JFK Files Show Newspaper Received Mysterious Phone Call Before Assassination

Minutes before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, a British newspaper received a strange call, according to a U.S. government memo.

The revelation came to light in one of the CIA memoes released on Oct. 26 by the National Archives.

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As The Independent points out, the memo to then-FBI Director Herbert Hoover notes that the Cambridge News received an ominous call that day from an anonymous person.

"The British Security Service (MI-5) has reported that at 1805GMT on 22 November an anonymous telephone call was made in Cambridge, England, to the senior reporter of the Cambridge News," CIA Counterintelligence chief James Angleton wrote on Nov. 26, 1963. "The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news and then hung up."

Twenty-five minutes after the call ended, Kennedy was killed.

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"After the word of the President's death was received the reporter informed the Cambridge police of the anonymous call and the police informed MI-5," the memo reads. "The important point is that the call was made, according to MI-5 calculations, about 25 minutes before the President was shot."

According to Angleton, the Cambridge News reporter who answered the phone said he had never received a call like that before. However, MI-5 knew of the caller as a "sound and loyal person with no security record."

It's still not clear who made that phone call. The Sun notes some believe Albert Osborne, a British-born Soviet spy and friend of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Grimsby, placed the call and the memo.

The Cambridge News published the memo in 1981, two years after Solicitor Michael Eddowes.

At the time, the Cambridge News spoke to journalists who worked for the paper in 1963, but didn't remember the call. As for why the they received the call, Eddowes theorized that Osborne called that paper instead of the Grimsby Telegraph because he feared it would be easily traced to him.

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The Sun spoke to Cambridge News veterans who were skeptical about the phone call.

"People I knew at that time wouldn't have shut up about that — it would have been published as well," former reporter Jock Gillespie, now 75, said. "That's been a windup — are you sure it isn't Cambridge, Massachusetts they are talking about?"

You can read the memo in full here.