Did Richard Case Nagell Ever Meet Lee Harvey Oswald?
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
1. Did Nagell Meet Oswald in Japan?
James DiEugenio, in his book Destiny Betrayed, claims that Nagell met Oswald in Japan: (page 95)
"In late 1956, Nagell was transferred to a secret intelligence group called Field Operations Intelligence (FOI). This group was involved in what intelligence operators call "black ops": assassinations, kidnappings, blackmail, etc. FOI operated in the Far East, so Nagell worked in Japan. It was there, in 1957-58, that Nagell first encountered Lee Harvey Oswald. Nagell wondered why Oswald was seen outside the Soviet Embassy in Tokyo. So he arranged to be introduced to him under an assumed name. Nagell and Oswald had girlfriends at the Queen Bee, a famous nightclub in Tokyo."
DiEugenio doesn't provide a footnote for the claim that Nagell was introduced to Oswald. I had to go to Russell's book, The Man Who Knew Too Much, to see where this comes from: (page 136 of the first edition)
"Not long after this, under an assumed name Nagell arranged to be introduced to Oswald. Nagell determined that Oswald had entered the Soviet embassy "allegedly to have some coins identified." But once inside, Nagell learned either from Oswald or other sources that the young Marine had met with a Colonel Nikolai G. Eroshkin."
Russell does admit that there is no proof that this happened:
"This book marks the first time that any known meeting between Oswald and Soviet intelligence in Japan has ever been alleged. Thought I have only Nagell's word that it occurred, the name of "Nicolai G. Eroshkin" under a heading of former military attaché at the Tokyo Embassy does show up in the notebook taken from Nagell by the FBI in 1963."
In other words, this is just stuff that Nagell said or wrote.
Dick Russell also claims that Nagell and Oswald frequented the Queen Bee, an expensive night club in Tokyo: (page 145)
"Nagell confided two important things about this period in conversation with Bernard Fensterwald, Jr.: that Oswald definitely "had CIA connections" in Japan, and that both Nagell and Oswald had had girlfriends at the Queen Bee. Oswald's girl was older than he, lived in the suburb of Yokohama, and was named Midorii." [Note: It should be Midori]
The source for this allegation is a Bernard Fensterwald memo of a conversation with Richard Case Nagell on May 31, 1978.
"Nagell's claim about him and Oswald frequenting the Queen Bee together is equally problematic. Nagell never mentioned the Queen Bee prior to May 31, 1978, in an interview with Bernard Fensterwald, Jr. It seems more than coincidental that the Tokyo nightspot had just been linked to Lee Harvey Oswald for the very first time, in Edward Jay Epstein's Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald, published earlier that year."
Even the Queen Bee story in Legend is somewhat suspect, as Reitzes noted:
"Incredibly, Epstein's tale of Oswald and the Queen Bee is based solely on the recollections of a single eyewitness, Oswald's Marine buddy Zack Stout, who told Epstein that Oswald had fallen in love with a woman who Oswald allegedly stated worked at the Queen Bee (Epstein, 360; Russell, 145). If Oswald was lying or if Stout is mistaken, the Queen Bee story goes up in smoke."
2. Did Nagell Meet Oswald in Texas?
It is not entirely clear when Nagell met Oswald in Texas, but James DiEugenio writes in Destiny Betrayed: (page 96)
"Nagell first went to Dallas to check up on the status of Oswald. He found the supposed communist in the midst of the counterrevolutionary White Russian community."
There is no footnote for this allegation. However, Dick Russell writes: (page 155 in the second edition)
"Monitoring an assassination plot against JFK was not the only assignment Nagell received from the Soviets in October 1963. He was also told to check into a young "defector" who had returned from the USSR four months before."
Russell's source - just something that Nagell told him.
Nagell also claimed that he made a tape of four conspirators discussing the assassination in late August 1963, and that Oswald was one of the four people.
3. Did Nagell Meet Oswald in Mexico City
Of course, Nagell was in jail in El Paso when Lee Harvey Oswald was in Mexico City. Dick Russell is aware of this, and he writes in the second edition of his book that "he would have to be describing an earlier meeting in Mexico, a visit that did not appear on the historical record." (page 7)
Of course, there is no evidence of any other visit by Lee Harvey Oswald to Mexico City.
