JFK Assassination: The Oswald-CIA Connection
Marines, Defection and Marriage
All Roads Begin with Lee Harvey Oswald
For many investigators, the story begins with Oswald. An ex-Marine and drifter, Oswald defected to Russia. He arrived there in 1959 when he was just 20 years old. For decades, skeptics have wondered how an uneducated, penniless 20-year-old could find his way to Russia at the height of the Cold War. Travel to the East Bloc was heavily restricted during those years, and Oswald would have had to navigate through layers of NATO and U.S. security. But he did. Oswald showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and said he wanted to renounce his citizenship. John McVickar, an official who met him there, told the Warren Commission that Oswald "was following a pattern of behavior in which he had been tutored by [a] person or persons unknown...seemed to be using words which he had learned but did not fully understand...in short, it seemed to me that there was a possibility that he had been in contact with others before or during his Marine Corps tour who had guided him and encouraged him in his actions.” McVickar’s testimony hits on a key point: Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?
Like all Marines, Oswald was trained and tested in riflery, scoring 212 in December 1956, only slightly above the minimum for qualification as a sharpshooter. In May 1959, he scored 191, barely earning the lower designation of marksman. His minimal skill with firearms has fomented many doubts about the actual shooting itself. How was a poorly skilled shooter able to pump three deadly accurate rounds into a moving target with a cheap and balky mail-order rifle—all in 6.6 seconds (the time between the first and last Dallas shots)? This is just one of the many troubling aspects about the Warren Commission findings.
Oswald married a Russian woman named Marina, whose father was an official of the KGB. Soon after, Oswald wrote that he was tired of the grind of working in a Russian factory and wanted to return to the United States. He and Marina eventually found their way to Dallas, Texas. The apparent ease of his international movements, and his marriage to the daughter of a KGB agent, gives rise to the one theory that unites virtually all doubters of the single-assassin theory. Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA plant… or a double agent.
Rogue Elements within the CIA
The reasoning behind CIA involvement in the Kennedy murder is well known. It begins with a hardcore group of undercover spooks in the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War. It’s also known that then-Vice President Richard Nixon was well acquainted with this and other “working groups” inside the CIA. More about that later. In 1961, just three months after Kennedy was elected, the CIA pulled the trigger on a foolhardy plan to invade Cuba. They trained and equipped a group of anti-communist, anti-Castro refugees who then hit the beach at a place called the Bay of Pigs. In case they ran into trouble, the CIA believed Kennedy would step in with American forces. When the operation turned into a disaster, Kennedy refused to help. The CIA’s shadow army was wiped out. And those hardcore agents never forgave what they saw as a cowardly betrayal. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
And so, the theory goes, they began to hatch a plot.
There are a thousand stories about the activities of these agents during the next few years. Many believe they became a rogue force inside the CIA. But the thought of exacting revenge on the president was never far from their minds. Like all agents well trained in spycraft, they cast around for someone to do the dirty work—and more importantly, be the fall guy. Who better than an easily led, disillusioned and not very bright Marine private? This is where many assassination skeptics, however different their conclusions, find agreement. Oswald was recruited by the CIA they claim, inserted into Russia and then extracted well in advance of the plot. This gave them the all-important cover story of someone who defected to communism. Even after he returned to the U.S., Oswald continued his activities as a communist sympathizer. He handed out leaflets in New Orleans for something called the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”
In his 2002 book, The Kennedy Conspiracy, writer Anthony Summers asserted that documents indicate both the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI infiltrated the Fair Play for Cuba organization. He quoted a CIA officer saying, "We did everything we could to make sure it was not successful—to smear it... to penetrate it. I think Oswald may have been part of a penetration attempt."
Oswald’s Great Pains to Gain Publicity
Oswald’s time in New Orleans created questions that remain puzzling to this day. While handing out his leaflets for the Fair Play committee, Oswald got into a scrap with a man named Carlos Bringuier. They were both arrested and made court appearances on August 12, 1963. The charges were dismissed against Bringuier, and Lee was fined 10 dollars. Marina Oswald confirmed that Lee actually wanted to be arrested. He wanted the exposure and the publicity as a pro-Castroite. She referred to this as "self-advertising.” The question is why.
Lee was back handing out his Fair Play for Cuba flyers on the streets of New Orleans on August 16. He hired three men to help with distribution. This is even stranger, since he was virtually out of money to feed himself and his family. They stood in front of the International Trade Mart, whose director, Clay Shaw, would be charged with conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy four years later by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. This is the case dramatized in Oliver Stone’s movie JFK. Whether Stone’s movie is a Hollywood exaggeration or not, somebody called WDSU-TV and other members of the New Orleans news media to announce that Oswald was distributing the pro-Castro literature. More self-advertising? He was on that night’s TV news, and the resulting publicity made it nearly impossible for him to find a job.
Was Oswald merely a publicity seeker for his cause? Or was someone pulling the strings in the background? No matter what you believe, it’s undeniable that Lee wanted to be recognized as a communist sympathizer… and an enemy of the U.S.