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JFK files: British newspaper got mystery call before killing

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LONDON: A British newspaper received an anonymous phone call about “big news” in the United States, 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 CIA to the director of the 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 Thursday.

Anna Savva, a current Cambridge News reporter, said 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.

Updated: October 27, 2017 — 9:16 pm

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