While married CIA media asset Hugh Aynesworth was slobbering on
Marina Oswald in 1964, the FBI was wiretapping Marina Oswald from Feb 29, 1964
to March 12, 1964. FBI field surveillance began on Feb. 24, 1964
Hugh Aynesworth said that met
Marina Oswald in February of 1964
Here is the text of the Shirley Martin letter to Jim Garrison:
May 20, 1967
Dear Mr. Garrison:
I am so sorry that Newsweek chose Hugh
Aynesworth to use in its rebuttal of you.
In the summer of ‘64 I had a long
talk with Mr. Aynesworth, introducing myself to him as a friend of a relative
to General Clyde Watts, ex-Major General Edwin A. Walker's close friend and attorney
(Oxford). Mr. Aynesworth
mistakenly assumed that I was a political conservative and immediately deluged
me with disgusting anti-Kennedy stories. ("Kennedy needed a trip to
Dallas like a hole in the head," etc.) At the same time Mr. Aynesworth heaped
what seemed to me to be inordinate praise on the city of Dallas, the Dallas
police (Lt. George Butler, Captain Fritz, Chief Curry, etc.), and the Dallas Morning
News (for which newspaper Aynesworth was working at the time). He confided, too, that Tom Buchanan
(Paris) was a "fairy" and detailed for me a number of extremely
slanderous alleged incidents in the life of Mark Lane. In addition, Mr. Aynesworth
definitively labeled Mr. Lane a "communist."
was extremely bitter that Merriman Smith had won the Pulitzer for his coverage
of the assassination. Aynesworth sarcastically remarked that
Smith "did nothing and saw less" on the day in question, whereas he, Aynesworth
was "...the only reporter in America to make all four big scenes."
(1) In addition, Aynesworth boasted that a Commission attorney had already
confided to him (in July) what the Commission verdict was to be (in September).
Oswald would be named, but
according to Aynesworth it was in reality "...a communist plot. Warren will
do a cover-up for Moscow."
insisted that Marina had had an affair with him after the assassination, and
that during this period she had revealed to him that she and Ruth Paine had
shared a Lesbian relationship prior to November 22, 1963. Aynesworth
also declared that he had been on 10th Street "looking down on the Tippit
murder scene at 1:05pm, not later than 1:10..." on November 22nd. (2)
Needless to say, the "only reporter in America" to be in on all four
"big scenes" was NOT called to testify before the Warren Commission,
which did, however, call Thayer Waldo, Fort Worth reporter, because he had been
in the police basement when Ruby shot Oswald. (3)
Finally, I have the statement by an
employee of the Dallas Morning News that Aynesworth was deliberately and ILLEGALLY
given the allegedly stolen Oswald diary story by a Commission attorney who was in
Dallas on business at that time. Earl Warren later put the FBI on the trail of
this illegal "leak", but as was to be expected no discoveries were made.
This, then, is the man chosen by Newsweek
to rebut you. What a pity Newsweek's taste is so concentrated in its tail.
(Mrs.) Shirley Martin
Dealey Plaza, 10th Street, Texas Theatre,
Dallas police basement.
negating the Commission claim that Oswald. shot both Kennedy and Tippit.
Waldo's testimony is pertinent in regard
to Lt. Butler (not called by Commission.)
Bill Simpich on the Illegal FBI surveillance of Marina Oswald in
February and March of 1964
Why isn’t the FBI spying on Marina Oswald better known?
Answer: Because much governmental effort has
gone into making sure that it is not better known.
Why? Maybe because Marina Oswald and her
children–alive and living in Texas–have solid grounds for a lawsuit.
Before my research, I knew vaguely about a 1975 New
York Times report on how the FBI admitted tapping and
bugging Marina’s conversations. “Electronic surveillance,” the Times
reported, was “based upon written approval of the Attorney General of the
United States. The Government contended then that in national security cases, court
approval was not required“.
That was true. It wasn’t until 1972 that the Supreme
Court ruled in the US v. Keith case
that “national security” was not a
sufficient basis to conduct a search without a warrant.
