FBI Agent James Hosty's Notes From His Interogation of Lee Oswald
Oswald’s interrogation on the afternoon of November
22, 1963, was attended by two FBI special
agents, James Hosty and James Bookhout, both of
whom recorded handwritten notes. Bookhout told the
Warren Commission that he destroyed his notes later, after writing a formal report, as was the FBI’s custom.
1. Hosty told the Warren Commission much the
same story, adding that he specifically recalled placing
his notes in a wastebasket.
Thirty-two years later, however, Hosty’s book
Assignment Oswald (Arcade Publishing; 1st edition,
November 22, 1995; Little, Brown and Company, Jan 1997) appeared
with a photographic reproduction of the notes, which turned out
to have not been destroyed after all. Hosty explained that he
had truthfully testified to the Warren Commission, in that at
the time of his testimony he sincerely believed that he had destroyed
the notes but subsequently he had discovered them in papers on
3. Since it was standard
FBI procedure to destroy such notes, it seems reasonable
that Hosty felt no obligation to step forward
with them after he came across them—if retaining the
notes was not required, neither was producing them.
Moreover, there is nothing in the notes to suggest any
ulterior motive for suppressing them. While there are
a few items of information in his formal report are not in
his Warren Commission testimony that the notes would
not be as fully written out as the report. The information
supplied in the report but not covered in the notes
seems unremarkable, amounting mostly to Oswald’s
date of employment at the TSBD and the account Oswald
gave of his activities on the day of the assassination.
On the whole, there seems to be no reason to doubt
Hosty’s explanation for the belated appearance of the
notes, which he turned over to the ARRB in 1997.
Text from Larry Haappanen, Fall 2001 Vol 7 Issue 3