New Trove of JFK Files Tell of Oswald, Assassins and the Watergate Burglars
The latest release of the U.S. government's JFK assassination files exposes a host of CIA secret operations long hidden from the American public.
After last week's limited release of JFK assassination prompted criticism from a federal judge and a caustic tweet from the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the CIA on Friday made public 676 new documents related to the murder of President Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963.
It may be the most significant bulk release of CIA records since the declassification of the so-called "Family Jewels" files in 2007.
The new files shed light on the CIA's surveillance of accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the weeks before Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas.
One cable, written six weeks before JFK died, shows top CIA officials were informed that Oswald had contacted a KGB officer in Mexico City named Kostikov who was suspected of being an assassin.
A never-seen 167-page file shows the CIA knew quite a bit about Kostikov.
"He is considered one of the most effective and dangerous intelligence officers in Mexico," said one undated memo in the file.
Some of the files illuminate other CIA machinations of the 1960s and '70s.
One memo, dated June 1964, details conversations between a CIA officer and Rolando Cubela, a Cuban government official who was recruited to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1963. Known by the code name AMLASH-1, Cubela communicated with the CIA via shortwave radio and hand-delivered letters, according to the memo.
The released records include CIA files on four of the Watergate burglars whose arrest in June 1972 led to the biggest political scandal of the 20th century. At the time the Agency denied any connection to the burglars, describing the men as "former employees."
As the New York Times reports:
"While it was a smaller release than those that were put out last week, a far greater proportion of the documents were being put into the public arena for the first time. Of the 2,891 documents released last week, only 53 had never been disclosed by the archives; the rest had been made public with redactions that were now removed."
Most of these files are new and much more significant historically.