The late Charles Thomas belonged to an exclusive, unhappy and forgotten club: U.S. government officials whose efforts to honestly investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 cost them their jobs and reputations.
Last week the Washington Post ran an obituary of Cynthia Thomas, the widow of Charles Thomas. It was an unusual tribute. The Post now acknowledges that there are good and solid reasons for perfectly sane people to reject the U.S. government’s implausible and widely disbelieved official theory that a “lone gunman” killed JFK for no discernible reason.
This is a welcome and overdue development, as the facts of Thomas’s tragic story attest.
Yes, I did read Bagley’s Spy Wars. I also interviewed him. And yes, I do believe Nosenko was a true defector.
I think Bagley was wrong, for two reasons: lack of a plausible suspect and lack of damage to CIA operations.
Remember Angleton’s theory that Nosenko was a dispatched defector is inextricably bound up in the theory that Nosenko was dispatched to protect a mole already working inside the CIA as of January 1964. So the reader’s question is really two, was Nosenko a mole? And, if so, who was he protecting?
“We felt very strongly that there were two governments in the United States: one in the civics texts and the other in the real world,” Mr. Wise told the New York Times in 1988. “We thought the intelligence agencies were important to our security. But we were troubled about a system based on the consent of the governed when the governed didn’t know to what they have consented.”
Fifty fifty years ago today, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald came to the attention of a group of senior CIA officers in Langley, Virginia. Oswald had recently visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. A CIA wiretap captured a man identifying himself as “Oswald.”
The CIA officers conferred about Oswald and his actions and signed off on a cable about him. They are identified on the declassified CIA cable whose authenticity is not disputed.
They were: assistant deputy director (ADDP) Tom Karamessines; Soviet Russia division counterintelligence officer Stephan Roll; liaison officer Jane Roman, Special Projects Group (SPG) officer Ann Egerter; chief of the WH/3 desk (Mexico )”John Scelso” aka John Whitten; and chief of operations for Western Hemisphere, William J. Hood.
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former president Harry Truman in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. It was exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy.
“It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas,” Truman wrote.
The former president never explicitly linked JFK’s death to the clandestine service, but the timing and venue of his piece was suggestive.
Yet O’Neal played a seminal role in the story of the CIA and accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. As a mole hunter for counterintelligence chief James Angleton, O’Neal controlled the agency’s Oswald file from November 1959 to November 1963.
O’Neal’s story is still sensitive, more than 20 years after his death in 1995. Last November the agency released a heavily redacted version of O’Neal’s personnel file. Of the 224 pages in the file, 177 contain redactions, and three are wholly secret.
Insider: Fidel Castro, Nikolai Leonov, and Nikita Khrushchev
Nikolai S. Leonov has an interesting perspective on the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Leonov joined the KGB in 1958 and retired in 1991 with the rank of Lieutenant General. In the spring of 1963, his fluency in Spanish gained him the job as the Russian interpreter for Cuba president Fidel Castro during his first visit to the USSR in the spring of 1963, In the photo above he is the man standing between and behind Castro and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Read more