Lee Harvey Oswald: US Intelligence Operative

From Dallas to Raleigh: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Fingerprints of Intelligence

Allen City TV (2015)

Film Review

This presentation, featuring assassination researchers Grover Proctor and Jim Marrs, focuses on a fascinating chain of evidence shedding new light on “lone assassin” Lee Harvey Oswald’s role as a US intelligence operative. The new evidence revolves around the mysterious Raleigh North Caroline “cutout” named John Hurd, who Oswald attempted to call from the Dallas jail. Hurd first came to the attention of assassination researchers during the extensive 1978 investigation by the House Committee on Assassinations.

Proctor, who interviewed Hurd prior to his death, has assembled strong circumstantial evidence that Hurd was linked to the Naval Intelligence Unit in Nagshead North Carolina that trained recruits in the fifties and sixties to “defect” to the Soviet Union as double agents. Following his enlistment in the Marines at 17, Oswald underwent training at Nagshead and was initially deployed to Japan, where he had top secret clearance to monitor U2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union. In 1959, he would “defect” to the Soviet Union in an attempt to fool the Russians into offering him a sensitive intelligence role. After the Russians failed to take the bait, the US repatriated him in 1961.

The second hour of the documentary, in which Jim Marrs comments on Proctor’s work, is the most illuminating. Marrs briefly sums up other compelling evidence linking Oswald to Naval Intelligence and the CIA, including his CIA 201 (employment) file and the Minox spy camera he had on his person at the time of his arrest. Marrs also refers to important evidence regarding Oswald’s intelligence activities in New Orleans – uncovered by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison ** and corroborated by Oswald’s former mistress Judyth Baker in  Lee and Me


*A “cutout” is an intermediary a undercover operative can safely contact in emergency situations without exposing the identity of their control (ie the official operative directing their intelligence activities).

**Jim Garrison was the only prosecutor to indict and try (in 1967) a prominent assassination co-conspirator named Clay Shaw. Shaw was ultimately acquitted owing to the CIA’s refusal to release records documenting his extensive history in intelligence (which would be released to the House Committee on Assassinations in 1978).

New Evidence in JFK Assassination

farewell to justice

A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case that Should Have Changed History

by Joan Mellen (2013 Skyhorse Publishing)

Book Review

 A Farewell to Justice is an exhaustive review of the only arrest and trial stemming from the 1963 murder of President John F Kennedy. The late New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison describes the 1967 grand jury investigation and prosecution of long time CIA officer Clay Shaw in his 1988 bestseller On the Trail of the Assassins. In 1992, the public outcry prompted by JFK, Oliver Stone’s screen version, led Congress to pass the JFK Records Collection Act. A Farewell to Justice uses classified documents released under this Act to update Garrison’s original case against Shaw and other CIA co-conspirators.

A revised version of the 2005 edition, the new 647 page A Farewell to Justice is a virtual encyclopedia of the JFK assassination. The book leaves no doubt that high level CIA officials authorized the murder and provides a complete list of the cast of characters who played roles in the assassination and/or cover up.

The new edition makes use of documents Mellen obtainedvia a 2011 Freedom of Information (FOIA) request and personal  interviews with surviving assassination witnesses. The most startling new evidence relates to Robert Kennedy’s systematic efforts to obstruct both the Warren Commission investigation and Jim Garrison’s efforts to identify the real culprits behind his brother’s murder.

Oswald’s FBI Pay Slips

According to Mellen, it was Warren Commission member Hale Boggs who first encouraged Garrison to investigate the assassination. Boggs himself first became concerned about government involvement in the conspiracy when the Warren Commission examined Oswald’s FBI pay slips in January 1964.

As well as providing a detailed outline of the entire grand jury investigation, Mellen also explores the role the FBI, CIA and Robert Kennedy played in sabotaging it. In addition to murdering and threatening assassination witnesses, the FBI/CIA wiretapped Garrison’s office, infiltrated his investigation team, stole files, fabricated witness statements, blocked subpoenas and the extradition of witnesses from other states and used CIA moles at the TV networks and major newspapers and magazines to portray Garrison as a self-centered, publicity mad lunatic.

Garrison initially intended to try Dave Ferrie, who he believed recruited Oswald to US intelligence as a high school student when he belonged to Ferrie’s Civil Air Patrol squadron. Garrison had witness testimony linking Ferrie, a known CIA pilot, to both Oswald and anti-Castro Cubans the CIA was training at a secret camp north of Lake Pontchartrain. Many of the same Cubans, training for roles in a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, would play parallel roles in Kennedy’s murder. When Ferrie suddenly turned up dead, Garrison moved to arrest Clay Shaw, based on witness statements linking Shaw to Oswald, Ferrie and the secret training facility.

