What Secrets Are In The JFK Files?

On October 26th, 1992, President George H W

Bush signed the JFK Records Act into law It directed the National Archives and Records Administration with collecting copies of all government records relating to the assassination of President John F Kennedy in November 1963 In all, it holds about five million pages The Act stipulated that all the JFK files must be declassified and made available to the public

The deadline for releasing the files was exactly 25 years from the day the Act was signed – the 26th October, 2017 Over several months in 2017, more than twenty thousand files were released by the National Archives Many still include redactions, and remain under review by Presidential order until April 2018 With all the many unanswered questions and theories surrounding the JFK assassination, what do the files released so far tell us? The files contain a variety of information Some have little bearing on the assassination, but reveal other disturbing truths, like the FBI’s paranoia over the growing influence of Latino voters, and Martin Luther King, Jr

’s activities in the mid-to-late 60s Some are included merely coincidentally, like the report that shows a CIA plot to kill Fidel Castro with a poison pen began at the very moment JFK was shot Others are personnel files, like that of James Angleton, chief of CIA counterintelligence, who was later exposed for conducting illegal espionage against US citizens

His file has redactions and pages which are still classified Attorney Dan Hardway, who was an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, says the CIA has not provided a written explanation for why those pages are withheld – and is therefore breaking the law What has been declassified connects Angleton to a man called Lee Harvey Oswald Oswald was never tried for the murder of JFK, but he was declared guilty by the official government investigation into the assassination, the Warren Commission The Commission concluded he acted alone, implying it was impossible to prevent him from killing Kennedy

Therefore, perhaps the most significant revelations so far concern just how much the CIA and FBI had been monitoring Lee Harvey Oswald before that fateful day in Dallas It has long been known that Oswald tried to defect to the Soviet Union in 1959 After that, his movements were followed by James Angleton and his team Oswald never received Soviet citizenship and that may be why he went to Mexico City in September 1963, to try to get a visa from the Soviet embassy The latest published files include a 23-page CIA report on Oswald’s trip to Mexico

The report contains a CIA cable sent by Mexico station chief Winston Scott on Oct 8th, 1963 – over a month before the assassination The memo states that Oswald contacted Consul Valeriy Kostikov Kostikov is briefly mentioned in the Warren Report and the CIA believed he worked for the KGB’s Department 13, which was responsible for sabotage and assassinations James Angleton, who almost certainly received the memo, seems to have done nothing about it In fact, on October 9th, the day after the memo was sent, Oswald’s name was removed from the list of persons of interest to the FBI

All the same, the files show that Angleton kept his eye on Oswald On November 15th, one week before JFK was killed, one of Angleton’s staffers received and initialed an FBI report from the New Orleans office that said Oswald had returned from Mexico and moved to Texas In fact, the report concludes by dismissing Oswald’s contact with Kostikov in Mexico as a “grim coincidence” There are other documents which expose potential failures by America’s intelligence agencies to protect their president There is a newly declassified memo from Richard Helms, a CIA deputy director, to the general counsel to the Warren Commission

In it, Helms says a Polish chauffeur for the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, Australia, called the CIA on the 23rd November 1963, the day after JFK’s death The chauffeur claimed the Soviets had offered $100,000 to fund the assassination Moreover, Helms admitted the same man gave the same tip on the 15th October 1962, over a year before JFK was killed However, the chauffeur was dismissed as a crank, since he also mentioned that five Soviet submarines were carrying 500 soldiers to Cuba to support an uprising by the Governor of Mississippi Nevertheless, Helms concludes it was never confirmed whether the chauffeur really was a crank, or a KGB agent as he claimed

Another memo summarises a thorough search of CIA records in 1975, to determine whether Lee Harvey Oswald had ever been used by or connected to the agency The search proved fruitless, and the memo says allegations that Oswald was a CIA asset are “totally unfounded” Likewise, the Soviets always insisted Oswald was never a KGB asset The JFK files reveal they were frightened the USA would assume they had killed the president, and even feared a rogue American general might launch a nuke at the USSR In fact, the KGB believed President Lyndon B

Johnson was behind the assassination We know all this because of Yuri Nosenko, who features prominently in the JFK files He defected to the USA in 1964 and claimed he personally handled Oswald’s case Nosenko was kept in solitary confinement and possibly tortured for three and a half years, on suspicion of being a double agent In 1969, the government acknowledged him as a genuine defector and released him, with financial compensation for his treatment under Angleton

The declassified files clearly show the CIA did all they could to prevent the public seeing James Angleton’s files, even as late as 1997 One document even reveals that, when Winston Scott wrote a book about Lee Harvey Oswald’s time in Mexico, Angleton went to his house and took every copy of the manuscript he could find Finally and maybe most intriguingly, there is also a report by J Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, written on the day Oswald was killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby Hoover wrote that “Last night we received a call from our Dallas office from… a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald

” Hoover says he passed this onto Dallas police, who clearly failed to protect Oswald Hoover concluded, “The thing I am concerned about… is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin” As we delve deeper into the files, and more redactions are removed over time, hopefully the shroud that still surrounds the JFK assassination will be further lifted

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