Oswald lived in a surveillance state

In response to my post on Oswald under surveillance, a Twitter friend asked if surveillance was the reason why Oswald rented a room under a fake name (“O.H. Lee”) six weeks before the assassination of JFK.

I said no. 

Oswald in NO

Lee Oswald came to the attention of CIA-funded anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans


When I talk about the surveillance of Oswald I’m not talking about 24-hour physical surveillance, which is by far the most intrusive and expensive form of surveillance. As far as I know, Oswald was not subject to physical surveillance.

He was targeted by more pervasive and discrete surveillance systems, specifically code-named CIA intelligence collection operations that targeted:

  • locations (LIENVOY eavesdropped on embassies in Mexico City);
  • communications nodes (HTLINGUAL captured U.S. mail sent overseas); or
  • leftist political activity (AMSPELL challenged pro-Castro groups).

Such systems are more pervasive and efficient than physical surveillance of a person and almost as effective in determining the actions and intentions of the target. When such systems are especially pervasive, they define and create a “surveillance state.”

The U.S. government’s surveillance powers in the early 1960s were limited and crude compared to today but they were spreading and growing.

They were also unknown to JFK investigators. The Warren Commission had some awareness of LIENVOY. The Commission knew nothing of LINGUAL and AMSPELL, much less Angleton’s role in all three.

Since the reporting from LIENVOY, HTLINGUAL, and AMSPELL was delivered to Angleton’s Counterintelligence Staff, I say it is fair to say that Oswald was under counterintelligence surveillance from 1959 to 1963.



  1. Peter says:

    Actually I don’t think it is fair to say Oswald was under counter-intelligence surveillance from 1959 to 1963. He was taken off the CIA watch-list for approximately 17 months while in the Soviet Union. As far as HTLINGUAL is concerned, there was only one document in Oswald’s file at the time he returned back to the US which was an envelope addressed to his new born daughter June in early 1962 from his mother Marguerite Oswald.

    A letter from his mother from 1961 was forwarded to Betty Egerter a few weeks after Oswald’s arrival back in the US in June 1962 but this is hardly a persuasive argument for Oswald being under surveillance through the HTLINGUAL operation as 75% of intercepts were random.

    The question you should be asking is why weren’t all the letters that Oswald exchanged with his mother and brother Robert Oswald, during the period he was placed back on the watch-list and when he returned back to the US, in his file.

    With regards to HTLINGUAL and Oswald, the CIA version doesn’t quite ring true.

  2. The thread i tend to see here , James Jesus Angleton is so frequently mentioned one is led vto believe that he is your main suspect , as the founder of MOssad and being in charge of Oswalds case he stands out in every report as a viable suspect , you stated he lied to the Warren xcommision about Oswald ? was Oswald a “Useful Idiot”? Did Angleton know more ?

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