Within prior classified documents from the House Select Committee on Assassinations is a series of exchanges between Central Intelligence Agency and the Committee's Staff. Agency officer S.D. Breckenridge assumes the role of advocate and seeks to refute various assertions made. From sarcastic to accusing, the messages offer a rare look at dissension within the investigation's relevant officials. These exchanges also produce useful case information.
One notable instance regards whether the Select Committee Staff actually reviewed a substantial majority of the Agency's evidence on Lee Harvey Oswald. Breckenridge states, "The statement is made that the HSCA did an 'intensive file review...which included...the CIA's 124 volume Oswald file.' As stated; that assertion is false. It is Goldsmith's claim that by looking at FOIA material, he has reviewed our files; in fact he has not. We should say so."i This candid admission supports critical failures in portions of the Select Committee Investigation.
"...the draft states 'nor was there always an independent means of verification that all materials requested by the Agency were in fact provided.' Having made this gratuitous statement, the Committee is entitled to be told that the steps necessary to make the statement. There are large quantities of material assembled for their review that still remain unread. They have been told this enough time to have no misunderstanding; if they leave this statement in their report, it says something about the integrity of their writing."ii The statement clearly challenges assumptions feasibly made about the extent of the prior investigation. How many unread files possibly were relevant to the case, how many still remain unread?
Breckenridge then chides the Committee stating, "The way they arranged overcome our 'institutional obstacles' -- Committee euphenism (sic) for security considerations -- was to obligate themselves to observe security. These 'institutional obstacles' are a matter of law, and all they had to do to get access was to accept the same responsibility that we observe. This phrasing is a piece of congressional CYA, and we are correct in making an appropriate comment."iii The hostility becomes clear with each remonstration offered, it seems despite the later claims of a complete investigation this likely was not the case.
Another issue discussed with Breckenridge was Oswald's alleged contact with a nefarious KGB agent in Mexico City. While some officials assumed that Oswald had feasibly spoken with Valery Kostikov at the Soviet diplomatic compound, this remains unproven. The Agency states, "Precisely, Headquarters was not advised that Oswald spoke with Kostikov. Rather, the cable stated that he 'has spoken with Consul who he believed to be Kostikov.' (Emphasis added.) The actual exchange in which this is based showed Oswald replying in the affirmative to a description of someone with whom he may have spoken earlier."iv
More succinctly, they made presumptions based on less that decisive evidence. The admission offers there is no definitive proof that Oswald did speak to who so many assumed he did. Additionally, consider the Agency has no photographs of Oswald, no tapes that survived for verification, and repeated discrepancies follow most claiming to be him in the related phone calls. It was never proven that Lee Harvey Oswald associated with a KGB agent in Mexico City. Assumptions of him serving Communists and Russian intelligence lack sufficient evidence.
Just from these brief exchanges are the observable agendas and tensions within the Select Committee Investigation. Many files regarding Lee Harvey Oswald were feasibly unconsidered. Despite the later official claims of definite proof that every possible avenue of investigation was explored, the primary evidence refutes such assumptions. Never explored questions remain by official mistake or design.
i. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA Files, HSCA Report on Agency Comments, Box 61, January 29, 1979, p. 3
iv. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, HSCA Report on Agency Comments, Box 61, February 26, 1979, p. 2