Jurors Believe Government Played Some Role

Although Shaw was ultimately acquitted, Garrison succeeded in convincing the jury that the government played some role in the assassination. As they later told assassination researcher Mark Lane, without proof Shaw worked for the CIA, they felt there was reasonable doubt that he participated. His CIA personnel records wouldn’t be released until the mid-seventies.

Garrison would continue investigating the JFK assassination until his death. He made his findings available to the Church Committee (which concluded in 1976 that Oswald was a CIA operative engaged in counterintelligence) and the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded there was more than one shooter and that Shaw was one of the high level planners).

According to Mellen, the CIA decided in the early 1970s to sacrifice Shaw (who would die in 1974 of lung cancer) as a limited hangout* by releasing his CIA employment records to HSCA. They reveal that Shaw worked for both the Domestic Operations Division and Clandestine Services between 1949 and 1972 and had strong links to PERMINDEX a shadowy CIA front that financed assassination attempts against French president Charles De Gaulle, as well as Kennedy.

Why Robert Kennedy Obstructed the Investigation

The classified documents released in Mellen’s FOIA suit establish that Attorney General Robert Kennedy was personally running the CIA operation to assassinate Castro and well aware of Oswald’s links to the operation. In 1961 Kennedy was directly responsible for the demotion, harassment and persecution of a State Department security officer named Otto Otepka for investigating Oswald’s potential security risk as a former Soviet defector. Kennedy also ordered Oswald’s release following his arrest for firing shots at General Edwin Walker in April 1963.

In the summer of 1963 several Cuban exiles, who were deeply devoted to Bobby, informed him of Oswald’s involvement in a plot to assassinate his brother. According to Mellen, who interviewed one of them, Kennedy claimed that Oswald wasn’t a threat because he was on the payroll of the New Orleans FBI field office and they were monitoring him.

According to Mellen, the younger Kennedy played a direct role, through his investigator Walter Sheridan, in sabotaging Kennedy’s autopsy, the Warren Commission investigation and Garrison’s investigation. Following Bobby’s assassination in 1968, Sheridan continued to protect his  interests by obstructing the release of documents for the 1978 HSCA investigation.

Mellen’s hypothesizes that Bobby’s interest and intervention on behalf of Oswald indirectly implicated him in the assassination conspiracy. It would have destroyed his political career for any of his prior links to Oswald to become public.

*Limited hangout is intelligence jargon for a form of propaganda in which a selected portion of a criminal conspiracy is revealed to protect the main perpetrators.

Lee Harvey Oswald: Career CIA Operative

oswaldJFK: The Second Plot

Matthew Smith (1992)

Book Review

Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the CIA (and FBI and Army and most likely Naval Intelligence) from the late fifties when the CIA recruited him from the Marine Corps until his murder on November 24, 1963 by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. A clear appreciation of Lee Harvey Oswald’s role as an intelligence operative is key to understanding the JFK assassination conspiracy and cover-up. Although more than 20 years old, in my opinion Matthew Smith’s JFK: The Second Plot offers the most comprehensive account of Oswald’s CIA career. The first account of Lee Harvey Oswald’s CIA connections appeared in a 1968 book originally published by French intelligence entitled Farewell America. French president Charles DeGaulle had a keen interest in identifying the conspirators behind Kennedy’s assassination, as the same group had also made three assassination attempts against DeGaulle. Farewell America reveals how the CIA recruited Oswald when he was stationed at Atsugi Marine Air Base in Japan and sent him to the Soviet Union. These historical details were corroborated by testimony a former CIA officer provided the House Committee on Assassinations in 1978.

The Soviets, recognizing Oswald as a likely double agent, never fully trusted him, and in 1961 the CIA returned him to the US. According to government archives, his handlers went on to give him assignments intended to create a kooky leftist alter ego, which would later be used to frame him for Kennedy’s murder. Given that Oswald had foreknowledge of Kennedy’s assassination, the obvious question is why he allowed himself to be set up. The answer Smith offers seems totally plausible: Oswald believed the CIA was returning him to the Soviet Union (via Cuba) to become a double agent. His handlers, in turn, intended to use his flight to Cuba to blame the President’s assassination on Fidel Castro.

