Did Richard Case Nagell Have Foreknowledge of Oswald and the JFK Assassination?
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
James DiEugenio, in his book Destiny Betrayed. writes: (page 94)
"Even though the Warren Commission had an FBI report on Nagell that said he had met Oswald only socially in Texas and Mexico City, there is no record of anyone on the Commission ever interviewing him. (As we shall see, their meeting was anything but social.) Nagell did try. He wrote two letters to the Commission saying he had knowledge of both Oswald and the conspiracy -- in advance of the assassination. Either someone intercepted the letters or the Commission was not interested. Since, as we shall see, Nagell was in prison at the time he wrote the letters, the former is a distinct possibility."
The footnote for Oswald meeting Nagell is from an FBI report by SA David Reid from December 20, 1963. The footnote regarding Nagell's two letters to the Warren Commission indicates DiEugenio's source is Probe Magazine (Vol, 3, No. 1). Unfortunately, Probe Magazine says nothing about the source of the allegation.
Let's tackle his point about Oswald and Nagell.
As usual, DiEugenio gets it all wrong. The FBI report did not say that Nagell had met Oswald. It quoted Nagell as saying he met Oswald. That's quite a difference.
Nagell only started talking about Oswald after the assassination. Here's an article from the El Paso Times from January 27, 1964:
Nagell adds suspicion by not mentioning that he was the one who had brought up Oswald first.
It's interesting that Nagell told the FBI that "he knew nothing of Oswald's intention to assassinate the President."
Now, all of the above came after the assassination of JFK on November 22, 1963.
Dick Russell claims that Nagell had foreknowledge of the assassination. He writes: (page 2 in the second edition of his book)
"On the way to the El Paso Federal Building for further questioning, Richard Case Nagell issued only one statement to the FBI: "I would rather be arrested than commit murder and treason."
However, Russell's footnote for this statement indicates that it comes from a Nagell draft of a memo in support of his petition for habeas corpus written in 1967. There is no contemporaneous source for this statement.
There is also police officer Jim Bundren who arrested Nagell in September 1963: (page 45 in the first edition of The Man Who Knew Too Much)
"Many years later, Jim Bundren, retired from the police force and teaching a course in criminal justice at an El Paso college, would look back and remember: "I was sitting next to Nagell at one of the preliminary hearings. I don't remember the exact date, but I know it was before the Kennedy assassination. Nagell looked over at me and said, 'You're a pretty good cop, aren't you? You know, if I didn't want you to, you'd never have caught me.'
"I said, 'You really didn't want to rob that bank, did you?'
"He just looked at me for a minute. He's got that look that's unusual, the penetrating eyes, that scar down one side of his face. And he said, 'What makes you say that?'
"I said, 'I saw the shots you fired in the bank. With your Army training and everything, I just felt like maybe it was some kind of a diversionary tactic.'
"Nagell just smiled and said, 'Well, I'm glad you caught me. I really don't want to be in Dallas.'
"I said, 'What do you mean by that?'
"'You'll see soon enough,' he said."
Russell's interview with Bundren was on May 11, 1990, almost twenty-seven years after the arrest. That was Russell's second interview with Bundren. He also interviewed him on October 25, 1975, and during that interview Bundren said nothing about Dallas. Here is what Bundren said in his first interview:
"Yeah, okay, Oswald's name came up. I can't tell you whether Oswald was mentioned before or after the assassination. I remember Nagell saying something to me about that, and also about General Walker that Oswald was supposed to have shot at. Nagell mentioned Cuba. He mentioned a lot of things. That's about all I can say."
Bundren isn't that confident as to whether Nagell brought up Oswald before or after the assassination.
So, can we be that sure as well about the Dallas comment - particularly since in 1975 Bundren said nothing about Dallas, despite the fact he later said that Nagell's comment "bothered me ever since." (page 45)
Bundren told Russell that "when the assassination happened, I didn't think about it right away, because that was a pretty hectic time." He didn't go the Warren Commission. He added, "I talked to an FBI agent here about it, but a lot of this was just QT -- 'Not at liberty to discuss it.' I was just a young cop, there was nothing I could do."
Nothing he could do? He didn't go to anybody in the police force?
Dick Russell also talked with Edward J. Murphy, an FBI agent who had interrogated Nagell. Here is what he said: (page 65, first edition)
"When Murphy emerged from a meeting, the moment I mentioned Nagell's name a startled look crossed the agent's face. "Well, sir," I asked, "do you remember any mention of a connection between that man and the assassination of President Kennedy?" Murphy's face blanched, and he shook his head rapidly from side to side. "I don't recall anything like that, no."
Fred Morton, the assistant U.S. attorney who had called for "sanity tests" for Nagell, said:
"As long as I was in the case," Morton said with a shrug, "I don't recall any statement by Nagell in any way concerning the assassination. The first I remember hearing this was in some magazine years later. It'll always be a mystery to me as to what the hell he was really doing in that bank that day."
Dick Russell could find no corroboration for any of Bundren's comments.
There is no credible evidence that Nagell had any foreknowledge of Oswald and the assassination.
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