The CIA, the Drug Traffic, and Oswald in Mexico
Cryptocracies, Cryptonomy, and Oswald: the Mexican CIA-Mob Nexus
Those who have spent years trying to assess the role of the Kennedy assassination in US history are accustomed to the debate between structuralists and conspiratorialists. In the first camp are those who argue, in the spirit of Marx and Weber, that the history of a major power is determined by large social forces; thus the accident of an assassination, even if conspiratorial, is of little historical import. (On this point Noam Chomsky and Alex Cockburn agree with the mainstream US media they normally criticize.)
At the other end of the spectrum are those who talk of an Invisible Government or Secret Team, who believe that surface events and institutions are continuously manipulated by unseen forces. For these people the assassination exemplifies the operation of fundamental historical forces, not a disruption of them.
For years I have attempted to formulate a third or middle position. To do so I have relied on distinctions formulated partly in neologisms or invented terms. (I apologize for this: neologisms, like conspiracies, are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.) Thirty years ago I postulated that our overt political processes were at times seriously contaminated by manipulative covert politics or parapolitics, which I then defined as "a system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished."1 In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, I moved towards a less conspiratorial middle alternative. I discussed instead the interactions of what I called deep political processes, emanating from plural power sources and all only occasionally visible, all usually repressed rather than recognized. In contrast to parapolitical processes, those of deep politics are open-ended, not securely within anyone's power or intentions.
In 1995 I brought out Deep Politics II, which I thought of at the time as a case study in deep politics: how secret U.S. government reports on Oswald in Mexico became a reason to cover up the facts about the assassination of JFK. But it was also a specialized study, since in this case most of the repressed records of events, now declassified, occurred within the workings of the CIA, FBI, military intelligence, or their zones of influence. It was hence largely a study in parapolitics. It verged into deep politics only near the end, when it described how a collaborating Mexican agency, the DFS (Direcciòn Federal de Seguridad) was deeply involved in the international drug traffic. Deep Politics, in contrast, looked continuously at the interaction between government and other social forces, such as the drug traffic.
Both books represented an alternative kind of history, or what we may perhaps call parahistory. Parahistory differs from history in two respects. First, it is an account of suppressed events, at odds with the publicly accepted history of this country. (One might say that history is the record of politics; parahistory, the record of parapolitics.) Second, parahistory is restored from records which were themselves once repressed. In short, parahistory is a reconstructed account of events denied by the public records from which history is normally composed. 2 Thus the parahistory of Oswald in Mexico tells of events, not just ignored by official histories, but at odds with the official record: i.e. officially suppressed and denied.
A key example concerns a tape of someone calling himself "Lee Oswald," talking on a Soviet Embassy phone about having met a consul there by the name of Kostikov, a KGB agent. As we shall see, this tape should have been preserved and investigated as a prime piece of evidence to frame Oswald as an assassin. We have documentary evidence that one day after the President's murder this tape was listened to by FBI agents in Dallas, who determined that the speaker was in fact not Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet almost immediately this event was denied by other reports, including cables claiming -- falsely -- that the tape had already been destroyed before the assassination.
A brief but important digression here about history. Most people assume that "history" simply refers to what has happened but is now gone. In fact the dictionary reminds us that the word (cognate to the word "story") refers primarily to a narrative or record of events, and only after that to "the events forming the subject matter of history." 3 What of events whose records are destroyed or falsified? These dictionary definitions seem to assume that what is true is also what is recorded.
There is thus a latent bias in the evolution of the word "history" that is related to the structuralist, rationalist assumptions referred to in my first paragraph. It is no accident that, with respect to Oswald in Mexico, historians as a class have opposed the parahistory we shall unfold here. History has always been the way a culture chooses to record and remember itself; and it tends to treat official records with a respect they do not always deserve. We shall return to the role of history in our concluding section.
Deep Politics II only verged from parahistory into deep political history when (as we shall see) it situated actions and reports from the CIA in Mexico City in the social context of actions of a sister agency (the Mexican Federal Security Directorate, or DFS ) which was deeply enmeshed in the unrecorded operations of the Mexican-U.S. drug traffic. Note the methodological distinction here. Parahistory can be partly recovered by the disclosure of previously repressed records. Deep political history must attempt to reconstruct what happened in areas where there are few if any records at all.
It is reasonable to talk about the CIA records in this essay as repressed, as so many of them were never allowed to reach even the Warren Commission. Thus neither the Commission nor the American public were allowed to hear allegations that Oswald had had sexual relations with one or two employees of the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, that at least one of these liaisons (with Silvia Durán) had been part of an international Communist plot against Kennedy, and that Durán had admitted this (albeit under torture) in response to questions from the Mexican DFS or secret police.
