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The Raleigh phone call revisited


Greg Doudna
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

 So Oswald had somewhere not only heard of Ana Drittel,  the Russian emigre and fluent Russian speaker, but knew her husband by a different name and was trying to contact her through him - truly a desperation call unless there was something more significant about her.  Could you elaborate a bit on any scenario as to how he might known her or have heard of her.  I read your previous mention of her but wasn't sure I was following it well enough to comprehend.

In that event it was a hail Mary call - and the FBI either dropped the ball or didn't know about the call...and then expunged it to wipe out even more evidence that they had been either inept or were intentionally trying to avoid connecting Oswald to people?

Or is there any sign at all that Drittel might have been either an FBI asset or a CIA asset or source herself....especially given her husband's background?

That is wild speculation but if true it would surely explain why the history of that call would need to be made to vanish.

I don't even know if Ana Drittelle (French form spelling of her name, the form she used as a cellist), and her husband John Hurt, are the John Hurt Oswald was trying to reach, or if that name is a "false positive" match for Oswald's attempt to reach "John Hurt". And if that was who Oswald was trying to reach I still can't take it anywhere. 

Ana Drittelle was a fluent Russian speaker and Russian emigre, and famous (cellist). Husband John Hurt was one of America's top cryptographers in the National Security Agency, famous today but not famous then because his work was top secret and classified. When the Warren Commission wanted investigation of whether Oswald had intelligence connections, two working associates of John Hurt from NSA conducted that investigation. Jim Root in the archives of this forum brought that out and thought that was interesting. 

No, no information known that Oswald ever met either of the two. But Oswald used a fictitious name "Drittal" as the name of someone vouching for his character on his revolver order form. And neither of the two John Hurts in the 1963 Raleigh, N.C. telephone directory look like anyone Oswald would be trying to reach. But I'm out of gas on taking this any further. 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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Ouch, so basically Oswald had a name -  John Hurt - and a city - Raleigh - that he thought was important enough to call for help at the same time he was reaching out to a lawyer he had only read about.  He got two numbers, in Raleigh, for that name - both of which he failed to reach because the operator was told not to connect him....which seems the last thing to do in a real investigation.  In fact its 180 degrees out of police practice so who told the officers to do that?

We have two John Hurt's in Raleigh, one a former WWII Army CI officer.

We also have John Hart, a long time CIA staff officer, who did work Cuban operations during the period in question but with no obvious connection to Oswald and certainly someone with the experience not to be sharing his true name.

Then again maybe we are missing the real point in all of this, and those calls were being handled under standard procedure, logged, placed, connections actually made. Yet at one particular point in time, somebody seems to have been worried enough that Oswald was going to make a certain call, that procedures were violated, the call was illegally blocked - violating his rights but also breaking standard practice in any high profile security case of passing on an opportunity to connect and trace leads. .

And later, when someone questioned that call, records relating to it went literally missing.

So at that point in time, why was somebody worried enough about a call Oswald would make that they blocked it rather than investigating - and later covered that up by apparent destruction of records.  

So who contacted DPD at that point in time and told them to block Oswald's next call attempt, whoever it might be too....regardless of John Hurt and Raleigh, who had that leverage and that concern about who just who Oswald might call next.?

 

 

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"I received a call from an F.B.I. agent who wanted to know about a slip of paper with a phone number on it. This was supposed to be in Oswald's pocket when he died. The agent asked if we allowed prisoners to keep phone numbers on their person... The agent asked me the size of the paper I might have given Oswald to write on."

Let's consider: What is this telling us? What kind of question is "(Are) prisoners allowed to keep phone numbers on their person"??? Is the agent asking where the paper is? What is the agent looking for here? 

Is there any other documentation discussing this slip of paper with a phone number on it found on the dead Oswald?

Wouldn't the assumption have to be that the FBI was absolutely keeping track of Oswald's phone activities? Like, how could they not be assumed as doing that? The missing log info is obviously more than just suspicious.

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Posted (edited)

Matt Allison, the agent knew about a slip of paper found in Oswald's trouser pocket after he was shot and killed Sunday morning, see here: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=57767#relPageId=14&search=oswald_phone numbers slip.

Fritz is cited informing the FBI: "No records kept of numbers called" (on Page Three). 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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7 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

Ouch, so basically Oswald had a name -  John Hurt - and a city - Raleigh - that he thought was important enough to call for help at the same time he was reaching out to a lawyer he had only read about.  He got two numbers, in Raleigh, for that name - both of which he failed to reach because the operator was told not to connect him....which seems the last thing to do in a real investigation.  In fact its 180 degrees out of police practice so who told the officers to do that?

