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Oswald and the CIA Hardcover – May, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This meticulously documented expose gives the lie to the official CIA position that it had no relationship of any kind with Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President John Kennedy. A former U.S. military intelligence officer for 20 years, Newman (JFK and Vietnam) relies primarily on newly released government documents made available within the last three years under the JFK Assassination Records Act, passed in 1992, which mandates that the U.S. government make available all its information on this case. Using CIA, FBI, military and American embassy files to reconstruct Oswald's activities from his 1959 defection to the Soviet Union up until his murder, Newman shows that the CIA was spawning a web of deception about Oswald weeks before the president's murder. For example, the agency has denied that it knew about Oswald's 1963 visits to the Cuban consultant in Mexico City, but Newman refutes this, using interlocking CIA and FBI cables and reports. The evidence presented here, though fragmentary and based on heavily censored and edited documents, strongly suggests that the CIA had a keen operational interest in Oswald, that it kept tabs on him and that Oswald, either willingly or as a patsy, was deeply involved in CIA operations. CIA documents suggest that the agency had a hand in Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union and monitored his activities there and his return home in June 1962. This heavily annotated tome, which reads like an intricate spy thriller, serves as a corrective to Norman Mailer's Oswald's Tale.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

JFK assassinology revived recently with the release of some newly declassified files, and Newman is the first of several researchers to sift through and capitalize on several hundred thousand pages of documents as they pertain to the murder and the prime suspect. Although the page count is convincing testimony to bureaucratic procedures (record and report every contact), the gargantuan paper trail produced by the State Department, FBI, and CIA looks mighty curious to the conspiracy-minded. Newman, formerly a military intelligence officer, is qualified to examine the mass of raw information--virtually all of it pertaining to the disaffected Oswald's defection and redefection--and is unconvinced that various gaps in the records and censored items are really due to bureaucratic glitches or legitimate protection of intelligence sources. Newman's suspicion peaks with a "smoking file," which he implies contains suppressed CIA knowledge that Oswald met a KGB assassin in Mexico. Mirrors abound in the abundance of detail, but perhaps debunkers of the lone-nut theory should view Magritte's painting "Ce n'est pas une pipe" ; a pipe or an Oswald can be what they appear to be. Gilbert Taylor

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 627 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Pub; 1st Carroll & Graf ed edition (May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786701315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786701315
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. John M. Newman, MAJOR, US Army, RETD

Born December 20, 1950, Dayton Ohio

BA Chinese Studies, George Washington University (1973)
MA East Asian Studies, George Washington University (1976)
PhD Modern Far Eastern History, George Washington University (1992)

US Army Intelligence, 1974-1994
Assistant to the Director, National Security Agency, 1988-1990
US Army Attaché in China, 1990-1992
Professor, University of Maryland, 1981-Present
Honors Professor, University of Maryland, 1994-2012
Adjunct Professor, James Madison University, 2013-
Yoga Instructor, 2006-present


JFK and Vietnam (Warner, 1992)
Oswald and the CIA (Carroll and Graff, 1995; Skyhorse edition, 2008)
Quest for the Kingdom: The Secret Teachings of Jesus in the Light of Yogic Mysticism (Createspace, Amazon: 2011)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a follow up paperback ed. of the original hardcover written some 13 years ago. Despite its provacative title, this was originally not a conspiracy oriented book. Newman's journey into the conspiracy camp has been a slow and deliberative process. The afterword added by the author details his own theory of who was behind the assassination, but he is careful to point out that he could be all wrong. This I find is one of the most refreshing aspects of the book. Newman is a very careful writer as one would expect of a history professor of some note at the University of Maryland. He also served in Vietnam as a major in Army intelligence before becoming Executive assistant to the head of the NSA(National Security Agency). That of course, is a quite impressive resume. He also holds the distinction of being perhaps the only author in the conspiracy camp who once landed an interview with Richard Helms. His research here will be appreciated by all I think. The bulk of the book is not really conspiracy oriented until the final chapter. Newman's background in intelligence serves him well especially in examining and explaining government documents in the case. Plainly his forte is in "document forensics". Even skeptical readers will find themselves wondering why both the CIA and the FBI are planting disinformation about Oswald in the weeks prior to the murder of JFK. They will also wonder why people at both agencies are carefully suppressing information about Oswald prior to Nov.22, 1963. Special attention is paid to the person of Marving Gheesling, who inexplicably removed the "flash" (or "stop" in FBI parlance) from Oswald's file in October of 1963. This single act sealed the doom of JFK as it prevented Oswald's being placed on the security index. Gheesling was severely disciplined by J.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
In the midst of CIA and Warren Commission denials, this is an important fact-based book. I put it up in the same class as Seth Kantor's book about Jack Ruby, perhaps even a bit higher. Mr. Newman, no stranger to the intelligence game, uses his considerable experience to move a few headstones, where skeletons are buried, around the courtyard at Langley, headstones that a normal reporter or writer might be unable to lift and move at all. What he discovers constitutes the content of this book.

As he goes methodically about the task of composing his narrative, he neither hedges nor anticipates where the facts might lead. He simply lays them out in great detail exactly as he finds them. Needless to say, in the JFK assassination literature, careful fact-finding without heavy-handed interpretation is a sorely needed literary and research attribute. That alone makes this book an academic if not a literary success.

The CIA denials as they ascended the organizational ladder at Langley, started out badly enough and then just continued getting worse -- curiouser and curiouser. When Oswald supposedly defected in 1959, unlike the FBI, which kept a running file on him that it updated as needed, the CIA on the other hand, feigned no interest in him at all? They said the only file they had on this marine who had worked on the highly secret U2 Spy Plane radar system at Atsugi Airfield in Japan, was composed of news clippings of his defection?

Even the cables from Ambassador Richard Snyder at Moscow Station attesting to Oswald's alleged defection and his vow to release U2 secrets, somehow, we are led to believe, did not reach the threshold to trigger CIA interest in him?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent account of Lee Harvey Oswald and documents related to his activities up until the time of the assassination of President Kennedy. The title is a bit of a misnomer as the documents provide by the author are actually not just from the CIA, but also by various agencies of the United States government: FBI, Department of State, Office of Naval Intelligence in addition to others.

A refreshing aspect to this book is that Newman is reserved about jumping to conclusions. There is no mention of a gunman on the knoll, etc. Instead the author simply assesses whether a particular agency could have done more, dropped the ball, or exhibited gross negligence. In the 2008 addendum added to the back of the book, he does add his conclusion and thoughts about how everything played out the way it did. Again, still refreshingly, he also stipulates that he could be wrong, partly wrong, or maybe right. As a testament to this book, you can see that there are no negative reviews on Amazon from any anti-conspiracy proponents; The author's due diligence simply does not provide them an opportunity to refute his work.

Regardless, if you are just beginning in your inquiry into the assassination "Oswald And The CIA" is an excellent book with which to start. If you have already read a few other books on the assassination, this book is a must have for your collection.
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Format: Hardcover
As a intern for Dr. Newman on this particular book, I spent countless hours searching for documents in the National Archives - I know first hand the length he went to provide accurate details. Dr. Newman recounts the interesting story of a dark point in our nation's history. He is very careful not to speculate on the assassination of Kennedy - he deals only with the facts before him - CIA and FBI documents that display what they knew about Oswald. He leaves the rest to the 'assassination buffs'
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