Bridge of Spies and Lee Harvey Oswald
by Jacob G. Hornberger
I recently saw Bridge of Spies, the new movie that revolves around a prisoner exchange that took place between the United States and the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. The exchange involved two spies — CIA spy Francis Gary Powers and Soviet KGB spy Rudolf Abel, as well as a Yale student named Frederic Pryor, who had been detained in East Germany.
There is an interesting side story to all this that the movie did not cover, one that involves Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who the Warren Commission accused of assassinating President Kennedy.
On May 1, 1960, Powers was piloting the CIA’s top-secret spy plane known as the U-2 over the Soviet Union when he was shot down by a Soviet missile. The plane was equipped with state-of-the-art camera equipment to take photographs of Soviet nuclear and military installations.
Powers’ flight was one of several that the CIA had been flying over the Soviet Union. The flights were illegal given the fact that they were being flown in Soviet airspace without the permission of Soviet officials.
The CIA was confident that there was no danger with its U-2 flyovers because the plane was operating at 70,000 feet, far beyond the capability of Soviet missiles and planes. Nonetheless, the Soviets succeeded in shooting down the plane.
Meanwhile, in October 1959 — several months before the shoot-down — former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald traveled to the Soviet Union, where he entered the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and announced his desire to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
Even more serious, however, was the threat that Oswald issued to embassy officials — he said that he was going to disclose information which he had acquired as a U.S. Marine to the Soviet Union.
Why was that threat much more serious than renouncing his citizenship?
Because when he was in the Marines, Oswald had been stationed at Atsugi Air Force Base in Japan.
Why is that important?
Because Atsugi is where the U.S. based its super-secret U-2 spy planes.
We don’t know what, if any, information Oswald ended up turning over to the Soviets. All we know is that six months after he issued the threat, the Soviets were able to pull off what U.S. officials thought was impossible by shooting down Powers’ U-2 spy plane.
Two years later, in June 1962, Oswald returned to the United States. Would do you think U.S. officials did to him? Arrest him? Incarcerate him? Torture him? Abuse him? Interrogate him? Indict him?
After all, Oswald’s threat was about as close to treason as a citizen can get. And even Oswald’s actions didn’t constitute treason, it certainly would have violated U.S. military secrecy oaths, especially with respect to classified information. Don’t forget that the Soviet Union was the avowed Cold War enemy of the United States. In fact, it was because of the Soviet Union that the U.S. national security establishment (i..e, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA) had come into existence.
And now, here was a former U.S. Marine renouncing his American citizenship and threatening to disclose what he knew from his service in the Marines. Don’t forget how they treat Americans who they suspect of treason. Recall how they treated John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban. They disrobed him, tortured him, indicted him, prosecuted him, and sentenced him to 20 years in jail without parole. Look at how they feel about Edward Snowden, the man who disclosed the NSA’s super-secret spy scheme to the American people and the people of the world and who they claim has even worked with the Russians. They want the death penalty for him or at least a very long jail term.
At the very least, don’t you think U.S. official would have been at least mildly interested in knowing whether Oswald had delivered information to the Soviets that enabled them to shoot down Powers?
Apparently not because they didn’t do anything to him. Nothing! They didn’t arrest him. They didn’t subpoena him to answer questions before a federal grand jury. They didn’t interrogate him. They didn’t harass him. They didn’t torture or abuse him. They didn’t indict him.
As a matter fact, U.S. officials actually gave supposed Marine communist/defector Oswald a loan to help him and his Russian-born wife Marina return to the United States!
As I point out in my ebook Regime Change: The JFK Assassination, there can be only one reason for this strange and unusual behavior on the part of U.S. officials, which is that former Marine Oswald was secretly working for U.S. intelligence when he traveled to the Soviet Union and supposedly attempted to renounce his citizenship and threatened to disclose secret information to the Soviets.
There really is no other logical or rational explanation and, in fact, as information has been released over the decades since JFK was assassinated, the circumstantial evidence indicating that Oswald was a U.S. intelligence operative or asset has steadily grown, as I detailed in Regime Change.
Powers had been given a suicide pill that the CIA expected him to take to avoid capture in the event of a shoot-down. Moreover, prior to ejecting, Powers was expected to push a button in the plane that would have automatically destroyed the plane and everything inside it, albeit with a timer that would have enabled the pilot to eject safely before exploding.
When Powers’ plane was hit, he ejected without taking the pill and without pushing the button. Apparently, he suspected that the CIA had lied about the timer and that the plane would blow up immediately upon pushing the button.
When CIA officials realized that the plane was missing, they naturally thought that Powers was dead and that his plane was blown apart. They induced President Eisenhower to lie about the matter. In a public declaration, Ike falsely denying that the plane was a spy plane.
Unbeknownst to Ike and the CIA, however, the Soviets had both Powers and his plane in custody. The CIA had converted America’s president into an international liar-in-chief for nothing.
As a result of the shoot-down and Eisenhower’s false denials, a summit that Ike and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had planned in the hopes of diminishing Cold War tensions was scuttled, something that pleased the Cold Warriors in the Pentagon and the CIA, who never believed that peaceful coexistence with the communists was possible. Thus, in the end, the national-security establishment, whose Cold War budgets, power, and influence continued to grow, came out the big winner in the Francis Gary Powers spy case.