What's in the CIA's Secret JFK Files?
November 25, 2013
James Rosen / Fox News & Ralph Lopez / Digital Journal
On the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said his father believed that Oswald did not act alone. RFK Jr.'s comments mirror the conclusion of an official 1976 government commission, which stated that: "The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy." RFK Jr. suggested the killers were "rogue CIA."
An excerpt from President John F. Kennedy's commencement address at American University on June 10, 1963.
Copyright: Kennedy Library Foundation
What's in the CIA's Secret JFK Files?
James Rosen / Fox News
(November 22, 2013) -- Fifty years after shots rang out in Dealey Plaza, killing a larger-than-life figure and abruptly ushering in what one historian has called "the decade of shocks" -- from Dallas to Watergate -- the federal agency that stood at the center of seemingly all the intrigues and conspiracy theories of that shadowy era is still holding onto an estimated 1,100 documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The Central Intelligence Agency told Fox News this week through a spokesman that the National Archives now has custody over those tantalizing documents, along with a larger group of 90,000 or so pages of agency files on the assassination that have already been released.
Federal law mandates that all known records relating to the assassination will be released by 2017, unless any agency objects, in which case the Assassination Records and Review Board would consider the appeal; but the spokesman said the CIA as of now has no plans to pose any such objections.
Among the material that remains classified are the files of a number of long-deceased CIA officials who are believed by researchers to have had knowledge about the movements and actions of Lee Harvey Oswald, the president's assassin, in the months before Dealey Plaza.
Some of these officials are also believed to have helped the CIA conceal this knowledge from the staff members of the two major official probes into the assassination: the Warren Commission, which concluded in its 1964 report that Oswald was the sole assassin; and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), whose final report in 1979 determined that there was a "high probability" that two gunmen fired at the president that day.
The CIA spokesman dismissed conspiracy theories involving the agency as "pure fiction."
One official who has drawn particular scrutiny by researchers is the late George Joannides, an undercover CIA officer who worked in Miami and New Orleans in the early 1960s.
Researchers say that on the evening of Nov. 22, 1963, Joannides was busy at work distributing materials to the news media that tied Oswald to pro-Castro groups, among other mysterious actions he took in the aftermath of the assassination. And when the HSCA reopened the Kennedy case in the late 1970s, Joannides was brought out of retirement to serve as the agency's liaison to the committee.
Researchers tend to agree that Joannides should more properly have appeared as a witness before HSCA.
While he believes that the evidence firmly establishes that Oswald killed President Kennedy, political scientist Larry Sabato, author of The Kennedy Half Century, does not rule out that the CIA could have played some role in the assassination -- and he remains troubled by the agency's conduct over the years.
"The fact that they appointed George Joannides to be the liaison between the CIA and the House Select Committee on Assassinations tells me that they consciously were determined to withhold information from this second major investigation of the Kennedy assassination," Sabato told Fox News this week.
"[Joannides] never revealed the fact that he had a direct conflict of interest, that he had been involved in one of the organizations that could potentially have been guilty of involvement in the assassination of the president," Sabato said. "Nor did he reveal his activities on November 22nd, 1963."
In addition, he consistently refused to cooperate with staff members of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He was trying to withhold information from them. He convinced the director of the [panel] that his young staff was pushing the CIA too hard, too unfairly; and so the director tended to pull them back."
Former Washington Post editor Jefferson Morley has spent years researching the assassination -- the last 10 of them locked in litigative combat with Langley. He moderates a website, JFKFacts.org, that keeps readers updated on Morley's work, as well as other new trends and developments in assassination research.
In Morley v. CIA, first filed in 2003 and still pending, with motions in the case filed just recently, the historian is seeking to pry open the Joannides papers before the 2017 date.
"That's what's striking about Joannides: both that he's well positioned to report on Oswald in 1963 and then fifteen years later is called out of retirement to deal with the congressional investigators," Morley told Fox News, in an interview from Dealey Plaza on the anniversary of the assassination. "But he never discloses his own role in the events of 1963. I find that highly suspicious and I'm trying to clarify that.... I mean, that was felonious behavior. He was obstructing Congress there. So you've got to wonder why was he doing that, and I think that's still a big question after fifty years."
In studying "the possible relationship of Oswald to the CIA," Sabato in his book posits that Langley withheld from investigators what it knew about the assassin, and when, because the CIA planned, or had already begun, to use the troubled 24-year-old ex-Marine as an asset of some kind. "The agency could have viewed Oswald as a malleable potential low-level operative with an unusual combination of background experiences and contacts," Sabato writes.
But Peter Savodnik, author of The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union, a deeply researched new study of the assassin's interior psychology, doubts there was any such relationship.
"These are, in the end, large government bureaucracies and they are shot through with inefficiencies and turf battles," Savodnik said during an interview on "The Foxhole" on Nov. 21. "I can't explain why it is that there are certain pages that have been withheld.... He was on their so-called radar screen. But I don't think that that means anything more than exactly that. The idea that somehow he was somehow a puppet or a patsy or being controlled by larger forces mysteriously, clandestinely makes for nice theatre, but there's no truth behind it."
