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FTR #1035 Interview #5 with Jim DiEugenio about “Destiny Betrayed”

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: The fifth of a planned long series of inter­views with Jim DiEu­ge­nio about his tri­umphal analy­sis of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion and New Orleans DA Jim Gar­rison’s hero­ic inves­ti­ga­tion of the killing, this pro­gram begins analy­sis of the devel­op­ment of the leg­end (intel­li­gence cov­er) of Lee Har­vey Oswald.

(Lis­ten­ers can order Des­tiny Betrayed and Jim’s oth­er books, as well as sup­ple­ment­ing those vol­umes with arti­cles about this coun­try’s polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions at his web­site Kennedys and KingJim is also a reg­u­lar guest and expert com­men­ta­tor on Black Op Radio.)

This week’s dis­cus­sion begins with a syn­op­sis of the career of James Jesus Angle­ton, the long-time CIA chief of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence. Long pre-occu­pied with the mat­ter of defec­tors from the Sovi­et Union, Angle­ton under­took a pro­gram of run­ning false defec­tors to the U.S.S.R. in order to gain bet­ter intel­li­gence about that nation.

The num­ber of “defec­tors” to the Sovi­et Union expand­ed expo­nen­tial­ly, lead­ing State Depart­ment offi­cer Otto Otep­ka to query the CIA as to which of them were gen­uine defec­tors, and which were actu­al­ly left-cov­er spooks. One of the defec­tors about which he inquired was Lee Har­vey Oswald, and a CIA reply about Oswald was marked “SECRET.”

Otep­ka’s career nose­dived after this.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; pp. 164–165.

. . . . He was first tak­en off of sen­si­tive cas­es. Sto­ries began to appear in the press that his job could be elim­i­nat­ed. He was asked to take anoth­er posi­tion in State but he declined. He was then called before a Sen­ate Com­mit­tee to explain his meth­ods for issu­ing secu­ri­ty clear­ances. This hap­pened four times in less than three years. He still would not resign or sus­pend his defec­tor inves­ti­ga­tion. Spies, phone taps, and lis­ten­ing devices were then plant­ed in his office. His office start­ed to be searched after hours and his trash was scoured for any of his notes. Even his house was being sur­veilled. Otep­ka could not under­stand what was hap­pen­ing to him. He could only con­clude that the sen­si­tive study of Amer­i­can defec­tors hid­den in his safe was behind it all. That safe was lat­er drilled into after he was thrown out of his orig­i­nal office and reas­signed. Who­ev­er drilled it then used a tiny mir­ror to deter­mine the com­bi­na­tion. The safe­crack­er then removed its con­tents. On Novem­ber 5, 1963 Otep­ka was for­mal­ly removed from his job at State. Lat­er on, author Jim Hougan asked him if he had been able to fig­ure out if Oswald was a real or false defec­tor. Otep­ka replied, “We had not made up our minds when my safe was drilled and we were thrown out of the office.” Just two and a half weeks after his forcible depar­ture from State, Oswald, the man he had stud­ied for months on end, was accused of killing Pres­i­dent Kennedy. . . .

Against the back­ground of the false defec­tor pro­gram, we begin analy­sis of Oswald, the Marx­ist Marine.

As we have dis­cussed in oth­er pro­grams and posts, in his teens, Oswald was part of a Civ­il Air Patrol unit com­mand­ed by David Fer­rie, the long-time intel­li­gence offi­cer and the first focal point of Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tion. (As chron­i­cled by Daniel Hop­sick­er, that same unit also con­tained Bar­ry Seal, the long­time CIA pilot and a key play­er in the Iran-Con­tra relat­ed drug traf­fick­ing.)

Inter­est­ing­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly, as Oswald and his fel­low CAP cadets were gain­ing oper­a­tional access to mil­i­tary bases–suggesting some sig­nif­i­cant con­nec­tions to mil­i­tary and CIA by leader Ferrie–Oswald began to express and pur­sue alleged Communist/Marxist/Soviet incli­na­tions to some high school peers. At the same time, he was also giv­ing voice to a desire to join the mil­i­tary.

