In an attempt to get to the bottom of one of the greatest conspiracies of all time – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – one journalist turned his attention south of the border in search for answers.
Refiling through a slew of declassified notes and testimony from the U.S. ambassador and CIA station chief in Mexico City at the time of the JFK assassination, former New York Times correspondent Philip Shenon found a surprising amount of evidence that connected JFK's shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, to Cuban officials and Mexican agitators sympathetic to Fidel Castro's cause.
Oswald was on the CIA's radar after he travelled to Mexico City only weeks before the assassination to visit the Cuban and Soviet embassies there in order to obtain a visa that would allow the self-proclaimed Marxist to defect to Cuba.
U.S. Ambassador Thomas C. Mann, who believed that Oswald had not acted alone and that his trip to Mexico proves that, was blocked from further inquiry when he received a top-secret message directly from then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk days after the assassination to shut down any investigation in Mexico that might "confirm or refute rumors of Cuban involvement in the assassination," Mann said in a testimony years later.
Recently declassified memoirs from the CIA station chief at the time, Winston Scott, also seem to point to his assertion that Oswald was an "agent" of a foreign power, although he makes no reference to the CIA investigation being shut down.
"It is clear from government files declassified in recent decades that Oswald's six-day trip to Mexico was never adequately investigated by the CIA, the FBI and the State Department — and, as a result, by the Warren Commission, the panel named by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the assassination," Shenon wrote in a piece for Politico.
He added: [L]ots of evidence has accumulated over the years to suggest that historians, journalists and JFK buffs who are still trying to piece together clues about the president's murder – whether from the memories of still-living witnesses or in the new tranche of assassination-related documents the National Archives is set to release in two years – would be wise to look to Mexico City.
Besides Mann and Scott, Shenon also mentions the late former FBI Director Clarence Kelley and former FBI Assistant Director William Sullivan, as well as David Belin, a former staff lawyer on the Warren Commission as prominent U.S. government officials who believed that there was more to Oswald's trip to Mexico than has been revealed.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover may have insisted publically that "there was nothing up to the time of the assassination that gave any indication that this man was a dangerous character who might do harm to the president," but a top-secret June 1964 letter from Hoover to the Warren commission reveals that Oswald may have openly boasted about his plans – "I'm going to kill Kennedy" – while in Mexico, apparently at the Cuban embassy.
While none of this information directly links Cuban or Mexican agents to the killing of JFK, it certainly provides more fodder for those looking to see more than just a lone gunman behind the assassination —and a number of assassination-related documents the National Archives set to release in two years could shine even more light onto Oswald's trip south of the border.