Lee Harvey Oswald met KGB officer in Mexico City shortly before JFK assassination, new documents reveal

Oswald charged
Lee Harvey Oswald moments after being charged with the murder of John F. KennedyUncredited/AP
  • Nearly 1,500 pages of documents related to John F. Kennedy's assassination were made public.

  • One details Lee Harvey Oswald's visit to a Soviet embassy a few weeks before killing Kennedy.

  • It says Oswald spoke to a KGB officer at the embassy about getting a visa to travel to the USSR.

Just a few weeks before killing President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald traveled to Mexico City, where he spoke with a KGB officer at the Soviet Embassy, a new document released on Wednesday says.

The National Archives on Wednesday released nearly 1,500 documents related to the investigation into Kennedy's assassination — the second major batch of assassination documents to be released since 2017.

Among the documents were notes about a call Oswald made to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City on October 1, 1963, that the CIA was secretly listening in on.

The CIA notes say the agency learned via this call that Oswald had gone to the embassy a few days prior, on September 26, and met with Consul Valery Vladimirovich Kostikov. The document said Kostikov was an "identified KGB officer" involved with a branch of the secret service responsible for "sabotage and assassination."

During the call, Oswald spoke with a guard and asked whether there was "anything new concerning the telegram to Washington," the report said.

"The guard checked and then told Oswald that the request had been sent but nothing new received," it said.

The CIA report said the FBI had reason to believe Oswald's visit to the Soviet Embassy was to get support on a "US passport or visa matter."

The CIA official who wrote the memo also appeared skeptical that Oswald would have shown up to the Soviet Embassy if he were a KGB spy.

"Of course it is not usual for a KGB agent on a sensitive mission to have such overt contact with a Soviet Embassy. However, we have top secret Soviet intelligence documents, describing Military Intelligence doctrine, which show that very important agents can be met in official installations using a cover for their presence there," the report said.

That is not to say that US officials believed the Soviet Union was involved in the assassination.

A top-secret memo written in 1966 by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and released under the Trump administration said Soviet leadership was shocked by the killing and feared what it portended for the US, NPR reported.

"According to our source," Hoover wrote, "officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union believed there was some well-organized conspiracy on the part of the 'ultraright' in the United States to effect a 'coup.'"

That belief was informed by the fact that Kennedy's killing occurred after a far-right campaign painted him as a traitor, with flyers distributed across Dallas by the John Birch Society declaring him "Wanted for Treason." Despite his commitment to anticommunism, Kennedy had been pilloried for overseeing the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.

The Soviets, according to Hoover, feared the assassination would strengthen "anticommunist sentiments" in the US and lead to war.

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