Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Morley and JFK Revisited


CIA critic and theorist Jefferson Morley has recently posted one of the few positive reviews of Oliver Stone’s new “documentary” JFK Revisited over at the far-left blog Counterpunch. Morley, who calls the aging Stone a “soldier” and “dogged veteran” of the culture war, believes a “new JFK fact pattern” has emerged since the premiere of his 1991 film JFK. According to Morley, Stone and his JFK Revisited collaborator James DiEugenio, who wrote the screenplay, have performed a service that the New York Times and Washington Post have thus far eschewed. That is to undertake a comprehensive review of the “new historical record” created since the JFK Records Act of 1992 which undeniably was a result of Stone’s original film. “What do we know today that we didn’t know yesterday?” Morley wonders.

This article will take a critical look at the assertions made by Morley not only in the context of JFK Revisited, but as they relate to Morley’s continued insistence that the JFK document releases are providing the world with significant new information that will enable researchers to finally uncover the truth about the JFK murder. Since Morley has been at work in his quest to create a mystery where none exists for many years now, this article can only scratch the surface as a rebuttal. For more information on Morley and his myriad claims, see:

My Blog

Myers/Russo-Drums of Conspiracy

Myers/Russo-Fanning Wisps of Smoke

Morley’s assertions from the Counterpunch article are in blockquotes.

Important Documents?

Under an October 22 order from President Biden, the CIA released 953 documents in their entirety for the first time, including two cables about Oswald written six weeks before Kennedy was killed. For the first time in 58 years, these two messages were completely declassified.

The last detail to become public was the identity of the CIA contract employee who initiated a request for more information about Oswald, an itinerant ex-Marine who contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. The information was no smoking gun but the delay in disclosure was significant and revealing. Why didn’t the CIA release this trivial information long ago?

The 953 documents mentioned by Morley certainly sound significant. But the reality in most of these cases is that just a few inconsequential words were previously redacted. In some instances, the document has been previously released in another form. Let’s look at one example provided by Rex Bradford at the Mary Ferrell database. RIF 157-10004-10287 is a Church Committee record titled JMWAVE REPORTING ON LEE HARVEY OSWALD. This record featured redactions as recently as 2018 according to Bradford. Thanks to the new release, we now know that the information about Oswald came from DRE member Luis Fernandez Rocha. We also know that the information was not relayed to the State Department, the Secret Service and the FBI.

But all we have really learned is the identity of the DRE member (Rocha) who provided the information. The redacted document states “[redacted] delegate had radio debate with Lee H. Oswald of Fair Play for Cuba Committee sometime in August ‘63 on New Orleans station WDSU.” Students of the assassination didn’t need the unredacted document to know that DRE member Carlos Bringuier debated Oswald. Nor did they need this document to know that someone from the DRE [identified by their CIA cryptonym of AMSPELL] had provided the information. As Bradford admits, “the information in this particular case is already known and the unredactions are unremarkable.”

Note that Morley has been speaking out about the release of JFK records for years, but he has gone into overdrive on the issue since 2017 when the latest round of releases began. Morley has appeared on TV shows, YouTube, Internet podcasts, online articles and anywhere else that will have him. His goal is to convince the public that what has been released is significant. His motive for this appears to be his desire to continue these appearances so he can promote himself and his anti-CIA agenda which is primarily manifested in the books he writes (a fourth book weaving the Watergate scandal into the mix is upcoming).

Now, let’s look at the two documents that Morley says have been “declassified” for the first time in 58 years. What revelations do they contain?

The first document is RIF 104-10054-10293. The document describes Oswald’s visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City and mentions the fact that he encountered Valeriy Kostikov, a KGB operative. But this information has been known for years. The only thing new, as Morley points out, is the name of the CIA employee who requested more information on Oswald. That person was Barbara Manell (“Wife of Herb Manell” is the new info). But Mrs. Manell’s known cryptonym of “LA Dillenger” (sometimes “LA Dillinger”) was shown in previous versions of the document. So, the “new” version of the document provides absolutely no new information. That makes four inconsequential words and zero new information in the two documents Morley is so excited about.

