Was Lee Harvey Oswald a ‘lone nut’?

If Oswald was a “lone nut,” he was a lone nut known to top undercover CIA officers reporting to counterintelligence Chief James Angleton and CIA Deputy Director Richard Helms just weeks before JFK was killed.

They included:

“4 CIA officers who made a lethal mistake about Lee Harvey Oswald.” (JFK Facts, Sept. 30 2013)

The operational records of some of these men and women remain top secret to this day:

“Top 5 JFK files Brennan should make public” (JFK Facts, Feb. 5, 2013)

 

 

 

 

28 comments

  1. Hans Trayne says:

    The search for answers to the title question is why I find the work of Jeff Morley, Bill Simpich, Jim DiEugenio, Anthony Summers and several other notable JFK researchers/authors so valuable to history & understanding what happened before, during and post-ambush.

    Old soldiers like me vividly recall the warnings constantly given to G.I.’s by superiors & Intel officers of the consequences of pulling some of the stunts Lee Oswald pulled in his defection to & return from the U.S.S.R. during the cold war. Just the handing out of the ‘hands off Cuba’ leaflets was justification for any number of responses by US Intel & investigation agencies, the least being grabbed off the street & given a ‘trimming’ (now days replaced by waterboarding), the worst being attacked by dedicated Operation Mongoose, Operation 40 & ZR/RIFLE operatives.

    That no one tracked him down & took him out of action speaks volumes of who he really was IMO.

    I’m sticking with Jeff Morley in his crusade for CIA transparency; I believe many BIG answers to questions about Mr. Oswald that have hung in the air for over 50 years will be the fruit of Jeff’s hard work.

    • Gus Mueller says:

      I’m not buying for a minute that you were constantly warned by your superiors in the military not to hand out leaflets. So do you mean you were constantly warned not to defect to the USSR? Other than former Marine Oswald and two NSA employees, was that really a big concern when you were in the military? Not buying it. The only “stunt” I can recall Oswald doing was openly reading Pravda in barracks when he was still in the Corps. And suffering no consequences for it. But handing out leaflets after leaving the military? For that he could get kidnapped and roughed up? Not buying it. The proof? The fact that IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

  2. After interrogating Oswald for over 20 hours, Dallas Police Homicide detective Capt. Will Fritz said, “He’s not nuts.”

    Those who claim that Oswald killed JFK alone also portray him as a crazy, mixed up, wacko, who couldn’t hold a job and was a loser and loner, when if he was successful at killing JFK alone he had to be a really great assassin.

    • D. Olmens says:

      I’m not sure I agree that lone gunman theorists all claim that Oswald was insane. I certainly don’t think he was.

      Oswald from all reports had an unsettled and troubled childhood, didn’t appear to have a circle of friends, or many close friends at all, struggled to hold down a regular job, or stick at anything for very long, and towards the end of his life was experiencing difficulties in his marriage. None of these things in themselves mean he was insane.

      Why did he join the Marines, why he was attracted to Marxism, and why he would want to travel to the USSR? If anything, he sounds like the kind of frustrated and marginalised person living on the fringes of society that might be attracted to ideas which played to his outsider status in life and need to belong somewhere. The kind of person who in a particular set of circumstances might do something unpredictable and incomprehensible.

      Shooting skills aside, I think you over-estimate the amount of planning that might have been required for Oswald to take a shot at the President. The route took the motorcade directly past his workplace. In terms of planning, he had to pick up a newspaper to see the route, take a gun to work, find a decent angle to fire from, and open a window.

      • Chad Brown says:

        I think there is pretty ample evidence now available that Oswald was part of a false defector program whereby 40 or so men working for US intelligence attempted to infiltrate the USSR. Oswald was able to go to USSSR and return when the infiltration failed. I don’t think any of them fooled the USSR. The Fair Play for Cuba was an attempt to create a cover for Oswald that could have led to his trying to “defect” to Cuba. Oswald’s mistress has written a book about him. Mistresses seem a key to unraveling the mystery. LBJ’s mistress reported what he said the day before 11/11/63, after the “ratification” meeting. JFK’s mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer was killed for knowing too much.

        • Gus Mueller says:

          I think there is no such evidence available. You go first. Oswald was an undesirable defector. The Russians didn’t want him so they stashed him in Minsk(? not sure I got that right). He worked at Yokosuka while in the Marines, but had nothing to do with the U-2. You couldn’t pick a worse fake defector if you tried.

