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Oswald letter to SWP


Jim Root
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If you want to know what Allen Dulles, James Angelton, Thomas Karamessines and Richard Helms were up to during the period 1953 – 1965 you can find information in the following 122 page report.

But before reading the following information recall that on October 3, 1956, a few weeks before his 17th birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald wrote a letter to the Socialist Party of America based in New York City:

Dear Sirs:

I am sixteen years of age and would like more information about your youth League, I would like to know if there is a branch in my area, how to join, etc., I am a Marxist, and have been studying socialist principles for well over fifteen months I am very interested in your Y.P.S.L.

Sincerely

Lee Oswald

Three weeks later, Oswald enlisted in the Marines.

Final Report Of The Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities United States Senate: April 23, 1976.

The report begins with these words: “Between 1940 and 1973, two agencies of the federal government – the CIA and the FBI – covertly and illegally opened and photographed first class letter mail within the United States.” (pg 1)

“The CIA conducted four mail opening programs in four cities within the United States for varying lengths of time between 1953 and 1973. New York (1953-1973); San Francisco (four separate occasions, each of one to three weeks duration, between 1969 and 1971); New Orleans (three weeks in 1957) ; and Hawaii (late 1954 – late 1955).” (pg 5)

“Director Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, then Chief of Operations in the Plans Directorate, met with the Postmaster General and the Chief Postal Inspector, David Stephens, on May 17, 1954.” (pg 9)

“The CIA Staff Take-Over: "More" Mail Opening. -- In November 1955, James Angleton, the Chief of the Counterintelligence (CI) Staff, submitted a proposal to Richard Helms for the further expansion of the New York mail intercept project. Until then, the CIA was only receiving access to a portion of the United States-Soviet Union mail in its New York facility; Angleton recommended that "we gain access to all mail traffic to and from the U.S.S.R. which enters, departs, or transits the United States through the Port of New York." He also suggested that the "raw information acquired be recorded, indexed and analyzed and various components of the Agency furnished items of information which would appear to be helpful to their respective missions." Perhaps most significantly, he recommended a shift in the focus of the project from photographing the mail to opening it.” (pg 9)

“This proposal was approved by Helms on December 7, and funds were authorized by the Acting Deputy Director for Plans on March 3, 1956.” (pg 9)

“The only written approvals for the project as it subsequently developed during Dulles' tenure appear to be those of Richard Helms and the Acting Deputy Director for Plans. In December 1955, Helms approved the concept as outlined by James Angleton”

While it is unclear whether Dulles was ever informed about the laboratory, he was apparently at least made aware of the fact that mail was being opened. In May 1956, he received a memorandum from James Angleton in which Angleton noted that "for some time selected openings have been conducted and the contents examined." (pg 18)

“When the first request for formal approval had been submitted to Helms in November 1955, a branch chief of the CI staff suggested to, James Angleton that "in view of the sensitivity of this project, steps should be taken to have this proposed project approved by the Director without recourse to the normal channels for presentation of projects." (pg 19)

“Even James Angleton, the project's strongest supporter and, as Chief of the CI Staff, the official most directly responsible for its operation, testified that his understanding of its legality was simply: "That it was illegal." When asked how he could rationalize conducting a program he believed to be illegal, he answered that in his opinion, the project's benefit to the national security outweighed legal considerations.” (pg 38)

By 1965 Thomas Karamessines was Richard Helms point man in covering up this project

“In 1965, the Long Subcommittee hearings on the use of mail covers and other investigative techniques by federal agencies caused the Agency serious concern about possible Congressional discovery and revelation of the project. It is noted above that in September 1965, as a result of this concern, CIA officials briefly considered informing Postmaster General Gronouski of the project. When this proposal was rejected, presumably because Gronouski had cooperated extensively with the Subcommittee, Thomas Karamessines, then Acting Deputy Director for Plans, "suggested that, in his opinion, the President would be more inclined to go along with the idea of the operation." Karamessines "gave instructions that steps should be taken to arrange to pass through McGeorge Bundy to the President after the Subcommittee has completed its investigation." (pg 30)

“Three years later, the Long Subcommittee's investigation was believed to increase the risk of project exposure. An internal CIA memorandum dated April 23, 1965, states:

Mr. Karamessines [Assistant Deputy Director for Plans] felt that the dangers inherent in Long's subcommittee activities to the security of the Project's operations in New York should be thoroughly studied in order that a determination can be made as to whether these operations should be partially or fully suspended until the subcommittee's investigations are completed. (pgs 40 & 41)

In one document we bring together Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, James Jesus Angelton and Thomas Karamessines. We also show that Oswald’s letter to the Socialist Workers Party would have placed him, at minimum, on a “Watch List” of the CIA and perhaps was opened and read by some of the same people that would be monitoring his movements before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Was the CIA aware of Oswald as early as 1956? We can not discount the possibility! We have only recently learned that Oswald's movements were being monitored by Richard Helms and Thomas Karamessines in the months preceeding the assassination of JFK. No one has extablished the date when this attention began being directed toward Oswald. While it would seem obvious that a returned defector would be of interest to the CIA, the level to which the information on Oswald was directed suggests more than just a casual interest that began with his return to the US.