More importantly, the CIA and FBI conspired to suppress a major clue to the existence of a pre-assassination conspiracy. This was that an unknown person had falsely presented himself as Lee Oswald in a phone call to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. The FBI initially reported that the person making the recorded call "was not Lee Harvey Oswald" (AR 249-50). Later the FBI and CIA conspired, swiftly and clumsily, to conceal both the falsity of the impersonation and the fact that FBI agents had exposed the falsehood by listening to the tape. The Warren Commission learned nothing about these two facts.
It is important to understand that this suppression was entirely consistent with intelligence priorities of the period. This important clue had been planted in the midst of one of the most sensitive CIA operations in the 1960s: its largest intercept operation against the telephones of an important Soviet base. One can assume that this clue was planted by conspirators who knew that the CIA response would be to suppress the truth. As a result the CIA protected its sources and methods (in accordance with the responsibilities enumerated in its enabling statute). The result was obstruction of justice in a crime of the highest political significance.
In an open society, all of the Oswald facts and allegations would have reached the Warren Commission, whether or not they were true. The absence of objective evaluation and review allowed these facts and allegations about Oswald in Mexico to become enabling instruments of power: first to create the Warren Commission, and later to curtail its investigations.
The power of these covert agencies to control US politics through the manipulation of truth is only one more reason for us to refer to them as cryptocracies, agencies of government which (in contrast to conventional bureaucracies) operate secretly and are not accountable for their actions and procedures. At this stage, I shall refer to cryptocracies in the plural, to make it clear that I am not talking about some single omnipotent Secret Team. On the contrary, we shall see that different cryptocracies or intelligence agencies, and even different branches within these agencies, were in conflict with each other over the matters raised by Lee Harvey Oswald.
The point is rather that, in major powers like the United States, bureaucratic behavior, which in principle is publicly recorded and accountable, is in some respects determined by the cryptocratic behavior at its center, which is not As we shall see in the following pages, one of the important sources of the cryptocracies' power is their ability to falsify their own records, without fear of outside correction.
But even if we concede the autonomy of cryptocracies, how important are they in determining the course of history? I believe the evidence presented herein will justify a limited answer to this question: the cryptocracies, and the CIA in particular, were powerful enough to control and defuse a possible crisis in U.S. political legitimacy. They did so by reinforcing an unsustainable claim: Oswald killed the President, and he acted alone.
Cryptocracies and the Cryptonomy (International Drug Traffic)
But the power of cryptocracies to influence history became even greater when, as we shall see, they acted in concert with forces allied to the powerful international drug traffic. Most people are unaware of the size of this unrecorded drug economy. In 1981 U.S. Government analysts estimated that the annual sales volume of illicit drugs exceeded half a trillion dollars. 4 The total of legitimate, recorded international trade, in all commodities, was in the order of one trillion dollars, or twice the estimate for drugs. While estimates of the unrecorded drug traffic remain questionable, it is obvious that this traffic is large enough to be a major factor in both the economic and political considerations of government, even while it does not form part of recorded economic statistics.
For this reason, I propose the word cryptonomy, to name this unrecorded, illicit, but nonetheless important shadow economy. It is no accident that cryptocracies and the cryptonomy work in concert. The cryptonomy is so large, and so powerful, that governments have no choice but to plan to manage it, even before attempting to suppress it. 5
There is a third factor contributing to the invisible alliance of cryptocracies and the cryptonomy: the power of the independently wealthy, and of the banks that cater to them. Informed observers of American politics have more than once commented to me that most of the hundred wealthiest people in the US know each other, and in addition often have connections to both the CIA and to organized crime. There is no shortage of anecdotal examples: James Angleton of CIA Counterintelligence delivering the sole eulogy at the small private funeral of Howard Hughes, or Joseph Kennedy Sr. being a point-holder in the same casino (the Cal-Neva) as Sam Giancana. 6 More relevant to the milieu of the JFK assassination is the example of Clint Murchison, Sr. Murchison paid for the horse-racing holidays of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the same time as he sold stakes in his investments to mob figures like Jerry Catena, and enjoyed political influence in Mexico. 7
These connections are no accident. More often than not the extremely wealthy became that way by ignoring or bending the rules of society, not by observing them. In corrupting politicians, or in bypassing them to secure unauthorized foreign intercessions, both the mob and the CIA can be useful allies. In addition drug profits need to be laundered, and banks can derive a significant percentage of their profits by laundering them, or otherwise bending or breaking the rules of their host countries. 8 Citibank came under Congressional investigation after having secretly moved $80 million to $100 million for Raul Salinas de Gortari, brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas. 9
When operating within their guidelines, cryptocracies are less powerful than generally believed. Likewise the power of the biggest drug traffickers is not autonomous, but depends on their government connections. But when cryptocracies and cryptonomy work in concert, as they must to sustain the status quo, they share in a source of deep political influence that affects us all. A good example of this is the collaboration in Mexico, between the CIA and the corrupt DFS, to influence history by presenting false stories about Oswald. But it would be wrong to think of the CIA-DFS collaboration as a simple alliance.
