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Did KGB kill JFK? Lee Harvey Oswald met Russian agent months before assassination

The details came out as over 1,500 classified files of JFK assassination have been made public
UPDATED DEC 16, 2021
The first lady and President John F Kennedy attend a White House staff Christmas Party in December 1962 (Kennedy Library Archives/Newsmakers)
The first lady and President John F Kennedy attend a White House staff Christmas Party in December 1962 (Kennedy Library Archives/Newsmakers)

Over 1,500 previously classified documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy were made public on Wednesday, December 15. The files also included details about assassinator Lee Harvey Oswald — a former Marine and Marxism enthusiast — and his contact with a KGB agent.

The files were revealed by the National Archives after months of delay by President Joe Biden's government, blaming Covid-19 backlogs for it. The official papers include information about anonymous phone calls made to the US embassy in Canberra, Australia, a year before the assassination. On those calls, it was claimed that the Soviet government was planning to take Kennedy’s life.


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President John F Kennedy speaks at a press conference on March 13, 1961 (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

Did the KGB assassinate JFK?

The files also disclosed that Oswald met with an agent of the KGB, named Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City two months before he killed the leader. The killer shot Kennedy in the neck at around 12.30pm while he was sitting in an open car motorcade with his wife and then First Lady Jackie Kennedy. The 35th president was rushed to the hospital, but couldn’t be saved. Soon after that, Oswald was detained from a theater before he was shot dead by local Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby as police were transporting him.

President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy ride with secret agents in an open car motorcade shortly before the president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

One more anonymous call made on November 24, 1963, claimed that Russians had murdered Kennedy on November 22. Besides, the files also contain details of interviews with communist activists in Mexico, who Oswald had met with, and information related to his trial to give up his US citizenship to become a Russian citizen four years before the shooting.

A memo, documented by CIA officer Tennent H Bagley on November 23, 1963, the next day after the killing, read: “According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Lee Oswald was at the Soviet Embassy there on 23 September 1963 and spoke with Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich. Oswald called the Soviet Embassy on 1 October, identifying himself by name and speaking broken Russian, stating the above and asking the guard who answered the phone whether there was 'anything concerning the telegram to Washington.”

President John F Kennedy's alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is hurried into an ambulance after being shot at Dallas City Prison by night club owner Jack Ruby (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

Some of the files made public also included information on Operation Mongoose, the CIA's plan to destabilize the Cuban government and remove Fidel Castro from power. However, a major chunk of information has still been withheld by the government, leaving JFK researchers and members of the Kennedy family frustrated. It has been said that the thousands of documents won’t be made public until December 2022 after being flagged by national security agencies for further analysis.

The University of Virginia's Larry Sabato, a leading scholar of the assassination, said: “It's always 'the next time'. The reason it's so important is not so much that we're going to find a smoking gun that changes the entire theory of who killed Kennedy. The lack of transparency and the fact that getting these documents after 58 years is like pulling a whole mouthful of teeth — it tells you why we have so many conspiracy theories.”

JFK’s nephew Robert F Kennedy Jr also showed his disappointment in October after it was said that some of the files would remain secret for some time. He said, “It’s an outrage. It’s an outrage against American democracy. We’re not supposed to have secret governments within the government. How the hell is it 58 years later, and what in the world could justify not releasing these documents?”

Former Representative Patrick Kennedy, the son of longtime Biden friend late Senator Ted Kennedy, added, “I think for the good of the country, everything has to be put out there so there’s greater understanding of our history.”