More than 1,500 previously classified files collected as part of the government review into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy have been released. These files also include bombshell documents about killer Lee Harvey Oswald and how he was in contact with a KGB agent two months before the shooting.
The files were released on Wednesday by the National Archives, after months of delay by President Joe Biden who had promised to make them public but then stalled, claiming Covid backlogs being one of the biggest reasons. However, the vast majority of files released appear to be duplicates of previously released documents with only a few redacted words now revealed. Some have no changes whatsoever.
Kennedy and Oswald
The release still leaves more than 10,000 documents either partially redacted or withheld entirely, which won't be seen until December 2022 at the earliest under an order issued by Biden in October. However, there are still some big bombshell revelations in the documents.
These include memos detailing anonymous phone calls to the US embassy in Canberra, Australia, a year before the shooting. The caller during that phone call said that the Soviet government was plotting to assassinate Kennedy. It also has details of Oswald's meeting with a KGB agent at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City two months before the shooting.
Yet another call placed on November 24, just two days, after the shooting hint at Russian hand behind JFK's assassination. Another memo reveals that the Naval AttachÃ© in Canberra cabled the CIA in 1962 to report a crank call of someone warning that 'Iron Curtain countries' were plotting to pay a Polish chauffeur $100,000 to kill Kennedy. The call at that time was dismissed as crank.
Kennedy was 46 years old and serving his first term as president when he was killed by an assassin's bullet while riding in a motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963. A commission overseen by Chief Justice Earl Warren conducted a 10-month investigation at that time had concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, fatally shooting Kennedy from the Texas School Book Depository as his presidential motorcade passed on the street below.
However, investigations over the years have come up with a different story and a lot has changed since then.
The Russian Link
The files reference Russia's connection with JFK's death and how Oswald and his wife were linked to the entire plot. Oswald's wife Marina, who was Russian, is referenced through a Moroccan student, who contacted the CIA after JFK's assassination and claimed that he was her boyfriend. However, the relevance of that to the investigation is not known.
Moreover, there are memos of interviews with communist activists in Mexico, who Oswald is said to have met and how he wanted to give up his US citizenship and become Russian four years before he carried the shooting.
One of the memos also reveals how Oswald contacted KGB two months prior to the killing. In September 1963, Oswald met with Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a KGB agent in Mexico City.
The meeting has been referred to in previous documents but new details emerged today. It's unclear who initiated the meeting.
"According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Lee Oswald was at the Soviet Embassy there on 23 September 1963 and spoke with Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich. Oswald called the Soviet Embassy on 1 October, identifying himself by name and speaking broken Russian, stating the above and asking the guard who answered the phone whether there was 'anything concerning the telegram to Washington," a memo, written by CIA officer Tennent H. Bagley wrote on November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination.
Oswald was taken into police custody and was himself shot and killed two days later by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner. The Warren Commission likewise concluded that Ruby acted alone, but Oswald's killing, and his time spent living in the Soviet Union, sparked years of rampant conspiracy theories and doubts about the Warren Commission's conclusions.
There was no immediate indication that the records released Wednesday contained new revelations that could radically reshape the public's understanding of the events surrounding the assassination.