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Trying To Make Some Sense of It All

In retrospect, so much had been held back it was surprising that the commission was still able to find Oswald guilty, or Kennedy dead....evasions proved ill advised, the cover-up causing more damage than the truth. The Warren Commission would be scorned and dismissed. The intelligence services disgraced. Secrets, when they came to be exposed, would serve only to confuse and complicate. The more people knew, the less they believed. History had been thrown to the wolves.” Lee Server - Handsome Johnny

In a recent article I wrote for my website[1] called “Painful Possibilities,” I explored the possibility that Oswald, the Paines, Hosty and William Lowery may have been working together in an FBI counter-espionage program. This article is an effort to expand on that hypothesis.

While researching my book, The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors, I discovered a little known character who may have played a role in the events that took place in Dallas in November 1963. William J. Lowery, who like Oswald's hero Herb Philbrick, led three lives for the FBI as informer, Communist Party member and mild-mannered shoe salesman – was employed at the Shoe Haven at 620 West Jefferson Boulevard. This was approximately three blocks west of the Texas Theater and also three blocks away from Hardy's Shoe Store where another shoe salesman called Johnny Calvin Brewer worked. Like Oswald, Lowery's FBI contact was James P. Hosty.[2] Lowery said he received about $200 a month in cash from the local Dallas FBI office. That is the amount that Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr told the WC Oswald was rumored to be getting as an informant. Did they mix up Lowery with Oswald or were they both on the payroll? Lowery recalled that SA James Hosty paid him on street corners or park benches.[3] Carr's source, journalist Lonnie Hudkins, later said he made up Oswald's FBI Informant number 172 or 179.[4] However, a member of the FBI’s office in New Orleans, William Walter, claimed that he had seen an FBI teletype that showed that Oswald had been an informant for that office.[5] Lowery said that the CP held some meetings in the Oak Cliff YMCA and he speculated that it was possible Oswald, known to frequent the YMCA, may have attended some of the meetings.[6]

Lowery was also closely connected to a fellow TSBD employee of Oswald's named Joseph Rodriguez Molina. During the early investigation, Molina was suspected of being a co-conspirator with Oswald in the assassination. He was interviewed by the FBI and lost his job at the depository in December of 1963. Lowery was also a member of the American G.I. Forum. Lowery was spying on this group and apparently tried to link them to CPUSA. It seems that Molina had given DPD considerable trouble by demanding Mexicans in Dallas be treated indiscriminately.[7]

Lowery gave testimony against other members of the Communist Party that he had infiltrated and helped organize. The people who he testified against in September, 1963, were represented by John Abt. Abt was the attorney Oswald asked Ruth Paine to call to represent him.[8] One of the questions Marina Oswald was asked by the HSCA was; “Prior to Lee's being arrested did he ever discuss with you, are you familiar with the name William James Lowery?”[9]

Oswald's aspiration was to be a spy like his idol, Herbert Philbrick.[10] Lowery, a Dallas version of Philbrick, spied on the Communist Party and the ACLU – Two groups Oswald had contact with. Lee had written to CPUSA and gone to an ACLU meeting and joined.

Lowery was also a member of the Dallas chapter of the Unitarians[11] for Social Justice.[12] Quakers and Unitarians are everywhere in the JFK case.[13]

His contact with the "ultra-right" was Earl Lively.[14] Lively told Lowery that he had had contact with Philbrick in March, 1964. He reported that Philbrick had come across information that Marguerite Oswald had been a communist at one time.[15] It seems that Lively was an OSI (Air-Force) officer and was writing an anticommunist book stressing the Fair Play for Cuba Committee connections of Lee Harvey Oswald. He was being helped in this project by Dr. Robert Morris[16] and Lt. George Butler of DPD.[17]

Hosty's caseload in Dallas included the handling of Lowery and Oswald. If there was a relationship between Lowery and Hosty, it seems obvious that there should be one between Lowery and Oswald. Oswald's favorite TV as show as a child was “I Led Three Lives for the FBI” which stared Richard Carlson as Herbert Philbrick[18]. The show was an unashamed venture into cold war propaganda. It told the story of how Philbrick infiltrated the Communist Party for the FBI while living a private life as a business man with a family. His Dallas counterpart Lowery, helped create the Dallas Communist Party chapter and reported to Hosty about it's activities.

I began to wonder if Oswald was involved in an FBI program to flush out CP sympathizers in Dallas. After all, he had done so in New Orleans. His FBI contact in New Orleans was Warren DeBrueys. Was he involved in the same type of program in Dallas under the auspices of Hosty?

