"We have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet Embassy, using Oswald's name. The picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance."

— FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, informing President Johnson of an Oswald impersonation. This phone call itself appears to have been erased..

Government Reports

Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City (aka "Lopez Report"), 2003 Release
The long-suppressed "Appendix 13" to the House Select Committee on Assassinations Final Report lays out much of what the HSCA learned from CIA and FBI files on Lee Oswald's purported trip to Mexico City, including evidence that he was imperonated.

Audio Recordings

LBJ-Hoover call of 11/23/63
The transcript of this call includes Hoover telling Johnson that the "tape and picture" of the man who was down in Mexico City don't match his voice or appearance. This LBJ call itself has been silenced, having apparently been erased. See The Fourteen Minute Gap.

LBJ-Hoover call of 11/29/63
After a discussion of Warren Commission membership, Hoover tells LBJ that "This angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble," speaking primarily of the interrogation of Gilberto Alvarado Ugarte. Alvarado told a story of seeing Oswald take $6500 in the Cuban Embassy to kill Kennedy.

LBJ-Russell call of 11/29/63
LBJ calls his old mentor to inform Russell that he has been named to the President's Commission. At the end of the conversation, LBJ tells Russell the story of how he got Warren to agree to serve: "I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City."

Important Transcripts

Tarasoffs Testimony to the HSCA
The CIA translators who transcribed the "Oswald" calls were interviewed in 1976, and both unequivocally corroborated David Phillips' memory of a "third" and more sinister phone call. By the time they were deposed in Washington more than a year later, Mr. Tarasoff had changed his story.

Anne Goodpasture's Testimony to the ARRB
Anne Goodpasture worked in the CIA's Mexico City Station in 1963, handling the take from the telephone tap surveillance. She was also interviewed by the HSCA in 1978.

John "Scelso's" Testimony to the HSCA
The CIA's initial investigative liaison to the Warren Commission, John Whitten (pseudonym "Scelso") told the HSCA how he was forced out by James Angleton.

Albert Guy Bogard's Testimony to the Warren Commission
Bogard was one of several witnesses who appears to have dealt with an Oswald impersonator in Dallas. He worked in a car dealership, and went for a high-speed test-drive with an "Oswald" who talked of Russia. His story was corroborated by co-worker Frank Pizzo.

Important Documents

MEXI 6453
This is the Oct. 8, 1963 cable reporting to CIA Headquarters on the Oct. 1 "Lee Oswald" call.

DIR 84730
This is the Oct. 10, 1963 reply to MEXI 6543, reporting an accurate physical description of Lee "Henry" Oswald.

DIR 84673
But this Oct. 10 cable, sent by the same HQ staff just a few hours earlier, passed along the inaccurate Oswald description of MEXI 6543 to the FBI, State Dept., and Navy.

MEXI 7025
This post-assassination cable relays the contents of the Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 "Oswald" calls.

DIR 90466
This cable from HQ to the Mexico City CIA station described, as of Dec. 20, 1963, the CIA's plan to hide the telephone tap operation from the Warren Commission. Months later, they ultimately let a few Commission staff members in on the secret.

Warren Commission Document 347
A primary official report about Mexico City sent from the CIA to the Warren Commission. It raised more questions than it answered, and the Commission finally sent a team down to Mexico City in April 1964.

Warren Commission Foreign Conspiracy Report
This internal Warren Commission report on a possible foreign conspiracy was not published, and was released in response to the JFK Records Act. It shows the Commission's preoccupation with the Soviet Union, an indication that much of the "Cuban conspiracy" evidence had been hidden from it.

Slawson Report of Trip to Mexico City
Three Warren Commission staffers traveled to Mexico City in April 1964 to learn firsthand about the sources of the CIA information about Oswald's visit there. This is a report WC staffer David Slawson wrote after the trip.

Mexico City Chronology
Anne Goodpasture of the CIA Mexico City Station wrote this chonology of the "Oswald in Mexico" story, spanning the period from September 27, 1963 to February 3, 1968.