If Oswald was in fact on a “Watch List” in 1956 it would seem unlikely that he would be given the security clearances necessary to work on the U-2 while in the Marines, unless of course the “agency” had other plans for him.

The Watch List:

“Letters were selected for opening by two basic methods: (1) on the basis of a list of names known as the "Watch List," and (2) randomly. By one CIA estimate, the "Watch List" accounted for approximately 25% of the total volume of mail that was opened; random selection for 75%.” (pg 11)

“The Watch List. -- The Watch List originated in the mid-1950's, at which time it consisted of only ten to twenty names. With the SR Division, the CI Staff, the Office of Security, and the FBI all contributing names to the list it grew rapidly, however: by the end of the project the Watch List totaled about 600 names.” (pg 12)

Within a short time, the Watch List had expanded far beyond these relatively narrow and well-defined categories. The names of individuals who were in contact with Watch Listed persons and organizations were frequently added to the list themselves, and, as an August 1961 memorandum points out, a very large percentage of the names on the list were placed there because of "leads which came about through the random selection." (pgs 11 & 12)

We find the same names of the same people swirling around this mail opening program as we associated with the assassination of JFK.

Coincidence?

Jim Root

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  • 1 year later...
If you want to know what Allen Dulles, James Angelton, Thomas Karamessines and Richard Helms were up to during the period 1953 – 1965 you can find information in the following 122 page report.

But before reading the following information recall that on October 3, 1956, a few weeks before his 17th birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald wrote a letter to the Socialist Party of America based in New York City:

Dear Sirs:

I am sixteen years of age and would like more information about your youth League, I would like to know if there is a branch in my area, how to join, etc., I am a Marxist, and have been studying socialist principles for well over fifteen months I am very interested in your Y.P.S.L.

Sincerely

Lee Oswald

Three weeks later, Oswald enlisted in the Marines.

<span style='color:red'>Final Report Of The Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities United States Senate: April 23, 1976.</span>

The report begins with these words: “Between 1940 and 1973, two agencies of the federal government – the CIA and the FBI – covertly and illegally opened and photographed first class letter mail within the United States.” (pg 1)

“The CIA conducted four mail opening programs in four cities within the United States for varying lengths of time between 1953 and 1973. <span style='color:red'>New York (1953-1973</span>); San Francisco (four separate occasions, each of one to three weeks duration, between 1969 and 1971); New Orleans (three weeks in 1957) ; and Hawaii (late 1954 – late 1955).” (pg 5)

“Director Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, then Chief of Operations in the Plans Directorate, met with the Postmaster General and the Chief Postal Inspector, David Stephens, on May 17, 1954.” (pg 9)

“The CIA Staff Take-Over: "More" Mail Opening. -- In November 1955, James Angleton, the Chief of the Counterintelligence (CI) Staff, submitted a proposal to Richard Helms for the further expansion of the New York mail intercept project. Until then, the CIA was only receiving access to a portion of the United States-Soviet Union mail in its New York facility; Angleton recommended that "we gain access to all mail traffic to and from the U.S.S.R. which enters, departs, or transits the United States through the Port of New York." He also suggested that the "raw information acquired be recorded, indexed and analyzed and various components of the Agency furnished items of information which would appear to be helpful to their respective missions." Perhaps most significantly, he recommended a shift in the focus of the project from photographing the mail to opening it.” (pg 9)

"This proposal was approved by Helms on December 7, and funds were authorized by the Acting Deputy Director for Plans on March 3, 1956.” (pg 9)

“The only written approvals for the project as it subsequently developed during Dulles' tenure appear to be those of Richard Helms and the Acting Deputy Director for Plans. In December 1955, Helms approved the concept as outlined by James Angleton”

While it is unclear whether Dulles was ever informed about the laboratory, he was apparently at least made aware of the fact that mail was being opened. In May 1956, he received a memorandum from James Angleton in which Angleton noted that "for some time selected openings have been conducted and the contents examined." (pg 18)

