The release of long-secret JFK assassination files by the National Archives has drawn the attention of news organizations nationwide.
Four revelations stand out so far.
1) WhoWhatWhy reported on documents showing that Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of JFK’s assassination, was a CIA asset in the 1950s. His brother, Charles Cabell, was a high-ranking CIA official until 1962.
While the documents don’t show that Earle or Charles Cabell had any connection to JFK’s assassination, they do illuminate that the CIA’s extraordinary penetration of domestic American institutions extended to the city where JFK was killed. If anyone had said over the past 50 years that the mayor of Dallas in 1963 was a CIA asset, they would been derided as a “conspiracy theorist.” Now we know for a fact that he was.
A few hours after the assassination, Cabell talked about his reaction in this video.
2) Ian Shapira of the Washington Post plumbed the new records to recount the secret interrogation of Yuri Nosenko, a KGB intelligence officer who defected to the United States in 1964. Nosenko was detained without charges for four years in what would now be called a CIA black site.
The Nosenko affair (celebrated by HBO) was a key chapter in the CIA’s reaction to JFK’s assassination. James Angleton, the powerful chief of counterintelligence, suspected Nosenko had been dispatched by the KGB to conceal the Soviet ties to Oswald and the assassination. The interrogation of the “foul traitor” Nosenko failed to confirm Angleton’s conspiracy theory, according to the Post.
3) Writing for Politico, professor Larry Sabato and journalist Philip Shenon reported that one new CIA file showed that in the mid-1970s, one of Angleton’s top lieutenants came to doubt the Warren Commission’s finding that JFK was killed by Oswald, alone and unaided. Sabato and Shenon argue that the JFK investigation was “botched” and the possibility of a Cuban government involvement was ignored.
4) On AlterNet, I quoted extensively from the same records to show that the JFK investigation was not so much botched as “controlled’ by top CIA officials, including Angleton. The CIA made at least four false statements to investigators. The effect of these statements was to conceal what top CIA officers, including Angleton, knew of Oswald while JFK was still alive.
Collectively, the new JFK files pour more cold water on the “KGB did it” conspiracy theory, while encouraging questions about the “Castro done it’ theory. Mostly, the new files illuminate how the CIA resisted investigation of Oswald after JFK was killed, and why the public, and CIA officials themselves, came to reject the official theory of a lone gunman.
Officials of the National Archives have told AlterNet they will release thousands of pages of additional secret JFK records before October 26.