Editor’s Choice: This Month’s News & Views
This archive of assassination-related news and commentary for the calendar year 2018 is a joint project between CAPA and the Justice Integrity Project. The material below consists of selected excerpts from significant news stories or commentaries regarding alleged political assassinations or attempts. The materials are arranged in reverse chronological order and focus primarily upon news arising from the 1960s murders of President John F. Kennedy (shown in a file photo), his brother Robert Kennedy, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Included also are several reports regarding other alleged political murders of prominent international leaders, or attempts.
CAPA welcomes your submission of additional items or any comments (including corrections) of items listed below. It is requested that new items be submitted in the format below: Publication name, headline with hotlink to URL, author, date, and brief excerpt. Correspondence should be sent to this site’s editors, Jerry Policoff and Andrew Kreig, via email.
WhoWhatWhy, Investigation: How to Avoid Being Linked to the JFK Assassination: Get Yourself Locked Up, Dick Russell (shown below at left), Jan. 3, 2018. Why would a man who knew Lee Harvey Oswald and had apparent connections to intelligence walk into a bank, shoot two holes in a wall, and await arrest months prior to JFK’s assassination? There is no better alibi than being in federal prison.
On September 20, 1963, two months before President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, a highly decorated Army veteran named Richard Case Nagell walked into a bank in El Paso, fired two shots into a wall from a revolver, and went outside to await arrest. There was speculation, even by the officer who put him in handcuffs, that for some reason he wanted to be locked up.
Nagell was charged with attempted bank robbery. Only later would he indicate to the FBI that he feared being implicated in an “inimical act” — one that involved accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
What could be known of Nagell’s strange saga was featured in my book on the Kennedy assassination, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Now recent releases from the National Archives of long-withheld CIA and FBI assassination-related files shed new light on Nagell, and on which branches of the CIA had the strongest interest in him.
The Intercept, Wilderness of Mirrors, Jefferson Morley (shown at right and the author of a new book, The Ghost, a biography of James J. Angleton), Jan. 1, 2018. Documents Reveal the Complex Legacy of James J. Angleton, CIA Counterintelligence Chief and Godfather of Mass Surveillance.
Veteran CIA officer Cleveland Cram was nearing the end of his career in 1978, when his superiors in the agency’s directorate of operations handed him a sensitive assignment: Write a history of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff. Cram, then 61, was well qualified for the task. He had a master’s and Ph.D. in European History from Harvard. He had served two decades in the clandestine service, including nine years as deputy chief of the CIA’s station in London.
Cram was assigned to investigate a debacle. The Counterintelligence Staff, created in 1954, had been headed for 20 years by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary spy who deployed the techniques of literary criticism learned at Yale to find deep patterns and hidden meanings in the records of KGB operations against the West. But Angleton was also a dogmatic and conspiratorial operator whose idiosyncratic theories paralyzed the agency’s operations against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and whose domestic surveillance operations targeting American dissidents had discredited the CIA in the court of public opinion.
Cram’s mission — and he chose to accept it — was to soberly answer the questions that senior CIA officials were asking in their private moments: What in the name of God and national security had Jim Angleton been doing when he ran the Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1974? Did his operations serve the agency’s mission? Did they serve the country?