Oswald and Raikin


Mark Valenti:
It has been theorized that Oswald was running some type of double game in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 – pretending to be pro-Cuban exile while in reality pro-Castro, etc. There may be some evidence that Oswald was schooled in this type of espionage. Upon his arrival in the US from Russia, Oswald and his family were met by Spas T. Raikin of the Traveler’s Aid Society. Raikin has received little publicity over the years, and his role in Oswald’s return to the United States has been largely ignored. But Raikin is an interesting character, and worthy of further exploration.


“Raikin claimed OSWALD attempted to avoid him on the ship, and was reluctant to speak with him. Spas T. Raikin: "He might have felt I was a government man. There was no CIA point in my connection with OSWALD. It's just not there."

Raikin was contacted in April 1993. He stated: "What light could I throw? It's in the Warren Report. There's nothing I can add. There are lots of myths, lots of truths."
He was asked whether his anti-communism had any significance in his being assigned to the OSWALD case. He stated: "This is a b.s. business. This has nothing to do with it. I don't know much about OSWALD. My contact with him lasted for one hour or so, and after that I forgot about him; little did I know about him before. I suppose you could find better authority to testify to this case; the FBI and CIA. They know much more than I do. My job was a low-paying job. Just meeting people. I met thousands of people in my six years. You meet them if somebody is confused, doesn't have money, doesn't have where to go. It was a social-work type of a thing. My function was to meet them at the ship...I was Russian-speaking. I handled all kinds of people. In this case I was Russian-speaking; that is why they assigned this case to me."
In answer to a question regarding whether his contact with Russian émigrés inspired interest on the part of the CIA , Spas T. Raikin responded: "Never. I have never had contact with the CIA. They are an unusual kind of people. I have never been on friendly terms with them. I am probably on their blacklist. They think that I'm too independent and have my own opinions. I suspect this because I've been publishing exile magazines..."

Spas T. Raikin was recontacted in September 1993 and informed that the CIA had released his Office of Security file. He commented, "They did? What does it say there? Who is this employee, me? That's funny. Well, look, if you have the file why don't you send it to me. I was a professor all this time. The Joint Press Reading Service - I was translating something of no consequence. Some Agency from New York asked me to translate some work, but I found this whole thing very serious and very cheaply paid and I just dropped it...I suppose the Joint Press Reading Service was part of the CIA, yes. But the agency I worked for had an innocent name. I had some papers about this, but I threw them out. The CIA tried to recruit me right after I left Bulgaria. I told them I wasn't interested and I was going ahead with my studies. I did not apply for CIA employment in 1967. I was well into my profession by then. I might have become interested in doing some translation work. It was all done by mail. I never met anyone at this time. I have never been in touch with them. No direct contact except when I left Bulgaria. You are making too much out of this. I think Case Closed summed it up well."

Spas T. Raikin was asked why the CIA hired him, if he was on its blacklist: "Maybe the CIA thought my criticism was inconsequential. In our critical observations we avoided using titles and names and agencies. We used a coded language. We wouldn't directly attack them. I don't remember directly challenging them. I'm not changing my story. Mrs. Edna Norman gave me the OSWALD assignment arbitrarily. Are you trying to build-up a case against the CIA?"

Spas T. Raikin was mailed a copy of his Office of Security File. He reacted: "It's so silly and stupid I didn't find anything of substance there. A number of things were wrong. I was a Professor in 1967. I was building a house that year. I took my job here which I liked, and I was not looking for a new job anyway. I have applied to the CIA for my file."
In 1994 the CIA released Spas T. Raikin's application for CIA employment bearing his signature. [CIA Background Information for Personal Service Contract 1.10.67] It was mailed to him but refused.”


In Raikin’s own autobiography, Rebel With a Just Cause, he describes how he practiced the art of pretending to be one thing politically while he was really something else:
“I found myself in an impossible situation…Very soon I was to realize that this way of covering the truth and following the path of lies during the next few years was to be the only way to save my life. The only redeeming thought was that they, the communists, also practiced such deceptions.”
“I was playing a double game in Sofia…I was carrying on surreptitious activities which were squarely anti-communist in conception and in execution. This double game had to be played with compromises and in 1946 I found myself playing their game…I was assigned to recruit Theology students to join with other students from the other schools for a brigade…When it was all over I had recruited twenty five or more, which was considered a great success…But my double game could not continue indefinitely without being noticed.”

This was the man who helped Oswald make the transition back to the United States.


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