Often the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA, the Agency, the Company) is ascribed direct control over the Kennedy assassination by those who suspect them. Their tactics and even some among their fallen ranks were guilty of suppression of evidence, obstruction of justice, and deception at the very least. Yet they were not the leading investigative agency, but supported the "efforts" of J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Yet even the Agency's supporting role concealed those among its ranks that had serious doubts and suspicion of their fellows. Not just conspiracy advocates but officials throughout the government did not support the Commission. They did so quietly or in secured testimony that would never reach the public while most were alive. Each had different ideas, each portends different possible suspects, and every one supports a feasible conspiracy.
The first person reviewed is the sinister and often mentioned James J. Angleton, Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency Counter Intelligence division for two decades. Angleton had Mafia contacts and penetration agents; he associated for a time with Kim Philby the greatest traitor in MI5 history. Perhaps this betrayal forever convinced Angleton of a worldwide Communist plot. A plot he eternally held responsible for many historic attacks, feasibly this includes President Kennedy's death.
Angleton based on evidence was unaware of the Agency plans with the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro until after the Kennedy assassination. During secured testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations Angleton states regarding the official investigation, “I told him (Allen Dulles) that personally I believed there should not be a finality to the report. In other words, the door ought to be left open.”i He offers a long suppressed view; no officials ever feasibly had the ability to decide the issue in time. This assessment regards the millions of suppressed related Federal Bureau of Investigation and Agency files and this evidence was never given to the Commission; much is never reviewed until decades following the House Select Committee on Assassinations. While Angleton verifiably suppressed large amounts of evidence, this does not prove he possessed foreknowledge of the assassination. He was guilty of countless illegalities but perhaps not this one and officials presumed much, we should not repeat their mistakes.
Former Company agent Thomas Casasin provides a brief yet instructive statement regarding Lee Harvey Oswald. “1. It makes little difference now, but...had at one time an interest in Oswald...sometime in the Summer of 1960...the laying on of interview(s) through... or other suitable channels. At the moment I don't recall if this was discussed while Oswald and his family were en route to our country or after their arrival.” “2. I remember Oswald’s unusual behavior in the USSR had struck me from the moment I read the first STATE (dispatch on him and I told my subordinates something amounting to “Don't push too hard t get the information we need, because the individual looks odd. We were particularly interested in the info Oswald might provide on the Minsk factory...certain sections of the city itself...and of course we sought the usual biographic information that might help develop foreign personality dossiers.”Casasin proves Oswald was considered for Agency use at least once.ii He potentially could have served the witting or unwitting informant role. To suggest this is not a mere theory.
Agency financial asset James Walcott offers perhaps the most direct accusation. The statement does not leave much to the imagination. "CIA people killed Kennedy. Either it was an outright project of Headquarters with the approval of McCone or it was done outside; perhaps under the direction of Dulles and Bissell. It was done in retaliation to Kennedy’s renegging (sic) on a secret agreement with Dulles to support the invasion of Cuba... It was believed unless Cuba was seized by military force all of Latin America would eventually go communist and the US would fall to the communists soon after. Elaborate preparations had been made to firmly put the blame on Castro, and an immediate attack on Cuba would follow. But something had gone wrong. The attack was called off at the last moment.”iii
Wilcott continues, "Prior to the election, the Eisenhower administration was in complete agreement with the CIA, that Cuba must be invaded. (Richard) Bissell had been assigned the task of directing the operation. The original plan called for an extensive spy network throughout Cuba that would be of great support to the invasion (Bay of Pigs)...Nixon’s support of all this was a certainty, had he won.” “Kennedy was a disaster to the Bissell ‘brain child’ as the invasion came to be called. Even before the inauguration, much effort was directed to influence and pressure Kennedy, especially through the military.”
“By the time of the secret agreement meeting in November of 1960 some softening up had been achieved, but he was, by no means, ready to buy (the Bay of Pigs plan). The accomplishments of the project to date were behind schedule and Kennedy knew it. The spy network was far from established. Evidence of popular support against Castro was lacking. Reports and analysis lacked substance. Rumors of bad planning, air drop failure, poor morale and difficulty with the exiles leaked out. More serious, however, was the charge of falsified reports of the popular sentiment fabricated by the CIA.”
“As Bissell pressured his top lieutenants, they in turn pressured the case officers, intelligence officers and project officers who in turn pressured field agents to turn in reports that the Cuba Desk wanted to hear. This was not simply a question of poor management. It was a contrived plot to secure a minimum basis to claim support after it was realized that truly valid minimum support could not be had. The original plans were then changed to call for an all out attack by the US military. Kennedy was not to know of this change and it was not discussed at the November 1960 meeting of the invasion briefing.”
“One such plan was to somehow get Castro to attack Guantanamo by making him believe that rebels were attacking from there. Another was to interpose a ship in a rebel attack and get it blown up.” “This was...discarded when the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) got wind of it and became very angry, and perhaps was the source of some of the snitching on the Cuba foul ups to Kennedy.”
“Word somehow got back to the anti-Batista faction, making them very angry, and they informed to Castro agents just prior to the invasion.” Some exiles informed Castro’s forces of the operation’s details “just prior to invasion.” “From the November 1960 meeting right up to April 15, 1961...events deteriorated from bad to worse. It was said that this was due to ‘sabotage’ by Kennedy.” President Kennedy realized the ineffectual and deficient operation should not be launched. Dulles acted if “...it was a responsibility; a higher duty, to exceed the limitation of the CIA charter, or even the congress and the president to ‘preserve democracy, keep the world free for investment and meet the communist threat.”iv
“Oswald was recruited from the military for the express purpose of becoming a double agent assignment in the USSR. It was said they had some kine (sic) of special “handle” on him. Perhaps went the speculation, they had discovered he had murdered someone or committed some other serious crime, during a routine lie detector test. In any case it was a very risky assignment. CIA taught him Russian and it was said that he had been to the farm (CIA’s agent training camp, Camp Peary, Va.) although probably not in one of the regular training programs. He may not have even known that he had been there. (That was often done with very special cases. They would be put to sleep and wake up in a strange place and be told that it was some other place than the farm)."v
While I do not wholly accept the possibility of this proposition from Wilcott lacking substantial corroborating evidence, it is quite noteworthy. This is not a fringe supporter of conspiracy but a person aware of internal Agency politics during the time in question. A person who met some of those involved and assessed their spending for some projects.
The many long offered yet unproven accusations of a large plot are not compelling, but the often utilized and compartmentalized actions of a handful that may be responsible. The conspirators of a possible assassination and those who suppressed of evidence are not definitely the same people. Many had various reasons to hide the truth without a direct connection. Yet all were deceptions and breaches of law. We must now separate the many plots and crimes from one another and ascertain feasible guilt. It is quite improbable any single man is responsible for any of them.
i. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Security Classified Testimony of James Angleton, October 5, 1978, p. 90
ii. HSCA, Segregated Central Intelligence Agency files, Recollections of Thomas B. Casasin about Oswald unusual behavior in USSR, Box 8, File 385, November 25, 1963, National Archives and Records Adminstration Identifiaction Number: 104-10059-10181
iii. HSCA, Classified Testimony of James Wilcott, March 22, 1978, p. 12-16
iv. Ibid, p. 17-20
v. Ibid, p. 23
Edited: December 2017