We have two John Hurt's in Raleigh, one a former WWII Army CI officer.

We also have John Hart, a long time CIA staff officer, who did work Cuban operations during the period in question but with no obvious connection to Oswald and certainly someone with the experience not to be sharing his true name.

Then again maybe we are missing the real point in all of this, and those calls were being handled under standard procedure, logged, placed, connections actually made. Yet at one particular point in time, somebody seems to have been worried enough that Oswald was going to make a certain call, that procedures were violated, the call was illegally blocked - violating his rights but also breaking standard practice in any high profile security case of passing on an opportunity to connect and trace leads. .

And later, when someone questioned that call, records relating to it went literally missing.

So at that point in time, why was somebody worried enough about a call Oswald would make that they blocked it rather than investigating - and later covered that up by apparent destruction of records.  

So who contacted DPD at that point in time and told them to block Oswald's next call attempt, whoever it might be too....regardless of John Hurt and Raleigh, who had that leverage and that concern about who just who Oswald might call next.?

Larry, your summary looks just about pitch-perfect to me in terms of present state of knowledge. The idea of an intentional blocking of Oswald's unknown call attempt to an unrecognized party . . . this was Saturday evening, after the decision had been decided at the very top levels (LBJ and Hoover and their staffs) that the story would be Oswald-alone and no Soviet/Cuba conspiracy.

On order of LBJ the Dallas Police Department had already been instructed that the FBI would take over being in charge of the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy, and the Dallas Police Department was to cooperate with them. Therefore to answer your final question: that would be the FBI. 

And as for the issue of curiosity concerning who Oswald would call and what would be said, perhaps at this point there was incentive not to learn anything further, if you catch the drift.

The new development from your comment is that it is not necessary for FBI to know who was Oswald's "John Hurt", to decide to block that call from going through. Perhaps it was that FBI did not know who was Oswald's "John Hurt", that was cause to block that call. 

Final detail: the identity of the two officers in the adjoining room tapped into and listening to that Oswald call of ca. 10:45 p.m. Instead of Dallas police officers, perhaps those were FBI, from the agency now in charge of the JFK assassination investigation, the ones who requested Mrs. Swinney not to put that Oswald phone call through. Mrs. Treon's daughter Sharon Kovac said she thought one of the two officers looked like a Dallas police officer to whom Oswald was handcuffed when he was killed, but later said she did not think it was an exact match to that officer. From photos, FBI Bookhout could somewhat resemble DPD Leavelle perhaps accounting for that aspect of Sharon Kovac's memory on that. The two men listening in on that Oswald phone call attempt would be FBI Bookhout and one other. Due to the sensitivity neither of the FBI men that night would speak of it publicly thereafter. No perjury was involved since they were not asked about it under oath.  

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Just an opinion from reading. My judgment is that the most plausible explanation is that Oswald had been given the name John Hurt of Raleigh as a cut-out with the verifiable back story of John David Hurt. Oswald may have prepared himself by finding the two 'John Hurt' numbers and memorising them for future use. 

If indeed Oswald was not allowed to make the call, then I would suggest that someone monitoring the call did not want his remarks being heard by others on the call (operator, FBI, CIA).

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Eddy,  based on Greg's posts it would seem Oswald provided a name and city for the operator to search and she came back with two numbers.  Oswald had apparently picked  up the Abt name from reading,  its possible he may have picked up "John Hunt" and a Raleigh address from reading as well or he may have been given that name and city.   Cut out practice as I've seen it involves a telephone number and not necessarily a name, certainly not a city, but of course we can't know for sure.

Greg's last post captures what I think is the more important point.  It appears that at the point in time the FBI was essentially taking over the case, two men, either FBI agents or DPD officers responded to Oswald's request to make a call by taking over and making sure whatever name or number he used was blocked by the illegal action of the operator - being told not to actually make the call and to tell Oswald the number/s were busy. 

Oswald apparently did request to make the call via standard DPD practice but what followed was surely not and the two men, either DPD or FBI, made no internal report of the name or number that we know of from the records.  Much later the record of the call itself was clumsily removed ad Greg pointed out.

I think Greg's last post captures it well.....at a point in time where the decision had been made at the highest level to close down the investigation to Oswald alone, someone carried out part of that by blocking his attempt to make a call and to not investigate that call itself.  To me that says that the fear was that Oswald did indeed have a contact, a number, something that would link him to either the FBI or intelligence community if he made an emergency call and it was investigated.  They may not have known who he would call but they surely did not want to have it happen and go on the record. 