Mexico City Station History
Also written by Anne Goodpasture, this heavily-redacted history of the CIA Mexico City Station contains extensive information on the "coverage" of the Cuban and Soviet embassies.

 


"The CIA advised that on October 1, 1963, an extremely sensitive source had reported that an individual identified himself as Lee Oswald, who contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City inquiring as to any messages. Special Agents of this Bureau, who have conversed with Oswald in Dallas, Texas, have observed photographs of the individual referred to above, and have listened to a recording of his voice. These special agents are of the opinion that the above-referred-to individual was not Lee Harvey Oswald."

The paragraph shown above comes from an FBI memo sent to both the White House and the Secret Service on November 23, 1963, the day after President Kennedy's assassination. It was a follow-up to a phone call at 10:01 AM, in which Director Hoover informed Lyndon Johnson of the same fact. Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of Kennedy held in police custody in Dallas, had been impersonated in phone calls to the Soviet Embassy in Mexio City.

The fact that Oswald was impersonated less than two months prior to the Dallas shooting was obviously important news. What made the revelation even more stunning was that, in one such call, "Oswald" referred to a previous meeting with a Soviet official named Kostikov. Valeriy Kostikov was well-known to the CIA and FBI as a KGB agent operating out of the Embassy under official cover. But, far more ominously, the FBI's "Tumbleweed" informant had previously tipped off the U.S. that Kostikov was a member of the KGB's "Department 13," involved in sabotage and assassinations.

An otherwise inexplicable impersonation episode takes on an entirely new meaning in this light. The calls from the Oswald impersonator made it appear that Oswald was a hired killer, hired by the Soviet Union no less. This was a prescription for World War III.

Perhaps the perfect plan was foiled by the fact that Oswald was captured, allowing the FBI to interrogate him and compare his voice to the tapes of these tapped phone calls, which were apparently flown up from the CIA's Mexico City Station on the evening of November 22. In any case, what should have been a hot lead to sophisticated conspirators was instead quickly buried—by November 25, FBI memos made no more mention of tapes, only transcripts. The CIA has maintained to this day that the tapes were routinely recycled prior to the assassination, and no tapes were ever sent. But the evidence that the tapes did exist and were listened to is now overwhelming, and includes several FBI memos, a call from Hoover to LBJ which appears to have been suspiciously erased, and even the word of two Warren Commission staffers who say they listened to the tapes during their visit to Mexico City in April 1964!

Back in November 1963, with the knowledge that it wasn't Oswald in these calls to the Soviet Embassy tightly held, and with witnesses coming forward to claim seeing Oswald take money to kill Kennedy from Cuban operatives, a coverup went into high gear. Lyndon Johnson used the fear of nuclear war, bandying about the figure "40 million Americans" who would die in a nuclear exchange. Even though he knew of the impersonation, Johnson used this false scare to press men like Richard Russell and Earl Warren onto a President's Commission which another Commissioner, John J. McCloy, said was to "settle the dust."

The Mexico City story, which involves far more than the telephone tapes and remains truly mysterious in many ways, is not the only element in the setup of Oswald. Whether he was part of a murder conspiracy or just a "patsy," Oswald was set up for the role as lone gunman. Several incidents prior to the assassination painted him as a "Red" assassin, including his test-drive at a car dealership in Dallas and an episode at a shooting range. In both cases, the Warren Commission showed that Oswald could not have been present, and thus dismissed the claims. They should have instead asked, who was there pretending to be Oswald?

The frameup also included the planting of Commission Exhibit 399, the "magic" bullet which matched Oswald's rifle, and the laydown of that junky weapon and matching shells near the so-called "sniper's nest" in the Book Depository. While the pre-assassination Oswald setup events are the most interessting, because they are inherently part of the assassination plot, post-assassination coverup activities also served to frame Oswald for the murder, and to hide his connections to the intelligence community. Essays in this topic area include discussion of the circumstantial evidence that ballistics evidence was tampered with in order to support the lone gunman answer. And the medical coverup writings on this site abound with examples of such manipulation.

