JFK files: Seven things we now know after secret papers released

Lee Harvey Oswald ‘never an FBI informant, was never paid money for information’

On November 22nd, 1963, US president John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Current president Donald Trump has allowed classified information about the incident to be released. Video: Reuters

 

Partial records from secret files relating mostly to the assassination of President John F Kennedy have been released. Here are seven of the key points revealed.

A regional British paper, the Cambridge News, received a phonecall 25 minutes before Kennedy’s assassination, alleging that “big news” was about to break in the United States, according to an FBI memo dated November 26th, 1963. The MI5 informed the FBI about the call, FBI deputy director James Angleton told the agency’s head, J Edgar Hoover, in the memo.

A memo dated November 24th, 1963, by J Edgar Hoover, says the FBI had warned Dallas police of a death threat against Lee Harvey Oswald while he was in custody and had been assured Oswald “would be given sufficient protection”. Hoover concludes: “However, this was not done.”

The Irish Times front page the day after John F Kennedy was shot dead
The Irish Times front page the day after John F Kennedy was shot dead

The third-ranking official in the FBI, William C Sullivan, wrote in a January 30th, 1964 memo that Oswald “was never an FBI informant, was never paid money for information, was never assigned any symbol number”. His comments followed allegations that Oswald had been working for US intelligence services in some capacity.

The CIA intercepted a phonecall from Oswald to Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a senior official in the KGB in Moscow that handled “sabotage and assassinations” a month before the assassination. Oswald asked Kostikov whether there was “anything new concerning the telegram to Washington”, and Kostikov told him there was not. The memos also confirm that the FBI knew Oswald met Kostikov during his trip to Mexico City in late September-early October 1963. Oswald, who was married to a Russian, had travelled to Moscow in 1959 in a bid to defect to the Soviet Union.

An FBI memo relaying an account of an informant who knew Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed Oswald two days after Kennedy’s assassination, said Ruby had a “good in” with the Dallas police department.

Lee Harvey Oswald talks to the media as he is led down a corridor of the Dallas police station on November 23rd, 1963 for questioning in connection with the assassination of John F Kennedy. Photograph: AP
Lee Harvey Oswald talks to the media as he is led down a corridor of the Dallas police station on November 23rd, 1963 for questioning in connection with the assassination of John F Kennedy. Photograph: AP

A 1964 letter from the FBI to then attorney general and brother of the president, Robert Kennedy, informs him that a forthcoming book would allege he had an affair with Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe, and that he had sought to have her murdered. Monroe was found dead in her home in 1962.

A 1975 document from the Rockefeller Commission which looked into the activities of the CIA contains new details on plans to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early days of the Kennedy administration. Attorney general Robert Kennedy told the FBI he had learned the CIA had proposed paying $150,000 to “hire some gunman to go into Cuba and kill Castro”.