But no one has ever seen transcripts of the
surveillance of the wife of the accused assassin of JFK, a fact first noted by
author Lamar Waldron in his book Legacy of Secrecy .
Nor has anyone has ever heard the tapes of this
But we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the
U.S. government spied on Marina Oswald after the assassination of JFK.
results were not reassuring to Hoover’s insistence that Lee Oswald was
solely responsible for JFK’s murder.
Dallas FBI agent Jim Hosty confirmed in his book that
Marina was surveilled and he added a convincing detail: His FBI fellow
Boguslav translated the Russian comments into English.
The transcripts and the tapes are still missing — a
scandal that needs to be addressed as the National Archives prepares to release 3,600 still-secret JFK
documents by the legally-mandated deadline of October 2017.
Hosty’s account indicates that the Dallas FBI office
initially had custody of the tapes, with orders not to erase them.
Where are the tapes now? No one knows. I
suspect that at least the transcripts are hidden inside informant files that
have never been turned over to any investigative agency.
the tapes revealed
General Robert F. Kennedy approved the wiretapping of Marina Oswald’s phone in
some FBI documents that explain why these tapes and transcripts have not
been turned over.
The surveillance of Marina recorded statements that
went directly to the question of her husband’s guilt or innocence in the murder
of JFK— yet the FBI halted the surveillance less than two weeks after it
began, saying that the results were “insignificant”.
This evidence was not provided to the Warren
The documents also show that although Attorney
General Robert Kennedy did provide approval to tap Marina’s phone, he never gave the FBI permission to
plant microphones (“bugs”) inside her home.
This newly-discovered information gives Marina
and her family the right to file a new suit against the FBI and certain
officials for violation of their constitutional rights.
The contents of the newly-discovered files
On the Mary Ferrell Web site, I found three folders
of FBI material that are highly relevant to the JFK story.
These three folders tell us that although the
phone tap and bugs were revealing some important first-hand
information–such as the doubts of Marina and Oswald’s brother Robert that Lee
shot JFK– the surveillance was shut down based on the FBI’s inexplicable
claim that nothing of significance was being learned.
On February 24, 1964, Warren Commission chief counsel
J. Lee Rankin asked J. Edgar Hoover for a “stake-out” of Marina’s
home with “discreet physical surveillance”. This memo, and others in this
folder, are within Hoover’s famous “JUNE” mail file,
conducted when he wanted to conduct technical surveillance.
(Note to researchers: See the second page of this FBI
June mail file for “special storage”, and page 190 on “records management”).
On February 24 1963, field surveillance began,
and agents surreptitiously monitored Marina’s movements.
gave the FBI permission to plant microphones inside her home .
The next day, February 25, we see Bobby Kennedy’s signature approving
Hoover’s proposal for a wiretap on her home on 2/25/64.
Bill Sullivan, the head of domestic intelligence for
the Bureau, wrote on the 25th that “the practical thing to do is to place the
installation in her new home…and then give this coverage adequate time to
see if anything relevant can be developed.”
However, for reasons unknown, the FBI exceeded the
terms of RFK’s approval of the tapping of Marina’s phone. On February 27,
the FBI obtained “internal approval” to
plant bugs inside Marina’s home–without asking the Attorney General.
The microphones were planted throughout the
house- – from the attic to the bedroom —
on the night of February 28, hours before Marina was going to move in to her
new home. The phone tap was installed on February 29 by
Special Agent Nat Pinkston. The
bugs became operational on March
Although the plan was to conduct surveillance indefinitely, the
whole operation was shut down for no plausible reason by March 12.
There was no such “general authority.” If he Bureau
had no court order authorizing the planting of microphones inside Marina’s
home, the bugging was clearly illegal.
If RFK had approved of the bugs,
their legality would be a closer question. Without RFK’s approval, the FBI
was clearly breaking the law as it was understood in 1964.
Oswald was overheard doubting his brother’s guilt
by FBI special agent Milton Newsom discusses
what was picked up on Marina’s phone and the microphones inside the house.
The results were not reassuring to Hoover’s insistence that Lee Oswald was
solely responsible for JFK”s murder.
