An En­tire Vol­ume of the Lee Har­vey Oswald Files Is Miss­ing

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The death of John F. Kennedy, the 35th pres­i­dent of the United States, was mys­te­ri­ous enough. Now, one of the seven vol­umes of the CIA’S doc­u­ments re­gard­ing Lee Har­vey Oswald, his al­leged as­sas­sin, is miss­ing.

When Pres­i­dent Kennedy was as­sas­si­nated on Novem­ber 22, 1963, it shocked the na­tion.

Whether Kennedy would have be­come a truly great, a me­diocre or per­haps a ter­ri­ble pres­i­dent will never be known. He showed lead­er­ship in speeches and in sev­eral ini­tial pol­icy ac­tions. He showed hero­ism dur­ing World War II. How­ever, he also led the coun­try into the dis­as­trous Bay of Pigs In­va­sion into Cuba and had some ques­tion­able fam­ily and per­sonal con­nec­tions.

Kennedy was the first pres­i­dent killed in the age of tele­vi­sion. Many learned of his shoot­ing within min­utes of its hap­pen­ing. To this day, a ma­jor per­cent­age of Amer­i­cans who were alive at that time can re­mem­ber where they were when they learned of the event.

The killing brought dis­be­lief, shock and a feel­ing that Amer­ica had lost some­one with a strong per­sonal con­nec­tion to its cit­i­zens. Even le­gendary tele­vi­sion news re­porter Wal­ter Cronkite of CBS News was brought to tears dur­ing the event.

Kennedy’s death brought with it a de­sire for rapid jus­tice for who­ever was re­spon­si­ble for the killing. The fi­nal of­fi­cial opin­ion was that the killer was a lone gun­man, act­ing in­de­pen­dently, named Lee Har­vey Oswald. Oswald was caught, based on cer­tain re­ports and sight­ings, and there was an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to prove he was the killer, dis­cover if there was some­one else be­sides him in­volved or per­haps even find that he wasn’t the killer after all.

Oswald him­self did not live long enough after cap­ture to be in­ter­ro­gated, as he was shot by Jack Ruby while be­ing trans­ferred in po­lice cus­tody. That killing, too, has raised its own ques­tions.

As the ev­i­dence be­hind Kennedy’s shoot­ing was in­ves­ti­gated fur­ther, two sto­ries emerged to ex­plain the

killing. The first and of­fi­cial story from the U.S. gov­ern­ment and CIA per­son­nel was that Oswald was the killer and acted alone. The sec­ond story, fuzzier but still widely be­lieved be­cause of the range of odd ev­i­dence that even­tu­ally came to light in the case, was that this was far from a one-man show on be­half of Oswald; rather, it was a far big­ger con­spir­acy than this and Oswald may have just been a fall guy in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion – a wrong per­son show­ing up to in­ves­ti­ga­tors at just the right time.

This un­cer­tainty is why it was con­sid­ered so im­por­tant – to his­tory as a min­i­mum and to our un­der­stand­ing of how the CIA and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies were op­er­at­ing at the time – when the seven vol­umes of sealed CIA files on Lee Har­vey Oswald were fi­nally given a due date for go­ing pub­lic. Those vol­umes were to be re­leased in full to the pub­lic on Oc­to­ber 26, 2017 – just a few weeks from now. This was guar­an­teed to hap­pen by the Kennedy As­sas­si­na­tion Records Col­lec­tion Act of 1992.

Once again, how­ever, the United States is go­ing to have to live with­out the com­plete truth – be­cause what used to be a fully-in­tact set of seven vol­umes of doc­u­ments, as cer­ti­fied by Russ Holmes of the Of­fice of Gen­eral Coun­sel in 1977, is now miss­ing Vol­ume 5.

The up­com­ing re­lease had been looked for­ward to by many as an op­por­tu­nity to per­haps fi­nally learn about some of the pre­vi­ous un­knowns from the in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the 1960s and 1970s that ex­am­ined the case. It was fur­ther fu­eled by in­for­ma­tion that showed up in July 2017 when a to­tal of 3,810 CIA and FBI doc­u­ments were re­leased by the As­sas­si­na­tion Records Re­view Board. In those doc­u­ments, one news source noted that Earle Ca­bell, the mayor of Dal­las at the time of the as­sas­si­na­tion, and his brother Charles Ca­bell were both con­nected to the CIA. The mayor had been a CIA as­set in the 1950s, and Charles was a high-rank­ing CIA of­fi­cial un­til 1962.

With the trip that Pres­i­dent Kennedy made to Dal­las be­ing done mostly for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons and with lit­tle other value, the CIA con­nec­tions of the city’s mayor – which clearly have been hid­den from the pub­lic eye un­til now – may have ma­jor rel­e­vance.

Re­lat­ing to the re­lease of these doc­u­ments, one group – the Cit­i­zens Against Po­lit­i­cal As­sas­si­na­tions (CAPA) – is plan­ning a ma­jor rein­ves­ti­ga­tion of the killing start­ing the mo­ment the doc­u­ments are re­leased. At­tor­ney Lawrence Sch­napf, co-chair of the CAPA le­gal com­mit­tee and chair of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Law Sec­tion of the New York Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, refers to the War­ren Com­mis­sion, which in­ves­ti­gated the killing in de­tail in the 1960s, as the “orig­i­nal fake news” or­ga­ni­za­tion that cre­ated what be­came the of­fi­cial per­spec­tive on what went down in the Kennedy as­sas­si­na­tion. He plans a full mock trial of Oswald in Novem­ber of this year, with the goal of show­ing that (as he said) “Lee Oswald was not the shooter … that’s what we hope to prove.” He went on to say that “Oswald was not con­victable, much less in­dictable.”

With one of the seven crit­i­cal vol­umes of files in the Oswald in­ves­ti­ga­tion now miss­ing – de­spite be­ing in the­ory pro­tected within the safe con­fines of the ul­tra-se­cure CIA head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia – prov­ing Oswald’s in­no­cence may be harder than Sch­napf had orig­i­nally ex­pected. At the very least, the all-too-con­ve­nient re­cent news that one of only seven files on Oswald that were to be re­leased in Oc­to­ber 2017 is miss­ing will cer­tainly cast yet another dark shadow across the search for truth about the death of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy.

Photo by Im­pi­ous­di­gest, cc

Photo by Greg Goebel, cc

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