Newly-released CIA files show JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald met with KGB
Lee Harvey Oswald met with a KGB agent just two months before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, according to newly unsealed confidential documents.
CIA memos stemming from JFK's murder were part of a trove of nearly 1,500 documents released Wednesday by the National Archives and Records Administration.
The documents disclose that an anonymous tipster warned US embassy officials in Australia a year earlier that Kennedy would be assassinated by the Soviet Union for a $100,000 bounty. The tip was never passed on to the CIA.
A memo dated 1964 read: "Cabled to Canberra asking full details of the telephone conversation of 23 November and the call made 15 October 1962.
"It should be noted that CIA had not previously known of the 1962 telephone call."
The records include newly revealed details of Kennedy's death – but fall short of resolving decades-old speculation about the case.
Among the revelations in the files was a meeting and follow-up phone call between Oswald and a Soviet operative before JFK was shot in Dallas.
The document, a memo from then-acting CIA Chief Tennent Bagley, read: "According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Lee Oswald was in the Soviet Embassy there on 23 September and spoke with Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich.
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"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."
The documents include a transcript of the October 1 call.
"Hello, this [is] Lee Oswald speaking," he said.
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"I was at your place last Saturday and spoke to a consul, and they said that they’d send a telegram to Washington, so I wanted to find out if you anything new. But I don’t remember the name of that consul."
After a brief exchange, KGB officer Valery Kostikov answered: "Just a minute. I’ll find out. They say that they haven’t received anything yet."
"Have they done anything?" Oswald asked.
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"Yes, they say that a request has been sent out, but nothing has been received yet," Kostikov answers before hanging up.
Bagley's memo about the call was dated November 23, 1963, one day after Oswald was charged with assassinating Kennedy.
Two days after the assassination, the records said another tipster called the US Naval Attache in Australia – identifying himself as a Polish driver for the US embassy in Canberra.
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It is unclear from the records if it was the same tipster from a year earlier, but the caller reiterated that the Soviets were behind the assassination.
A memo from May 22, 1964, said: "This individual while discussing several matters of intelligence interest, touched on the possibility that the Soviet Government had financed the assassination of President Kennedy."
The newly released documents were collected during a five-year review of the Kennedy assassination which wrapped up in 1997 – but thousands of records remained under seal.
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President Joe Biden had promised that the trove of records would be released by October, but later delayed the move and blamed the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even now, the Biden administration said it would withhold many of the files and keep them under wraps until next December, the outlet said.
The Kennedy assassination has long been the subject of widespread speculation and conspiracy theories – and continues to be surrounded by mystery.
Oswald was shot and killed by Dallas bar owner Jack Ruby just two days after his arrest – taking many of the unanswered questions to the grave.
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