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FBI Agent James Hosty's Notes From His Interogation of Lee Oswald

Oswald’s interrogation on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, was attended by two FBI special agents, James Hosty and James Bookhout, both of whom recorded handwritten notes. Bookhout told the Warren Commission that he destroyed his notes later,
after writing a formal report, as was the FBI’s custom.

1. Hosty told the Warren Commission much the same story, adding that he specifically recalled placing his notes in a wastebasket.

2. Thirty-two years later, however, Hosty’s book Assignment Oswald (Arcade Publishing; 1st edition, November 22, 1995; Little, Brown and Company, Jan 1997) appeared with a photographic reproduction of the notes, which turned out to have not been destroyed after all. Hosty explained that he had truthfully testified to the Warren Commission, in that at the time of his testimony he sincerely believed that he had destroyed the notes but subsequently he had discovered them in papers on his desk.

3. Since it was standard FBI procedure to destroy such notes, it seems reasonable that Hosty felt no obligation to step forward with them after he came across them—if retaining the notes was not required, neither was producing them. Moreover, there is nothing in the notes to suggest any ulterior motive for suppressing them. While there are a few items of information in his formal report are not in the notes, he explained in his Warren Commission testimony that the notes would not be as fully written out as the report. The information supplied in the report but not covered in the notes seems unremarkable, amounting mostly to Oswald’s date of employment at the TSBD and the account Oswald gave of his activities on the day of the assassination. On the whole, there seems to be no reason to doubt Hosty’s explanation for the belated appearance of the notes, which he turned over to the ARRB in 1997.

Hosty Notes

Text from Larry Haappanen, Fall 2001 Vol 7 Issue 3

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