Although Morley admits that the release of Manell’s name was “no smoking gun,” he still maintains that the delay in releasing the information was “significant and revealing.” What was so “significant and revealing” about the delay Morley doesn’t say. He does go on in the next sentence to call the information “trivial,” so it seems even he is conflicted regarding the importance of the release of Manell’s name.

We now know one of the Oswald cables was drafted by six top CIA officials. The authors included the assistant deputy director of the clandestine service, the counterintelligence liaison to the FBI, and the chief of operations in Agency’s Western Hemisphere division.

Again, this document has been available since at least 1995 as have the names of the six CIA officials to whom Morley refers. The only real identity not known for a period of time was that of "John Scelso." But it has been known for years now that Scelso was John Whitten.

Was the CIA’s Knowledge About Oswald Significant?

If the document made public in December 2021 had been disclosed in December 1963, the Warren Commission’s investigation would have been much different. The CIA would have been investigated for incompetence or worse. Here’s what these covert operators knew about the accused assassin while President Kennedy was still alive. They knew that Oswald, a former Marine Corps radar operator, had defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959 ...

But anyone with access to a newspaper knew that since Oswald’s defection made the wire services back in the day. How does the fact that he defected four years earlier specifically make him a danger to President Kennedy in 1963? Besides, the responsibility for keeping an eye on Oswald fell to the FBI since the CIA has no domestic law enforcement responsibility. And the task of protecting the president falls to the Secret Service. Both the FBI and the Secret Service were reprimanded for their poor performance in protecting the president.

Of course, if the CIA had specific information that Oswald was a threat, they would have had a duty to report that to the FBI and/or Secret Service. But they had no such specific information. They just knew Oswald was in Mexico City trying to get a visa to travel to Cuba where he would be no threat to JFK at all.

… that he offered to share military secrets with the enemy ...

There is little evidence that Oswald had any secrets to share. Zack Stout, who served with Oswald at the Atsugi airbase where he supposedly obtained his “secrets” about the U2 spy plane, told the HSCA that “all the operators were aware [the U-2] flew high and far—beyond our scopes, but it never registered with the radar crews anyway so no one paid any attention to it.” Stout noted that the men were deliberately not provided much information about the U2 since “if one man knew something, soon all did.” Stout also said that Edward Epstein’s notion as reported in his book Legend that the U2 checked in and out with radar operators using the call sign “Racecar” was untrue.

… that he returned with a Russian wife in June 1962 ...

This fact was known by the FBI and the Dallas Russian community, neither of which considered Marina to be much of a threat to anyone. However, the Russian community was less impressed with Oswald and some individuals were aware of his physical and mental mistreatment of Marina with one man witnessing it firsthand.

... that he went public with his support for Fidel Castro in the summer of 1963; that he had been arrested for fighting with CIA-funded Cubans ...

Morley and other theorists attempt to tie Oswald’s support for Castro specifically to the summer of 1963. The reason for this is their belief that Oswald was groomed to appear to be a Castro supporter through his self-initiated one-man Fair Play for Cuba Committee chapter and his confrontational interactions with the anti-Castro DRE in New Orleans. While it is true that Oswald’s pro-Castro activities ramped up in 1963, he had expressed his support for the Castro revolution in real time beginning in late 1958 while he was still in the Marine Corps. Oswald discussed Castro with fellow marine Nelson Delgado and spoke of his affection for the American William Morgan who traveled to Cuba to fight with Fidel. Oswald also frequently spoke to his wife Marina about his admiration for Castro and even tried to enlist her in a plot to hijack a plane to the island nation. Finally, Oswald’s support for Marxist doctrine dated back to when he was a teenager.

and that he made contact with Valeriy Kostikov, a Soviet intelligence officer, in Mexico City in October 1963.

