Trove of JFK assassination probe files still sealed 5 decades later

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If so, who would have overseen such an operation?

Declassified documents show that Joannides, while based in Miami, was the CIA case officer for the anti-Castro Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE), the group involved in the street fracas with Oswald.

What did this all add up to, if anything? Official investigations of the Kennedy assassination were not able to provide complete answers.

The Warren Commission, which concluded in 1964 that Oswald acted alone and was not part of a conspiracy, was never told about the CIA’s possibly relevant anti-Castro activities, despite the fact that former CIA director Allen Dulles was a Warren Commission member.

Warren Commission staff counsel Burt Griffin, now a retired judge, calls it “an act of bad faith” by the CIA.

“I think they had an obligation to tell the chief justice (Earl Warren, commission chairman) about that, and then that decision would have been his and the commission’s to make,” Griffin said.

In separate interviews with The Associated Press, Griffin and fellow staff counsel David Slawson stood by the Warren Commission’s conclusions.

Each pointed to a series of personal rejections behind Oswald’s deadly action: Weeks after he made an unsuccessful attempt in Mexico City to get a visa to Cuba, his wife Marina rejected his attempts to reconcile their rocky marriage. It was during Oswald’s visit, the night before the shooting, to the suburban Dallas home where his wife and two young daughters were staying that he packed up his disassembled Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to take to work the next day, the Warren Commission determined. That next morning, he removed his wedding ring, left his money with his wife, and departed to carry out the assassination.

“If she had taken him back,” Slawson said, “he wouldn’t have done it.”

More complex and sinister theories about his motivation have been offered, of course, some flowing from the release in the 1990s of previously classified documents.

Kaiser, the historian, has postulated that Oswald, long seen as a devout leftist, was in fact being manipulated by right-wing and mob elements in his final months and that his visit to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City in the fall of 1963 was part of an attempt to reach Cuba and kill Castro. Release of documents held by those governments could be revealing, Kaiser said.

By the time the House Select Committee on Assassinations convened in the mid-1970s to probe the Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. killings, other congressional investigations had exposed the CIA’s activities in the early 1960s, including plots to assassinate Castro.

Those revelations would be overshadowed, however, by the House committee’s JFK conclusion: That sound impulses recorded on the microphone of a Dallas police officer amounted to evidence of a shot from the infamous “grassy knoll” in Dealey Plaza, and thus of an additional gunman besides Oswald firing from a building window.

Kennedy, the committee’s final report said in carefully tempered language, was “probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.”

Subsequent analyses have cast doubt on the acoustic evidence, and the issue is considered unresolved.

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