James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show "The Foxhole."
JFK Nephew Names 'Rogue CIA' in JFK Assassination Plot
Ralph Lopez / Digital Journal
(November 8, 2013) -- In the year of the 50th anniversary of the day which many Americans say broke their hearts, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, to virtually no media coverage, that his father Bobby believed that Oswald did not act alone, and neither does he.
RFK Jr.'s comments mirror the conclusion of the 1976 official government commission on the assassination of the 35th president, which stated that:
"The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy."
Although the 1976 commission's evidence and conclusions are still hotly disputed, acoustics analysts Professor Mark Weiss and Ernest Aschkenasy of Queens College concluded that "with the probability of 95% or better, there was indeed a shot fired from the grassy knoll."
When prodded by television host Charlie Rose to discuss his feelings on likely perpetrators, RFK Jr. turns aside Rose's questions leading to a Mafia or Cuban connection, and says:
"KENNEDY: I think my father was fairly convinced at the end of that that there had been involvement by somebody …
ROSE: Organized crime, Cubans …
KENNEDY: Or rogue CIA …"
A 2013 AP poll shows that 85 percent of Americans now believe that Oswald did not act alone.
RFK Jr. appeared at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas with his sister Rory in January of this year, but the bombshell was reported only by one American media outlet. USA Today reported the comments the next day.
The Dallas Morning News skewed its coverage by omitting the explosive charge against a faction of the CIA, and included only RFK Jr.'s remark that his father was "dismissive" of the Warren Commission Report, and had called it a "shoddy piece of craftsmanship."
Online the Huffington Post covered the story.
As renewed interest builds upon the approach of the biggest anniversary yet of the president's murder, such buried facts surrounding the assassination are beginning to resurface, and take on new meaning.
Journalist Russ Baker, author of the best-selling Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, has unearthed the startling coincidence that Lee Harvey Oswald's principle handler, after he arrived back in the states from self-imposed exile in the Soviet Union, was George de Mohrenschildt, and that De Mohrenschildt's nephew had roomed with George H. W. Bush at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. PBS's Bill Moyers has praised Baker's work for its "fierce independence."
On September 5, 1976 George De Mohrenschildt wrote a letter to Bush, who had recently become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The letter said:
"You will excuse this hand-written letter. Maybe you will be able to bring a solution to the hopeless situation I find myself in.
"My wife and I find ourselves surrounded by some vigilantes; our phone bugged; and we are being followed everywhere. Either FBI is involved in this or they do not want to accept my complaints.... I tried to write, stupidly and unsuccessfully, about Lee H Oswald and must have angered a lot of people -- I do not know. But to punish an elderly man like myself and my highly nervous and sick wife is really too much.
"Could you do something to remove the net around us? This will be my last request for help and I will not annoy you any more. Good luck in your important job. Thank you so much."
Through his research Baker uncovered a letter from Bush to De Mohrenschildt, from CIA official records, in which Bush wrote back (here in its entirety):
"Let me say first that I know it must have been difficult for you to seek my help in the situation outlined in your letter. I believe I can appreciate your state of mind in view of your daughter's tragic death a few years ago, and the current poor state of your wife's health. I was extremely sorry to hear of these circumstances. In your situation I can well imagine how the attentions you described in your letter affect both you and your wife.
"However, my staff has been unable to find any indication of interest in your activities on the part of Federal authorities in recent years. The flurry of interest that attended your testimony before the Warren Commission has long subsided. I can only speculate that you may have become "newsworthy" again in view of the renewed interest in the Kennedy assassination, and thus may be attracting the attention of people in the media.
"I hope this letter had been of some comfort to you, George, although I realize I am unable to answer your question completely.
-- George Bush, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency." [CIA Exec Reg. # 76,51571 9.28.76]
On March 29, De Mohrenschildt granted an interview to author Edward Jay Epstein, during which he claimed that in 1962, Dallas CIA operative J. Walton Moore had given him the go-ahead to meet Oswald. "I would never have contacted Oswald in a million years if Moore had not sanctioned it," de Mohrenschildt said.
On the same day as the interview, De Mohrenschildt was contacted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA.) That afternoon, he was found dead from a shotgun blast to the head. The verdict was suicide. Rep. Richardson Preyer, a member of the HSCA, said De Mohrenschildt was a "crucial witness." (See series of excerpts from Baker's "Family of Secrets" at his website HERE.)
An unusual assortment of national political figures were in or around Dallas on the day of the assassination or the day prior to it, including J. Edgar Hoover, according to William Penn Jones, an Army Brigadier General and owner of the Midlothian Mirror, Richard Nixon, according to a Pepsi Cola executive whose convention Nixon spoke at the night before, and George HW Bush, at that time a CIA operative.