Kostikov was working in the Soviet embassy under the cover of a consular officer. The fact is anyone who had business of any sort at the embassy might come into contact with him. Although Morley doesn’t seem to know this, the CIA surely did and was not unnecessarily alarmed by this fact. And unless the CIA was in possession of specific information tying Oswald to a KGB plot to kill Kennedy, there would be no reason for them to overreact.

Morley has heard this kind of logic before and he doesn’t like it.

The problem with this reasonable-sounding proposition is that there is no corroboration for it. That is to say, there is no CIA document–no Inspector General’s report, for example–accounting for the actions of the authors of the Oswald cables, sent on October 10, 1963.

If Morley were simply arguing that the CIA should have been held to the kind of scrutiny that was given to the FBI and the Secret Service, his argument would at least make sense and might resonate with more people even though an investigation of the agency would necessarily have to be limited because of their classified work. But he seems to be arguing that because the CIA was not held to account and they continue to withhold certain materials, they must therefore be guilty of covering up or participating in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Such an argument is unlikely to hold water for most reasonable individuals including the journalists that Morley believes should be praising Stone and parsing the “new” documents.

With all this information in mind, the CIA sent a reassuring cable—now available to the public in its entirety for the first time—telling its Mexico City office that Oswald’s two and half year stay in the Soviet Union had had an “maturing effect” on him. Forty-three days later, Kennedy was dead and Oswald was under arrest for the crime.

This statement is misleading for more than one reason. First, the opinion that Oswald had matured during his stay in the Soviet Union was not originally that of the CIA. The agency was merely quoting the words of officials at the US embassy in Moscow who delt with Oswald. Second, Morley once again tries to create the impression that startling new facts have been brought out by the 2021 file release. But this assessment by the embassy and the CIA cable quoting it have been available for some time.

The Agency had even intercepted and read his mail, according to a document declassified in 2000. The story of the supposed lone gunman, as told in the Warren Commission report, implied the CIA knew little about him, which simply wasn’t true ...

They had read his mail but stopped doing so in May of 1962. Anyone can search the Mary Ferrell site and see Oswald’s letters and decide if there was anything in them that represented a threat to President Kennedy. As I have shown above, there is no evidence that the CIA knew anything about Oswald that wasn’t already in the public domain save for his trip to Mexico City. And that sojourn did not raise sufficient red flags for the agency to consider him a threat to the president.

… a declassified routing slip shows that CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton received an FBI report that Oswald was living in Texas on November 15, one week before Kennedy was killed.

Again, so what? Besides, one of Morley’s theories is that Angleton was running an operation involving Oswald. If that were true, wouldn’t he already know where he lived?

Key Evidentiary Issues?

[Stone] brings forward the long-ignored testimony of three women indicating that Oswald was almost certainly not on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository at the time he supposedly fired at the presidential motorcade.

Despite Morley’s assertion, the story of the “girl on the stairs” has been known and debated for years in JFK circles and is the subject of a book. The theory is one of a few (including the “prayer man” and “door man” theories) that seeks to dispense with the voluminous evidence of Oswald as a lone gunman in one fell swoop. According to the theory, the “girl,” Vicki Adams, and another girl, Sandra Styles, promptly descended the backstairs of the Texas School Book Depository after the fatal shots were fired at JFK. Since they did not encounter Oswald, he must have been elsewhere at the time of the shooting and therefore innocent of the crime.

But the assertion wholly depends on the notion that the girls descended the stairs and were on the first floor within a minute of the assassination. But there are several reasons to doubt the “girl on the stairs” story. Instead of repeating those here, I’ll link to two excellent pages:

Steve Roe-Tripping on the Stairs

David Von Pein

[Stone] highlights the sworn testimony of photo technician Saundra Spencer who testified she developed photographs of Kennedy’s head wound showing that he had been hit by a shot from the front, photos not found in the official record of JFK’s autopsy.

