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John Simkin

James Hosty

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James Hosty was born in 1928. He graduated with science degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame in 1948. He worked for the First National Bank in Chicago and as a salesman before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January, 1952. He initially was sent to Louisville but in December, 1953, was transferred to Dallas, Texas.

In March, 1963, Hosty was ordered to keep Lee Harvey Oswald under observation. Soon afterwards Hosty discovered that Oswald was purchasing The Worker, the newspaper of the American Communist Party. In June, Hosty heard from FBI headquarters that Oswald was in New Orleans, and requested information on him.

Hosty visited the home of Ruth Paine to discover where Oswald was living. He spoke to both Paine and Marina Oswald about Oswald. When Oswald heard about the visit he went to the FBI office in Dallas. When told that Hosty was at lunch Oswald left him a message in an envelope.

The contents of the envelope has remained a mystery. A receptionist working at the Dallas office claimed it included a threat to "blow up the FBI and the Dallas Police Department if you don't stop bothering my wife." Hosty later claimed it said: "If you have anything you want to learn about me, come talk to me directly. If you don't cease bothering my wife, I will take appropriate action and report this to the proper authorities."

Soon after Oswald was arrested for the assassination of JFK, Hosty was called into the office of his superior, Gordon Shanklin. Hosty was asked about what he knew about Oswald. When Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby two days later, Shanklin ordered Hosty to destroy Oswald's letter.

The FBI discovered that Hosty's name and phone number appeared in Oswald's address book. J. Edgar Hoover was worried that this indicated that Oswald had been working closely with the FBI. That he might have been an FBI informant on the activities of left-wing groups such as the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Instead of passing Oswald's address book to the Warren Commission, the FBI provided a typewritten transcription of the document in which the Hosty entry was omitted.

When it was discovered that Hosty had misled the Warren Commission he was suspended from duty. Later he was transferred to the FBI office in Kansas City.

The message that Oswald handed in to the FBI office in Dallas remained a secret until 1975. It became public knowledge when someone in the FBI tipped off a journalist about the existence of Oswald's letter. Oswald's relationship with Hosty was explored by the Select Committee on Intelligence Activities and the Select Committee on Assassinations. Hosty admitted that he had misled the Warren Commission by not telling them about the existence of the letter from Oswald. Gordon Shanklin denied knowing about the letter but this evidence was contradicted by the testimony of Hosty and William Sullivan, the Assistant Director of the FBI.

In 1996 Hosty published his book on the Kennedy assassination, Assignment: Oswald.

Any views on Hosty?

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Any views on Hosty?

I think Hosty is probably an honest man. I tend to find statements from lone-nutters, which hint at or support the possibility of conspiracy, credible. In Hosty's book, he makes one claim which is truly surprising. He claims that he got access to his personnel records somewhere along the line, and found out that much of his personnel file had been fabricated, to make the FBI look better than it was. I don't remember the specifics, but find the idea that the FBI is not above altering the historical record in order to protect Hoover's legacy, including its own personnel files, disturbing.

When one discusses Hosty, one should always remember that he was punished by Hoover, suspended without pay and transferred to Kansas City, for failing to put Oswald on the Security Index. It was Hoover's belief that Hosty should have considered Oswald a possible threat. The problem was that Hosty was not told of Oswald's trip to Mexico until it was too late. Thus, Hosty was basically innocent of the charges.

Meanwhile, the saintly Hoover was a perjurer, a monster, or both. In sworn testimony, he told the Warren Commission that "there had been no information that would have warranted our reporting him (Oswald) as a potential hazard to the security or the safety of the President.” He said this at the very time he was secretly disciplining 17 agents, including Hosty, for failing to report Oswald as a potential hazard to the security of the President. Willam Sullivan testified years later that Hoover punished these agents for his own protection, so that if the Warren Commission ended up publicly criticizing the FBI for its failures, he could tell them that he'd already taken care of things and punished the incompetent flunkeys. Nice guy.

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I seem to remember that Hosty was caught in the middle of a war of words between the FBI and the Dallas Police. Jack Revill quoted Hosty saying the FBI knew Oswald was a member of the Communist Party and was capable of assassinating President Kennedy. The FBI in turn denied the statement but I believe Detective Valarus J. Brian supported Revill.

In 1966, Revill and Brian were transferred after the FBI brought some pressure to bear on city government officials and the Dallas police. It was all over a so-called confidential report on underworld characters that ended up with the Los Angeles police intel division.

In reality, it all seemed like a fairly routine procedural thing but the so-called dissemination of a private report on Mafia members was used as the reason for the transfers. Speculation was that the FBI wanted Revill and Brian removed shortly after the assassination of JFK. They were not amused Hosty was quoted.

James

Edited by James Richards

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Jack Revill quoted Hosty saying the FBI knew Oswald was a member of the Communist Party and was capable of assassinating President Kennedy. The FBI in turn denied the statement but I believe Detective Valarus J. Brian supported Revill.

