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Questions and Answers on Kennedy Assassination

Jan. 25, 1964 - Two months after the shooting of President Kennedy, questions about the assassination still await satisfactory public answers. Nevertheless, Federal authorities remain convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the President and that he acted alone. Here are several questions sometimes asked and the most authoritative answers now available.

— Had Oswald served at some period as a paid informer for the FBI? A spokesman for that agency denied today that Oswald was at any time employed by the bureau in any capacity. Newspaper articles have speculated that Oswald was in the service of the FBI, infiltrating leftist organizations at its request. The bureau’s denial is categorical. Agents did meet with Oswald several times after his return from the Soviet Union in 1962. The last interview was on Aug. 10, 1963, after he had been arrested in New Orleans for a scuffle with anti-Castroites. Oswald, as a defector, had been under FBI investigation. In the fall of 1963, agents called twice at the home of Mrs. Ruth Paine in Irving, Tex., where Oswald’s wife and children were staying. Mrs. Paine told them in the first interview that Oswald was living in Dallas and working at the Texas School Book Depository. “It’s a sore point with the FBI that the fact that Oswald was employed along the motorcade route was not passed on to the Secret Service or the Dallas police,” a Dallas police official said recently.

— Did Oswald receive a series of $10 and $20 money orders from an unknown sender through the Dallas Western Union office? This report first appeared in a Dallas newspaper shortly after the shooting of Oswald. An unnamed Western Union clerk was quoted as remembering him as receiving the money orders because he was so unpleasant to deal with. An extensive check of Western Union records discloses no such transactions. Investigators are now convinced the clerk confused Oswald with other customers.

— Was a large sum of cash, as much as $5,000, found in Oswald’s room? No, even the figure of $150 that was first released by Dallas policemen proved to be high. A little more than $100 was found in the room. Oswald had been working at his $50-a-week job at the textbook depository since Oct. 16. Given his frugal habits and the fact that he was not contributing to the support of his wife and children in Irving, he could have saved that amount.

— Was it possible for Oswald to shoot three times from the sixth floor of the depository building and run down to the second floor by the time a policeman observed him there? The entire procedure — firing the rifle, running to the second floor and then out of the building, a bus and taxi trip to Oak Cliff, and a chase that ended at the Texas Theater — has been timed by the Secret Service and the FBI. So far as possible, they have duplicated conditions on the day of the assassination. They have allowed extra time for the crowds on Nov. 22. The reconstructions demonstrated that Oswald had ample time for the actions ascribed to him.

— Did Oswald know Jack Ruby, the man who shot him, before the killing? Despite scores of reports from people around the country who say they have found a link between the two men, none has been established. Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, the accused assassin’s mother, has stated that an FBI agent showed her a photograph of Ruby on the evening of Nov. 23, about 18 hours before Ruby shot her son at the Dallas City Jail. The FBI has denied her statement. A photograph bearing on Oswald’s trip to Mexico City had been shown to her that night, but it was not Ruby.

— Was Oswald an agent of the Russians or the Cubans? There has been no evidence uncovered to suggest that he was an agent of either country. Investigators say he was turned down by both the Cuban Foreign Ministry and the Soviet Consulate in Mexico City when he tried to get entrance visas for the two countries late last September. In both cases, he was told there would be delays before his visa could be issued. He left the Cuban office “visibly displeased,” officials said.

— Did Oswald have an accomplice? Every report has been thoroughly checked and discredited — that other figures were seen with weapons at the depository windows; that figures were seen fleeing across the overpass near the site of the assassination; that Oswald arrived in Mexico with two men and a woman. At this time, there is neither evidence nor a promising lead that would indicate an accomplice or conspiracy.

— What motive did Oswald have for killing President Kennedy? He had no known motive. His wife recalled that he had denounced former Major General Edwin A. Walker as an “extremist” when she was trying to learn why Oswald had allegedly fired a shot at the retired officer early last spring. About President Kennedy, however, Oswald appeared to have no strong feelings. He had told Michael Paine that, although he disagreed with some of the President’s policies, he thought Mr. Kennedy was doing “a pretty good job” on civil rights. Marina Oswald liked the President and his family and thought Oswald shared her feelings. Oswald had written to Mr. Connally when he was Secretary of the Navy to protest the undesirable discharge the Marine Corps gave him after his defection to Russia. There has been speculation that Oswald was trying to kill only Mr. Connally. The Governor had appeared often throughout the state with little protection, however. Also, the sequence of shots indicates that the President was the assassin’s target. The only explanation now offered is that Oswald was psychologically unbalanced or insane.


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