The KGB may soon be asked to help solve a real-life American mystery: Who really shot John F. Kennedy and why.
Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, who headed a House investigation into the assassination more than a decade ago, plans to introduce a resolution this week asking the KGB to turn over its file on Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected triggerman.Questions have long persisted whether Oswald, who defected briefly from the United States to Russia in the late 1950s, was an agent for the CIA, and if there was a conspiracy to murder the president.
Those questions have been given new life by "JFK," the movie about the shooting in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
"If you want to know if Oswald was CIA, you should look at the KGB files, not the CIA's," said G. Robert Blakey, who served as general counsel on Stokes' House Committee on Assassinations.
Even if the KGB concluded Oswald wasn't connected with the CIA, it may be able to offer new details about Oswald's shadowy life. He was shot down himself, shortly after being charged with the shooting, by strip-joint owner Jack Ruby.
While in Russia, the KGB had Oswald under surveillance. They bugged his apartment. They wiretapped his telephone. His neighbors were debriefed after he returned to America.
Blakey, now a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, helped Stokes draft the House resolution that will request the KGB file and also call for the release of long-sealed U.S. documents on the assassination. A similar measure will be introduced in the Senate.
"Let's get everything before the public," said Stokes, confident the resolutions will be easily passed. "We don't want the American people to think there was some kind of a coverup."
"JFK," reflecting numerous unproven theories, contends there was a grand conspiracy to kill the young and charasmatic president.
The docudrama suggests that the plot involved elements of the CIA, the FBI, Army and Navy, anti-Castro Cubans, organized crime and the Dallas police.
Some have called the movie by activist-director Oliver Stone brillant. Others have damned it as fantasy. But virtually all agree it has been provocative.
The Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that "Oswald acted alone." But most Americans have long doubted it. President Lyndon Johnson, who created the commission, said in 1973 he didn't buy the findings either.
Last spring, a poll found that 54 percent of Americans believed there was a conspiracy. A new survey, conducted in January, a month after "JFK" was released, placed the figure at 77 percent.
"JFK was a powerful movie, albeit fiction," Stokes said. "But it raised questions in the minds of the public that we should try to answer by getting information before them."
The CIA and the FBI have agreed in principle to open its records, and the House and Senate intends to open theirs. Blakey said the White House has given its support of the action, too.
Stokes's House Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1978 that Oswald killed Kennedy but that he likely had help. It maintained there had been four shots - not three as the Warren Commission had determined. But it could provide no suspects or any smoking guns.