James

I have never found Revill credible on this issue. There is no other evidence that Hosty felt Lee Oswald was a potential threat prior to the assassination, and certainly the FBI knew that he was not then, nor had he ever been, a member of the communist party. As far as I know, there was nothing in FBI files BEFORE the assassination to suggest that Lee Oswald was potentially a security threat.

In fact Hosty's predecessor had closed the file on Lee after interviewing him for several hours and deciding that he was completely harmless. If I recall correctly, Hosty reopened the file only because 'regulations" required him to keep tabs on Marina, a Soviet national. He was not required to repon her husband's file and I have a sneaking suspicion that he did so just to increase his own caseload and make it look like he had a busy schedule.

One problem I have with Revill is that if Hosty really did think Lee was dangerous, I can't believe he would ever have said so to a Dallas policeman. That would be tantamount to gratuitously admitting his own guilt, which runs counter to the basic instinct towards self-preservation. I can believe, however, that Hosty did say the FBI was aware of Lee Oswald's presence in Dallas, which was the truth. IMO the rest was added by Revill, possibly to shift attention from the DPD, who had done such a lousy job of policing Dealey Plaza. You could find more cops at a little league baseball game than there were in Dealey Plaza that day.

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I've always admired him for admitting that he destroyed (non-critical) evidence. He knew the buffs would have a field day, but he fessed up anyway.

a felony being a felony, you would!

Dense David strikes again. I said I admired the confession, not the act. Moron.

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I've always admired him for admitting that he destroyed (non-critical) evidence. He knew the buffs would have a field day, but he fessed up anyway.

a felony being a felony, you would!

Dense David strikes again. I said I admired the confession, not the act. Moron.

Destroying evidence is a felony! Good thing there wasn't a trial, right maroon? Oh, were buffs around in 1964?

C'mon Slattery, dust off that [inside the beltway] PR machine you're hiding over there... LMAO!

Edited by David G. Healy

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Destroying evidence is a felony! Good thing there wasn't a trial, right maroon? Oh, were buffs around in 1964?

C'mon Slattery, dust off that [inside the beltway] PR machine you're hiding over there... LMAO!

I am not entirely happy to find myself agreeing with Brendan Slattery, but I am not sure that the note Hosty destroyed had anything whatsoever to do with any crime committed in Dallas on November 22, 1963. If flushing a piece of paper down the toilet is a felony, then I for one am guilty on a daily basis.

In any case, I do not believe that prosecuting James Hosty would bring us any closer to solving the JFK assassination. For my money, poor old Hosty was just a flatfoot cop who, for all his very human faults, was in no way sinister.

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Guest John Gillespie   
Guest John Gillespie

Destroying evidence is a felony! Good thing there wasn't a trial, right maroon? Oh, were buffs around in 1964?

C'mon Slattery, dust off that [inside the beltway] PR machine you're hiding over there... LMAO!

I am not entirely happy to find myself agreeing with Brendan Slattery, but I am not sure that the note Hosty destroyed had anything whatsoever to do with any crime committed in Dallas on November 22, 1963. If flushing a piece of paper down the toilet is a felony, then I for one am guilty on a daily basis.

In any case, I do not believe that prosecuting James Hosty would bring us any closer to solving the JFK assassination. For my money, poor old Hosty was just a flatfoot cop who, for all his very human faults, was in no way sinister.

____________________________

If anyone else has read "The Sword And The Shield" please contact me by email. Surprisingly (I'm kidding, of course), this major assertion got little in the way of ripples outside the usual circles.

So herewith, from JFK Lancer, a tickle: "According to the files turned over by a former K.G.B. archivist to British intelligence and detailed in a new book, Moscow's cold war spy service took several steps designed to link the C.I.A. to the assassination.

These steps included forging a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to a C.I.A. officer, E. Howard Hunt, asking for information "before any steps are taken by me or anyone else," according to the new book, "The Sword and the Shield," written by Christopher Andrew and the former K.G.B. officer, Vasily Mitrokhin (the book was published in 1999 - JG).

The Oswald letter was supposed to have been written about two weeks before President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, but was actually created by the K.G.B. in the mid-1970's, after E. Howard Hunt's name had surfaced in the Watergate investigation, according to K.G.B. files copied by Mitrokhin while he served as a K.G.B. archivist."

In a recent posting I mentioned Peter Dale Scott's chronicling of the CIA's steering of the assassination, first towards Lone Nut then to the KGB and back to Lone Nut. One suspects that the above was a "touche", point-counterpoint or just a good old fashioned 'backatcha.'

There's more, of course, on The Lancer: http://www.jfklancer.com/LNE/KGBbook.html

Regards all,

JG

Edited by John Gillespie

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If anyone else has read "The Sword And The Shield" please contact me by email. Surprisingly (I'm kidding, of course), this major assertion got little in the way of ripples outside the usual circles.

So herewith, from JFK Lancer, a tickle: "According to the files turned over by a former K.G.B. archivist to British intelligence and detailed in a new book, Moscow's cold war spy service took several steps designed to link the C.I.A. to the assassination.