There is a reason Spencer’s photos are not in the official autopsy record. They do not exist. As author Vincent Bugliosi put it, Spencer’s remembrances are “at odds with almost the entire official record.” Spencer’s recollections were provided 34 years after the assassination and she admits to seeing the alleged photos for just “ten or fifteen seconds.” Not surprisingly, Spencer’s memory of when the alleged photos were developed, who was there and what type of film was processed do not match official records.

Additionally, Spencer’s recollection of a hole in the back of JFK’s head is not supported by the autopsy materials or the observations of the autopsy doctors and may have been influenced by the discredited reports of the Dallas doctors who treated JFK. Notably, Spencer also recalls a particularly unusual photo. This alleged photo depicted the brain lying next to the body of President Kennedy. Considering the dubious nature of Spencer’s recollections, it is likely that mainstream media outlets have not publicized her allegations because, unlike Stone and Morley, they simply do not find them to be credible.

The Vietnam Question

[Stone] reviews the declassified documentation of Kennedy’s approach to Vietnam showing how U.S. policy changed drastically after Kennedy’s removal from the presidency.

Had he lived, JFK would have faced the same difficult decisions that ultimately fell to Johnson. But here is the real issue. The Oliver Stone-Jim DiEugenio view is that JFK was pulling out of Vietnam. And DiEugenio at least maintains this is an incontrovertible fact. But the issue is much more nuanced than DiEugenio and Stone would have you believe.

Mark White is a Professor of History at Queen Mary University of London who has written nine books. White has also authored an excellent article that presents both sides of the issue regarding JFK’s Vietnam plans. The crux of the DiEugenio-Stone argument centers on NSAM-263, an order issued by JFK in October 1963 authorizing the withdrawal of 1000 US military personnel from South Vietnam by the end of the year. “Historian John Newman has attached great importance to this,” notes White, “claiming it signified Kennedy’s intention to pull out of Vietnam — an argument that influenced director Oliver Stone…”

“Although superficially plausible, this interpretation is unpersuasive,” writes White. “The evidence makes clear that Kennedy viewed NSAM-263 as a way of indicating US displeasure at South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem’s policies and of pressuring him to increase his effectiveness in governing and on the battlefield.” Indeed, Swedish historian Fredrick Logevall noted, “No further withdrawals were envisioned [after NSAM-263]; more advisers could be sent in the future, if the situation demanded.” White concludes, “In other words, NSAM-263 was not part of a Kennedy plan to pull out of Vietnam.”

DiEugenio’s refusal to even consider the idea that Newman’s interpretation of NSAM-263 may be incorrect has no doubt lessened his status in the eyes of serious historians and journalists.

Alecia Long

In a sustained attack on Stone in the Washington Post, professor Alecia Long argued that Garrison’s investigation was motivated by homophobia. Shaw was a closeted gay man and Garrison used his private life to smear him, she contends in a new book. Long’s unsubtle implication is that anyone who believes Kennedy was killed by his enemies is an ignorant bigot prone to QAnon-type fantasies.

Morley makes a somewhat mystifying decision to attack Long’s article and ironically does so under the heading “A Straw Man.” Consider the following passage:

If Long thinks that Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Charles De Gaulle and Fidel Castro were deluded fabulists driven by homophobia, her argument is unconvincing, if not totally wrong.

But Morley has done exactly what he accuses Long of doing—created a straw man. Nowhere in her article does Long mention Truman, DeGaulle or Castro in any form. While she does mention Johnson, she does not suggest that the 36th president was a homophobic fabulist. Long’s book focuses on the homophobic nature of Garrison’s investigation and is the second book to do so.

