John Whitten is a rare hero of the JFK story. He was a senior CIA official who sought, behind the scenes, to conduct an honest investigation of what the agency knew about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, before President Kennedy was killed.
But at a meeting on Christmas Eve 1963 deputy director CIA Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton shut down Whitten’s efforts to investigate Oswald’s contacts among pro- and anti-Castro Cubans and relieved him of his responsibilities for investigating JFK’s assassination.
Whitten’s story, which I first reported in the Washington Monthly in 2003, illuminated the inner workings of the CIA in the days and weeks after JFK was killed. It is the story of a “good spy” whose pursuit of the truth about JFK’s death cost him his career. Read more
As the editor of the JFK Facts blog, I try not to spend a lot of time on stupid conspiracy theories, but given tge widespread ignorance and confusion on the subject, journalistic duty often calls.
Who killed JFK? The Federal Reserve? Nah. A Secret Service man? A hoax. Ted Cruz’s father? Pure B.S. George H.W. Bush? Heavy breathing is not the same as credible evidence. On a recent Black Vault podcast, the most common JFK question I heard was, “Was Kennedy assassinated because of his interest in UFO’s?” Um, no, he was not.
A chart of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Which brings me to QAnon, the imaginative conspiracy theorist now dominating the Internet, attracting followers of President Trump, and obsessing the Washington Post, which has has published four articles on QAnon in the past week. Like many conspiracy theories, the QAnon fever dream can be traced back to the assassination of JFK.
The QAnon conspiracy theory is a psychedelic mushroom growing in the fertile manure of the Warren Commission. This mind-altering proposition grows in the gloom of anonymous chat groups. It is then stimulated by the bright lights of social media. And finally it is harvested and ingested by Trump cultists eager to prolong the alt-reality buzz that commenced on January 20, 2017.
James McCord was the most important of the Watergate burglars, Bob Woodward once noted. As this declassified JFK file shows, McCord was the chief of the Office of Security, an experienced officer, with impressive security credentials.
He was protected by CIA director Dick Helms. Read more
On the perennial, perhaps boring, question of a JFK assassination conspiracy, the question may boil down to: who do you believe?
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba in the 1960s,was a tireless Latin revolutionary. Charles de Gaulle,president of France, was a conservative continental statesman. They both came to the conclusion that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated by right-wing enemies within his own government.
Paul Scott, investigative reporter (Credit: Jim Scott)
In this Washington Postpiece, Jim Scott tells the story of how the CIA wiretapped his father, news reporter Paul Scott, for decades. In the 1960s, Paul Scott and his partner Robert Allen wrote a syndicated column on Washington politics that was driven, not by punditry, but by investigations.
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.
On April 5, 1972, CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, backed by director Richard Helms, issued a blanket order:
“the agency was not, under any circumstances , to make inquiries or ask any source or defector about Oswald”
The order, found in the massive batch of JFK files released online this week, came nine years after Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24 year old ex-Marine. The order was issued after officials in the agency’s Soviet Bloc division asked a Russian defector about the accused assassin who lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962.
The CIA memo, classified as a state secret for the past 35 years [Ed note: Paul Hoch tells me the memo was released with a name redacted in 1998] sheds light on how Angleton, a legendary spy chief known for his brilliance and paranoia, tightly controlled the JFK investigation for years after the crime. No one at the CIA was supposed to ask questions about Kennedy’s accused killer. Read more
James Angleton, chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff.
Legendary CIA counterspy James Angleton was interviewed by federal investigators in 1973 about a reported meeting with Watergate burglar Howard Hunt, according to a declassified CIA history made public this week.
Angleton responded by dissembling about his relationship with Hunt and threatening legal action against the source of the story.
The report, first obtained by Judicial Watch, sheds new light on the agency’s role in the burglary that brought down President Richard Nixon in 1974 and changed the course of American politics.
James Jesus Angleton, chief of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff, reached the peak of his powers during the Nixon’s presidency. But his backstage role in the Watergate affair has gone largely unnoticed.
Professor Scott addresses a key question about the JFK assassination story.
[CIA Director Richard] Helms faced the same legal dilemma after he swore to the Warren Commission to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (5 AH 121). Helms was then asked “Can you tell the Commission as to whether or not you have supplied us all the information the Agency has, at least in substance, in regard to Lee Harvey Oswald?” Helms’s answer was, “We have, all” (5 AH 122). This was, I submit, both perjury, and obstruction of justice. In 1964 the CIA secrets he protected concerned an operation involving the name of the man reported to have been the president’s assassin.
Jim Garrison, New Orleans DA, and object of CIA attention. (Credit: LYNN PELHAM/TIMEPIX )
The CIA retains two secret files on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, the crusading prosecutor who inspired Oliver Stone’s hit movie “JFK.”
The files–whose existence was first reported by JFK Facts- are among the 3,600 secret U.S. government records related to JFK’s assassination that are scheduled to be released in October 2017. Earlier this week, Politico and NOLA,com reported on the existence of the 3,600 records, which was first disclosed on May 12 by JFK Facts.
Richard Helms, retired CIA director, is one of the most important figures in the JFK assassination story. He was one of the senior CIA officials responsible for the intelligence failure that culminated in the breakdown of presidential security in Dealey Plaza. He should have lost his job after President Kennedy was killed because at least five of his subordinates knew all about the accused assassin Lee Oswald before November 22, 1963.
In this 1992 interview, Richard Schlesinger of CBS News aggressively questioned Helms about the role of the CIA in the events of November 22, 1963. Usually a masterful witness, Helms look defensive and unconvincing.
Which leaves us where we were before David Corn first called attention to O’Reilly’s tall tales. Media Matters still wants to take him down because he’s a bad influence on American public discourse. CNN still has sound journalistic and commercial reasons for questioning his credibility
But from the narrower point of JFK Facts, I’m satisfied with O’Reilly’s response. The much-abused Fox News host does not contest the facts first reported in JFK Facts two years ago. That’s decent of him.
“Conspiracy theories,” writes author Annie Jacobsen in a New York Times forum, are “the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of how we live.” A JFK conspiracy theory (or anti-conspiracy theory) is a story we tell ourselves in order to make sense of what happened on November 22, 1963.