I still have trouble with this idea of Oswald as CIA agent- along the lines of John Newman and others.
An agent is someone who is PAID to act on behalf of another. I realize that there are exceptions to that. For instance, a surgeon might perform a surgery for free out of charity. But generally, surgeons get paid, and so do agents.
Being an agent is a profession. Isn't that true? We hear of sports agents who represent athletes; celebrity agents who represent movie stars; book agents who represent authors. They all get paid.
There is NO evidence that Oswald was EVER paid by the CIA. There is the rumor that he was paid $200/month by the FBI, but I don't accept it. What evidence is there that Oswald ever saw that money? $200/month was about as much as he made at the TSBD. So, if he was getting an extra $200 from the FBI, he and Marina should have been in pretty good shape. It should not have been a constant struggle for them financially. But, it was a constant struggle for them financially. And they often had to depend on the largess of others to get by.
Unless someone can show me monthly bank statements showing $200 checks from the FBI being deposited by Oswald, I don't accept that he got that money.
But regardless, the FBI is the FBI, and the CIA is the CIA. For Oswald to be a CIA agent, he would have to have been paid by the CIA- and there aren't even any rumors about that.
Many believe that Oswald was a "false defector" when he went to the Soviet Union, that he was really working for the CIA the whole time.
I'd like to believe it, but I know of no evidence that Oswald did any espionage in the USSR. I know of no Soviet State secrets that he came back with. And I know of no efforts on his part to obtain such secrets. The only thing I have ever heard is that he had Minox spy camera with which he took pictures of Soviet buildings. But, has anyone seen those images? I haven't. And even if it's true, and I don't know that it is, does it really constitute spying? Because: tourists everywhere take pictures of buildings. If a foreign tourist took a picture of the White House, would you consider it spying?
And let's consider something else: When Oswald went to the Soviet Union, the first thing the Soviets did was consider the possibility that he was a spy. And they took all the necessary precautions. They watched him 24 hours a day. They put listening devices in his apartment. They monitored all his mail- in-coming and out-going. And in the end, they were satisfied that he was NOT a spy. After all, would they have let him stay and live there for 3 years if they thought otherwise?
So, what, Oswald tricked them? He outsmarted them?
And remember that he decided to leave the USSR. He was doing OK at his job at the radio and television factory in Minsk. Heck, it is the longest job he ever held in his life- that we know of.
Well, what if he hadn't decided to leave? Is there any evidence that they were going to throw him out? I don't know of any.
So, what people have to realize is: if Oswald really was a CIA spy, then he completely bamboozled all those Soviet officials. It means they missed it. It means he pulled the wool over their eyes. Do you really think Oswald was that smart?
And look what happened when Oswald went home. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold? I don't think so. Well, they didn't treat him like that, anyway.
Do you know how many times Oswald was debriefed by the CIA when he got back? Zero. He was debriefed twice in two short sessions with the FBI. And that's it. But, if he was a CIA agent, shouldn't he have been debriefed by the CIA? They are two separate and distinct agencies, you know.
But, the worst thing is that if Oswald was "working" for the CIA the whole time in Russia, then they owed him a chitload of money. Espionage is a profession. It's a job. A job for which people get paid. In fact, with extremely rare exception, if you are not being paid, then you are not an espionage agent.
For instance, I learned from David Talbot that both David and Nelson Rockefeller did some espionage work for the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA) during WW2. Talbot didn't say it, but perhaps they weren't paid. And Talbot added that they continued doing things for the CIA after it was formed- including putting up money when Allen Dulles requested it.
So, if you want to say that the Rockefellers were unpaid agents, maybe so. But, they were Rockefellers!!!!!!!!!! They could afford it.
But, most people have to be paid when they work because that's how they live. They are not independently wealthy.
So, if Oswald was a CIA agent in Russia, then they owed him 3 years pay. Not only did he not get paid, but the US State Department charged him for the transportation back home, which he paid in full over the course of many months.
And look what Oswald did in Russia. He worked at the factory, but when he wasn't working, he was hanging out with his friends, going to hear music, and chasing a lot of girls. And I'm not faulting him. But, I know of no clandestine meetings with Russian subversives, no visits to forbidden places, no capturing of images with intelligence value, and no probing of anybody for information that would be valuable to the CIA. I know of absolutely nothing like that.
I asked one prominent advocate of Oswald-as-spy what he thought the intelligence-gathering purpose was of Oswald's trip there, and he suggested that it was to report about the daily life of Russian commoners, since the life there was very much closed off to the West at the time. In other words: National Geographic stuff.
Well, to me, he just helped himself to that conclusion from knowing what Oswald did that there- hang out with commoners. To me, that's putting the cart before the horse.
When I look at it in the aggregate, I don't see any grounds to claim that Oswald was a spy there.
What about afterwards? Did he become a CIA spy after he got back to the USA? What Oswald did when he got back- mostly- was struggle to survive. He attempted numerous menial jobs that were very low-paying, Would he have had to do that if he was a real spy? Spys get paid. Spys get paid. Spys get paid. I can't say that often enough.
In the Dallas area, where he lived from June 1962 to April 1963, it was just a struggle to survive. What evidence is there that he did any intelligence work there?
And in New Orleans, where he lived from April to October, He hung out with Bannister and Ferrie and others with ties to the intelligence community. And there was the Fair Play for Cuba leafletting which he did and which John Newman said was a CIA operation all the way. But if so, Oswald was just being played. He wasn't an agent; he was a mark. He was being used. And mostly, he was being shaped into the kind of a Communist zealot that they needed him to be for the assassination.
Let's go back to what David Talbot said in The Devil's Chessboard, that the best indications are that the plot to kill Kennedy really found traction after the Bay of Pigs when JFK sacked Dulles. That was in April 1961. Oswald didn't return until June 1962, so 14 months later. You know that the plan was well underway by then. When did they choose Oswald to be the Dallas patsy? I presume it was immediately after he got back. So, Oswald became the patsy right away. You can't be both a patsy and a real agent, can you? Didn't they assign him a CIA handler right away in George DeMohrenschildt? And the way the Oswalds got immersed with and taken care of by the White Russian Community reminded me of the way Mia Farrow's character got taken care of the Satanic community in New York in Rosemary's Baby. Remember all those nice people doing all they could to help the young couple?
My conclusion is: Oswald was not a CIA agent. You could say he was a CIA mark, a CIA stooge, or even a CIA buff. But, being an agent is a job- a paid profession- and until you show me some pay stubs, I'm not buying it.
The volunteer spy who worked for nothing as his family starved? You can't call it work, and you can't call it a job. Work is the focused, productive expenditure of time and energy. What's the sign that it's productive? You get paid.