Regards all,

JG

Not for nothing, Mr. Gillespie, but this New Yorker would like to point out that we are on a thread devoted to FBI agent James Hosty. My Compaq computer has searched your last post (including the link you provided) and found no reference to the Mr. Hosty aforementioned .

Surely it cannot be (say it ain't so, John) that a Bostonian gentleman would try to divert a thread from its original purpose?

It cannot be so, therefore I feel certain that you will "connect up" for those of us who were too bedazzlled by your New England eloquence to spot the missing link.

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Former FBI agent Carver Gayton told the Church Committee in 1976 that Hosty had told him that Oswald was a PSI (Potential Security Informant) for the FBI. James Gochenaur, who at one time rented an apartment from Gayton, told the HSCA that Gayton told him the same thing.

In 1977 Gayton changed his story, denying to the HSCA that Hosty told him anything about Oswald and denying that he told any such thing to Gochenaur.

In his book (pp. 207-208) Hosty claims that Gayton must have overheard a conversation that he misunderstood. Hosty says that another agent asked him if Oswald was an informant, and he laughed and said no but Jack Ruby was. Hosty says that Gayton must have missed the Ruby part and thought he meant Oswald.

Who do you trust?

http://www.webcom.com/ctka/pr995-fbi.html

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Ron Ecker Posted Aug 2 2006, 01:52 AM

Former FBI agent Carver Gayton told the Church Committee in 1976 that Hosty had told him that Oswald was a PSI (Potential Security Informant) for the FBI. James Gochenaur, who at one time rented an apartment from Gayton, told the HSCA that Gayton told him the same thing.

In 1977 Gayton changed his story, denying to the HSCA that Hosty told him anything about Oswald and denying that he told any such thing to Gochenaur.

In his book (pp. 207-208) Hosty claims that Gayton must have overheard a conversation that he misunderstood. Hosty says that another agent asked him if Oswald was an informant, and he laughed and said no but Jack Ruby was. Hosty says that Gayton must have missed the Ruby part and thought he meant Oswald.

Who do you trust?

http://www.webcom.com/ctka/pr995-fbi.html

J. Raymond Carroll Posted Aug 1 2006, 06:03 PM

QUOTE(James Richards @ Aug 1 2006, 09:46 AM)

Jack Revill quoted Hosty saying the FBI knew Oswald was a member of the Communist Party and was capable of assassinating President Kennedy. The FBI in turn denied the statement but I believe Detective Valarus J. Brian supported Revill.

James

I have never found Revill credible on this issue. There is no other evidence that Hosty felt Lee Oswald was a potential threat prior to the assassination, and certainly the FBI knew that he was not then, nor had he ever been, a member of the communist party. As far as I know, there was nothing in FBI files BEFORE the assassination to suggest that Lee Oswald was potentially a security threat.

In fact Hosty's predecessor had closed the file on Lee after interviewing him for several hours and deciding that he was completely harmless. If I recall correctly, Hosty reopened the file only because 'regulations" required him to keep tabs on Marina, a Soviet national. He was not required to repon her husband's file and I have a sneaking suspicion that he did so just to increase his own caseload and make it look like he had a busy schedule.

One problem I have with Revill is that if Hosty really did think Lee was dangerous, I can't believe he would ever have said so to a Dallas policeman. That would be tantamount to gratuitously admitting his own guilt, which runs counter to the basic instinct towards self-preservation. I can believe, however, that Hosty did say the FBI was aware of Lee Oswald's presence in Dallas, which was the truth. IMO the rest was added by Revill, possibly to shift attention from the DPD, who had done such a lousy job of policing Dealey Plaza. You could find more cops at a little league baseball game than there were in Dealey Plaza that day.

JP Hosty sure seems to be someone whom you will easily misunderstand.... :P

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James P. Hosty died of prostate cancer in Kansas City, Missouri, on 10th June, 2011.

Gary Mack has pointed out that Paul Vitello's New York Times obituary includes a serious mistake:

“In 1964, answering questions before the Warren Commission, Mr. Hosty admitted having received a letter from Oswald in the weeks before the assassination and destroying it on the day Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, Nov. 24.

He said the letter included Oswald’s sharp protest over Mr. Hosty’s having questioned Oswald’s wife, Marina, when the agent made two visits to their home while Oswald was out. Mr. Hosty testified that he destroyed the letter on orders from his supervisor, J. Gordon Shanklin. (Mr. Shanklin denied giving such an order.)”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/us/20hosty.html?_r=1

Clearly, Vitello did not get his information from my website:

The message that Oswald handed in to the FBI office in Dallas remained a secret until 1975. It became public knowledge when someone in the FBI tipped off a journalist about the existence of Oswald's letter. Oswald's relationship with Hosty was explored by the Select Committee on Intelligence Activities and the Select Committee on Assassinations. Hosty admitted that he had misled the Warren Commission by not telling them about the existence of the letter from Oswald. Gordon Shanklin denied knowing about the letter but this evidence was contradicted by the testimony of Hosty and William Sullivan, the Assistant Director of the FBI.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhosty.htm

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