The Overlooked Letters

Title:                      The Overlooked Letters

Author:                  Richard F. Cross

Cross, Richard F. (2013). The Overlooked Letters: The Kennedy Assassination. Parker, CO: Outskirts Press

OCLC:                    862884632


  • Self published

Date Posted:      April 7, 2016

Review by Richard G. Hudak[1]

The first part of this well written historical treatise presents U.S. Government documented reporting on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA U-2 program and the personal background· of Lee Harvey Oswald. This evidence supports the author’s conclusion that the Warren Commission incorrectly concluded that there was no evidence of either a domestic or foreign conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1962.

The author postulates the following theory: Prior to the Kennedy assassination, Oswald was a secret undercover operative under control of the Soviet KGB. He became a KGB agent while he was on active-duty with the U.S. Marine Corps in Atsugi, Japan, during 1957 and remained under KGB control as an alleged American defector in Minsk, USSR. Upon his return to the United States in 1962, Oswald continued to be a Soviet intelligence secret agent under the control of the KGB.

At the conclusion of World War II, following the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, atomic bomb research continued in England, France, and the USSR. Soviet Premier Stalin concluded that American and Western European dominance of nuclear weapons were a threat to the goal of spreading Communism worldwide. Stalin undertook an accelerated, highly secret program to develop an atomic bomb and missile delivery system. By 1949, the Soviet Union and the states of Eastern Europe had been effectively cut off from the outside world, permitting the Soviets to produce military weapons in the utmost secrecy.

During the post-WWII war period, the ability of American intelligence agencies to acquire creditable information about the Soviet Union’s atomic bomb development and delivery capabilities proved difficult. The United States government urgently needed relevant intelligence information to assess Soviet capability to launch a strike. The U-2 program, with its ability to obtain imagery and electronic intercepts during overflights of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European nations, was authorized by President Eisenhower on November 23, 1954.

Responsibility for the U-2 project was assigned to CIA Director Allan Dulles who delegated development of the program to his Special Assistant Richard Bissell. On April 29, 1955, Mr. Bissell entered into an agreement with the Air Force and Navy that the CIA would assume primary responsibility for the U-2 project under the CIA Office of Security, where Mr. Cross worked as a Security Officer overseeing security clearances and the physical security measures for the various manufacturing contractors of the U-2 aircraft’s parts and surveillance cameras.

The author relates that in June 1956, the first operational flight of a U-2 took place over Poland and East Germany and resulted in good quality imagery. The first U-2 flight from Wiesbaden, West Germany, over the Soviet Union occurred On July 4, 1956. This mission took the U-2 over Leningrad and the Soviet Baltic states. These overflights brought a strong protest from the Soviet Union in the form of a note handed to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The note stated flights could only be viewed as “intentional, and conducted for the purposes of intelligence.” When the note reached the White House on July 10, 1956, U-2 Project Director Bissell stopped all U-2 overflights.

The Soviet Union’s actions in Hungary during the fall of1956, along with other events in Eastern Europe, convinced President Eisenhower to authorize renewed U-2 flights over the Soviet Bloc. The resumption of U-2 overflights continued until May 1, 1960, when Francis Gary Powers was shot down by the Soviet military. Interestingly, the first of the U-2 flights, in November 1956, was flown by Powers and the last flight was by Powers.

In his memoir, Operation Overflight[2], Gary Powers writes that during the first day of intensive interrogation in Moscow, on May 3, 1960, he noted that five persons were present-a colonel, two majors, a stenographer, and an interpreter. When asked about the U-2’s operational altitude, Powers always answered incorrectly, saying he flew at 68,000 feet. Powers later wrote that he wanted to protect other U-2 pilots who may have been still flying at 70,500 feet. Also, upon questioning as to whether he” had ever been stationed at the U-2 base located in Atsugi, Japan, he always answered no.

In addition to Soviet officials and members of the international media that witnessed the trial, another observer was there: President Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald who had defected to the Soviet Union on October 16, 1959. While living and working in Minsk, a city approximately 450 miles from Moscow, Oswald amazingly found a way to see Powers in Moscow.

