In the 1960s, he was known around Langley by his CIA code name: Kingfisher.
It’s probably not a good idea to take on an exalted title like that unless you have some real power to wield and as the director of counterintelligence, Angleton was responsible for a lot of the dirty tricks at CIA during his reign. He’s become the subject of dozens of books and movies, most recently The Good Shepherd, although his multiple connections to the JFK hit never seem to surface in the mainstream media.
Angleton got his powerful post after serving as the Vatican’s OSS liaison during WWII, working closely with Allen Dulles to shield important Nazis who were given new jobs working for US interests after the war. According to Angleton, before getting his promotion, he had to promise Dulles never to put him or any of his Wall Street-connected cronies on lie detectors in order to question them about financial relations with Germany during the war. You see, many US corporations employed neutral countries to trade with the enemy, including Standard Oil, a company owned by Dulles’ cousin by marriage David Rockefeller. If you want to get really rich during war, sell to both sides.
Not only did Angleton remain in charge of the important CIA-Vatican connection, he also became the strategic CIA link to Israel and their efficient Mossad, an intelligence agency not hampered by red tape.
The sad reality is that after he got his post, Angleton was swiftly compromised by British double agent Kim Philby, who gleaned many secrets before departing back to England. Philby had spent many nights plying the chain-smoking Angleton with liquor so they could talk shop. The main subject of conversation was the suspected mole inside British intelligence who kept the KGB one step ahead of Angleton, and who might that mole be? Before long, a nest of Soviet spies (the Cambridge 5) was uncovered and a few revealed, although Philby was exonerated and Victor Rothschild never seriously investigated. Philby began working as a journalist covering the Middle East, while secretly reporting to MI6. But in 1961, Anatoliy Golitsyn, a KGB major, defected to the West and established his bona fides by offering up Philby as KGB and part of the Cambridge ring that had been operating since before WWII.
CIA spook William Buckley would write the first major book on how Angleton went crazy after Philby was unmasked. Buckley is Skull & Bones and card carrying member of the oligarchy, just like Angleton, only maybe a little higher on the pecking order. But Golitsyn was a fake defector seeding disinfo. His major thrust was that many highly placed people in Western power were really KGB, just like Philby. Golitsyn even claimed British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was a KGB spy. And he also claimed there was another KGB spy was very high up in the US government as well. Obviously, these rabbit holes served mostly to amp up Angleton’s paranoia. He’d spend the next few years hunting for an imaginary highly-placed mole in Washington DC, and at one point accused just about everyone in power. Did Golitsuyn also finger JFK as well as Wilson? I think this seems pretty likely. Strangely, Golitsyn became an Honorary Commander of the British Empire. And what do you think would have happened if Angleton had written a report saying JFK was a Soviet spy? Would that have justified a national security project to remove JFK from power?
But after JFK was assassinated, along came a real Soviet defector name Yuri Nosenko, who arrived in 1964. Since Nosenko did not concur with much of anything Golitsyn had been saying, and, in fact, was more highly situated and knew more than Golitsyn, Nosenko was held prisoner for four years and tortured continuously and fed LSD and other drugs in an attempt to break him down. And the entire time Angleton kept telling everyone Nosenko was a fake whose only mission was to discredit Golitsyn.
In retrospect Angleton seems borderline incompetent since he’d been played by Philby and Golitsyn. One wonders how Angleton kept his job so long, although keep in mind his files were probably more explosive than J. Edgar Hoover’s.
(Excerpted from Killing Kennedy: The Real Story.)
10 Replies to “James Jesus Angleton is a key to the JFK assassination”
Fascinating stuff and great work connecting all the dots.
I’m not sure I’m willing to go all the way with you though. The Kennedy Assassination is a fascinating topic, but all of the WASP/Masonic/Skull&Bones stuff leaves me cold. Maybe it is just because I do not know enough about it….
