The CIA holds documents that show presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in an intelligence operation before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a prominent Kennedy assassination reporter alleged Tuesday.
“We’re talking about smoking-gun proof of a CIA operation involving Lee Harvey Oswald,” reporter Jefferson Morley said.
Morley claimed the CIA operation involving Oswald took place in the summer of 1963, three months before the assassination. The allegation from Morley, who has written extensively about the CIA in the 1960s, could shake up the history of the Kennedy assassination if it proves to be true.
Kennedy investigators have long sought to investigate the extent of Oswald’s involvement with intelligence agencies, and whether that could reveal more about whether Oswald was the only person involved in Kennedy’s death. Despite decades of investigations from Congress and independent inspectors, the CIA has never disclosed any involvement with Oswald.
“This is an extraordinarily serious claim, and it has profound implications for the official story,” Morley said.
Morley claimed that Oswald, a former Marine who defected to the Soviet Union before returning to the United States as a supporter of Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro, was involved in a pre-assassination CIA operation meant to discredit American supporters of Castro. Morley’s allegations focused on files created by now-deceased CIA agent George Joannides, who was involved with anti-Castro exile groups. Morley said 44 documents in Joannides’s file are still being held by the CIA and could shed new light on the purported operation.
“No one outside of the CIA was any wiser,” Morley said of the effort, which he said involved work to promote Oswald as an unhinged pro-Castro figure.
The claim from Morley, a former Washington Post reporter, came at a press conference for Kennedy assassination investigators that includes a sitting federal judge. The event was organized by the Mary Ferrell Foundation, a nonprofit archive of Kennedy assassination materials. The group claims the release of new documents from the CIA and other federal agencies could shed new light on Oswald’s alleged ties to intelligence agencies before Kennedy’s death.
The press conference comes before a deadline next week imposed by President Joe Biden for the CIA and FBI to release all documents related to the assassination. It’s not clear yet whether the agencies will request an extension of that deadline.
Judge John R. Tunheim, a federal judge in Minnesota, said it was time for the CIA to release its remaining documents. Tunheim previously served on the Assassination Records Review Board, which handled the release of assassination-related files.
“It’s time to release all of the files,” Tunheim said.