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My last two posts have been about the JFK files, particularly those released on October 26 and on July 24, 2017.

Yesterday’s post was about whether Lee Harvey Oswald was working for the CIA.

Today’s memo, dated January 30, 1964, came from the FBI. The memo states that Oswald never worked for the agency.

A summary with excerpts follows. Emphases mine below.

Testimony had been given the previous week to the President’s Commission, specifically to that of Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County, alleging that Oswald had been an FBI informant.

The memo states that this was not the case:

Contrary to testimony, Oswald was never FBI informant, was never paid money for information and was never assigned any symbol number. Procedures we use in informant program preclude the possibility of Oswald’s connection with FBI as an informant without knowledge of a Seat of Government.

We closely supervise all aspects of informant program. Field offices cannot develop security informants without Bureau authorization, which is based on exhaustive background investigation to determine reliability, trustworthiness and stability.

When we do authorize, we follow informant’s development through progress letters which field offices must submit at four-month intervals.

The memo goes on to discuss approval and assignment of code names and symbol numbers, both of which are indexed. The same field office is not allowed to re-assign them at a later date.

Any payments authorised and made are recorded, along with the payee’s name and the reason why.

The memo says that, after the FBI office checked and double-checked, no payment to Oswald appeared in the records.

The person alleging that Oswald was an FBI informant said that his number was 179. The memo explains that 179 had been used by the Dallas and New Orleans offices. In Dallas, 179 had been assigned to a madam and was in current use at that time. In New Orleans — where Oswald had also lived — 179 was used by an informant between 1941 and 1944, then the number was retired. Both informants are named in the memo.

Outside of the United States, a Mexican informant — also named — held 179 at the time of the memo. Said informant provided information about the Mexican-Russian Institute of Cultural Exchange in Morelia, in the state of Michoacan.

The pages of the memo available from the National Archives are 2 and 8. The statement at the bottom of page 8 — probably not the end of the memo — states that Oswald would not have received a number unless he had undergone a prior background investigation by the field office considering him. He would also have had to be approved as an informant by an office higher up in the FBI.


There is no record of any such request and no record of any such approval.

Tomorrow: more on the mysterious Lee Harvey Oswald

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