  3. Photon says:

    Obviously Federal agencies were aware of Oswald- the FBI kept a loose eye on him as we all know. He was a defector.But beyond that, there is no evidence whatsoever that he had any CIA associations or access to significant classified material. There is no evidence whatsoever that he had any connection to U2s or any specific recon program. The Soviets realized that initially when they refused to let him remain in the Soviet Union. They saw him for what he was – an antisocial misfit perhaps of propaganda value but nothing else.
    Even in Minsk he couldn’t form personal relationships. His first girlfriend rejected him. His wife was sleeping with other men while carrying his child. Despite getting preferential treatment his life was going nowhere.
    So why would any security service want anything to do with him?

    • Jason L. says:

      Oswald himself threatened to give “radar” secrets to the Soviets while at the US embassy in Moscow. This combined with his service at Atsugi as a radar operator is plenty of evidence that Oswald at least had some knowledge of the U-2, such as it usual flight plan and altitudes, etc.

      • D. Olmens says:

        Oswald claimed to have “secrets”, but did he really? Or was he trying to bolster his chances of being accepted into the USSR by exaggerating and attempting to make himself seem important? Aside from his time at Atsugi, what else did he have that might have made him interesting to the Soviets? Not a lot. Perhaps he worked the Atsugi angle for all it was worth, and then some.

        As a radar operator, it seems likely he had some knowledge about the altitudes the plane few at, but apart from that it’s hard to say definitively what else he might have known. There’s no-one claiming he ever had access to the planes or pilots for example. So, what did he really know? Hard to say.

        • Jason L. says:

          It is hard to say. Francis Gary Powers apparently believed Oswald was connected to his shootdown, however.

          • D. Olmens says:

            That’s interesting, I haven’t heard that before. Do you have a reference/link for Powers saying that which I can look up to read more? I’m not sure I see what the connection might have been, but I’m curious to read what Powers had to say.

          • Photon says:

            There is absolutely no evidence for this statement. As one of the most experienced U2 pilots Powers had to be aware that Soviet capabilities were catching up to the U2. Overflight were restricted for months before the Powers flight because of fears of a possible shoot down. In the end the CIA thought that they could get away with it one more time- particularly in view of the fact that there was serious concern about Soviet missile capabilities that warranted taking the risk.
            They almost got away with it but the U2’s fragile construction couldn’t handle a near miss like the one that happened with Powers’ plane. The tail fell off and it landed virtually intact.

        • photon says:

          I have a problem with any source that claims that the greatest secret of the U2 program unknown to the Soviets was its operational altitude, when the Soviets were aware of that fact in 1956.At the time of the Powers shootdown the Soviets were tracking satellites, so identifying an aircraft at 70,000 ft was not an issue.

          • photon says:

            Your source has absolutely no identifying features. Where did it come from?

          • Jason L. says:

            I have no idea. It’s from a Hood College archive, so Harold Weisberg probably knows (there are other similar clippings in the archive). Your disagreement is with Powers, who is more credible on this subject than most people, I’d imagine.

          • Photon says:

            I doubt that it is even from Powers.

      • Photon says:

        They didn’t want them. That should tell you how useless his “information” was. They already had knowledge of the U2 flight envelope after 3 years of overflights.

    • Max says:

      This is also what I found to be true from all of the research and reading I did. People who actually knew him before the assassination, and a number of books have been written by these people, saw him in this light. Why would they all be so wrong? How could he have been involved with the CIA and/or a number of other highly secretive groups without the people close to him not knowing? Was he really such a super human young man who everyone wanted for their covert operations or was he the man described and known by his brother, his wife and friends he had? Did he really fool everyone so easily? He seemed very human to me.

  4. Neil Hodges says:

    I think the word “nut” is used too loosely when describing Lee Harvey Oswald. It implies that he should be lumped together with modern day mass shooters and crazed assassins like the Hinckley guy. Oswald may have been a loner and he may have been a loser as a husband but there’s very little evidence that he was mentally deranged. Calling Oswald and Jack Ruby “lone nuts” is just a convenient way to avoid inconvenient facts about the only two known suspects in the JFK assassination.

  5. Rob Truitt says:

    Over 75% of Americans & possibly greater number of non-Americans know that L.H Oswald wasn’t a lone nut just the opposite. Oswald visited Japan, USA, Soviet Union, Finland & it’s reported he visited Mexico. They even visit on very little money. Young men like his type are sometimes rejected by their girlfriends, yes believe it or not, hasn’t that happened to most boys or men. If your answer is no, then you didn’t date very much. He was on a talk radio station as a guest a time or two and was filmed by a local TV. He served almost 3 years in the American Armed Forces. As a youth, Lee lived and visited many states, Texas, New York & Louisiana & the states in between. Lee Oswald was so dynamic he was seen many times in two different locations, even continents. Reportedly his favorite place was the Bronx Zoo. Anyone who has a soft spot for animals is empathic, for lack of forming empathy is a sure sign of a mental disorder. We could go on but wouldn’t because as Neil Hodges points out above, calling Oswald (and Ruby) lone nuts is just a convenient way to avoid inconvenient facts, an unwillingness to delve into the details and is a lazy man’s way to deny. It’s not a sophisticated defense just a lazy one.

