Lee Harvey Oswald (October 18, 1939 – November 24, 1963)
He enlisted in the USMC October 25, 1956, a week after his 17th birthday. While in the Marines, Oswald was trained in the use of the M1 Garand rifle.
Following that training, he was tested in December 1956, and obtained a score of 212, which was 2 points above the minimum for qualifications as a
sharpshooter. (My Note: A good shot is a good shot. Often with many weapons. The USMC did have bolt action 1903 Springfield rifles as sniper rifles.
But in any case, if you can shoot well with one rifle, you can shoot well with another. IMO).
Oswald, however, was trained primarily as a radar operator, a job that required a security clearance. A May 1957 document states that he was "granted
FINAL clearance to handle classified matter up to and including CONFIDENTIAL after careful check of local records had disclosed no derogatory data."
Oswald took the Aircraft Control and Warning Operator Course and finished seventh in a class of thirty. The course "...included instruction in
aircraft surveillance and the use of radar."
He was assigned first to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California in July 1957, then to Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan in September
1957. Although Atsugi was a base for the top-secret CIA U-2 spy planes that flew over the Soviet Union, there is no evidence Oswald was involved in
that operation. See my hypothesis below.
In October 1959, Oswald emigrated to the Soviet Union. He was 19, and the trip was planned well in advance. Along with having taught himself
rudimentary Russian, he had saved $1,500 of his Marine Corps salary, got an early "hardship" discharge by (falsely) claiming he needed to care for
his injured mother, got a passport, and submitted several fictional applications to foreign universities in order to obtain a student visa.
He left Helsinki by train on the following day, crossed the Finnish-Soviet border at Vainikkala, and arrived in Moscow on October 16, 1959.
Lee and Marina married on April 30, 1961, less than six weeks after they met. Their first child, June, was born in February 1962. (Ten months!) After
nearly a year of paperwork and waiting, on June 1, 1962 the young family left the Soviet Union for the United States. Even before November 22, 1963,
Oswald received a small measure of national notoriety in the U.S. press as an American who had defected to the U.S.S.R. and returned to the U.S.
I have a hypothesis about Oswald, the KGB, the CIA and the FBI.
1) The KGB
had a passing interest in Oswald due to his job at Atsugi AB in Japan, as a ground radar operator. He would have observed and kept a
log of the passage of our U2 spy planes into Soviet airspace. Although he certainly had no knowledge about the U2's missions, and knew only
scuttlebutt about the plane itself, Oswald could have verified what the Soviets already knew. Such info as direction of travel, altitude and speed as
a ground radar operator would observe and record.
That - multiple sources - is a valuable tool for all intelligence gathering operations. Get as many verifications for as many facts as you can. The
KGB thought he was mentally unsound and emotionally unreliable. He was placed on a WATCH list NOT to be allowed back in the Soviet Union if and when
he departed. This list was probably the one that caused the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City to deny LHO a visa to Cuba.
2) The CIA
conversely would want to debrief Oswald to learn how the factory worked, the general living conditions and morale of the Soviet
citizens. The CIA would want any other FACTUAL data Oswald could give then. The CIA would be especially interested in his interrogation by the KGB.
What questions they asked. What answers he gave. Etc. Concurring in the KGB’s evaluation of Oswald mentally and emotionally, the CIA found him to be
of NO INTEREST and dropped him from their radar. They did however report him to the FBI for domestic follow-up.
3) The FBI
which is charged with protecting the internal US from spies and potential sabotage, picked up Oswald afer the CIA finished with him.
Apparently it did not take long for them to see he was “not all there.” But, J Edgar wanted him (and all suspected subversives) watched.
Rather than detail 2 or 3 agents to that task, the FBI made Oswald an offer he could not refuse. He had already become active in a small - very small
- pro-Castro group that passed out handbills in New Orleans. The FBI convinced him to become a STRINGER for them. The FBI paid Oswald a small sum -
say $100 a month - for him to report back to them on a weekly basis what the pro-Castro group was doing. Lee was monitoring himself!
I suggest this likely FBI connection mainly because this is the longest period of time when he had no visible means of support. A $100
a month would have been cheap to the FBI and it would have “freed up” a couple of valuable agents for more consequential duty.
The FBI did not want the public to know LHO was a paid informer for them. This caused much consternation at FBI HQ and also gave the CIA a laugh at
the FBI’s expense. I think this accounts for any of the botched job of secrecy and security at the 2 agencies.
[edit on 10/15/2008 by donwhite]