Immediately after President Kennedy's assassination the FBI began an investigation, even though the Dallas Police had sole jurisdiction over the case. Less than an hour after Oswald's arrest FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote a two-page memorandum in which he described Oswald's trips to Russia and Cuba and his involvement with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.1 Hoover identified Oswald as the prime suspect and knew the building from which the shots were fired all within an hour of Oswald’s arrest.
Following the assassination Dallas Police Lt. Jack Revill was walking through the basement of police headquarters when he was approached by FBI agent James Hosty. Revill remembered, Mr. Hosty ran over to me and he says... 'a Communist killed President Kennedy... Lee Oswald killed President Kennedy.' I said, 'Who is Lee Oswald?' Hasty said, 'He is in our Communist file. We knew he was here in Dallas.' I asked him why he had not told us this, and the best (of) my recollection is that he said he couldn't.
Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry soon appeared on a television broadcast and made a statement to the effect that agents of the FBI had prior information and knowledge regarding Oswald. When J. Edgar Hoover learned of Curry 's statement he instructed senior FBI officer C.D. DeLoach to contact the Senior Agent in charge of the Dallas Officer Gordon Shanklin, and order him to immediately obtain a retraction.4 Shanklin was told that if he did not obtain a retraction, he would be terminated from the Bureau. Shanklin quickly contacted Curry and obtained a statement that read, from his (Curry's) own personal knowledge, the FBI did not have any previous information regarding Lee Harvey Oswald.
J Edgar Hoover desperately tried to keep the public from learning about the FBI's prior knowledge of Oswald, and from wondering if the FBI had any connections or contacts with Oswald. But Hoover was in a difficult position. If he admitted that FBI agents had been following Oswald's activities for the past 4 years, critics would blame the Bureau for not keeping a close watch on Oswald during the President's trip to Dallas. If he denied knowing of Oswald's activities, critics would blame him for not keep ing a close eye on the alleged communist defector...
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