78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2009
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. Edgar Hoover immediately after the murder of the president, though Hoover never informed the Warren Commission. Hoover well understood the import of Gheesling's actions and would do anything to prevent embarassment of the FBI. The entire incident (and others) was buried in FBI files and Gheesling never faced any questioning from any of the official inquiries into the president's death. Newman's work will stand as a beacon to other academic historians who will now have to re-examine this complicated case and also question the official story.
Newman makes a persuasive case that only one man at CIA had access to all the information needed to manage a sophisticated plot and that was ????. Well, read the book!
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
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? In fact, as late as February 1964, well after the JFK assassination, the CIA insisted that these important cables from Moscow had somehow gotten lost. And even after having found them, it claimed not to have known who at the CIA might have received and handled them? Given such sloppiness, one cannot avoid wondering what might have happened had Oswald been a "real" rather than a "fake" defector? Not only this, but the CIA's feigned disinterest in Oswald looked utterly ridiculous and wholly disingenuous in the aftermath of a virtual treasure trove of documents on him that eventually emerged from the FOIA searches within the CIA itself, searches that were put to good use here as the primary resource for Newman's analysis.
This work reveals that the author has uncovered a virtual "smoking gun" of highly compartmentalized, multi-level and multi departmental information on Oswald. Perhaps the most important of all is Oswald's role in Mexico and the CIA's direct involvement in manipulating him and his double while he was there. Some have referred to this as the "Rosetta Stone" of the JFK assassination itself.
These data resoundingly refute all CIA denials, and serve to prove that interest in him was not only extensive, and at a very high level indeed, so high in fact that it went directly up the command chain to the very top of the CIA's organizational chart. Combine this with the fact that there was also an equal trail of circumstantial evidence that showed Oswald to actually be on the CIA's payroll, and the denials from the agency's top brass, raise a great many more grave questions than they answer. Here John Newman has succeeded in answering virtually all of them.
That the CIA hierarchy blatantly lied about their own files on Oswald is curious enough in itself, but even more curious is the fact that they did so at a time when the alternative to not knowing about Oswald's defection amounted to revealing the CIA itself as being completely incompetent? Thus when everything is taken together -- the denials of "higher-ups," coupled with the contravening facts to the contrary -- the FOIA data, betray a much larger deeper CIA interest in Oswald, one that was so important and so secret as to require them lying about it? Such "required lying" of course begs the following question: What indeed was so important about Oswald that it required blanket denials from someone as high up the CIA's organizational chart as the Director of Plans, Richard Helms, the agency's highest operational spy? Helms later would become CIA director, where he would then actually be forced into retirement and then ignominiously convicted of perjury.
The correct answer to the question of course is the one the author uncovers; it is also the most obvious one: Oswald's defection was little more than a spy vs spy ruse, one designed to "sheep dip" Lee in operational intelligence as a "dangle" to Soviet intelligence. However, since the Russians did not bite, the CIA's attempt to make Oswald a double agent, failed, and his return to the U.S. empty-handed (but with a Russian wife in tow), turned out to be just another of many failed CIA intelligence operations. That failure in itself could have been enough of a pretext for the Agency to lie about it. However, the way Oswald was moved about on the pre-assassination chessboard (to Mexico, etc.), after his return from Russia, reveals determined manipulators controlling him with a much more sinister purpose in mind. Here Newman tells us what that purpose was; and that only Langley had tentacles long and strong enough to manipulate the man who would become the JFK assassination patsy. This is a most important read. Five Stars
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2012
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.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 1997
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'
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 1996
This is an important book in the Kennedy assassination genre. It contains the text of CIA documents not previouslypublished, attempting to establish a CIA connection withLee Harvey Oswald and subsequent efforts on the part of the CIA to conceal this connection through tampering with itsOswald files. The book is flawed by poor editing, andfrom time to time the author makes great leaps in his logic,but for all that, it is well worth the time spent reading.The book breaks off after Oswald's death. One can onlyhope that Mr. Newman writes another volume addressing post-assassination events, including the controversy surroundingthe bona fides of KGB defector Yuriy Nosenko and his claimto have been the KGB officer supervising the Oswald file inRussia
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2010
Point by point, file by file, Newman builds an irrefutable case that the CIA and FBI were extensively aware of LH Oswald long before the assassination - and lied about it afterwards. Newman demonstrates that J Edgar Hoover referred to Oswald by name in 1960, for example.