But the most important setup was the incriminating connection to a planted Communist conspiracy. This episode is important because it helps explain why men like Earl Warren might engage in a coverup. It also narrows the field of potential conspirators considerably. In 1963 these intelligence activities were kept under extremely tight wraps. So who knew that the Embassy phone lines were tapped? Who knew that Kostikov was involved in assassinations and that this fact was known to the U.S.? Who knew that this phony Red connection would scare the government into a coverup?

Rex Bradford
History Matters

 

Essays

The Fourteen Minute Gap, by Rex Bradford. This article describes the discovery that the only LBJ phone call known to have discussed the Oswald impersonation has itself been erased. The essay also explores the wider implications of the story of "the tapes."

The Fourteen Minute Gap: An Update, by Rex Bradford. This update essay presents the LBJ Library's confirmation of the erasure discussed in The Fourteen Minute Gap.

What Jane Roman Said, by Jefferson Morley. Washington Post writer Morley and historian John Newman interviewed CIA counterintelligence officer Jane Roman in 1994. In this essay, Morley describes that interview (see transcript online) and discusses his other important discoveries, including revelations concerning another CIA officer named George Joannides. As Roman herself said, the evidence shows the CIA had a "keen interest in Oswald held very closely on the need to know basis."

More Mexico Mysteries, by Rex Bradford. This article is a walkthrough of new evidence on the "Oswald in Mexico City" story, as revealed in the Russ Holmes Work File of CIA documents and formerly-secret interview transcripts of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

The Magic Bullet: Even More Magical Than We Knew?, by Dr. Gary Aguilar and Josiah Thompson. Two experts trace the path of CE399, the "magic bullet," from a stretcher in Parkland hospital to its status as a Commission Exhibit. They find its chain of possession just as suspect as its alleged path through 7 wounds in 2 bodies.

Frazier Speaks, by John Hunt. Hunt discusses his research into the "Q Timeline Problem," illuminating the problem with the FBI sequential numbering of ballistics evidence and the circumstantial case that these problems indicate tampering with the physical evidence. The essay discusses FBI agent Robert Frazier's changing answers to basic questions about how these errors could have occurred.

Deep Politics III, Overview Chapter
Peter Dale Scott's latest writings on the assassination of JFK, and the "deep politics" surrounding it, are being published online here at History Matters. These online chapters contain extensive hyperlinks to referenced source material. This overview chapter contains much new information and analysis by the "dean" of JFK assassination research.

Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City, by John Newman. This article, hosted on the website of Citizens for Truth in the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA), describes the "dormant virus" of the Oswald calls.

Mexico City: A New Analysis, by John Newman. The JFK Lancer web site contains this transcript of an excellent talk given by John Newman at the November in Dallas '99 conference. The text contains links to documents cited.

James Jesus Angleton and the Kennedy Assassination, by Lisa Pease. This two-part article, hosted on the CTKA site, delves into the new records to look at the curious role of CIA Counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Click here for Part Two of the article.

Recommended Books

Deep Politics II, by Peter Dale Scott, JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, 1996. This is the only book which delves into the activities in Mexico City in detail. Dr. Scott, by far the most knowledgeable person in this area, mulls over the evidence that what went on in Mexico City is deeper and more mysterious still than the official record reveals.

Oswald and the CIA, by John Newman, Carrol & Graf, 1995. Dr. Newman pores over the early CIA releases which disproved the notion that Oswald was "nobody" to the CIA prior to the Kennedy assassination. The book explores the still-obscured connection between Oswald and U.S. intelligence.

Accessories after the Fact, by Sylvia Meagher, Random House, 1967. A classic study which compares the Warren Commission's Report with its own evidence, published in 26 accompanying volumes. While the Mexico City impersonation was unknown back in 1967, Ms. Meagher lays out the other evidence for a frameup of Oswald.