Newsom’s report shows that:
–at that time Robert Oswald, Lee’s brother, was
saying that he thought Lee was innocent. Later Robert Oswald would say he had
no doubt about Lee’s guilt.
–Marina went back and forth on whether Lee was
–Marine said that she didn’t remember the package that
Lee’s neighbor and co-worker Buell Wesley Frazier claimed Lee brought with him
to the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) that fateful Friday
On March 11, Marvin Gheesling, a senior FBI
counterintelligence agent in Washington, tipped off Lee Rankin, chief counsel
of the Warren Commission, about some of what was learned about the conversation
in Marina’s house.
Gheesling took pains to avoid letting Rankin know
about a conversation between Marina’s business manager (and paramour) James
Martin with the Russian translator Ilya Mamantov.
Mamantov was brought into the case by Army Intelligence on
the afternoon that JFK was killed. Mamantov believed Oswald was a Soviet agent.
He proceeded to obtain a questionable statement from
Marina on the night of November 22, 1963 that she recognized the rifle found on
the sixth floor of the TSBD as belonging to Lee.
Martin told Mamantov that “Marina understands English pretty
well” and that she didn’t need a translator. That news would have
caused shock waves at the Warren Commission, which had been given the
impression that Marina had little comprehension of English-language
conversations going on around her.
claim that ‘no significant results’ had
been obtained was nonsense.
The FBI claimed there was a major problem with
the surveillance: it was picking up attorney-client communications between
Marina and her attorney William McKenzie.
In the past, the FBI had not considered that as a
problem. McKenzie had already assured the FBI that
he would assist them in “spot checking” her
activities that were not direct attorney-client communications.
McKenzie also told Rankin that he would get a waiver of the attorney-client
privilege from his clients about anything they knew about JFK’s
assassination –and he had it in writing within days after
the bugging began.
There is no denying that the information they were
obtaining was of great importance. The FBI claim that “no
significant results” had been obtained was nonsense.
be done today?
I will take action to see if these tapes or
transcripts of Marina Oswald remain in the possession of the FBI’s “informant files“, as
indicated in the documents I reviewed. The FBI did not turn over any such
material to the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the 1990s.
I will also challenge the FBI’s refusal to provide
these documents and the rest of the informant files to the ARRB or the other
investigative bodies that have demanded that all relevant evidence be turned
over. This is part of a pattern that I will discuss in my follow-up
Commission in the dark
Marina’s love life also
was an area of potential embarrassment for all concerned. After her husband’s
murder in policy custody, she became romantically involved with her business
manager James Martin, with whom she discussed the pros and cons of marriage
which might lessen the possibility of her deportation.
Marina was vulnerable to pressure due to her immigration status.
Chief counsel Rankin was informed that the
surveillance of Marina would be ended. The FBI recommended that
Agent Newsom’s report not be given to the Warren Commission, in order to avoid public criticism
of the Bureau for tapping Marina. Hoover wrote that the
Commission was trying to embarrass his
agency. The story remained hidden.
When the New York Times story broke the story a
decade later, Warren Commission assistant counsel David Belin said that it was “horrible” that the
Commission was not informed about the FBI’s actions.
failure to obtain RFK’s permission to plant bugs in Marina’s home has been
revealed for the first time, the argument can now be made that the FBI cannot
claim reasonable belief of compliance with the law prior to the 1972 court
decision that court approval is required in order to use hidden
The statute of limitations only begins to run in a
setting where a reasonable person would learn about it. Media
publication is considered to be such a setting.
The time to sue on the telephone tap would have begun
with publication of the Times story in 1975, and the statute of limitations has
long since run on that subject.
The time to sue on the bugging of Marina’s home,
however, has arguably just begun with the publication of this story revealing
RFK’s failure to provide permission.
Dick Russell has written about how Marina has
expressed interested about filing suit to try to take effective action in
reaching resolution in the JFK case. I wonder if she is still interested?
My legal opinion is that Marina Oswald –
and maybe even her two children, who resided with her at the time – are now
free to file a lawsuit against the FBI and certain officials for the planting
of the bugs.