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FBI records on JFK assassination reveal fixer

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - FBI records released Thursday provided new tidbits for John Kennedy assassination buffs, including naming a nightclub hostess who was a purported "fixer" between criminals and Dallas police.
The information was released by the JFK Assassination Review Board, a federal agency authorized by Congress to review investigations of the Nov. 22, 1963 killing of Kennedy while he was in a Dallas motorcade.
Two days later, Lee Harvey Oswald, the ex-Marine accused of being the gunman who killed the president and wounded Texas Gov. John Connolly in the same car, was shot dead by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby in a local police station.
The 11 newly released documents involve the Ruby shooting, the FBI infiltration of the Communist Party USA to get its reaction to the Kennedy shooting and fragmentary information on a trip by Oswald to Mexico before the shooting.
Officials said the papers revealed no new bombshell evidence about the assassination, which has fascinated investigators and spawned countless conspiracy theories.
One document dated two days after Oswald was killed was an urgent message from the top FBI agent in Houston to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and the bureau's Dallas office.
It revealed that Mary Ann McCall, a hostess at the "Bachelor's Club" in Dallas who had ties to criminals, told an undercover FBI informant she did not believe Ruby just happened to be at the police station by accident when he spotted Oswald and killed him. Officials at the Review Board did not know McCall's whereabouts now or even if she is alive.
"McCall, known to informant for a number of years, is reported to be 'fixer' and 'payoff contact' between Dallas police and criminal element," the cryptic FBI note said.
"During phone conversation informant asked McCall if shooting of Oswald was an accident and she reportedly stated 'I don't think so'. McCall was asked two or three times if it was an accident and each time she said it was not but refused to make further statement or clarification on phone, stating to informant 'You know how it works. "'
Apparently, the FBI never followed up on the woman's information that Ruby was not in the police station by chance or on her statement that "you know how it works" since the Houston FBI agent recommended that McCall not be interviewed again so the informant would not be compromised.
Ruby was sentenced to life in prison and died there.
The Warren Commission investigation into Kennedy's death found "no grounds for believing that Ruby's killing of Oswald was part of a conspiracy." But in 1979 a select House committee investigating the assassination concluded that Ruby had underworld contacts and it did not believe his shooting of Oswald was spontaneous. It was likely he had help getting into the police station, it said.
That December, the FBI checked for any Communist Party USA links with Oswald, who had visited the Soviet Union. At one party meeting two of four participants were FBI informants.
Several internal papers reported a Dec. 8 meeting in Wheeling, West Virginia, when Communist Party members talked about the assassination. They said at first they thought a Marxist had killed Kennedy but after Ruby killed Oswald "they blamed it on right-wing and Southern civil rights groups."
One party member present reportedly said he believed "Oswald was an agent of someone, not disclosed."
Apparently the FBI was looking for information on Oswald even before the assassination. Two weeks before Kennedy's death, the FBI was aware of a visit Oswald made to Mexico City, but a document reported he could not be located.


Copyright 1995 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved. The above news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of Reuters Ltd.

Posner, Michael, FBI records on JFK assassination reveal fixer., Reuters, 10-19-1995.