That surely is not standard practice and my best guess is that it, like the destruction of the Oswald note to the local FBI office, was a panic that Oswald's connection to the FBI or CIA might be exposed - well after the fact there was an effort to cover up that early decision simply because of its implications.  We may never know exactly who John Hurt was (or even if the operator herd the name correctly) but simply based on the blocking of the call we have a pretty strong indication that Oswald's history was  indeed "poisoning" the investigation even at that early point in time. 

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Treon says that Oswald provided the two numbers. That may be a significant fact. If this was not a genuine cut-out then he may not have been given a genuine, or any number.

I would like to hear thoughts on the issue that this call was initially approved , then it appears the call was prevented, because of whom Oswald tried to call. Could the two men have been in conflict with each other? Or getting orders from a body with knowledge of who Oswald stated he wanted to call?

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As far as I can tell from Greg's post the approval of that calls as with the other calls Oswald requested was standard protocol for DPD, they had practices in place to log them and it would have looked strange to flatly have refused the calls - something that Oswald could have complained about to the press. 

Oswald was going to get to make calls, and made several.  The problem very early appears to have been that someone suspected he might make a call that would be embarrassing or damaging in some fashion.  Hence a legitimate call was simulated, but with instructions for it not to be connected so Oswald would not know what was happening.  If it was a "help me" call he would think he had been had, given a useless contact. 

Equally important such an early call should have been intensely investigated, it appears it was not, but that blocking it rather than using it was the objective.

I'll be interested in Greg's take but it looks to me like somebody was very worried about who Oswald might try to call and suppressed the way the call was handled....then when an inquiry was made they tried to remove the whole thing from the record.

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5 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

As far as I can tell from Greg's post the approval of that calls as with the other calls Oswald requested was standard protocol for DPD, they had practices in place to log them and it would have looked strange to flatly have refused the calls - something that Oswald could have complained about to the press. 

Oswald was going to get to make calls, and made several.  The problem very early appears to have been that someone suspected he might make a call that would be embarrassing or damaging in some fashion.  Hence a legitimate call was simulated, but with instructions for it not to be connected so Oswald would not know what was happening.  If it was a "help me" call he would think he had been had, given a useless contact. 

Equally important such an early call should have been intensely investigated, it appears it was not, but that blocking it rather than using it was the objective.

I'll be interested in Greg's take but it looks to me like somebody was very worried about who Oswald might try to call and suppressed the way the call was handled....then when an inquiry was made they tried to remove the whole thing from the record.

If we assume a competent coordinated effort to prevent LHO from completing a phone call, but having the illusion that his rights were protected, then this explanation makes sense. 

It sure seems a "real investigation" would want LHO to complete a call, which was traced and tapped. 

One "problem" I always have with the early days after JFKA is there may be conflating of bungling with planning.

Then there is the added confusion of multiple agencies being involved, and at least one agency pushing an agenda (the CIA) and a Dallas Police Department that seemed to regard proper procedures as mysterious. 

Add to that the uncertain nature of even earnest witness recollections. 

But over and over again, it looks like a true investigation was not pursued. That is, let LHO make 50 phone calls if he wanted, tap and trace and follow leads....

 

 

 

Edited by Benjamin Cole
typo
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Over the years a couple of things about the investigation have gotten my attention....starting with a remark from a very early researcher who was talking to an FBI agent about what he did in the investigation.  His reply was that their orders were to pursue everything that would build a case around Oswald as the shooter, and that was it.  If you went off the reservation and started looking for leads for others it was made clear that was not your job.

That tracks perfectly to the order Hoover issued changing the FBI investigation from open ended to closed on Saturday morning.   Ditto the order to create a report outlining his sole responsibility that was given Sunday afternoon.

The thing is we know that FBI and even CIA agents (WAVE started an internal investigation of possible anti-Castro Cuban involvement and apparently prepared a report that disappeared). did initiate inquiries looking for leads to others and even conspiracy.  Hoover was very hot about a Castro conspiracy for a time.  But all that lasted for a relatively short period of time and then the push back started.  We know that other evidence disappeared at DPD as well.

What makes this call stand out is how quickly somebody stepped in with some real concern that Oswald might know someone or somebody that would become unmanageable.  How those two men got that type of access at DPD is a real story that would tell us a lot.

Oh, and for those really serious Oswald researchers, given that Camp LaJune is not all that far from Raleigh, it might be interesting to see if the name Hurt shows up anywhere related to Oswald's time in the Marine Corps...

