JFK files: British newspaper got mystery call before killing

JFK files: British newspaper got mystery call before killing

The caller said that ‘the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news, and then hung up’

London: A British newspaper received an anonymous phone call about “big news” in the US minutes before President John F. Kennedy was shot, newly released files on the assassination say.

A batch of 2,800 declassified documents includes a memo from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), dated November 26, 1963, about a call received by the Cambridge News on November 22, the day Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas.

The memo from deputy CIA director James Angleton says the caller said that “the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news, and then hung up.”

The memo says Britain’s MI5 intelligence service calculated that the call came 25 minutes before Kennedy was shot.

It said the reporter who took the call “is known to them as a sound and loyal person with no security record”.

The memo was released by the US National Archives in July but went unreported. It is also among a batch of files declassified in the US, on Thursday.

Anna Savva, a current Cambridge News reporter, said on Friday that the paper has no record of the incident.

“We have nothing in our archive — we have nobody here who knows the name of the person who took the call,” she said.

It’s unclear whether the call was merely a prank and the timing coincidental. The CIA memo says that several people in Britain had received similar anonymous phone calls “of a strangely coincidental nature” over the preceding year, “particularly in connection with the case of Dr Ward.”

That is an apparent reference to osteopath Stephen Ward, a key figure in the “Profumo affair”, a sex-and-espionage scandal that almost toppled the British government in 1963.

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