposed to be released by October 26. But one batch of the CIA records on suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, has gone missing.

The records were part of a 7-volume file on Oswald, held by the agency’s Office of Security (OS), which is responsible for protecting CIA property and vetting agency personnel. Declassified CIA records show that volume 5 of the file records existed in 1978. The contents of the missing file are not known.

The disappearance of the records, discovered by JFK researcher Malcolm Blunt, is significant because the Office of Security was the first component of the CIA to open a file on Oswald, an ex-Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959.


The disappearing Oswald file is the latest in a series of remarkable revelations found in long-secret JFK assassination files made public for the first time by the National Archives in July.

–As the time of JFK’s assassination in Dallas in November 1963, the mayor of the city, Earle Cabell, was a CIA asset. His brother Charles Cabell was a high-ranking CIA official until 1962. (WhoWhatWhy)

–The intensive interrogation of KGB officer Yuri Nosenko in 1965 failed to confirm that he was a false defector, or that his information about Oswald was false, as alleged by top CIA officials. (Washington Post)

–Some CIA officials came to doubt the Warren Commission’s finding that JFK was killed by Oswald in the mid-1970s (Politico).

Disappearing Act

Given the recent revelations, the disappearance of part of Oswald’s first CIA file has to be regarded as suspicious.

James Angleton testifies
James Angleton, spymaster

The opening of Oswald’s Office of Security file in December 1959 was an unusual deviation from standard CIA procedures, as I show in my forthcoming book on CIA spymaster James Angleton,

Standard CIA procedure, as prescribed in agency directives, required that,CIA personnel would immediately open a personality file (also called a 201 file) on a military defector like Oswald.

Yet the CIA’s 201 file on Oswald was not opened until a year later, in December 1960. During that year, the OS file was controlled by Betty Egerter, an aide to Angleton.

When JFK investigators asked Angleton and retired CIA director Richard Helms about the 12 month delay in opening of Oswald’s 201 file, neither man could explain it.

Testifying under oath to the HSCA in October 1978, Angleton pleaded ignorance.

“I don’t know the circumstances,” he said, which was almost certainly not true. Angleton did know the circumstances of Oswald’s defection because it was reported in the Washington Post and his aide Jane Roman wrote several memos about it.

WaPo Oswald
From the Washington Post, Oct. 31, 1959

“I don’t know why it would take that long,” Angleton said.

“I can’t imagine why it would have taken an entire year,” Helms  sputtered when testifying to the HSCA in September 1978. “I am amazed. . . I can’t explain that.”


These professions of ignorance about the most important counterintelligence case in the history of the CIA are unconvincing.

In an email, Blunt, a retired British mental health professional who is not a typical conspiracy theorist, calls the disappearance of the records “obfuscation for a reason.”

“It had to be done because of an interest — undisclosed and unknown — in Mr. Oswald’s records.”

Dubious Story

By law, the missing volume of the OS file, if it exists, has to be made public by October 26, the day all of the government’s Kennedy assassination files are supposed to be made public.

But does it exist?

The CIA’s story–that Volume 5–never existed, is dubious.

The OS volume is known to have existed in the 1970s because declassified records, found by Blunt, show that CIA officials and an HSCA Investigator, Betsy Wolf, had access to it.

Blunt asks the right question, which only the CIA can answer.

“Sometime between the HSCA closure in 1979 and the late surfacing of those files in 1997, one volume, Vol. 5 disappeared. This beggars the question; for what possible reason? The intact files were previously given to both the SSCIA [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities] and the HSCA, so why did the CIA “not find them” until a direct, specific request from the ARRB in 1997? And then, why turn them over minus volume 5?”

Source: Analysis and Opinion from Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC)

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