(CNN)CIA officials wondered in the days after President John F. Kennedy's assassination whether Lee Harvey Oswald's efforts to obtain visas to travel to Russia had been part of an escape plan, newly released government documents show.
CIA wondered if Oswald sought visas as part of escape plan
Oswald made efforts to obtain visas to travel through Cuba to the USSR with his Russian-born wife in the two months prior to the assassination, according to the files, which are among the thousands of pages of documents related to the Kennedy assassination released Friday by the Trump administration.
The records shed further light on how deeply CIA officials delved into Oswald's connections to and communications with the Soviet Union.
The documents say Oswald spoke "terrible hardly recognizable Russian" during his visit to Mexico City to meet with Soviet and Cuban consular officials. The Cuban consulate turned Oswald away, saying he first needed a visa from the Soviets, a process that the Cubans warned could take four months.
"One important question still puzzles us," an official wrote two days after the killing: Was Oswald looking to travel immediately, or did he plan to pocket the visa for later use?
"Although it appears that he was then thinking only about a peaceful change of residence to the Soviet Union, it is also possible that he was getting documented to make a quick escape after assassinating the president," the official wrote.
The United States was monitoring the embassies of its Cold War nemeses and photographing people who entered and exited the buildings.
Officials performed a "complete recheck" of the photos, comparing them against "good press photos" of Oswald, and found "no evidence" of Oswald visiting the embassies, according to a memo.
The photographers missed Oswald, an official noted, because he visited on a Saturday, when the embassy was closed "and we have not had coverage."
The official then requested surveillance be expanded, apparently to cover weekends.
"In future will require at least half day photo coverage both Sov and Cuban embassies," an official wrote.