Kennedy: FBI pointed finger at LBJ
THE telephone call to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City was brief and on face value, bland.
The CIA agents tapping the diplomatic mission's phones identified the caller as a Mr Lee Harvey Oswald, so identified as that is what he told the operator.
Oswald, in broken Russian, asked a "guard" on the transferred call whether there had been "anything new concerning the telegram to Washington" and after a short time the guard reported back that nothing had been received.
That could well have ended any US interest in the caller but for one month later when his name would headline around the world as the man behind the assassination of the 35th President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
According to a CIA file made public for the first time yesterday, the October 1 call was linked to a visit by Oswald one month earlier on September 28 when he met Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a known KGB agent working for a division renowned for sabotage and assassination.
Suddenly what Oswald had to say was of interest.
It could have been about a visa issue and the like but Kostikov was too important to have had that sort of dealing which made Oswald a spy, albeit bad one.
"Of course it is unusual for a KGB agent on a sensitive mission to have such covert contact with the Soviet embassy," a CIA chief noted.
"However we have top secret Soviet intelligence documents describing Military Intelligence doctrine, which show that very important agents can be met in official installations using as cover for their presence there some sort of open business."
Another CIA memo was even more implicit stating that an alleged KGB defector stated Oswald, who had lived in Russia a decade earlier and had visited both the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City six days before the assassination, was not known to Soviet spies thereby making it clear "Oswald was an agent of the KGB".
And there will begin a whole new conspiracy theory about who and why on November 22, 1963 assassinated JFK in Dallas, Texas.
More than 3000 files "released" on Friday, of which only 2800 were actually handed over, for the first time since that day, some with whole redactions, will do nothing to quell the conspiracies behind the murder of the charismatic 46-year-old president.
Indeed they will fuel further theories with the files throwing up all sorts of murky musings and dealings commensurate with that Cold War era.
President Donald Trump authorised their release, after President George H.W. Bush signed a law in 1992 requiring that all documents related to the slaying be released within 25 years.
But even he has been hamstrung with some files being withdrawn or blanked at the last minute at the behest of the CIA and FBI on national security grounds.
"Executive departments and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns," President Trump said.
"I have no choice - today - but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation's security," he said adding he would give them till April 26, 2018 to make their case for continued nondisclosure.
University of Virginia's director of politics Larry Sabato said such was the volume and detail that was released it could take months or years to put together "this million piece puzzle"
That puzzle would include claims in the files that the slaying was in response to the Kennedy ordered assassination of Vietnam's President President Ngo Dinh Diem days earlier or was ordered by Fidel Castro with his embassies around the world noted for celebrating his death.
A file put together by the FBI for its boss J Edgar Hoover suggested it may well have been Kennedy's successor Lyndon Baines Johnson behind the killing.
According to one file, in the Soviet Union KGB officials feared it could have been one of their rogue generals while the Communist Party suspected it was members of the American ultraright and that not one man was involved but a whole team.
An FBI Soviet double agent, in Russia at the time of JFK's killing, said Soviet officials determined that Oswald was a "neurotic maniac", disloyal to his own country and with whom they wanted nothing to do with.
The file continued: "Our source added that in the instructions from Moscow, it was indicated that 'now' the KGB was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy. KGB headquarters indicated that in view of this information, it was necessary for the Soviet Government to know the existing personal relationship between President Johnson and the Kennedy family, particularly that between President Johnson and Robert and 'Ted' Kennedy."
Another file cites a Soviet naval officer speaking to a colleague in Washington that was being monitored and remarking of the killing "we should never have let this happen".
The White House at the time also questioned whether Cuba was involved based on intelligence where a Cuban spy known to Oswald, for reasons that remain unclear. The files revealed the CIA had proposed various plots to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro from poison pills and sabotaging airplane parts being shipped to Cuba from Canada to hiring infamous mobster and personally known to Kennedy Sam Giancana to get a team together to shoot the leader.
A Cuban theory will likely be fuelled by another memo which shows the FBI were trying to track Oswald down in the days before the assassination. It noted he was "of interest" with Cuban sources. It was known he had visited the Cuban embassy at some point.
Another memo highlighted the fear by Hoover of internal conspiracy theorists unless the FBI "can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin".
Presumably for that reason so many documents have been withheld for half a century particularly from the files of the CIA. However files from that agency released yesterday outlined an even murkier broader conspiracy with dozens of pages outlining its heavily financed programs and assassination plots mostly directed at Cuba but also North and South Vietnam, the Dominican Republic and its leader General Rafael Trujillo and the Congo. One file detailed Operation Bounty detailed how Cuban citizens were to be paid to overthrow their regime, payments would depend on their official standings in the community with a government official to receive US$100,000 and an informer US$5000-$20,000.
For years theories have swirled about the death, much pushed by Hollywood movies. There was the "magic bullet" with a single shot apparently hitting both JFK and Texas governor John Connally; from the "grassy knoll" where witnesses were convinced there had been another shot fired; as opposed to the official recording of the shots just from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository by Oswald; Oswald claims he was just "the patsy" before he was then assassinated, how it was an armed Jack Ruby got so close to Oswald to kill him and the "umbrella man" at the shooting scene on what was a beautiful clear day.