In his bestseller “Killing Kennedy,” author and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly “uncritically repeats the Warren Commission lie” that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President John F. Kennedy, charges Jerome Corsi, author of the newly released “Who Really Killed Kennedy? 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations about the JFK Assassination.”
Corsi, whose new book has overtaken O’Reilly’s on the Amazon list of top sellers about JFK, argues O’Reilly fails to take into account the extensive documentation produced over the last 50 years indicating Oswald was an agent of the federal government with an extensive CIA intelligence file that stretched back to 1957.
O’Reilly, says Corsi, uncritically presents Oswald as a communist-sympathizer who defected to the Soviet Union, without mentioning the documentary record.
Corsi, in his book, presents evidence that Oswald was a double agent in the “false defector program” in which the U.S. government encouraged military troops loyal to the United States to engage in a ruse in which they would defect to the Soviet Union to gain access to the inside operations of the KGB.
O’Reilly also does not mention the evidence that Oswald was being paid by the FBI as an informant in November 1963, prior to the assassination. Corsi says the Warren Commission suppressed the information, concluding Oswald had no affiliation with U.S. intelligence agencies.
Corsi asks: “Was Bill O’Reilly simply unaware of this documentary evidence when he co-authored ‘Killing Kennedy’?”
“Who Really Killed Kennedy,” released last week as the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches, is bolstered by recently declassified documents that shed new light on the greatest “who-done-it” mystery of the 20th century. Corsi sorted through tens of thousands of documents, all 26 volumes of the Warren Commission’s report, hundreds of books, several films and countless photographs.
Oswald’s CIA file
The documents on the JFK assassination released by the federal government in the past few years show the CIA had an intelligence file on Oswald.
His “201″ CIA file, a personality file, was numbered No. 39-61981, with the “39” denoting an intelligence file, Corsi points out.
The Mary Ferrell Foundation has made public 50,000 pages of documents from Oswald’s CIA file, including a small selection of the pre-assassination file, followed by a huge collection of post-assassination documents pertaining to the Warren Commission and other subsequent investigations of the JFK assassination.
Oswald’s 201 CIA file was opened by Counter Intelligence officer Elizabeth “Ann” Egerter in December 1960.
The pre-assassination part of Oswald’s 201 CIA file shows the CIA followed, step by step, every move Oswald made to return to the United States after “defecting” to the Soviet Union, says Corsi.
As early as October 1960, while the presidential campaign between Nixon and Kennedy was still going on, the Department of State undertook a project to identify and research all Americans who had defected to the Soviet Union, to Soviet bloc nations or to communist China.
At the Department of State’s “Office of Intelligence/Resources and Coordination,” Robert B. Elwood wrote to Richard Bissell, then CIA’s deputy director for plans – the position from which Bissell began planning under the Eisenhower administration the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
The assignment at the State Department fell to Otto F. Otepka, deputy director of the State Department Office of Security. Bissell shipped the file to James Angleton at CIA counter intelligence and to Robert L. Bannerman, the CIA deputy chief of security.
According to former military intelligence officer John Newman in his 1995 book “Oswald and the CIA,” Bannerman said the opening of Oswald’s “201 file” regarding his defection to the Soviet Union “would have all gone through Angleton.” The 201 opening was something on which “we worked very closely with Angleton and his staff,” Bannerman recalled.
At the CIA, Otepka continued to add to Oswald’s 201 file, noting key “red flags,” such as when Oswald applied for and received a U.S. passport on one day’s notice to return to the United States. Oswald also received an extra visa a month and a half before he left Russia, apparently so his Russian wife could accompany him home.
Otepka also added to Oswald’s file, according to Corsi, when he learned Oswald had received a State Department loan that made his return to the U.S. possible financially. There are indications in the file that Attorney General Bobby Kennedy was aware of Oswald and his 201 file a year and a half before the JFK assassination.
The Justice Department evidently intervened with the Dallas Police, asking them not to pursue, investigate or arrest Oswald for allegedly firing a shot at Gen. Edwin Walker in Dallas prior to the Kennedy assassination.
Walker urged the House Select Committee on Investigations to look into the extraordinary intervention that traced back to Bobby Kennedy.
Oswald and the FBI
“As remarkable as it seems, the evidence suggests Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination was on the payroll of the FBI,” says Corsi.
J. Lee Rankin, the general counsel of the Warren Commission, wrote a memo to the file in January 1964 documenting that a reliable source informed him of journalists in Texas who commonly knew Oswald was receiving a monthly check of $200 from the FBI.
In that letter, as reproduced in the archives preserved by the Mary Ferrell Foundation online, Rankin documents that on Jan. 22, 1964, he received a telephone call from Waggoner Carr, attorney general of Texas, communicating on a confidential basis an allegation that Oswald had been an undercover agent for the FBI since September 1962 and had been paid $200 a month from an account designated as No. 179.
Rankin’s letter further documents that on Jan. 23, 1964, Secret Service Report No. 766 summarized an interview conducted by FBI agent Bertram with Houston Post reporter Alonso H. Hudkins III that read in part:
On December 19, Mr. Hudkins advised that he had just returned from a weekend in Dallas, during which time he talked to Allen Sweatt, Chief Criminal Division, Sheriff’s Office, Dallas. Chief Sweatt mentioned that it was his opinion that Lee Harvey Oswald was being paid $200 a month by the FBI as an informant in connection with their subversive investigation. He furnished the alleged informant number assigned to Oswald by the FBI as “S172.”
Rankin, says Corsi, further affirmed that District Attorney Wade in Dallas and “others of the Texas representatives” stated the rumors that Oswald was an undercover agent were widely held among members of the press in Dallas and that Melvin Belli, attorney for Jack Ruby, was aware of the allegations.
Wade further told Rankin that Oswald was an informant for the CIA, carrying No. 110669.
As documented by the proceedings of the Warren Commission’s executive session Jan. 27, 1964, another document archived online by the Mary Ferrell Foundation, Rankin presented to the commissioners the allegations of Oswald’s connections to the FBI and the CIA.
At that meeting, Rankin made clear his intention to cover up the information when he told the commission, “We do have a dirty rumor that is very bad for the commission, and it is very damaging to the agencies that are involved in it, and it must be wiped out so insofar as it is possible to do so by this commission.”
At the Warren Commission’s executive session on Jan. 27, 1964, commissioner Allen Dulles commented in concluding the discussion of the information Oswald was a paid FBI agent: “I think this record ought to be destroyed. Do you think we need a record of this?”
Corsi contends the Warren Commission suppressed evidence of Oswald’s relationship with the FBI, precisely because the information undermined the commission’s central conclusion that Oswald was the lone assassin.
Corsi says the evidence shows Oswald was a patriotic U.S. citizen who earned his employment as a well-trained intelligence operative, with his primary allegiance to the CIA. It could be, Corsi concludes, “a key part of the deep secret the CIA could not afford the U.S. public to know in the aftermath of the JFK assassination when the Warren Report was issued in 1964.”
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