Had Morley taken the time to read Long’s piece carefully, he might have realized that they shared at least some common ground. For example, Morley writes (emphasis added):

I see no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that any one CIA employee was guilty of plotting to kill Kennedy. But that does not mean CIA officers were innocent of malfeasance in the wrongful death of the president. To the contrary, I think, like LBJ and Castro, that the preponderance of evidence shows Kennedy was killed by enemies in his own government. These enemies cannot yet be identified because of the bizarre and suspicious secrecy that still surrounds the JFK files 58 years after the fact.”

Morley’s statement bears a similarity to a paragraph from Long’s Post article he is so critical of—a fact that he pretends not to notice:

"Both agencies [FBI and CIA] were undeniably guilty of dissemblance, if not outright deceit, but no documents have been released that indicate intelligence agency participation in the assassination. In other words, if there had been a conspiracy, extant documents do not reveal the names of people or operatives who would have participated in the president’s murder."

To conclude his attack on Long’s work, Morley trots out yet another straw man:

Rather than consider the new fact pattern found in the historical record, Long pledges allegiance to the theory of a lone gunman, which, let us remember, was duly endorsed by the racist Kennedy-hater J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Helms, the only CIA director ever convicted of a crime, If you don’t believe Hoover and Helms on JFK’s assassination, Professor Long argues, you’re a fool.

But Long has “pledged” no such loyalty to the “lone gunman scenario.” In her book, Cruising for Conspirators, Long refers to Oswald as the “alleged assassin” and offers no theory of the assassination. She makes it clear that her work shifts the focus from “binary questions” about the facts of the JFK murder to sexuality. She argues that “widespread beliefs about the criminality of homosexual men” led to Shaw’s identification as a suspect and shaped his prosecution.

Long’s article does not mention Hoover or Helms and accordingly does not imply that those who disagree with them are “fools.” And the fact that Hoover was a “racist Kennedy-hater” or that Helms was convicted of a crime does nothing to disprove the “lone gunman scenario.”

Tim Weiner

On Rolling Stone’s web site, former New York Times reporter Tim Weiner recycled the contrived claim that Stone’s movie was the product of, drumroll please, a KGB disinformation plot … Weiner argues that an article published in an Italian newspaper [Paese Sera] in March 1967 speculating about a CIA conspiracy to kill Kennedy was planted by the KGB and read by Garrison.

Weiner does write, “Six years later, Paese Sera planted the seed that flowered into JFK.” While this may be something of an overstatement, as Garrison expert Fred Litwin notes, “The impact of the allegations leveled by Paese Sera on the New Orleans district attorney is beyond dispute. Garrison was in receipt of this scoop by no later than mid-March 1967. We know this via several contemporaneous sources, including the diary of Richard Billings …”

Litwin continues, “Insofar as Garrison was concerned, Shaw was now directly linked to the CIA, although the DA’s sole source was a newspaper clipping. In combination with the beliefs of conspiracy buffs, Garrison pivoted away from his initial theory of a locally-based, homosexual/sadism & masochism conspiracy and began talking in public about something much much bigger.” That something was, of course, a CIA conspiracy involving Shaw.

Incidentally, Morley omits any mention of JFK Revisited’s claims regarding an alleged CIA-backed plot to kill French President Charles De Gaulle, cited by Weiner, that Paese Sera again had a hand in. Perhaps that is because he knows those claims are poorly supported.

It’s an ungainly contraption of an argument. As DiEugenio has pointed out in a heated post on his Kennedys and King blog, the Italian article was published after Garrison launched his investigation.

Yet again, Morley has created a false argument. Weiner knows the arrest came first and clearly states that Shaw was arrested on March 1st and the Paese Sera series began “three days later.” Nowhere does Weiner say that Garrison “built his conspiracy case” on that article. Weiner does write that Garrison “seized upon” the notion of a Shaw-CIA connection.

The Influence of JFK the Movie

Yes, JFK the movie influenced public thinking, but Oliver Stone didn’t make Americans believe in a conspiracy. Two statistically valid polls done by the National Opinion Research Center in late November 1963 found more than 60 percent of people in Dallas and nationwide believed more than one person was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. At the time, Stone was attending boarding school in Pennsylvania.