4. Did Nagell Meet Oswald in New Orleans?
Richard Case Nagell said that he met Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans to warn him about how he was being used: (page 437 in the first edition of The Man Who Knew Too Much)
"In September 1963, "Laredo" (a code name unknown to Oswald) met with Oswald at Jackson Square in New Orleans, where both were photographed. ["Laredo," as described in Chapter Thirteen, was Nagell's admitted code name for meetings with his Soviet contact.] Photos of two of Oswald's associates, whom I shall call "Leopoldo" and "Angel," were displayed to Oswald. Oswald was informed that neither Leopoldo nor Angel were agents of Cuban G-2 (as the Dirección General de Intelligencia was then called), a story they had strapped on Oswald the previous month. He was informed that the two were in fact counterrevolutionaries known to be connected with a violence-prone faction of a CIA-financed group operating in Mexico City (and elsewhere), that in 1962 both of them had participated in a bomb-throwing incident directed against an employee of the Cuban Embassy there, that both were well-known to Cuban and Mexican authorities, and, of course, to the CIA. He was informed in so many words that he was being "used" by fascist elements in an attempt to disrupt the Cuban revolution, to ruin chances for a contemplated rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, probably to incite the U.S. government to initiate severe retaliatory measures against Cuba (in the form of an invasion), etc. He was asked some subtle questions relating to his discussions with Leopoldo and Angel, about his pending move to Baltimore, Md., why he was going there without his wife and child, etc. His replies were evasive and in some instances untruthful. Despite evidence to contrary, he denied that there had been answer serious discussion to kill President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, or anybody else. He seemed genuinely upset and visibly shaken when a query was made in that direction. He stated that he was a friend of the Cuban revolution, that he leaned toward Cuban Marxism, but not Soviet Leninism, whatever that meant ... "
Hey, what a great story!
Dick Russell also wrote: (page 441)
"At this point, Nagell met Oswald again. He arranged with a vendor in New Orleans' Jackson Square to take a photograph of the two of them secretly. That "faded Polaroid pic," Nagell wrote me in 1976, still existed "amongst my belongings in another country."
So, did Nagell ever meet Oswald? There is not one iota of evidence that he did.
Dick Russell asked one of Richard Nagell's lawyers, Joseph Calamia about this: (page 18 in the second edition)
"There was no evidence that he knew Oswald? "No," Calamia said evenly."
The whole Richard Case Nagell story can be summed up in one word: nothing. Nagell did not have foreknowledge of Oswald or the JFK assassination. He never met Lee Harvey Oswald. None of his supposed evidence ever turned up.
Richard Case Nagell suffered brain damage in the 1954 plane crash and he was never the same. His significant mental health problems dominated his life. Unfortunately, he never got the help he needed and deserved.
And yet, some conspiracy theorists cling to the Richard Case Nagell story.
And they are still waiting for the evidence to turn up. Any day now.
Richard Case Nagell Blog Posts
The Importance of Richard Case Nagell to Some Conspiracy Theorists
Jim Garrison and a few conspiracy theorists think Nagell is a very important witness. But is he really?
Genesis of the Richard Case Nagell story
David Kroman met Richard Case Nagell at the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. Stephen Jaffe, a Garrison volunteer, wrote a memo, relating Nagell's story through the eyes and ears of David Kroman.
Nagell was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to ten years, but his conviction was overturned because of startling new evidence.
Richard Case Nagell and the JFK Assassination
There is no credible evidence that Nagell had any foreknowledge of either Lee Harvey Oswald or the JFK assassination.
Nagell claims he met Oswald in Japan, Texas, Mexico City, and New Orleans. There is no credible evidence that he ever met Oswald.
Nagell went to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro and even played ping-pong with the man.
Insane Conspiracy Theories about Richard Case Nagell
Richard Case Nagell said that he knew the two Oswalds - Lee Harvey and Leon. Some conspiracy theorists believe this madness.
Combine one part crazy and one part ridiculous and what do you come up with? An early attempt at a unified conspiracy theory of the JFK assassination.
Two Smoking Guns of the Richard Case Nagell Story
Nagell sent conspiracy theorist Dick Russell one page of a military intelligence file which seemed to indicate that he was monitoring Oswald and his wife on behalf of the CIA. But does the whole document really show that?
Did Richard Case Nagell had an Oswald Military ID in his possession when he was arrested in September 1963?
Richard Case Nagell and Jim Garrison
Richard Case Nagell believes that he wasn't called to testify at Clay Shaw's trial because his testimony would have blown up Jim Garrison's case.
At a conference in September 1968, Garrison and his investigators discuss his face-to-face meeting with Nagell in New York City.
William Martin, an Assistant District Attorney working for Jim Garrison, tried to retrieve a tape that Nagell said contained the voices of three JFK assassination conspirators.
Richard Popkin, author of "The Second Oswald," writes Jim Garrison about Richard Case Nagell. Garrison staffer Tom Bethell thought the Nagell lead was useless.
Richard Case Nagell's Mental Health
Nagell won a full disability pension in 1982 and the 60+ page court case provides complete details on his mental problems.
Richard Case Nagell told a psychiatrist why he shot up the bank in El Paso in 1963.
The FBI spoke to Nagell's ex-wife, his mother, his sister, and one of his friends. They all agreed that Nagell had significant mental health problems.
Nagell visited the American consulates in Zurich and Barcelona in 1969. He was a deeply disturbed man.
Richard Case Nagell's Evidence
None of the so-called evidence that Nagell promised would materialize on his death has shown up. Did this evidence ever exist?