What We Know

We know that Oswald was being used as bait in New Orleans to flush out pro-Castro sympathizers by handing out FPCC pamphlets, getting involved in street fights, being interviewed on tv and radio, and approaching left wing students at Tulane University. In essence, as an agent provocateur. All of this had an additional purpose of sheep dipping Oswald as a Marxist and pro-Castro sympathizer.[19]

We know that the CIA as well as the FBI were trying to smear the FPCC by linking it to Communists. That in fact, was Oswald's purpose. Associating him, an avowed Marxist who had been to Russia, with organizations like the FPCC, ACLU, American Communist Party etc., insinuated guilt by association. Later, visiting the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City projected a guilty association linking Castro and Khrushchev to the upcoming assassination of JFK.

We know that the Paines were deeply involved with U.S. Intelligence.[20] Particularly the CIA. We know Ruth Paine was a babysitter for the Oswald's and played roles in separating them, getting Lee the TSBD job, incriminating Lee by providing whatever evidence was needed to DPD and testifying against him.

But what if the Paines were playing a duel role and were also working with Oswald in his efforts to denigrate groups like the FPCC? It was Michael Paine that encouraged Lee to join the ACLU. It was Michael that took Lee to a Walker rally as well. In addition, the Paines, like Oswald, portrayed themselves as liberals (Quakers in their case), which in retrospect seems a complete sham. It seems that in reality they were tools of right wing Intelligence.

After the assassination of President Kennedy, Dallas Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers took part in the search of the home of Ruth Paine. Walthers told author Eric Tagg that they "found six or seven metal filing cabinets full of letters, maps, records and index cards with names of pro-Castro sympathizers.”[21] James DiEugenio concluded that this "cinches the case that the Paines were domestic surveillance agents in the Cold War against Communism."

If this is true, it opens up a whole new can of worms that could explain what was really going on in Dallas in November of 1963. Using deduction let's reconsider and evaluate what is known.

Lowery and his fellow CP members in Dallas were promoting the idea of further establishing their ties to the local ACLU starting in August 1962. Were Ruth and Michael Paine aware of Lowery and his fellow CP members? Were the six or seven metal filing cabinets found in the Paine house after the assassination, full of letters, maps, records and index cards with names of pro-Castro sympathizers part of a surveillance effort involving Lowery, the FBI, Oswald and the Paines?[22] Did Oswald join the ACLU to link it to the CP via his membership in the FPCC?

Lowery came out of the cold just weeks before the assassination.[23] It was Oswald's "I Led Three Lives" fantasy come to life. Lee was waiting for the day when he could come out like Philbrick and Lowery. His visit to Eugene Murret's seminary in August 1963 may have been a dry run in preparing for his debut as an anti-Communist.

As stated, one of Lowery's assignments had been “surveillance” of Joseph Rodriguez Molina. Molina worked at the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Did Ruth's getting Oswald that job open the door for him to take over Lowery's assignment? Is that why he took the job? Was he placed in the TSBD to spy on Molina at the behest of Hosty or Lowery? Molina's home was searched in the middle of the night after the assassination and he spent most of the next day under interrogation at DPD. He was, in fact, fired by the end of the year.

Is it possible Oswald went to the wrong shoe store before or even after entering the theater?[24] Was he trying to contact Lowery? Lowery testified that when he learned that Oswald had been apprehended with a revolver at the Texas Theater, he felt that, even though he didn't know Oswald, Oswald may have been trying to kill him in reprisal for exposing the Communist Party in Texas. [25] Or did he really know Oswald and use this statement to paint him as a violent Communist sympathizer.

Is it possible that Ruth and Michael Paine, Lee Oswald, William Lowery and James Hosty were working as a team in a clandestine operation involving surveillance of communists and pro-Castro sympathizers in the Dallas area? This might explain sightings of Oswald at the house on Harlandale Street being used by Alpha 66 just prior to the assassination. Was he reporting to Hosty about them when he dropped off his infamous note at the Dallas FBI office in early November of '63? Had he infiltrated their group? Had he learned of the upcoming assassination plan? Did they discover him and turn him into a fall guy? One thing is apparent. After the assassination, the FPCC ceased to exist.