No, he didn’t make people believe in a conspiracy. But his film, which employed all his considerable skills as a filmmaker, has been enormously influential. Dave Reitzes, a noted JFK researcher, wrote “It is no exaggeration to state that seeing the movie changed my life. Since that evening, I have devoted thousands of hours to the study of what it was that happened that tragic day in Dallas, why it happened, and why there is such persistent confusion surrounding it.”

Reitzes continues, “While it took very little research to learn that some of JFK's claims about the assassination and the ensuing investigations were in error, sometimes grossly so, I believed for some time that the film was essentially credible in its key arguments. It was only after some eight or nine years that it began to dawn on me that I was wrong; that I had begun with a conclusion and given credence only to facts that supported my preconceptions; and that Oliver Stone had done the same thing, even to a larger extent than I had.”

Reitzes’ experience led him to write the JFK 100, a series of articles highlighting Stone’s “most egregious errors.”

Morley and Newman

... top Agency officers had a keen interest in Oswald held on a need-to-know basis six weeks before Kennedy was killed.

This belief by Morley has its roots in a 1994 interview with Jane Roman, a senior liaison officer on the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff. Morley, accompanied by John Newman, showed Roman some documents and got her to say, among other things, “The only interpretation I could put on this [the language of the cable] would be that this SAS group would have held all the information on Oswald under their tight control."

Morley has published this thesis in several books and articles throughout the years to great acclaim in the conspiracy world. Although Morley has issued a few snippets, the opinion of Jane Roman on the matter is less well known. Roman wrote a letter to the Post in response and although she never sent it, the ARRB obtained a copy. Roman wrote that Morley and Newman made a “monstrous mountain out of a mole hill.” Roman noted that the interview was conducted by Newman which was not what she was led to believe would be the case.

Roman described Newman’s style as “belligerent and confrontational.” The CIA veteran called the fact that she had signed off on certain cables “a matter of routine coordination and review.” Roman noted that the original Post article by Morley was “sensationally misleading” adding “the information in the cable from Mexico Station was disseminated to State, the FBI, INS and Navy.” Roman denied being aware of any agency relationship with Oswald and concluded, “My statements have been seriously contorted, taken out of context, or at best, misinterpreted.”

... the FBI removed Oswald’s name from a security watchlist after he contacted the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City.

Morley has no evidence that there is a connection between Oswald’s visit to the embassies in Mexico City and his removal from the watch list. FBI agent Marvin Gheesling told a superior that he removed Oswald’s name from the list after learning Oswald had been arrested in New Orleans. Gheesling went on to explain that he had previously forgotten to remove Oswald from the list but should have done so upon his return to the US in 1962 since the purpose of the “stop” on Oswald was to alert the FBI “in the event [Oswald] returned to the U.S. under [an] assumed name.” Gheesling was disciplined for his actions and he was not the only FBI agent whose foul-ups elicited punishment by the bureau. In a perfect world, the FBI would have monitored Oswald more closely and the tragedy in Dallas might have been averted.

I talked about how a covert political action program, code named AMSPELL, generated propaganda about Oswald before and after Kennedy was killed.

There are many problems with this statement by Morley. First, there is positively no evidence that George Joannides, who was the Miami-based CIA handler for the DRE, the anti-Castro group Morley is referring to, even knew Oswald existed. Regarding the pre-assassination “propaganda” generated by the DRE about Oswald, it amounted to one press release asking people to write to their representatives requesting an investigation of the former marine. Note also that Oswald initially approached the DRE in the form of New Orleans delegate Carlos Bringuier not the other way around.

As far as the post-assassination “propaganda,” this consisted mostly of a magazine called Trenches put out by the DRE that referred to Oswald and Castro as “the presumed assassins.” Since the DRE received CIA funds Morley likes to claim that this publication was “CIA funded” and implies that the agency ordered the DRE to publish it. But according to an HSCA statement by DRE member Jose Lanuza, the group was instructed by Joannides to hold what they had on Oswald until the FBI came to pick it up.