Even­tu­al­ly, Oswald joined the Marines. Dur­ing his tenure in the Marine Corps, his pro-Marx­ist/pro-Sovi­et lean­ings and his secu­ri­ty sta­tus both esca­lat­ed:

  1. Train­ing at Keesler Air Force Base in Mis­sis­sip­pi, Oswald got a Secu­ri­ty Clear­ance.
  2. He even­tu­al­ly was sta­tioned at Atsu­gi Air Force Base in Japan, from which the CIA-con­nect­ed U‑2 spy plane flew. Bear in mind that Oswald’s Marxist/Communist pro­fes­sions con­tin­ued apace dur­ing this time.
  3. Oswald was actu­al­ly in charge of phys­i­cal secu­ri­ty for the U‑2 at one point in his tour of duty at Atsugi–remarkable for a self-pro­fessed Marx­ist.
  4. While in Japan, he came in con­tact with Richard Case Nag­ell, a deep-cov­er intel­li­gence offi­cer assigned to play a dou­ble agent. Even­tu­al­ly, Nag­ell was assigned by his [osten­si­ble] Sovi­et han­dlers to kill Oswald, whom they felt was going to be a fall guy for a plot to kill JFK, and use that as pre­text for a war either against the U.S.S.R. and/or Cuba. Nag­ell is the focal point of the remark­able book The Man Who Knew Too Much by Dick Rus­sell, who was inter­viewed in FTR #54.
  5. CIA offi­cer, anti-Cas­tro lynch­pin and future Water­gate bur­glar E. Howard Hunt also turned up in Japan at the same time as Oswald, oper­at­ing in close prox­im­i­ty to the U‑2 oper­a­tions.
  6. Dur­ing his Marine Corps tenure, Oswald stat­ed to asso­ciate David Buck­nell that he would go to the Sovi­et Union on an under­cov­er intel­li­gence oper­a­tion and return a hero. Buck­nell stat­ed that Oswald was no Com­mu­nist.
  7. Anoth­er Marine asso­ciate of Oswald’s–Jim Botelho–also said Oswald was no Com­mu­nist and that, if he had been, Botel­ho would have tak­en vio­lent action against him.
  8. Oswald had access to sen­si­tive radar infor­ma­tion per­tain­ing to the U‑2 project and also knew the radio codes for his base. After his “defec­tion” to the U.S.S.R., he was the talk of the base. Nonethe­less, the radio codes were not changed.
  9. The lone asso­ciate of Oswald who cor­rob­o­rat­ed his dubi­ous Marx­ist credentials–Kerry Thornley–turned up lat­er in New Orleans, net­work­ing with Oswald and the oth­er play­ers in Oswald’s appar­ent pro-Cas­tro activ­i­ties. We will cov­er this in future broad­casts.
  10. While in the Marines, Oswald devel­oped a pro­fi­cient com­mand of the Russ­ian language–a dif­fi­cult tongue to mas­ter. He appears to have attend­ed the Defense Lan­guage Insti­tute in Mon­terey, Cal­i­for­nia.
  11. Oswald was a lousy shot in a branch of the service–the Marines–that placed a pre­mi­um on marks­man­ship. Labeled a “shit­bird” by his fel­low Marines for his lack of pro­fi­cien­cy with a rifle, Oswald lacked the extra­or­di­nary marks­man­ship required to do what he alleged­ly did in Dal­las.

The cir­cum­stances of Oswald’s “defec­tion” to the Sovi­et Union are sus­pi­cious as well:

  1. Oswald was giv­en a hard­ship dis­charge with just a few months remain­ing on his enlist­ment tour. He got this in an inor­di­nate­ly short amount of time. He was sup­posed to take care of his moth­er, and yet his broth­er Robert was there to care for her, mak­ing Lee’s pres­ence there unnec­es­sary.
  2. Oswald booked his steamship pas­sage from the Inter­na­tion­al Trade Mart in New Orleans, head­ed up by Clay Shaw, who was the focal point of Jim Gar­rison’s tri­al.
  3. Oswald osten­si­bly was going to Europe to attend Albert Schweitzer Col­lege, an obscure Swiss insti­tu­tion that the Swiss police required two months to locate.
  4. He defect­ed to the Sovi­et Union from Helsin­ki, Fin­land. His stay there rais­es sev­er­al ques­tions, includ­ing the fact that he stayed at the Torni Hotel, a five-star, lux­u­ry hotel.
  5. After leav­ing the Torni Hotel, he stayed at the Hotel Klaus Kur­ki, anoth­er high-end insti­tu­tion. How Oswald was able to pay for his stay at these insti­tu­tions is a mystery–he did not have enough mon­ey in his Marine Corps pay checks to do this.
  6. His selec­tion of Helsin­ki is sig­nif­i­cant, also, because the Sovi­et Embassy there was the only one that could issue a trav­el visa to the Sovi­et Union in a lit­tle more than a week. It was the only Embassy that could do this. How did Oswald come to know this?


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