“When the first request for formal approval had been submitted to Helms in November 1955, a branch chief of the CI staff suggested to, James Angleton that "in view of the sensitivity of this project, steps should be taken to have this proposed project approved by the Director without recourse to the normal channels for presentation of projects." (pg 19)

“Even James Angleton, the project's strongest supporter and, as Chief of the CI Staff, the official most directly responsible for its operation, testified that his understanding of its legality was simply: "That it was illegal." When asked how he could rationalize conducting a program he believed to be illegal, he answered that in his opinion, the project's benefit to the national security outweighed legal considerations.” (pg 38)

By 1965 Thomas Karamessines was Richard Helms point man in covering up this project

“In 1965, the Long Subcommittee hearings on the use of mail covers and other investigative techniques by federal agencies caused the Agency serious concern about possible Congressional discovery and revelation of the project. It is noted above that in September 1965, as a result of this concern, CIA officials briefly considered informing Postmaster General Gronouski of the project. When this proposal was rejected, presumably because Gronouski had cooperated extensively with the Subcommittee, Thomas Karamessines, then Acting Deputy Director for Plans, "suggested that, in his opinion, the President would be more inclined to go along with the idea of the operation." Karamessines "gave instructions that steps should be taken to arrange to pass through McGeorge Bundy to the President after the Subcommittee has completed its investigation." (pg 30)

“Three years later, the Long Subcommittee's investigation was believed to increase the risk of project exposure. An internal CIA memorandum dated April 23, 1965, states:

Mr. Karamessines [Assistant Deputy Director for Plans] felt that the dangers inherent in Long's subcommittee activities to the security of the Project's operations in New York should be thoroughly studied in order that a determination can be made as to whether these operations should be partially or fully suspended until the subcommittee's investigations are completed. (pgs 40 & 41)

In one document we bring together Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, James Jesus Angelton and Thomas Karamessines. We also show that Oswald’s letter to the Socialist Workers Party would have placed him, at minimum, on a “Watch List” of the CIA and perhaps was opened and read by some of the same people that would be monitoring his movements before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Was the CIA aware of Oswald as early as 1956? We can not discount the possibility! We have only recently learned that Oswald's movements were being monitored by Richard Helms and Thomas Karamessines in the months preceeding the assassination of JFK. No one has extablished the date when this attention began being directed toward Oswald. While it would seem obvious that a returned defector would be of interest to the CIA, the level to which the information on Oswald was directed suggests more than just a casual interest that began with his return to the US.

If Oswald was in fact on a “Watch List” in 1956 it would seem unlikely that he would be given the security clearances necessary to work on the U-2 while in the Marines, unless of course the “agency” had other plans for him

The Watch List:

“Letters were selected for opening by two basic methods: (1) on the basis of a list of names known as the "Watch List," and (2) randomly. By one CIA estimate, the "Watch List" accounted for approximately 25% of the total volume of mail that was opened; random selection for 75%.” (pg 11)

“The Watch List. -- The Watch List originated in the mid-1950's, at which time it consisted of only ten to twenty names. With the SR Division, the CI Staff, the Office of Security, and the FBI all contributing names to the list it grew rapidly, however: by the end of the project the Watch List totaled about 600 names.” (pg 12)

Within a short time, the Watch List had expanded far beyond these relatively narrow and well-defined categories. The names of individuals who were in contact with Watch Listed persons and organizations were frequently added to the list themselves, and, as an August 1961 memorandum points out, a very large percentage of the names on the list were placed there because of "leads which came about through the random selection." (pgs 11 & 12)

We find the same names of the same people swirling around this mail opening program as we associated with the assassination of JFK.

Coincidence?

(my emphasis')

Jim Root

No.

Edited by John Dolva
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"Was the CIA aware of Oswald as early as 1956?"

It is more than a valid point to raise, I believe the information contained in Jim's post provides enough analysis of the mail intercept program, to state....it would defy logic if they, meaning [Angleton, and/or Dulles] weren't......

Then there is the factoid that Ruth Paine was requesting "info" on Lee Oswald as early as 1957.

That Oswald was a dangle in Russia sounds sexy, and I certainly am not arguing that he wasn't, with what we know now, that we didn't know then, but there is a line of thought that at least part of Oswald's activities concievably were not as random, as believed. The Oswald diary, by virtue of it's very contents, arguably presents a scenario or a ride, if you will that researcher's are taken along...If one stops to consider that large portions of the diary were believed to have been written in a single session, and there was by no means unanimous incontrovertible evidence, as evidence is defined that he even wrote it......there is a logical view in taking its contents with a grain of salt, or at best to not mix the diary's contents and the facts of Oswald's time spent there as as we know them as inseparable. If one does that, it makes such matters as Oswald's falling in love with Russian beauties, appear to be in itself, something of a cover story. The KGB audio surveillance tapes of Lee and Marina's arguing provide insight's that there were activities taking place that seem to clash with generally held perceptions of the two.