 

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On 1/2/2022 at 9:22 PM, Larry Hancock said:

Ouch, so basically Oswald had a name -  John Hurt - and a city - Raleigh - that he thought was important enough to call for help at the same time he was reaching out to a lawyer he had only read about.  He got two numbers, in Raleigh, for that name - both of which he failed to reach because the operator was told not to connect him....which seems the last thing to do in a real investigation.  In fact its 180 degrees out of police practice so who told the officers to do that?

We have two John Hurt's in Raleigh, one a former WWII Army CI officer.

We also have John Hart, a long time CIA staff officer, who did work Cuban operations during the period in question but with no obvious connection to Oswald and certainly someone with the experience not to be sharing his true name.

Then again maybe we are missing the real point in all of this, and those calls were being handled under standard procedure, logged, placed, connections actually made. Yet at one particular point in time, somebody seems to have been worried enough that Oswald was going to make a certain call, that procedures were violated, the call was illegally blocked - violating his rights but also breaking standard practice in any high profile security case of passing on an opportunity to connect and trace leads. .

And later, when someone questioned that call, records relating to it went literally missing.

So at that point in time, why was somebody worried enough about a call Oswald would make that they blocked it rather than investigating - and later covered that up by apparent destruction of records.  

So who contacted DPD at that point in time and told them to block Oswald's next call attempt, whoever it might be too....regardless of John Hurt and Raleigh, who had that leverage and that concern about who just who Oswald might call next.?

 

 

"who contacted DPD . . . who had that leverage and that concern".  I've not kept up with this thread at all though I know a very little about the subject from other brushes with it over the years.

But, who on the outside of the DPD had the concern, and leverage to influence them to break the law and cover it up?

First consider whoever might have made such a decision had to have been monitoring the proceedings in real time.  They had to have been fed information immediately from someone on the inside. 

I'll throw out three names.  Johnny on the spot that day, Personnel Officer Westbrook, I've come to wonder over the years if he might have been involved, working for a handler, later for the CIA in Vietnam or Cambodia.  Postal Inspector Holmes.  Delayed Oswald's descent to the basement questioning him, watched the assassination from an upper floor of the PO building from about the same angle but elevated as Jack Ruby did, possibly involved in the attempted documentation fraud about the rifle.  Henry Wade.  More on him in a bit.

Who on the outside gave one of them or someone else an order to subvert Oswald's calls, who had that power?  Could it have come through General Charles Cabell of Dallas to Westbrook?  Holmes might have provided info, performed a function or two, but who did he know in the DPD?

Henry Wade idolized LBJ.  They corresponded since at least 1950.  Wade fawned over him.  Visited his home in Washington and his ranch on the Perdenales.  Wade was corrupt, watch Thin Blue Line, read about the DNA tests.  There is no doubt anymore LBJ was involved in the cover up.  Good chance he had foreknowledge but that's a different discussion.  I'd think Wade would be a prime suspect here.      

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Ron, I'm working on understanding the timing of this myself - we need to consider all Oswald's calls and how they were handled as Greg outlined earlier.  Almost all were carried out according to legal DPD protocol,  although I'm not sure they were not all listened to and reported on - somebody needs to look at the calls to Abt, to Ruth etc to make a call on that to see if monitoring was SOP, should have been reports to that effect internally if so, copied to FBI.

We assume this one session was a major exception, which started out according to protocol, was even recorded but somehow was internally blocked, with information collected from Oswald via the Operator but never reported internally as part of the investigation or to FBI as would have been expected.

The two officers - or the two FBI agents - had to have some real authority to do that - either from within DPD if they were police violating procedure or with a head nod from a senior DPD officer if they were outsiders, say FBI.  And we also need to be cautious about taking it further than necessary.  I say that because we know that almost immediately the FBI SAIC had given an order to flush a note from Oswald, he would later authorize removing and replacing a page in his notebook suggesting an FBI contact.  We also know that upon his arrest in New Orleans Oswald in custody had requested to meet with the FBI and we now know that was with a particular FBI agent on the subversive desk.

If Oswald was acting as a source very possibly only the Dallas SAIC would have had that information, and if so his first fear might be a phone call from Oswald himself.....under duress and wanting to report.  In that event pure panic might have driven a request from SAIC (even without Hoover) to DPD to let his people take charge the next time Oswald asked to make a call.  If that was the case of course no report would be made.

I only offer this because I don't think we appreciate how much panic Oswald's arrest may have caused within the FBI, in the Dallas and New Orleans offices in particular.  Destroying evidence and apparently files in New Orleans certainly suggests the kind of behavior we see in blocking this Oswald call.

 

 

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