Courts & Crime

Remembering FBI agent who monitored Lee Harvey Oswald

Jim Hosty was a good husband and father of nine, and that’s mostly how he’ll be remembered.

But it’s by his full name and title — former FBI special agent James P. Hosty — that he will always be connected to one of the most infamous events of the 20th century, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“Oswald gets arrested and my dad got thrust into history at that point,” said son Tom Hosty.

Jim Hosty, who died June 10 of cancer at age 86, was the agent assigned to monitor Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife before that day in Dallas.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered an investigation into the assassination, Hosty had a lead role in examining Oswald’s background, Tom Hosty said.

“He always carried it with him,” his son said. “He was ready and willing to talk to anybody about the assassination.”

But he wasn’t always able to be so open about his involvement with the Oswald case. While working for the bureau, Hosty — who was transferred to Kansas City within a year of the assassination — had to keep quiet even when he was frustrated by FBI leadership, his son said.

“J. Edgar Hoover was willing to deflect any negative publicity on the agents,” Tom Hosty said. “My dad wished he had stood by him, but he didn’t.”

And there was no shortage of negative publicity. The assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, rocked America, and people had questions and criticism for the FBI. Speculation and conspiracy theories have lingered.

Hosty was proud of his fellow agents and the bureau.

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