The Soviet Union’s spies believed that former President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind his predecessor John F. Kennedy’s assassination, according to The New York Daily News.
The Daily News on Friday reported that a FBI document about the theory is part of the newly published archive about Kennedy’s death released Thursday.
Sources told the bureau that U.S.S.R. officials “believed there was some well-organized conspiracy on the part of the ‘ultraright’” leading to the 1963 assassination.
Later claims in the same memo show that Soviet intelligence thought there was evidence Johnson was involved in the attack while serving as Kennedy’s vice president.
Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover forwarded the memo on the Soviet reaction to Kennedy’s death to Johnson’s assistant Marvin Watson in 1966.
“Our sources added that in instructions from Moscow, it was indicated that ‘now’ the KGB was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy,” part of the document said, citing intelligence from 1965.
“KGB headquarters indicated that in view of this information, it was necessary for the Soviet Government to know the existing personal relationship between President Johnson and the Kennedy family, particularly that between President John and Robert and ‘Ted’ Kennedy,’” it added.
Soviet sentiment in the document additionally called Lee Harvey Oswald a “nutjob” who visited the U.S.S.R. and was denied a longer stay due to his perceived mental illness.
Oswald shot and killed John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 while the then-president was riding in a motorcade in Dallas.
John F. Kennedy’s assassination has since been the subject of multiple conspiracy theories ranging from Oswald’s motives to the possible involvement of other parties.
Johnson’s involvement in the killing has been a persistent theory due to a woman named Madeline Duncan Brown who claims she was the former president’s lover.
Conspiracy debunker Dave Perry told The Dallas Morning News in 2012 that Johnson could not have attended a party the night before Kennedy’s death Brown mentioned.
Brown claimed that Johnson whispered about the shooting to come the next day to her, but Perry countered that several photographs show him attending a rally instead.