Also, my reading on Soviet Russia indicates that Lennin, Trotsky, Krushchev (and the rest) were all committed Marxists, rather then part of a global conspiracy. They really believed they were creating the future society (at least at first), deluded as that sounds. Stalin was a psychopath, regardless of ideology.
With that in mind, I would suggest a slightly less conspiratorial take on the evidence you have presented. Or rather, a conspiracy that need not have reached so high into the power structures you describe.
Maybe I am not looking in the right places but, given the fevered atmosphere of the era – the horrors of World War Two were still a pretty recent memory for most of these guys – I think it is plausible to suggest that the banal reality may have been as sad and pathetic as a group of Cold War spooks, with disordered minds, spooking themselves.
Angleton was pretty upset (to put it mildly) about all those evenings he spent talking shop – probably divulging all kinds of sensitive information about his most important networks – with the man who he had thought of as one of his best (maybe only?) friends, but who turned out to be the Soviet Union’s most successful double agent. Maybe Angleton conceived of the plot to kill Kennedy as an attempt to make amends for his Philby failture. Or is that too naive?
One gets the sense that most of these guys (spooks) were pretty tightly wrapped and after Philiby defected Angleton must have driven himself half crazy trying to figure out how he – The Ultimate Spook (in his own mind) – got played. Regarding the file that you suggest he may have created about Kennedy being a Communist infiltrator (all that suspcious ‘peace’ talk – all at a time when, as far the CIA was concerned, the Russians posed a real threat – according to what I have read, Great Britain and the United States did not have a single Russian spy inside the Soviet Union until 1961 (Oleg Penkovsky) and even he only lasted a couple of months because CIA and SIS were so bad at running agents behind the Iron Curtain). Faced by the prospect that their implacable foe, who had defeated these ‘spymasters’ at every turn, had taken control of the United States government and the Kennedy brothers were now seeking to ‘make nice’ with the enemy, how could he not act? He was not going to let another Philby slip through his grasp!
Angleton would have likely talked to Allen Dulles and maybe Richard Helms. They may have then used information gathered by the CIA – did they know about Kennedy’s back-door channels to Russia and Cuba, drugs in the White House, etc.? (it would have all looked pretty fishy to a group of committed Cold Warriors) – to raise the money from the Texas oil billionaires, who already hated Kennedy and would have been more than willing to think the worst of him, to pay for the mob/JM-WAVE hit, which then played out as you describe.
I’m not convinced that Lyndon Johnson was necessarily part of the conspiracy. He was a pretty corrupt politician who would have been just as easy to control after the fact – and all of that contact politicans have with the public (regardless of how insulated they are in other respects) would have made him a potential liability. It makes just as much sense to think that Johnson was played by the CIA, the same way that Johnson played Warren, to convince him that no matter what the investigation turned up, the Commission needed to confirm that Kennedy was killed by a single shooter acting alone or else “40 million people might die”.
Johnson would have obviously had his suspicions when Hoover told him that the tapes of “Oswald” in Mexico were fake – the fact that Hoover volenteered that info to undermine the agency he had wanted to run himself indicates that he was probably not involved from the start, although he may have been an accessory after the fact in order to help with the cover-up. Whether Johnson knew or not, he got the message/did what was wanted of him, ending rapproachment with the Russians and ramping up the war in South-East Asia. The Russians got the message too, removing Kennedy’s ‘partner for peace’ Krushchev soon thereafter,
Angleton certainly could have initiated the project to kill Kennedy for reasons of national security, but that issue had to achieve consensus inside the National Security Council. The CIA has the legal authority to eliminate any and all threats to national security, even if they are the President. LBJ was an exceedingly corrupt politician who took bags of cash the whole time he was in the White House but he was not close to the center of gravity of real power. The conspiracy could have started anywhere, inside Sullivan and Cromwell, or inside the CIA, or inside the Council on Foreign Relations (all three were joined at the hip) , or even inside the Texas oil crowd/John Birchers or even the Sicilian men-of-honor because they all had the means and motives. Doesn’t matter who initiated it, all those elements soon joined inside because they all had agendas. And the FBI and CIA covered it up at the highest levels. Of course most people involved in any managed dialectic are true believers. The commies and and anti-commies, both true believers. Just like Democrats and Republicans.
