The newly released documents raise questions about why the FBI mentioned contact with Oswald just 1 month before President Kennedy’s assassination.
by Rachel Blevins, guest author
The latest document release from the federal government’s records on the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy is raising new questions about what contact the FBI had with suspect Lee Harvey Oswald before the shooting, and why officials claim Kennedy’s successor referred to his murder as “Justice.”
When Kennedy was shot in the head and killed while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, Oswald was named as the “lone-wolf” shooter.
Despite the fact that the government insisted Oswald acted alone and his motive for the shooting was influenced by his Communist leanings, there have always been questions as to what might have influenced him.
Included in the latest release is a document dated nearly one month before the assassination, on Oct. 25, 1963. It is a memo from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Orleans office, written by FBI Agent Warren de Brueys, which specifically mentions Oswald.
“Will maintain contact with Cuban sources for any indication of additional activity on the part of subject organization which appears to have become inactive since the departure from New Orleans of LEE HARVEY OSWALD.”
This memo is notable because it shows that either the FBI was aware of a threat posed by Oswald and it failed to initiate the proper surveillance in order to prevent a deadly shooting, or it was aware of a threat and it let the assassination happen.
The argument could be made by some that the failure was on the part of de Brueys, an FBI agent who promised to keep an eye on Oswald and failed. But it should be noted that after Kennedy’s assassination, de Brueys was actually promoted and tasked with a very important job.
Warren de Brueys was sent to Dallas in the days after the assassination and charged with “compiling a hefty early report on the investigation,” according to a report from the New Orleans Advocate.
The fact that the FBI used its New Orleans office to investigate pro- and anti-Cuban groups has led many to question whether there were ties between Oswald and de Brueys before the shooting. However, Jim de Brueys, son of the infamous FBI agent, told the Advocate that his father “was linked with everybody.”
While the documents from the latest release of Kennedy’s assassination records do not explicitly state that Oswald was recruited by the FBI, they do indicate a trend that has been ongoing for years, in which the FBI has prior contact with suspects who go on to become “lone wolf” assassins.
Another document detailed the deposition of former CIA Director Richard Helms, who was “called for examination by Counsel for Commission on CIA Activities” on April 23, 1975. The document ends with a crucial question from commission member David Belin:
Mr. Belin: Well, now, the final area of my internal investigation relates to charges that the CIA was in some way conspiratorially involved with the assassination of President Kennedy. During the time of the Warren Commission, you were Deputy Director of Plans, is that correct?
Mr. Helms: I believe so.
Mr. Belin: Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy, which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent…
The document does not include Helms’ answer to Belin’s crucial question. However, it does include another comment from Helms that raises questions about Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Helms was being questioned on the assassination of Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, and whether the CIA was involved. He revealed that he was “not persuaded that President Nixon doesn’t still believe that the Agency didn’t have something to do with the demise” of Diem in 1963.
“The whole thing has been rather… heated by the fact that President Johnson used to go around saying that the reason President Kennedy was assassinated was that he had assassinated President Diem, and this was just justice,” Helms said.
However, as we have reported, memos from Kennedy indicate that he was incredibly troubled by the assassination of Diem, and he used it as another reason to push for the United States to withdraw troops from Vietnam.