THE STORY SO FAR
The release of thousands of records relating to the assassination of John F Kennedy hasn’t settled the bestknown, real-life whodunit in American history. But the record offers riveting details of the way intelligence services operated at the time and still strive to keep some particulars secret.
Just a few hours after Lee Harvey Oswald was killed in Dallas, FBI director J Edgar Hoover dictated a memo saying the government needed to issue something ‘‘so we can convince the public’’ that Oswald killed Kennedy.
The FBI director composed the memo on November 24, 1963 – two days after Kennedy was killed, and just hours after nightclub owner Jack Ruby fatally shot Oswald.
Hoover said an agent at the hospital hoped to get a confession from Oswald, but Oswald died. He said he and a deputy were concerned about ‘‘having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin’’.
Hoover said Oswald wrote a letter to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, which the FBI intercepted, read and resealed. He said the letter had been addressed to the embassy official ‘‘in charge of assassinations and similar activities on the part of the Soviet government’’, and that ‘‘to have that drawn into a public hearing would muddy the waters internationally’’.
Kennedy’s sucessor, Lyndon Johnson, believed Kennedy was behind the assassination of South Vietnam’s president weeks before his death, and that Kennedy’s murder was payback.
CIA director Richard Helms said in a 1975 deposition that Johnson ‘‘ used to go around saying that the reason [Kennedy] was assassinated was that he had assassinated President [Ngo Dinh] Diem and this was just justice. Where he got this idea from, I don’t know’’.
The former Soviet Union’s intelligence agency, the KGB, allegedly claimed it had information tying Johnson to the assassination of Kennedy. Johnson has long been a focus of some conspiracy theorists, but no credible information has been revealed linking him to the assassination.
A British newspaper received an anonymous phone call about ‘‘big news’’ in the US, 25 minutes before Kennedy was shot. A CIA memo told of the call received by the Cambridge News. The memo from deputy CIA director James Angleton says the caller said ‘‘the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news, and then hung up’’. Cambridge News said there was no record of the call. AP