There’s quite a lot of chatter concerning my JFK dot-connecting stories over at the Education Forum. I want to thank Douglas Caddy who has been posting and supporting my blogs. But there’s this one anonymous dude Blair Dobson who attacks my research as bunk and points out my suspicions that Kingfisher Angleton secretly accused JFK of being a soviet mole. “He made that up!” shrieks Dobson. Yes, Mr. Anonymous, as I clearly state this is a “suspicion” and not “fact.” However, consider this reasoning: Since Golitsyn had already fingered British Prime Minister Harold Wilson as a secret soviet spook, how hard a stretch is it to say the same thing about the equally liberal JFK? And keep in mind, JFK was reaching out to create back channels with Cuba and Russia, attempts that would have caught the attention of Angleton, who was reading any mail or listening to any phone tap he wanted on anyone..
Hey, I see you’re interested in the JFK assassination. I wanted to tell you about something I’ve come across. There is a new book written this year (2013) called MindWar by Lt. Colonel Michael A. Aquino. I mention the book a few times on my blog.
I was just reading it right now and came across a passage that I thought would interest you (it came to mind because I saw articles about JFK on your blog)
I will quote directly from the book. There is preceding information, but I will give you the most direct quote, if you’d like to know more you can either check out the book yourself or contact me through my blog.
“Following JFK’s 1961 inauguration Lansdale (Major General Edward W. Lansdale) was summoned to the White House to brief the new President on the Vietnam situation, and returned to tell Prouty (Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty) “I believe I have a chance for the Ambassadorship” After the Bay of Pigs disaster, however, the CIA was non grata in the Administration, and Lansdale’s hopes were dashed.104 [-footnote]
“104- Lansdale, according to Prouty, executed the JFK assassination with MONGOOSE assets. “He had hundreds of trained and skilled men whom he could use to flesh out the cover story that the true decision-makers had to have to protect the real hit team, and create the three decades of cover story that has embarrassed American citizens since that date. Without such a cover story the murder and resultant coup d’etat could not have been achieved so effectively. JFK would not give him that Ambassadorship for which he would have killed. What else could he do?”
[pg. 108, MindWar]
I could not imagine a less credible source of information than the duplicitous Michael Aquino. You should do some investigating into his checkered history. The assassination was organized and executed through Harvey’s Executive Action Team originally assembled to kill Casto.
I think that is what was implied when he said that Lansdale used “MONGOOSE assets”, because if you look up project mongoose it was a project to assassinate Castro. I just thought I’d pass it on.
I believe Angletom is a key if not “the” key to the JFKAssassination. Let’s for a moment look at him in a different light.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if in fact, Angleton was “the Mole”?
The thought has occurred to me more than once… As you may know, he spent some of his formative years in Milan, Italy, which has been a hot bed of Communism groomed through their labor unions and unrest…. It would also be interesting to review his acquaintances/ mentors at Malvern College who may have left leanings or in any way were communists themselves…..
It would explain the Bay of Pigs (Tips through the right Diplomatic channel) never getting to Castro (same as above) AND setting up JFK from within by using the “Ultra-Patriots” of JM/Wave ( his own assassination squad) and the Mob through Rosselli (utilized during the invasion of Sicily while he served at X-2 Italy Desk…..
A most misunderstood cold warrior. He was on a whole ‘nuther level.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said in a 2013 article in Rolling Stone magazine that well known KGB agent Georgi Bolshakov “…was good friends with his parents….and visited their house many times.” According to RFK Jr Khruschez had enlisted Bolshakoz as a messenger to send JFK secret notes regarding peace hopes. If just the meetings are true, it had to be known to Angelton et al and would certainly have aroused suspicion, distrust and fear.