What if, Oswald's assignment was not an "official clandestine operation?" In other words, what if he had been directed, presumably by those in charge of the false defector program" to bring back someone and/or something from the USSR, end of story.......That might explain Marina's physical examination by the American Embassy Doctor - AF Capt Alexis Davidson, who suggested that Oswald might contact Davidson's mother in Atlanta, after they returned to the US, interestingly enough while there were direct flights from New York to Dallas, the flight which Oswald selected had a stopover in Atlanta, and ostensibly, what were once 5 suitcases, were now down to 2 by the time the plane touched down in Dallas.

See Spy Saga pages 18-19 - Philip Melanson

Marina, at one point after leaving Russia, "seemed to" confuse Webster with Oswald. Webster's association with the Rand Corporation I submit, is at least one of the salient points in Webster's participation in activities in Russia.

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If you want to know what Allen Dulles, James Angelton, Thomas Karamessines and Richard Helms were up to during the period 1953 – 1965 you can find information in the following 122 page report.

But before reading the following information recall that on October 3, 1956, a few weeks before his 17th birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald wrote a letter to the Socialist Party of America based in New York City:

Dear Sirs:

I am sixteen years of age and would like more information about your youth League, I would like to know if there is a branch in my area, how to join, etc., I am a Marxist, and have been studying socialist principles for well over fifteen months I am very interested in your Y.P.S.L.

Sincerely

Lee Oswald

Three weeks later, Oswald enlisted in the Marines.

<span style='color:red'>Final Report Of The Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities United States Senate: April 23, 1976.</span>

The report begins with these words: “Between 1940 and 1973, two agencies of the federal government – the CIA and the FBI – covertly and illegally opened and photographed first class letter mail within the United States.” (pg 1)

“The CIA conducted four mail opening programs in four cities within the United States for varying lengths of time between 1953 and 1973. <span style='color:red'>New York (1953-1973</span>); San Francisco (four separate occasions, each of one to three weeks duration, between 1969 and 1971); New Orleans (three weeks in 1957) ; and Hawaii (late 1954 – late 1955).” (pg 5)

“Director Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, then Chief of Operations in the Plans Directorate, met with the Postmaster General and the Chief Postal Inspector, David Stephens, on May 17, 1954.” (pg 9)

“The CIA Staff Take-Over: "More" Mail Opening. -- In November 1955, James Angleton, the Chief of the Counterintelligence (CI) Staff, submitted a proposal to Richard Helms for the further expansion of the New York mail intercept project. Until then, the CIA was only receiving access to a portion of the United States-Soviet Union mail in its New York facility; Angleton recommended that "we gain access to all mail traffic to and from the U.S.S.R. which enters, departs, or transits the United States through the Port of New York." He also suggested that the "raw information acquired be recorded, indexed and analyzed and various components of the Agency furnished items of information which would appear to be helpful to their respective missions." Perhaps most significantly, he recommended a shift in the focus of the project from photographing the mail to opening it.” (pg 9)

"This proposal was approved by Helms on December 7, and funds were authorized by the Acting Deputy Director for Plans on March 3, 1956.” (pg 9)

“The only written approvals for the project as it subsequently developed during Dulles' tenure appear to be those of Richard Helms and the Acting Deputy Director for Plans. In December 1955, Helms approved the concept as outlined by James Angleton”

While it is unclear whether Dulles was ever informed about the laboratory, he was apparently at least made aware of the fact that mail was being opened. In May 1956, he received a memorandum from James Angleton in which Angleton noted that "for some time selected openings have been conducted and the contents examined." (pg 18)

“When the first request for formal approval had been submitted to Helms in November 1955, a branch chief of the CI staff suggested to, James Angleton that "in view of the sensitivity of this project, steps should be taken to have this proposed project approved by the Director without recourse to the normal channels for presentation of projects." (pg 19)

“Even James Angleton, the project's strongest supporter and, as Chief of the CI Staff, the official most directly responsible for its operation, testified that his understanding of its legality was simply: "That it was illegal." When asked how he could rationalize conducting a program he believed to be illegal, he answered that in his opinion, the project's benefit to the national security outweighed legal considerations.” (pg 38)

By 1965 Thomas Karamessines was Richard Helms point man in covering up this project

