On June 22, 1962, an intelligence official compiled a memo summarizing an intercepted letter between Lee Harvey Oswald and his mom. The memorandum was made public a very long time in the past. However for 60 years, the identify of the letter opener was saved secret.
Now, lastly, we will say that in response to an unedited copy of a memo just lately launched by the federal government, the official who intercepted Oswald’s mail for the CIA within the months earlier than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was named Ruben Efron.
And which means what precisely? A tantalizing clue to a fancy conspiracy that the federal government has been making an attempt to cowl up for many years? Extra proof that the CIA knew extra about Oswald than initially thought? Or a small element that has been hidden all this time as a consequence of bureaucratic imperatives that don’t have anything to do with the query of whether or not Oswald was the one shooter on that fateful day?
The thriller of Ruben Efron, who has been useless for 3 a long time, could by no means be solved, to the satisfaction of a few of these devoted to investigating the homicide. Thirty years after Congress ordered the discharge of paperwork associated to the assassination, with a couple of exceptions, President Biden mentioned he had made “ultimate certification” of the recordsdata to be launched to the general public, although 4,684 paperwork stay absolutely or partially hidden. Sooner or later, businesses will make future disclosure choices which may be warranted over time.
The presidential ID card, issued at 6:36 p.m. Friday earlier than the lengthy Fourth of July vacation weekend when it did not appeal to a lot consideration, disenchanted researchers and historians nonetheless centered on essentially the most infamous American assassination of the twentieth century. However on Friday, they failed when a federal choose refused to dam Mr. Biden’s order.
Jefferson Morley, editor of the JFK Information weblog and writer of a number of books concerning the CIA, mentioned Efron’s belated identification signifies that the intelligence businesses nonetheless have one thing to cover from the American public.
“If they have been hiding this man’s identify for 61 years and are nonetheless hiding different issues, I would say they’re nonetheless hiding sources and strategies round Oswald,” Mr. Morley mentioned. “Why else did the identify stay a thriller for 61 years? The CIA is now making an attempt to slam the door, and Biden agreed with that.”
However, Gerald Posner, writer of the 1993 e-book Case Closed, which concludes that Oswald assassinated Kennedy on his personal initiative, mentioned he doubted there was a smoking gun within the remaining recordsdata.
“Everybody is targeted on the CIA paperwork which can be nonetheless being hidden,” he mentioned. “From the CIA recordsdata launched this yr, we realized that they both had nothing to do with the assassination, or solely not directly.”
Whereas he and Mr. Morley disagree on the historic proof, Mr. Posner agreed that Mr. Biden’s choice was “a waiver of legal responsibility underneath the 1992 legislation” requiring the discharge of paperwork. With such belief within the authorities, he mentioned, the general public won’t ever settle for official assurances that there aren’t any beautiful revelations within the newspapers.
“I do not suppose it is there,” he mentioned, “however you will solely find out about it when you might have all of the recordsdata.”
Intense curiosity in Kennedy’s conspiracy theories led Congress to cross laws in 1992 mandating the discharge of paperwork associated to the assassination for 25 years, apart from those who would trigger “definable hurt” to nationwide safety that outweighs the worth of disclosure. When the deadline hit in 2017, President Donald J. Trump, who himself dabbled in conspiracy theories, succumbed to stress from intelligence businesses to grant extra time. Upon taking workplace, Mr. Biden signed two memos to the identical impact.
In response to the Nationwide Archives and Information Administration, of the roughly 320,000 paperwork reviewed because the legislation was handed, 99 % have been compromised. However 2,140 paperwork stay fully or partially hidden because of Mr. Biden’s actions, officers mentioned, whereas one other 2,502 stay hidden for causes past the president’s management, resembling court-ordered printing, grand jury secrecy guidelines, tax confidentiality restrictions or restrictions imposed by the one who donated paperwork, and 42 for a mix of each.
The overwhelming majority of the excluded paperwork have really been launched to the general public, officers mentioned, however some components have been redacted, together with the names of people who find themselves nonetheless alive, addresses, telephone or social safety numbers, or the situation of intelligence businesses. Officers mentioned they have been assured that not one of the withheld info would change the guts of the homicide case.
Whereas Mr. Biden’s June 30 order means he is performed with it, archives and businesses have put in place “transparency plans” in order that remaining fixes will be lifted sooner or later, resembling within the occasion of the loss of life of somebody whose id has been protected.