Oswald was a radar operator who knew secret information about the critical U2 program. He openly threatened to tell the soviets all he knew when he defected to the USSR in 1959. Newman demonstrates the level of official concern, and tracks leading to the secret investigations of paranoid CIA superspook James Angleton.
Newman doesn't say what it all means. He stays with the facts. Some of the lies and stonewalling may have taken place to protect secret spy operations - but Newman demonstrates how this explanation is insufficient.
Oswald may have been a "dangle" to the soviets to test their hunger for info about the U2 (i.e. if the soviets didn't jump on Oswalds info - and they don't seem to have - that would mean they already had other spy sources)
The background to Newman's investigation is all about Cuba, and the intersecting interest of Howard Hunt, Richard Nixon, and others - along with Oswald. All of this is carefully documented. Newman doesn't tell you about the climate of violence, paranoia and deception - he cites memo after memo.
I've read many silly books on the JFK Assassination - this isn't one of them. Newman offers facts, sources, footnotes. When he's bringing other people's ideas, he gives the reference. When he speculates, he lets you know.
This book isn't for JFK beginners. But if you're tired of BS about exit wounds and enhanced photos of the grassy knoll - this is the place to start.
43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2008
This Book Oswald and The CIA is The Documented evidence That Oswald was an American Intelligence operative who was a Radar operator in the CIA Top Secret Base in Atsugi Japan,was Trained in the Russian Language by ONI and sent to Russia as a Phony Defector!!This is who LHO was,and this is my firm conviction about him.of course the Govt has been in the Business of disinformation and obfuscation of the truth regarding his connections to Intelligence agencies and his Place in history.Excellent Book!!!!!!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
Long story short: much of the stuff written about the assassination of Kennedy is, well pretty awful. Often poorly written, hard to follow and even some of the better researchers tend to jump to conclusions that are really only untestable hypotheses. This book, when compared to those, is a breath of fresh air: it breaks down the government paper trail (now available from various authentic sources, using contemporaneous documents) from Oswalds time in the Marine Corps to his death. It is amazing to learn what the various government agencies actually had on Oswald. Newman is an intelligence professional, knows how to read and extract information from government documents and can often offer a bit of "back story". This is one of only a very small handful of books I'd recommend for those interested in the assassination. Some very interesting stuff. I am not one of those paranoid conspiracy buffs, but clearly your government never wanted Oswalds well documented connection to intelligence sources (plural) ever revealed. The Warren Commission certainly was not informed of this. Highly recommended.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Yes it’s dry, but for anyone interested in the Kennedy assassination, it’s indispensible. As I read the volume, I was continually struck by how savvy Newman and his staff were in their interpretations of details – routing slips, who read the documents, differences in stamps on the documents. It was clear that the author had a security background – and boy did he!
It’s all primary sources. You can’t argue with any of it. It isn’t speculation. It’s there.
The first obvious aspect is why the files were kept secret in the first place: precisely because Oswald wasn’t a lone nut. He may have been a nut, but he sure wasn’t alone! The FBI and CIA (not to mention the KGB) were following him closely from at least 1959. There’s at least two orders of magnitude more security interest in this guy than I personally suspected, and I’m pretty darn paranoid.
Conclusions? Draw your own, but when you do so, it helps to start with facts. Here they are.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2013
It's been 18 years since I read this book, but I remember it being a heavy, scholarly work of research. Not a light page-turner for those summer days on the beach. Like Newman's 'JFK and Vietnam', this book requires an investment of time and energy to fully appreciate it. The result is documentary proof that the CIA was very interested in Oswald from a very early date, and lied to both the Warren Commission and the American people about it. The 2008 updated edition goes even farther with its conclusions.