A little over 50 years ago, Sean Connery starred in Dr. No and made movie history by showing audiences a stylish and thrilling look at life as a spy. Best-selling author Ian Fleming captured the imagination of the world, including President John F. Kennedy, who in March 1961 listed from Russia with Love as one of his ten current favorite reads in a Life magazine article. But the spies of 1962 were not restricted to the big screen, and they definately weren’t as debonair as the “shaken not stirred” martini drinking, James Bond.
James Angleton was chief of the CIA’s counterintelligence section. Some researchers believe that Angleton was involved in a cover-up concerning the CIA’s negligence in the assassination of President Kennedy. Declassified CIA records show that Angleton’s staff received pre-assassination intelligence information on Oswald from October 1959 to November 1963. There are indications that a secretive counterintelligence staff, known as the special investigations group, read reports on Oswald’s travel, family, and political views. CIA files indicate they also received information concerning Oswald in New Orleans and Mexico City.
Jeff Morley writes,
It certainly seems fair to ask: Did Angleton, Phillips or others who were well-informed about Oswald before the assassination simply misunderstand and underestimate him as he made his way to Dallas with a gun? Or is it possible that one or more of them participated in some kind of covert operation — sponsored by the Agency or the Pentagon — to manipulate Oswald before Nov. 22, 1963, for the sake of advancing the U.S. policy of overthrowing Castro?
In an earlier post, I spoke of expanding my knowledge in the Kennedy assassination, beyond the study of forensic evidence in Enemy of the Truth. I discovered reading about James Angleton is like reading a great spy novel it has everything you would expect: intrigue, secrecy, espionage, and mind-numbing twists. Unfortunately, Angleton’s convoluted story doesn’t prove him to be the hero of the story as James Bond was in Dr. No. In fact, instead of being the hero in the search for truth in our nation’s historical narrative, Angleton might just be a nemesis.