KGB General Nikolai Leonov, who personally knew Lee Harvey Oswald, talks about the version of John F. Kennedy's assassination on the orders from Nikita Khrushchev.
The New York Post, in an article dated from February 22, briefly describes the contents of the book "Inside the Kremlin's Secret War on America" by James Woolsey, who served as CIA Director from 1993 to 1995, and Ion Mihai Pacepa, Lieutenant General and former acting Securitate, the secret police of Communist Romania, who died, as the newspaper noted, from COVID in early February.
The authors claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was a KGB officer whom Nikita Khrushchev gave a personal order to assassinate US President John F. Kennedy. However, the KGB, fearing a nuclear war with the United States, supposedly reconvinced Khrushchev, and the order was withdrawn. Nevertheless, Oswald "being blindly devoted to the USSR", still implemented the original plan.
The evidence substantiating this version, as the authors say, is contained in the 26-volume report from the Warren Commission (which investigated the assassination), but most of it was "codified", which made it hard to understand.
According to Woolsey and Pacepa, the KGB recruited Oswald in 1957 when he served in the United States Marine Corps in Japan. It was him who transmitted the information that gave the USSR an opportunity to shoot down US pilot Gary Powers in 1960. In 1962, he was instructed, perhaps by Nikita Khrushchev himself, to start preparations for the assassination of President Kennedy.
"He (Oswald) was given a Soviet wife and sent back to the United States in June 1962," but in 1963, the KGB and [the country's] leadership realized that Khrushchev's crazy ideas were creating a terrible reputation for the USSR, and feeling a nuclear war.
The authors, who "uncoded" the data from the Warren Commission Report, came to conclusion that Oswald had secretly met in Mexico City with Soviet agent "Comrade Kostikov," who was a member of the department for the Investigation of murders committed abroad."
The assignment was eventually withdrawn, but Oswald wanted to make the plan real.
In fact, all the "evidence" supporting the new version comes down to Oswald's letters.
In one of them, dated from July 1, 1963, Oswald asked the Soviet embassy to issue separate visas for him, his wife and daughters, which, according to Woolsey and Pacepa, speaks of Oswald's efforts to escape after the assassination attempt. Another letter, dated from November 9 of the same year - just two weeks before Kennedy's assassination - was written after Oswald returned from a trip to Mexico City. In the letter, Oswald referred to the meeting with "Comrade Kostikov", whom the authors call "Valery Kostikov, an officer of the 13th Department of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB."
In a comment for Pravda.Ru, Nikolai Leonov, retired KGB lieutenant general, ex-deputy head of the foreign intelligence department of the KGB, Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor of the MGIMO (Moscow State Institute for Foreign Relations) Department for Diplomacy, said that the conclusions that Woolsey and Pacepa came to in their book were "nonsense."
Nikolai Leonov confirmed Oswald's visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico "a month before Kennedy's assassination" and his personal conversation with him, in which the American indeed asked for political asylum in the USSR. However, the context of those actions was completely different from the version of US "researchers."
"In a personal conversation with me, Oswald frankly admitted that he had no personal claims or hostility towards the US president. Therefore, Oswald had absolutely no political interest in assassinating Kennedy," Nikolai Leonov said.
However, according to the former intelligence officer, Oswald was "clearly concerned" by the constant surveillance and searches of his hotel room by "unknown people who were following him from the United States." He had to carry a gun around to be able to take self-defense measures against those people.
"I personally had to make a lot of efforts to talk him out of such terrorist intentions, to calm him down and walk him out of the territory of the Soviet embassy. He clearly gave the impression of a mentally unbalanced person. The purpose of his visit to our embassy and meeting, in this case, with me (I was then the third secretary in the embassy) was based on his desire to go back to the Soviet Union, and as soon as possible," said Nikolai Leonov.
According to Leonov, Oswald feared for his life. He found the procedure to return to the Soviet Union very complicated, because one had to write an application to the Presidium of the Supreme Council. "He got a little worried and said that we were bureaucrats, so he would look for another option to go to another country."
The expert is convinced that Kennedy was killed by people "who took revenge on the president for being soft towards Cuba during the missile crisis and not agreeing to strike Havana."
Robert Strange McNamara (Kennedy's Secretary of Defense) shares the same point of view. Nikolai Leonov met McNamara in Cuba in 2004 as part of the conference devoted to the results of the missile crisis.
"McNamara clearly told us that 70 percent of people around Kennedy wanted him to strike in Cuba. McNamara, as well as about 30 percent of the White House staff were strongly opposed to attacking Cuba to avoid the breakout of the nuclear missile war," Nikolai Leonov said.
"McNamara told the president that no one could guarantee that Soviet atomic bombs would not fall on the territory of the United States. Kennedy said that he did not want to be the first president of the United States who would start a nuclear war from a nuclear attack on the United States. What was the point in hiring Oswald to assassinate Kennedy? He was a sick man," the expert noted.
As for Nikita Khrushchev, with whom Nikolai Leonov worked as a translator from Spanish, neither him nor the Soviet leadership "even thought of dealing with terror of that level."
"This is total BS what they are inventing again now. They blame everything on Russia. The fear that the Soviet Union instilled in them does not let them live quietly. I would ask American authors to stop making up those stories. This is nothing but gossip invented for the Cold War to continue," Nikolai Leonov said.