Oswald’s Visit to Red Bird Airport

Smith first got the idea for his book after obtaining FBI documents under the Freedom of Information Act revealing that Oswald, together with two other federal agents, paid a visit to the American Aviation Company (AAC) at Red Bird Airport trying to charter an aircraft for November 22, 1963. Smith subsequently interviewed Wayne January, the AAC employee they dealt with, and discovered the FBI had falsified the date. The FBI gives the date of their encounter as July, 1963, while it was actually November 20, only two days before the assassination.

Smith also answers puzzling questions about Officer J.D. Tippitt’s role in the assassination conspiracy. Smith believes that an ex-CIA friend named Roscoe White asked Tippitt to transport Oswald to the Red Bird Airport to catch a charter flight to Cuba. When they rendezvoused, Tippitt became suspicious after hearing Oswald’s description broadcast over the police radio. When he got out to question him, a man matching White’s description rushed out of the bushes and shot Tippitt. Following Tippitt’s murder, the plan to spirit Oswald off to Cuba had to be abandoned.

The Main-Tier Plot

Smith organizes his book into two halves. Book One is called “The Main-Tier Plot,” involving the assemblage of a group of snipers to ambush President Kennedy as his motorcade traveled through Dallas. Book Two is devoted to “The Second Plot,” a scheme to enable the true shooters and co-conspirators to escape prosecution by shifting the blame to a kooky leftist Castro-sympathizer.

Smith’s expose of the main-tier plot begins with official Warren Commission (WC) version of the assassination. He devotes an chapter to irregularities in gathering and recording WC testimony that would never be allowed in a court of law. Many of the witnesses reported seeing more than one gunmen and complained bitterly about their evidence being omitted or misreported. Smith is particularly critical of the WC for failing to investigate Officer Tippit’s background or obtain ballistic evidence linking Oswald’s handgun to his murder.

Smith also summarizes the detailed physical evidence pointing to the presence of three or four shooters in Dealey Plaza. He goes on to discuss the intelligence connections of a handful of suspects arrested in the Dal Tex building and elsewhere in Dealey Plaza. All were released after President Lyndon Johnson ordered the Dallas police to discontinue their investigation. Smith devotes an entire chapter to the photographic evidence, including the amateur film made by businessman Abraham Zapruder, which was altered to make the fatal shot appear to come came from the Book Depository behind the motorcade. Finally he discusses the acoustic recordings which led the House Assassinations Committee to make the determination that more than one shooter was involved in Kennedy’s murder.

The Second Plot

The second half of the book offers an in-depth portrait of Oswald’s early history and personality. It details his posting to the Atsugi Marine Air Base in Japan, where he held a “secret” level security clearance, and assisted in monitoring overflights of the Top Secret U2 Spy plane. Smith goes on to describe Oswald’s activities in the Soviet Union in exhaustive detail, as well as the assignments he was given on his return to the US. In one of his first jobs, he processed photos of a Soviet military facility, which again required a security clearance. Other assignments involved infiltrating leftist and pro-Castro groups as an informant. The fabrication of Oswald’s unstable loner persona was facilitated by an Oswald double, a second agent who created major public disturbances while posing as Oswald.

Smith believes that at the time of his arrest, Oswald had been given a new assignment – to attempt to return to the Soviet Union via Cuba. Strong evidence suggests there were plans to airlift him to Cuba the afternoon of November 22, 1963. The plans were suddenly disrupted when Officer J.D. Tippitt was shot and killed. Tippitt’s murder forced the plan to spirit Oswald away to Cuba to be abandoned. His subsequent arrest necessitated his murder by Jack Ruby, another minor co-conspirator. Allowing Oswald’s intelligence connections to come out at trial would have seriously endangered high level officials in the Kennedy administration who participated in the conspiracy.

The Conspirators Had Names

The book’s final chapter “The Conspirators Had Names” is disappointing because it offers no firm conclusions about the real culprits in the JFK assassination. Although Smith refers to New Orleans District Attorney’s Jim Garrison’s unsuccessful prosecution of one of the co-conspirators, he makes no mention whatsoever of the Swiss corporation Pemindex that financed the assassination. It was Clay Shaw’s membership in Permindex that formed the basis of Garrison’s case against him. Nor does it mention the shadowy Defense Industrial Security Command and the 50 or so intelligence and defense contractors with clearly established links to both the DISC and the assassination. The evidence linking Permindex and DISC to the JFK assassination is outlined most clearly in a 1970 book by William Torbitt called Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal or Torbitt Document

Posted in honor of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy.

photo credit: Lone Primate via photopin cc

Originally published in Veterans Today