Fifteen years later, [Joannides] was called out of retirement to stonewall the House Select Committee on Assassination, a performance that won him a CIA medal.

This is a canard that Morley has been repeating for years. Joannides received the Career Intelligence Medal which, as the name implies, is for a lifetime of service. The medal citation reads, “in recognition of his exceptional achievement with the Central Intelligence Agency for more than twenty-eight years.”

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

In a compelling presentation to JFK researchers in Dallas in November 2019, [Rolf] Mowatt-Larssen made a cogent case that the gunfire in Dealey Plaza was the product of a tightly compartmentalized operation, mounted by Kennedy’s enemies in the ranks of the CIA that was probably known to only four or five people.

A through discussion of Mowatt-Larssen’s presentation is beyond the scope of this article. But checking Morley’s writings on the subject shows that this “compelling presentation” would become untenable as a practical matter rather quickly.

Mowatt-Larssen says the conspiracy was known to only four or five people, according to Morley. But he also says that Oswald would have been recruited into the plot by J. Walton Moore, George De Mohrenschildt and a third unnamed operative. Later, Oswald obtained a job at the Texas School Book Depository. Mowatt-Larssen doesn’t mention this but to be framed as a patsy, logically Oswald would have had to be “placed” in the depository as part of the plot. Oswald’s roundabout journey to learning of the position started when Linnie Mae Randall mentioned during a coffee klatch that the depository may be hiring. Oswald’s wife Marina then asked her friend Ruth Paine if she would call the depository on Lee’s behalf. Paine spoke to superintendent Roy Truly who told her to have Oswald apply in person. By my count, Mowatt-Larssen’s “tightly compartmentalized” conspiracy is up to seven people already. And that is not counting the “mastermind” (who Mowatt-Larssen evidently believes was Bay of Pigs boss Jake Esterline), Ruby and his recruiter and a second gunman—all of whom are key to Mowatt-Larssen’s theory according to Morley.


The withholding of these ancient documents is not smoking gun proof of conspiracy but it is solid evidence that the CIA still has something significant to hide about JFK’s assassination. If and when Joannides’s personnel file and thousands of other still-secret CIA records become public, the question of a large vs small conspiracy–or no conspiracy at all–will be clarified. We won’t see those files until December 15, 2022 at the earliest.

So, Morley is really saying that, if there is no evidence of conspiracy, he will give up the quest? That will never happen. Even if there is a full release of files, there will always be some discrepancy in the records that will allow Morley and like-minded theorists to continue their pursuit. And if any of the records scheduled to be released in December of 2022 are withheld, you can plan to see Morley take his familiar place in the spotlight to protest this injustice, all the while promoting his books. But, in reality, a partial release would be the best-case scenario for Morley. It would allow him to say once again, “we just can’t say for sure what happened to JFK until all the records are released.” That is nonsense, of course, since the case against Oswald as a lone gunman has stood the test of time. And most journalists, historians and scientists (if not the general public) recognize that fact.


  1. Tracy,

    The "new" information from the Church Committee record 157-10004-10287 is not new. This cable (WAVE 8047) was released in full by the ARRB in 1995 as CIA record 104-10015-10108.

  2. I'm the person who invited Rolf Mowatt-Larssen to the CAPA conference. Rolf did not say that the rogue elements of the CIA were behind the assassination. What he was sharing was how such a conspiracy could have occurred IF there had been a conspiracy within the CIA. He does believe Lee Oswald was the lone gunman. As the person who organized the CAPA conference, I was criticized for inviting Rolf (and am no longer associated with CAPA) but i thought he had interesting analysis to share based on his experience within the CIA. Full disclosure- I believe Carlos Marcello was behind the assassination but always invite different views to have a conversation.


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