top of page

FBI “Risk List” Did Not Include Oswald

Dec. 9, 1963 - The FBI gave the Secret Service a “risk list” of Dallas individuals in advance of President Kennedy’s fatal trip, but the list did not include the name of Lee Harvey Oswald (pictured March 31st). An official source explained today that Oswald’s name, like many others in the Dallas file, had been omitted because the FBI found nothing in Oswald’s background to mark him as a potential assassin. The provision by the FBI of a list of suspicious characters to the Secret Service was a routine matter of cooperation between the agencies, followed normally when the President visits a city. “But,” an official FBI source said, “you can’t pass everything.” Oswald was not under surveillance by the FBI at the time of President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas Nov. 22, the FBI noted. Months of checking by the FBI had indicated that Oswald was neither a spy nor a saboteur. That, it was said, covered the statutory area of FBI responsibility. “Take a city like New York,” the FBI spokesman said. “There are thousands of people in this category.” By this he meant persons in the same category as that in which the FBI classified Oswald’s record before the assassination. “There was nothing in the world in his background to indicate he was going to do anything like this,” the FBI spokesman said. The source said that keeping people with Oswald’s record under surveillance “would have been a terrifying waste of manpower.” Lamenting the lack of surveillance is “hindsight,” he said. “In the practical realm, there was no reason at all.”


bottom of page