Nixon's recollections of the day have been inconsistent, and HW Bush initially said that he did not recall where he was on that day, although Russ Baker shows that he was in Dallas but concocting elaborate "alibis."
Other pieces of film evidence have emerged since the famous "Zapruder film", taken by bystander Abraham Zapruder. The Zapruder film was shown to the public on network television for the first time in 1975, generating public outrage, 12 years after the assassination, which led to the formation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
Another film sequence shows the Secret Service being ordered away from the limousine as it enters a hairpin turn just before the shooting began.
Disputing a flurry of reports that the president was difficult to protect because he enjoyed being near the public and enjoyed campaigning, ten Secret Service agents who were in Kennedy's security detail went on-record in 1998 saying the opposite, that Kennedy never interfered with the details.
One agent who was in the detail, Clint Hill, has attempted to explain a key agent's removal from the limousine as it entered the turn by saying it was that agent's time to "go to lunch."
The hairpin turn onto Elm Street which slowed the limousine to a near stop was the most vulnerable portion of the parade route. Moreover, Secret Service details are run as paramilitary operations in which the needs of the mission always take precedence over all other considerations, such as "lunch" breaks.
Dallas Mayor May Close Off Dealey Plaza to Unapproved Speakers
According to the Dallas Morning News, this November 22nd the city of Dallas may close off Dealey Plaza, the site of the JFK assassination and now a National Park, to the general public, and reserve the plaza for a ticketed event. The Dallas News reports that Nicola Longford, the executive director of the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas Book Depository has said:
"We have reserved Dealey Plaza for that date... I think, for the 50th anniversary, we have an opportunity to offer a dignified, appropriate event for the city of Dallas."
The newspaper says:
"On Nov. 22, 2013, Dealey Plaza is expected to swarm with television cameras. For the past few months, officials at the adjacent Sixth Floor Museum have been quietly at work, trying to ensure that what those cameras capture won't embarrass the city."
The Sixth Floor Museum is run by a private, non-profit organization, but the property itself is owned by the County of Dallas.
OccupyGrassyKnoll.org, an organization of advocates for freedom of speech at Dealey Plaza, has reported that unticketed visitors "will be turned away at barricades and asked to watch the event at other parks."
However, a columnist for the Dallas News says that the city is showing signs of bending from its plan to: "shut down Dealey Plaza with paramilitary force on November 22, specifically banishing anyone who would dare inform visiting media that some people still aren't sure who killed Kennedy."
The Dallas News writer says:
"This may be the last group in the world that would ever agree to trudge off meekly to some state-sanctioned dissent venue distant from Dealey Plaza on the 22nd. They are going to Dealey Plaza. They have to go to Dealey Plaza. There may be a chance this could all get worked out between now and November in some way that would avoid a showdown. But if it isn't worked out, there will be a big messy showdown."
Ironically, the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, was in the audience when RFK Jr. made his pronouncement that his father, Bobby, did not in fact believe there was only one gunman. When asked by activists if JFK's nephew would be allowed to speak at the ticketed event given his point of view, the mayor answered that he would, "but he would have to stay on point."
The Question of Why
With the 1976 House Select Committee on Assassinations conclusion that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy" standing as the last official position of the government of the United States, attention has increasingly turned to the question of the motives for the assassination.
The Select Committee also concluded, that despite much speculation, that Cuba, the Soviet Union, or the Mafia were unlikely to have been involved. This would narrow the list of perpetrators down drastically to those within the US government.
OccupyGrassyKnoll.org and others have called for the release of key classified documents which would shed light on many more questions surrounding the president's murder, which took place before the eyes of thousands, in a horrific and brutal manner. A letter-writing campaign is scheduled for the week of November 22 urging the release of the documents.
It has emerged through historical documents that JFK did not believe that the war in Vietnam could be won and was planning to pull out American troops, according to his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
In addition, Kennedy in a speech at American University on June 10, 1963 revealed his intention to short-circuit rapid build-up of nuclear weapons by both the US and the USSR by favoring a policy of detente.
It is speculated that Kennedy diverged from the agenda of business elites and the "military-industrial complex", a term coined by President Eisenhower in his Farewell Speech. Eisenhower warned that the powerful combination of big business and military might prove a mortal threat to democracy.
Bush and the JFK Hit
Russ Baker / WhoWhatWhy.com
(November 6, 2013) -- What possible connection could there have been between George H.W. Bush and the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Or between the C.I.A. and the assassination? Or between Bush and the C.I.A.? For some people, apparently, making such connections was as dangerous as letting one live wire touch another.
Here, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination in November, is the eighth part of a ten-part series of excerpts from WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker's bestseller, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.
Note: Although these excerpts do not contain footnotes, the book itself is heavily footnoted and exhaustively sourced. (The excerpts in Part 8 come from Chapter 6 of the book, and the titles and subtitles have been changed for this publication.)
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.