As stated earlier, Lowery exposed himself as an FBI informant in September of 1963. Once Lowery's true allegiances were revealed and his cover blown it was no longer possible to continue his clandestine activities. If we reconsider Ruth Paine's role in getting Oswald a job in the TSBD, things began to make more sense. Lowery or Hosty may have needed a replacement to take over the surveillance of Molina, who worked at the Depository. From this perspective, Ruth Paine looks less guilty in setting up the patsy to take the fall in an upcoming assassination. Remember, the motorcade route wasn't changed until after Oswald got his job at the TSBD. How could a “lone nut” who wanted to kill the President get them to change the route to go past his place of employment? How could the Paine's have known either.

However, the Paines links to the CIA cannot be overlooked. The evidence is abundantly clear that Michael and Ruth Paine were deeply entangled with the Central Intelligence Agency.

There were also links between them and Allen Dulles. Dulles was head of the CIA and fired by JFK after the Bay of Pigs. Also fired was General Charles Cabell. His brother, Earle, was Mayor of Dallas in 1963 and he and his wife rode in the motorcade.[26]

After getting Oswald the temporary job at the TSBD, Ruth failed to tell him of a phone call offering another full-time job that was higher in pay.[27]

The TSBD building was owned by D.H. Byrd, a founder of the Civil Air Patrol in Texas, an organization Oswald and David Ferrie were affiliated with in New Orleans. Byrd was good friends with Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay, who hated JFK and is a logical suspect if there were a Coup. Byrd's other close friends included H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, George de Mohrenschildt, George H.W. Bush and LBJ.

The Paine's garage was the source of the evidence against him. The rifle, the backyard photo etc.. She was also the source of a handwritten note Lee wrote to Marina linking him to the Walker shooting. The note was not found when police had searched the residence on the day of the assassination nor when they searched it again the next day. The note was written in perfect Russian. One investigation revealed that only a small percentage of native Russians could write that well. Seven sets of fingerprints were found on it and none were Lee or Marina's.

Michael's mother Ruth Forbes Paine, an eccentric heiress, was a member of Cord Meyer's World Federalists. Meyer was an ex-Marine[28] who founded the World Federalists in support of a strong United Nations, an organization that included Philadelphia college student Priscilla Johnson McMillan. Cord Meyer's wife, Mary Pinchot Meyer was JFK's lover at the time of the assassination. Mary believed the CIA killed Kennedy and she kept a private diary. She was mysteriously murdered and the diary soon confiscated by James Jesus Angleton.[29] Ruth Forbes best friend was Angleton's secretary and mistress, Mary Bancroft.

In James Angleton's wilderness of mirrors, Compartmentalization is the key component. One hand doesn't need to know what the other is doing. Oswald had two CIA files. One, overseen by Ann Egerter, was covert and seen only by Angleton and a few of his staff. The other, his 201 file, was overt and shown to other agencies and the Warren Commission. The FBI and CIA didn't cooperate and kept information from each other. The same is true for Army, Air-Force and Marine intelligence. So it is certainly possible that projects overlapped and went on simultaneously. Oswald could have been involved in the FBI's COINTELPRO program and at the same time infiltrating Cuban exile groups for the CIA. He may not even have been aware exactly who he was working for. The FBI may or may not have been aware of his activities for the Company and visa versa. It is also possible the CIA was aware of Ruth's involvement in the FBI counter-espionage program and used her to manipulate Oswald into position at the TSBD. Perhaps she wasn't even aware she was being used. Who knows? When the smoke cleared, the agencies were forced to cover up to protect sources and methods of operation. There is strong evidence that Oswald worked for both agencies. That both the CIA and FBI were out to destroy the FPCC is clear. Their entanglement in this endeavor may be the smoking gun evidence needed to put the three of them, the CIA, the FBI and Lee Harvey Oswald in bed together.