  6. Hans Trayne says:

    For the benefit of those who weren’t around at the time JFK was murdered in Dallas, Lee Oswald was explained to youngsters like me as a communist spy. He started out as a regular US citizen but the commies got him & turned him into their evil ways of thinking. Then they sent him back to the US to drum up support for their buddy Fidel Castro & then to kill JFK.

    The Dallas police & FBI figured he was a soviet spy when TV broadcast Oswald handing out the ‘hands off Cuba’ leaflets & his ‘Latin Listening Post’ radio interviews & had him killed to send a message to the Soviet Union & Fidel Castro that if they send any more spies into the US, well they too can be eliminated.

    In other words, the murder of Oswald was an ‘eye for an eye’ for the murders of President Kennedy & DPD officer Tippit.

    Regardless of how that explanation may sound today, that’s what youngsters were told in late 1963 & most of 1964 by adults we trusted.

  7. Peter V. says:

    Not so sure about that. David Kaiser told me he heard a news outlet broadcast of the radio interview within 24 hours of the assassination.

    • Photon says:

      I remember specifically CBS news broadcasting the films of Oswald handing out leaflets in New Orleans months later- the films never made the local news programs while Oswald was in N. O.
      The radio interviews were never rebroadcast outside of N.O. until CBS Radio replayed them on an evening news broadcast in 1965 or 1966. I believe that it was part of Lowell Thomas’ evening CBS News program that came on around 7 PM. I know because I recorded it on an old reel tape recorder called a Wollensack.

  8. Jeff Rogers says:

    It’s been well established that LHO had a high security clearance as a radar operator with MACS in Atsugi, Japan, and that U2s operated in the vicinity. Various of “Ozzie’s” co-workers have described LHO’s knowledge of U2 operations. LHO’s “defection” to the USSR in late October preceded the Powers/U2 incident by just six months. Francis Gary Powers even stated his belief in the connection.

  9. Kennedy63 says:

    Looking at Oswald and the “story” of his life, there is one person who, I would dare say, knew him best – his mother. Despite all the speculation and assigned titles given to Oswald, I think he was set up. When you listen to his November 22, news conferences, you can see Oswald is genuinely dismayed and stunned that someone suggested he was charged with President Kennedy’s assassination. When he stated that “they have charged me with shooting a police officer,” he seems so detached and not really grasping the enormity of his situation, or what all was happening around him. People who worked with him (their initial reports) state Oswald was not acting unusual on the day of the assassination, nor did he seem out of character (as one who planned to shoot the president) would seem. We “know” Oswald through so many other people’s eyes and not his own. If there was anything strange about Oswald, I say it is because of the propaganda mill of law enforcement (FBI, DALLAS Police, Secret Service, and yes, certainly the CIA and other military/Intel agencies).
    When you strip away the “hype” and look at what Oswald actually did – where there are bona fide records (not doctored ones), you have a person who did the best he could with what the military gave him to work with. It might be ironic, in the end, to discover that his discharge was changed to “dis-honorable” to pressure him to work with intelligence agencies in some manner. Certainly the FBI and CIA stalked his movements. The FBI physically contacted him on numerous occasions with the result being loss of jobs. In 1963, the FBI and CIA were not above blackmail. Hell, Hoover was the prime blackmailer due to his “secret files” and his ability to dig up “dirt” on most people, if he desired. If Hoover could initiate a smear campaign against Dr. King, who and what was insignificant Lee Harvey Oswald? The plotters needed a “patsy” a sacrificial lamb to pin the assassination on (just like Milteer predicted) and Hoover stepped up to the plate and delivered Oswald. Hell, even Hoover knew about the CIA/Mafia using Oswald’s name back in 1961 when Oswald was in Russia.
    Oswald was not Kennedy’s assassin. When you accept that fact, you have to move one past the Warren Ommission Report, to the Military/CIA/FBI nexus (Deep Voo-Doo Politics)

  10. Sammy says:

    Oswald was not very fond of his mother and was even upset that Marina brought her along when she visited him in jail. His brother, Robert, has often verified this, saying she had not been a good mother. Others who knew her said that she also lied. Under the circumstances I wouldn’t consider her credible. If his own brother thought him guilty it has to be a possibility. He said that if he thought his brother innocent, he would have done everything to prove it. Robert also said that if this had been any other murder case, it would have been solved long ago. I think he knew Lee and Lee did confide in him. If Lee had been involved in so many top security covert operations, his brother would have known. There would be no reason to think his brother guilty.

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