Document Tells Soviet Theory on JFK Death

From a Times Staff Writer

A heretofore heavily edited FBI document released Tuesday by a federal board collecting documents on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy quotes a KGB source as saying the Soviets believed the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, was responsible for the assassination.

The Assassination Records Review Board, meeting in Los Angeles for its fourth hearing, released the before-and-after versions of the document, dated Dec. 1, 1966. One of the portions that had been edited out of the once-top secret document referred to the KGB’s effort to collect information on Johnson, who became president after the November 1963 slaying.

“Our source added that in the instructions from Moscow, it was indicated that ‘now’ the KGB was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy,” the FBI document said.

The board was established by an act signed by President George Bush. Its five members were appointed by President Clinton. Its mandate is to identify, secure and make public all records related to the assassination.


On Tuesday, the board heard from witnesses including former Warren Commission and House Select Committee on Assassinations attorneys and people who challenge official findings about the assassination.

The board also voted to extend its term for an additional year, until September 1997. Any further extension would be up to Congress, a spokesman said.

Among the materials presented to the board Tuesday were 17 boxes of documents belonging to the late J. Lee Rankin, the Warren Commission’s general counsel. His son, James, said the family found the boxes among Rankin’s effects about six months ago.

Also made public was a statement from assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s widow, Marina Oswald Porter, asking the committee to question FBI employees and search for records showing her then-husband’s involvement with the FBI.


“I definitely think that Lee Oswald did not kill President Kennedy,” she wrote. “I think he was given up to pacify people as a patsy. . . . I believe that the documents I have requested will be eye-openers.”