[1] [2]Lowery was informant DL-2-S. Another informant, DL-15-S (later DL T-4) was Ruth Lowery who who may have been Lowery's sister. All in the Family. Both infiltrated GI Forum meetings of which Joseph Rodriguez Molina was a member. Molina was elected Chairman of the Forum after being nominated by Lowery! However, it seems he never actively served in the office. [3]Adrian Alba of the Crescent City Garage in New Orleans said that he saw an agent in a government car had Oswald an envelope in the summer of 63'. (Earl Golz, Dallas Times-Herald, August 7, 1978) [4]The FBI denied Oswald was an informant (of course) and said the 179 informant number belonged to Velma Yvonne Graham, a negro “madam” who ran a house of prostitution in New Orleans. FBI 105-82555-2087 [5] NARA RIF no. 180–10076–10413 [6]Oswald stayed in room 415 and CPUSA head Lowery in room 607 on 10/15/62. Lowery admits he might have met LHO at the Oak Cliff YMCA branch, because the Communists used to have meetings there and he might have "drifted in..." (CE1963) [7]100-9847 [8]John Abt was a member of the Progressive Party and spent most of his career as the chief legal counsel of the Communist Party. [9] DEPOSITIONS OF MARINA OSWALD PORTER, HSCA [10]His favorite TV show was “I Led Three Lives.” The show was an anti-communist propaganda series about Herbert Philbrick, who infiltrated the Communist party for the FBI. Philbrick became Lee's idol and it seems he patterned his life after him as a Herb Philbrick wannabe. He later told his brother Robert that once he was out of the Marine Corps, “I know what I want to be and how I'm going to be it, which I guess is the most important thing in life.” He soon would be going to Russia. [11]The Unitarian Church was connected to The Albert Scweitzer College and Patrice Lumumba University. According to George Michael Evica, Oswald applied to both of these institutions. See “A Certain Arrogance,” p. 31 for details. Evica says that “while residing in the Soviet Union, Oswald reportedly applied to this new college (Patrice Lumumba University). His letter has not been found in any American public record, though he did receive a rejection notice dated May 3, 1961 informing him that the school only accepted students from Third World Countries.” Evica also points fingers at the Quaker's and Unitarians as targets in U.S. Intelligence's manipulation of religious groups. [12]124-90108-10016 [13]See The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors, Chapter 11 [14] Lively was a member of the Air National Guard and at that time was a student of the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Lively showed Lowery a letter from Herbert Philbrick, former Communist Party member who had testified on behalf of the Government concerning communist activities. According to Lively, Philbrick was planning to be in Dallas soon and desired to meet Lowery. [15]FBI 105-82555 [16] Former counsel to the Senate Internal Security Committee under Senator McCarthy. [17] George Butler claimed that he tried to give Lively any information he could that the FBI turned over to the Dallas Police Department in connection with the Lee Harvey Oswald case. [18] Philbrick was also a member of Ed Butler's INCA's advisory committee, a key source of Propaganda in New Orleans in 1963 with Dr. Alton Ochsner as it's chairman. [19] It is likely that it was Dave Ferrie that encouraged Oswald to “play the role” of a student of the manifesto by ordering communist literature. The goal being to become an undercover spy like Lee's idol Herb Philbrick. Ferrie likely encouraged Lee to follow through with his plan to enlist in the Marines as well. [20] Ruth's sister and brother-in-law worked for the CIA. Ruth's father was an “executive agent” of the CIA according to her admission. Ruth Paine's father and brother worked for AID (Agency for International Development), a CIA cover for clandestine activity abroad. Other AID operatives were George deMohrenschildt, E. Howard Hunt and LAPD officer, Manny Pena. Micheal Paine had one cousin who was president of United Fruit and another cousin that was it's director. Allen Dulles and John McCloy were also directors of United Fruit. United Fruit is a CIA front company. [21]Brush With History, Eric Tagg, Shot in the Light Publishing 1998 [22]See The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors, chapter 10 [23] Lowery's emergence as a Herbert Philbrick style informant occurred on Sept 23, 1963 at a Subversive Activities Control Board hearing in DC called by RFK to force a Dallas CP member to register pursuant to the McCarran Act. [24]Is it possible that Oswald bought a ticket, entered the theater looking for his contact who may have been Lowery? Did he then leave the theater and enter the lobby of Brewer's shoe store thinking it was Lowery's? When he saw his mistake he then would have re-entered the theater without paying since he already had a ticket. That would explain the discrepancy between Brewer's and Butch Borroughs version of Oswald having and not having bought a ticket. It would also explain Julia Postal's confusion on the same matter. [25] Reportedly a new pair of shoes was among Oswald's possessions after his arrest. Could they have been purchased from Lowery? [26]Some believe he had a role in planning or changing the route it took. [27]Robert Adams of the Texas Employment Commission called the Paine residence the day before Lee started work at the TSBD. Adams offered Oswald a job as cargo handler at Trans Texas Airways for $310 a month, $100 more than the TSBD and full-time rather than temporary. Ruth never told Oswald. [28]Cord Meyer joined the CIA in 1951 and became one of Dulles' top deputies, eventually replacing Tom Braden as chief of the International Organizations Division. [29]Angleton also confiscated the diary and manuscript of Mexico City CIA chief, Win Scott. Either Angleton collected diaries as a hobby or these two contained information that threatened the CIA.

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