Who could have guessed that the CIA would have tried to influence the outcome of an investigation into something that showed signs of CIA involvement?
WASHINGTON — It was nearly four decades ago that Eddie Lopez was hired by a congressional committee to reinvestigate the 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy, a role that had him digging through top secret documents at the CIA.
In the end, the House Select Committee on Assassinations reported in 1978 that it believed the assassination was probably the result of a conspiracy, although it couldn’t prove that, and its conclusions are disputed by many researchers.
But now Lopez is seeking answers to a lingering question: Could still-classified records reveal, as he and some of his fellow investigators have long alleged, that the CIA interfered with the congressional investigation and placed the committee staff under surveillance?
While Lopez’s latest effort to uncover new information may seem quixotic, given the seemingly endless spate of JFK conspiracy theories, it has taken on new meaning in the wake of revelations that the CIA earlier this year spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee in an unrelated case.
CIA employees hacked into the computers of Senate staffers reviewing the agency’s counterterrorism tactics. When the allegations were corroborated, the CIA apologized and vowed to take disciplinary actions.
While this year’s controversy has no direct relation to the Kennedy inquiry, it has raised new questions about how far the CIA has undermined congressional oversight, including the investigation into Kennedy’s murder in Dallas.
“It was time to fight one last time to ascertain what happened to JFK and to our investigation into his assassination,” Lopez, who is now the chief counsel for a school district in Rochester, N.Y., said in an interview. He is joined in the effort by two other former investigators, researcher Dan Hardway and G. Robert Blakey, the panel’s staff director.
Lopez, 58, charges that the CIA actively stymied the probe and monitored the committee staff members as they pursued leads about the events leading up to the assassination.
Lopez and his two colleagues are asking the CIA to release “operational files you have regarding operations aimed at, targeting, related to, or referring to” the House panel they worked for, along with records about the “surveillance of any and all members of the staff.”