According to the Warren Commission report, U-2 overflight operations at Atsugi, Japan, commenced in the summer of1956 and known publicly as the 1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Provisional. The “provisional” designation gave the U-2 detachment greater security because provisional Air Force units did not have to report to a higher headquarters.

Interestingly, in September, 1957, Oswald was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron No. 1 (MACS-1), Marine Air Group 11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, based at Atsugi, Japan, about twenty miles west of Tokyo. Prior to Oswald’s arrival at the Atsugi base, the CIA had deployed U-2 Detachment C to the Atsugi Naval Air Station.

Oswald’s job at Atsugi was that of a radar operator in a unit that had fewer than one hundred men. The unit’s function was to direct aircraft to their targets by radar, communicating with the pilots by radio. The squadron also had the duty of scouting for incoming foreign aircraft, such as straying Russian or Chinese planes, which would be intercepted by American planes.

The author’s research for this book focused upon Oswald’s letters after his defection to the USSR in 1959. Of special interest was a letter from Oswald to his brother, Robert, sent from Minsk, USSR. This letter confirms that Oswald saw Francis Gary Powers prior to Powers’ release from a Soviet prison and his return to the United States. This piece of evidence is an important factor in the author’s conclusions. The Warren Commission report, Exhibit 315, reports that Oswald wrote the following on February 15, 1962, to his brother Robert:

“I heard over the voice of america [sic] that they released Powers the U 2 spy plane fellow. That’s big news, he seemed to be a nice, bright American-type fellow, when I saw him in Moscow.”

The author discusses Oswald’s experience in the U.S. Marine Corps detailed in the Warren Commission Report. After he turned seventeen, Lee Harvey Oswald enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on October 24, 1956. Two days later, he reported for duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. He was assigned to the Second Recruit Training Battalion and was trained in the use of the M-1 rifle. When his company fired for record, he scored two points above the score necessary to qualify as a “sharpshooter.”

After boot camp, Oswald reported to the Naval Air Technical Training Center at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, where he attended an Aviation Fundamental School. The basic instruction included subjects such as basic radar theory, map reading, and air traffic control procedures. This course required Oswald to deal with confidential material, and he was granted final clearance up to the “confidential” level.

Oswald, next transferred to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he attended the Aircraft Control and Warning Operator Course, which included instruction in aircraft surveillance and the use of radar. He continued to hold a “confidential” clearance.

Oswald, after his defection to the Soviet Union and arrival in Moscow in October 1959, revealed to an American Embassy staff member he had voluntarily told Soviet officials information about his Marine Corps service and his specialty as a radar operator. Inferred is the distinct possibility that Oswald may have been “turned” by KGB in Atsugi, providing the Soviets information that eventually resulted in the. downing of the U-2 piloted by Gary Powers.

In the last three chapters of the book, the author writes about Oswald’s activity after returning to America in June 1962, including a suspicious trip to Mexico City in September and early October 1963, just prior to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, in which he purportedly made contact with agents of the KGB and the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence.

The Overlooked Letters is an impressive compilation of new information and analysis by a respected author. As a former FBI Agent, I too have had access to information and persons close to the investigation, and have long believed that there are reasons why the actual facts have been closely guarded by our government. Is it possible that if the facts were made known to the public, the U.S. Marines would have landed on the beaches of Cuba? Or, would there have been direct retaliation on the Kremlin?

[1] Hudak, Richard G. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (20, 2, Fall/Winter, 2013, pp. 123-124). Richard G. Hudak has degrees from Harvard University and the Inter-American School of Law in Puerto Rico. He served in Vietnam as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and thereafter as a FBI Special Agent. Since 1990, Mr. Hudak has been employed as Director of Corporate Security for Sheraton Hotels Worldwide in Boston, and until 2007, for Loews Corporation in Manhattan. He currently provides security expert services in premises liability cases for law firms across the nation and is based in Tequesta, Florida. He may be contacted at: mailto:dickhudak@)


[2] Powers, Francis Gary (1970), with Curt Gentry. Operation Overflight: The U-2 Spy Pilot Tells His Story For The First Time. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston

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