The Mary Ferrell Basis, a company that has already sued the federal government over the recordsdata, sought an injunction towards Mr. Biden following his newest order. However Choose Richard Seaborg of the Federal District Court docket of Northern California dismissed it Friday night time and dismissed different components of the unique lawsuit, although he allowed a few of the claims to go ahead.
Lawrence Schnapf, a lawyer for the muse, condemned Mr. Biden’s actions. “It’s merely incomprehensible to me that the person who has a bust of the RFK in his workplace and who voted for the legislation succumbed to the incredulous claims of the nationwide safety forms that the 60-year-old tapes pose such a threat to nationwide safety that they can’t be launched. “, – he mentioned.
The Justice Division declined to remark, however claimed in its filings that the federal government was abiding by the legislation. The CIA didn’t reply to requests for remark. “This completes the verification of paperwork required by Congress and fulfills the President’s obligation to supply most transparency in relation to the assassination of President Kennedy,” mentioned Adam Hodge, White Home spokesman.
Homicide nonetheless has nice energy to arouse suspicion. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who espouses conspiracy theories about vaccines and different points and is at the moment battling Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, just lately mentioned the federal government orchestrated a “60-year cover-up” over his uncle’s homicide. .
“There’s overwhelming proof that the CIA was concerned in his assassination,” he advised radio host John Catsimatidis in Could. “I believe at this level it is past any affordable doubt.”
Mr. Trump, for his half, promised to do in his second time period what he didn’t do in his first. “I launched lots, as you realize. And I am going to put up the remaining,” he mentioned in an interview with The Messenger, a brand new on-line information web site, in Could.
The final 1,103 paperwork launched within the days earlier than Mr. Biden’s order, in addition to these made public in earlier months, contained new info that ought to hardly have been hidden for thus lengthy. In April, for instance, a file was printed with the names of CIA station personnel in Mexico Metropolis, largely secretaries and translators. One other doc lists the names of 27 beforehand undisclosed CIA personnel; In any case, CIA Director John McCone’s secretaries have been Marguerite Chook, Bette Davis, and June Irish.
It’s not recognized if any of the withheld paperwork will shed extra mild on Ruben Efron. His identify on the interception memo intrigued Mr. Morley. The memo was despatched by Betty Egerter to the CIA division generally known as “the workplace that spied on the spies.” On the day of the assassination, Egerter’s superior advised the FBI that the CIA had no info on Oswald, who was in reality being adopted when he moved to the Soviet Union. A doc launched way back confirmed that the company opened Oswald’s correspondence from November 11, 1959 to Could 1, 1960, and once more from July 1, 1961 to Could 25, 1962.
Curiously, Efron was beforehand listed within the room when the Warren Fee interviewed Marina Oswald, his Russian-born widow, in February 1964—the one one current whose title and position weren’t defined. Mr. Morley suspects that Efron adopted the fee’s investigation into James Angleton, the legendary CIA operative, primarily together with his “eyes and ears contained in the room.”
Efron was born in Lithuania in 1911 as Ruvelis Effronas and arrived in america by way of Cuba in 1939, in response to immigration papers, which described him as a “salesman” who was 5’3″ tall and weighed 135 kilos. Along with English, he spoke Russian, Lithuanian, Hebrew, Yiddish and German, and served as an interpreter for the Air Pressure throughout World Struggle II. His obituary acknowledged that after the struggle he was a “specialist on the Soviet Union and overseas affairs guide”, with out specifying for whom.
In a harmonic confluence of the plot, Efron reported seeing a UFO in 1955. He was touring with Senator Richard Russell, D-Georgia, and an Military colonel on a tour of the Soviet Union when all three observed what the CIA report referred to as two.” alien craft.” Later, skeptics advised that these have been Soviet plane. Russell was among the many members of the Warren Fee within the interview room with Marina Oswald, which Efron attended in 1964.
Because it occurred, Efron died on November 22, 1993, the thirtieth anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. His spouse additionally died and he had no recognized kids. Makes an attempt to contact different relations have been unsuccessful.
“They are saying there may be nothing important in these recordsdata?” Mr Morley mentioned. “Bingo! Here is the man who learn Oswald’s mail, particulars they have not shared till now. You do not have to be a conspiracy theorist to seek out this suspicious.”
Mr. Posner finds this much less suspicious, however understands why others would possibly. “Many people have decided,” he mentioned. “A few of us thought there was a conspiracy and a few of us thought it was Oswald.
“However ultimately, all of us need to see these recordsdata.”
Alain Delaquerière contributed to analysis.