New Evidence: Lee Harvey Oswald Was Trained by the CIA
A new source says: Oswald learned Russian at a secret CIA base before his "defection" to the USSR.
NOTE: There’s been a surge of interest in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in recent months. Scholars are still looking through documents that were newly declassified during the Trump Administration. Much of the history on this subject will need to be revised in the coming years as new evidence enters the public realm. A good friend of mine, the renowned journalist Thomas Lipscomb, has just completed a new manuscript (with Jerome Kroth) titled The Oswald Letter and it contains a number of staggering claims based on these federally released documents as well as fresh accounts from new eyewitnesses who have never before been interviewed.
Lee Harvey Oswald made his last phone call from his Dallas jail at about 11:00 PM. That was a little over 12 hours before he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby at 12:20 PM the next day. The call was made to a “John Hurt” in Raleigh, North Carolina. The operator handling the call claimed in testimony she was instructed by her superiors not to put the call through — so it was never completed.
But just who “John Hurt” was, and why Oswald called him, has been a matter of interest, speculation, and misinformation ever since. He was certainly important enough that Oswald’s jailers wanted to prevent Oswald’s making contact with him. A new source in the forthcoming book The Oswald Letter finally clears up the mystery with a stunning resolution only hinted at previously.
(Lee Harvey Oswald in Marine uniform)
The source, who worked with the CIA for more than 25 years, had first heard John Hurt’s name at a secret CIA/ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) training base at Nags Head, North Carolina in 1959. “Nobody knew what he did, but we all knew who he was.” Training at the base with him and 40 to 50 other young men (many still in uniform) was a Marine about his own age. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald.
Curiously, the name “John Hurt” never appears in the 27 volumes of The Warren Report. The Dallas operator call slip from Oswald’s last phone call was published ten years later, in 1975, as the result of a Freedom of Information request. It was in the appendix of a book called Coup d’Etat in America. The first time it appeared of any public interest is during the hearings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations which opened in 1977, as it reviewed the findings of The Warren Report.
On April 11, 1978 three HSCA investigators were sent to Raleigh to interview a “John David Hurt.” He still had the same phone number that was used for the Oswald call — unchanged since at least 1958. They also learned that Hurt was a former Special Agent of US Army Counterintelligence.
Hurt was on full disability pay, badly crippled by arthritis. He claimed to have worked for the State of North Carolina for a few years after leaving the Army, primarily as an insurance claims adjuster. The first time he said he had even heard Oswald’s name was after the assassination.
Hurt said he had never called Oswald or received a call from him. He had apparently been contacted several times by members of the press who became aware of the mysterious phone call over the years. The investigators found Hurt had a patchy work history and recorded episodes of mental illness and alcoholism, but they couldn’t access Hurt’s military records because they had been destroyed in a famous military records fire at the St. Louis storage depository.
In 1981, after Hurt’s death, his wife revealed the “true” story she claimed he had finally confessed to her. She said one of his bouts of alcoholism was set off when he became terribly upset at JFK’s death. Hurt had drunkenly called the Dallas jail and asked to speak to Oswald. When they wouldn’t put him through, Hurt left his name and number and instructions to call him back. That had to be the only reason Oswald placed the call.
There are many difficulties with this “true story” — the most glaring one being why Hurt’s wife seemed to find it necessary to tell it at all, after her husband’s death, apparently to the first researcher who called her. (Grover Proctor’s website does a superb job reviewing the details. )
British reporter Anthony Summers was surprised to learn that no less than the HSCA Executive Director himself, G. Robert Blakey, concluded after studying this episode: "The call apparently is real and it goes out. It does not come in. That's the sum and substance of it […]. It was an outgoing call, and therefore I consider it very troublesome material. The direction in which it went was deeply disturbing."
For Senator Richard Schweiker, there was nothing surprising about it. He was famous for his 1975 statement on CBS’s Face the Nation "We don't know what happened, but we do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there are the fingerprints of intelligence." Schweiker had been chairing a subcommittee looking into possible CIA involvement with the JFK assassination and had helped bring Blakey’s HSCA into existence. The source for this account in The Oswald Letter was also Schweiker’s source at the time.
Nobody was better able to confirm those “fingerprints” than the CIA’s Victor Marchetti (who was Richard Helms’ former executive assistant). Marchetti worked at the CIA for 14 years in various positions. Marchetti was also an author of the bestseller The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. (The CIA did everything it could to prevent the publication of that book.)
Marchetti’s conclusion from his CIA experience was that “John Hurt” was the CIA contact name Oswald had been given to call if he was in trouble, and unable to get out of it on his own. The contact would have been given to Oswald so he could alert the Agency without directly contacting it. Oswald may have expected help by making the contact, but in Marchetti’s opinion, making the call to Hurt directly led to the decision to kill Oswald.
Marchetti was well aware of the Nags Head/ONI base run by the CIA where Oswald had been sent. Marchetti knew it as a training base for false “defectors” who were being sent into the Soviet Union with the hope that the KGB would try to turn them into its agents. Senator Schweiker knew of it as well. The CIA then planned to turn the “defectors” into double agents who would feed the Soviets false information. And just a few months after leaving Nags Head, Oswald was discharged from the Marines only to head to Russia to “defect” and renounce his citizenship.
One thing that puzzled the Warren Commission was Oswald’s superb Russian. Witness after witness testified Oswald spoke like a native. On first meeting him in Minsk, his wife Marina thought that Oswald was a Russian with a Baltic accent. At one of the first top secret Executive Sessions of the entire Warren Commission, General Counsel J. Lee Rankin confessed his frustration at being unable to account for it: “we are trying to find out what [Oswald] studied at the Monterey School of the Army in the way of languages.”
They never did account for it. Each Monterey language course is almost a year long and, in the Commission’s 70-page biography of Oswald’s short life, there is no time available for it. Oswald was only 24 when he died. But the former CIA operative who was the source for The Oswald Letter knew what Rankin never learned — because Oswald told him.
While the source was studying a CIA MK Ultra training program on “illusionary warfare,” his Nags Head classmate Lee Harvey Oswald told him he was in another intensive CIA training course: learning Russian.
So Lee Harvey Oswald — the man who the Warren Commission Report concluded was JFK’s pro-Communist, pro-Castro lone nut assassin — had been an active-duty Marine who had volunteered to risk his life in a CIA program using fake defectors to infiltrate the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. And Allen Dulles (the former head of the CIA who ran the program Oswald had joined) never said a word about it to the Warren Commission — even though he was one of the commissioners appointed to it.
(This excerpt from the unpublished book The Oswald Letter by Thomas Lipscomb with Jerome Kroth appears courtesy of Don Fehr at Trident Media Group. Inquiries may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org)