Yesterday’s post began a series on the JFK files, in particular, those released on October 26 and on July 24, 2017.

One of the questions still outstanding concerns Lee Harvey Oswald having been a CIA asset. Part of this 1975 memo was released last week:

Tantalisingly, that memo stops on page 4 with this question:

MR. BELIN: Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or an agency …

A decade earlier, in 1964, then-CIA director John McCone sent a memo to the US Secret Service chief James J. Rowley about Oswald. This is the first page, courtesy of The Conservative Treehouse:

You can read the full document and a 2004 analysis from Walt Brown here. Excerpts and a summary follow. Emphases mine below.

First, these are the paragraphs highlighted above:

In response to the request made by your office on 24 February 1964 re: Lee Oswald’s activities and assignments on behalf of this agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation, there follows a narrative summary of the internal subversive activities of the Oswald subject.

Oswald subject was trained by this agency, under cover of the Office of Naval Intelligence, for Soviet assignments. During preliminary training, in 1957, subject was active in aerial reconnaissance of mainland China and maintained a security clearance up to the “confidential” level. His military records during this period are open to your agency and I have directed they be forwarded to the Commission.

Secondly, the memo provides more details about Oswald. It states that he was trained ‘at our own Camp Peary site’ in 1957 and 1958. He was sent to the Soviet Union in 1959, near Minsk:

It would not be advantageous at this time to divulge the specifics of that assignment; however, if you wish this information, it can be made available for your personal inspection within the confines of our own offices, or I can send it by courier on the condition that it not leave the custody of the courier. I am concerned that if this information were in any way disclosed to the wrong persons, it would lead the media to erroneously claim this agency, and perhaps others, were directly involved in the Dallas action. While the persons involved were in the employ of this agency, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it is virtually impossible for this or any agency to maintain full, 24-hours-a-day responsibility over its operatives.

In 1961, Oswald was hospitalised in Minsk for a routine operation. The memo states that he should have been there for only three days. Instead, he was there 11 days. McCone says that Oswald might have undergone some type of chemical or electronic control while in hospital. Six days after his release he met his future wife, Marina Prusakova. At the time McCone sent the memo, he had not yet received an intelligence report he had requested from the CIA’s Soviet Embassy contact about Marina Oswald.

McCone’s memo states that Oswald became unstable after his release from hospital and subsequent marriage to Marina. He was of no further significant use to the CIA. He returned to the United States with Marina:

After his return to the U.S., Oswald worked in New Orleans through the Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean and Friends of Democratic Cuba; his case officer was SAIC Guy Bannister from the Chicago F131 office. He was transferred from his assignments there after he was arrested and fined stemming from an incident of his distribution of pamphlets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. While our files here show no flirther [sic] assignments or contact, I am requesting an (xx) check on the subject from our New Orleans and Ft. Worth offices.

By the time of Kennedy’s assassination:

the Oswald subject was only (xxxx xx) in our employ … He was provided with a few unimportant infiltration assignments and proved of little or no value. It is possible that Oswald, given his instability, might have been involved in some operation involving [Teamsters head Jimmy] Hoffa, as noted in SAIC Bertram’s report to your agency dated 1/3/64. Mr. [J Edgar] Hoover advises that his agency [the FBI] is trying to determine whether Hoffa might have been involved laterally or vertically with the Dallas assassination I have advised that I would be interested in seeing the results of that investigation.

Yesterday’s post mentions that Hoffa was planning to travel to Puerto Rico for a trial involving the union there.

After the assassination, the organiser for Local 901 in Puerto Rico, Miguel Cruz said:

Now that we’ve taken care of President Kennedy, we’ll have no trouble in taking over things.

In his analysis, which follows the text of the memo, Walt Brown lays out all the reasons for and against the authenticity of this document.

Supporting the case ‘for’, Brown tells us the wording sounds agency-like: ‘subject Oswald’, ‘Dallas action’ (instead of ‘Kennedy assassination’):

So, it reads extremely accurately. I’d expand that thought and append, again using only logic and circumstance, and suggest that if someone wanted to make this up, “nobody is that good.” I’ve had the good fortune to meet some brilliant people who have dedicated decades of their lives to getting to the bottom of the “Dallas action,” and I truly believe that none of them — and I mean to clearly include myself in the noting of the inability — to be good enough to put together a document in this way. It touches on just enough — Hoffa, LHO going to the USSR (although the Minsk purpose is more ‘secret’ than the fact that Oswald was a CIA agent — were Russian radios that important, or did Oswald actually photograph Russian military installations?) — the Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, and the “Sweatt” information — unstated, but it was Deputy Sheriff Alan Sweatt who released the information that Oswald was a paid FBI informant, using the designation S-179.

I just can’t imagine even the most talented researcher/critic being able to put together something as clear and uncontrived as this document.

Supporting the case ‘against’, Brown points out that there are none of the characteristic agency markings on the document, e.g. an ‘X’, date stamps, initials. The fact that it is marked ‘Confidential’ instead of ‘Top Secret’ or in an agency-like way throws up another red flag. Also curious is that it is from the CIA to the Secret Service.

This could be a real memo or a fabricated one. Brown concludes:

“Is it real?” The question is a very valid one.

Perhaps something about this will emerge between now and April 2018.

Tomorrow’s post looks at an FBI memo stating that Oswald was not part of their team.