“In 1965, the Long Subcommittee hearings on the use of mail covers and other investigative techniques by federal agencies caused the Agency serious concern about possible Congressional discovery and revelation of the project. It is noted above that in September 1965, as a result of this concern, CIA officials briefly considered informing Postmaster General Gronouski of the project. When this proposal was rejected, presumably because Gronouski had cooperated extensively with the Subcommittee, Thomas Karamessines, then Acting Deputy Director for Plans, "suggested that, in his opinion, the President would be more inclined to go along with the idea of the operation." Karamessines "gave instructions that steps should be taken to arrange to pass through McGeorge Bundy to the President after the Subcommittee has completed its investigation." (pg 30)

“Three years later, the Long Subcommittee's investigation was believed to increase the risk of project exposure. An internal CIA memorandum dated April 23, 1965, states:

Mr. Karamessines [Assistant Deputy Director for Plans] felt that the dangers inherent in Long's subcommittee activities to the security of the Project's operations in New York should be thoroughly studied in order that a determination can be made as to whether these operations should be partially or fully suspended until the subcommittee's investigations are completed. (pgs 40 & 41)

In one document we bring together Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, James Jesus Angelton and Thomas Karamessines. We also show that Oswald’s letter to the Socialist Workers Party would have placed him, at minimum, on a “Watch List” of the CIA and perhaps was opened and read by some of the same people that would be monitoring his movements before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Was the CIA aware of Oswald as early as 1956? We can not discount the possibility! We have only recently learned that Oswald's movements were being monitored by Richard Helms and Thomas Karamessines in the months preceeding the assassination of JFK. No one has extablished the date when this attention began being directed toward Oswald. While it would seem obvious that a returned defector would be of interest to the CIA, the level to which the information on Oswald was directed suggests more than just a casual interest that began with his return to the US.

If Oswald was in fact on a “Watch List” in 1956 it would seem unlikely that he would be given the security clearances necessary to work on the U-2 while in the Marines, unless of course the “agency” had other plans for him

The Watch List:

“Letters were selected for opening by two basic methods: (1) on the basis of a list of names known as the "Watch List," and (2) randomly. By one CIA estimate, the "Watch List" accounted for approximately 25% of the total volume of mail that was opened; random selection for 75%.” (pg 11)

“The Watch List. -- The Watch List originated in the mid-1950's, at which time it consisted of only ten to twenty names. With the SR Division, the CI Staff, the Office of Security, and the FBI all contributing names to the list it grew rapidly, however: by the end of the project the Watch List totaled about 600 names.” (pg 12)

Within a short time, the Watch List had expanded far beyond these relatively narrow and well-defined categories. The names of individuals who were in contact with Watch Listed persons and organizations were frequently added to the list themselves, and, as an August 1961 memorandum points out, a very large percentage of the names on the list were placed there because of "leads which came about through the random selection." (pgs 11 & 12)

We find the same names of the same people swirling around this mail opening program as we associated with the assassination of JFK.

Coincidence?

(my emphasis')

Jim Root

No.

In my opinion, the letter to the SP (not the SWP) was intercepted, and it was intended to be. However, I'd fall short of claiming that the intercept was absolute fact. The CIA program was initially only for mail traffic between US and USSR. His name therefore could only have been added as a result of the expansion to include mail directed to persons on the Watch List. What needs to be ascertained is when that expansion occurred - before or after Oswald's letter, and if, at that time, any of the names on the list included SP NYC members (at least this part, more probable than not).

You are right in saying that it hasn't been established when attention was first focussed on Oswald - again - just my opinion, but I believe it was in NYC - possibly a dual role of informant for Robert Morris, and for want of a better phrase, a "guinea pig" of the POW study group (of which Morris may have been associated). Phase one of Operation Oz - makes sure his file matches the ideal potential defector. Phase 2 - run him through the hoops which would superficially look like he had been "defector-proofed". Phase 3 - send letter to SP expressing interest. Phase 4 - enlist in USMC. Make sure there are flags in his files through all phases and see who's watching and what happens. IOW, he was a "dangle" in the USMC. I doubt he was meant to be later in the USSR.

Edited by Greg Parker
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  • 1 year later...

Once again for those of you that are following my posts and research I bring this topic back so that you may review the fact that Richard Helms had access to informaiton that may have allowed Helms to cultivate information about Oswald that could lead to Oswald becomeing a potential intelligence asset even before Oswald entered the Marines.

We know for a fact that Helms was following Oswald's movements prior to the assassiantion of JFK but I will here suggest that the potential monitoring of Oswald's movements may go back much further in time.

Without question, Helms had the means and the ability as well as the program in place and working to do exactly what I am here suggesting.

Jim Root

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