One of the most crime-ridden CIA assets we know of is the Mexican DFS, which the US helped to create. From its foundation in the 1940s, the DFS, like other similar cryptocracies in Latin America, was deeply involved with international drug-traffickers. By the 1980s possession of a DFS card was recognized by DEA agents as a "license to traffic;" DFS agents rode security for drug truck convoys, and used their police radios to check of signs of American police surveillance. 10 Eventually the DFS became so identified with the criminal drug-trafficking organizations it managed and protected, that in the 1980s the DFS was (at least officially) closed down. 11 Thus the CIA-DFS alliance was at best an uneasy one, with conflicting goals. The CIA's concern was to manage and limit the drug traffic, while the DFS sought to manage and expand it.
Management of the drug traffic takes a variety of forms: from denial of this important power source to competing powers (the first and most vital priority), to exploitation of it to strengthen the existing state. There now exists abundant documentation that, at least since World War II, the US Government has exploited the drug traffic to finance and staff covert operations abroad. Perhaps the most conspicuous example is the massive paramilitary army organized and equipped by the CIA in Laos in the 1960s, for which drugs were the chief source of support. This alliance between the CIA and drug-financed forces has since been repeated in Afghanistan (1979), Central America (1982-87), and most recently Kosovo (1998).
It is now fairly common, even in mainstream books, to describe this CIA exploitation of the drug world as collaboration against a common enemy. For example Elaine Shannon, in a book written with DEA assistance, speaks as follows of the CIA-DFS alliance:
DFS officials worked closely with the Mexico City station of the US Central Intelligence Agency and the attaché of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DFS passed along photographs and wiretapped conversations of suspected intelligence officers and provocateurs stationed in the large Soviet and Cuban missions in Mexico City. . ..The DFS also helped the CIA track Central American leftists who passed through the Mexican capital. 12
But it is important to remember that such alliances were often first formed in order to deny drug assets to the enemy. In Mexico as in Asia, just as in the US "Operation Underworld" on the docks of New York City, the US Government first began its drug collaborations out of fear that drug networks, if not given USG protection, would fall under that of some other foreign power.
"Operation Underworld," like its Mexican equivalent, began after signs that the Sicilian Mafia in New York, like the Latin drug networks of Central and South America, were being exploited by Axis intelligence services. The crash program of assistance to Kuomintang (KMT) drug networks in post-war Southeast Asia was motivated in part by a similar fear, that these networks would come under the sphere of mainland Chinese influence.
Thus it would be wrong to portray the CIA-drug alliance, particularly in Mexico, as one between like-minded allies. The cooperation was grounded in an original, deeper suspicion; and, especially because dealing with criminals, the fear of betrayal was never absent. This was particularly true of the DFS when guided by Luis Echeverría, a nationalist who in the late 1960s developed stronger relations between Mexico and Cuba. Some have questioned whether the increased Cuban-Mexican relations under his presidency (1970-76) were grounded partly in the drug traffic, overseen by his brother-in-law. 13
Even in 1963 the fear of offending Mexico's (and Echeverría's) sensibilities led the CIA to cancel physical surveillance of a Soviet suspect (Valeriy Kostikov); the CIA feared detection by the DFS, who also had Kostikov under surveillance. 14 By the 1970s there were allegations that the CIA and/or FBI were using the drug traffic to introduce guns into Mexico, in order to destabilize the left-leaning Echeverría government. 15
This is perhaps the moment to point out another special feature of the US-DFS relationship in Mexico. Both the CIA and FBI (as Shannon noted, and as we shall see) had their separate connections to the DFS and its intercept program. The US effort to wrest the drug traffic from the Nazi competition dated back to World War II, when the FBI still had responsibility for foreign intelligence operations in Latin America. Winston Scott, the CIA Station Chief in Mexico City, was a veteran of this wartime overseas FBI network; and he may still have had an allegiance to Hoover while nominally working for the CIA. 16 We shall see that on a key policy matter, the proposed torture of Oswald's contact Silvia Durán, Scott allied himself with the FBI Legal Attaché and the Ambassador, against the expressed disapproval of CIA Headquarters.
What is particularly arresting about this CIA-mob nexus that produced false Oswald stories, is its suggestive overlay with those responsible for CIA-mob assassination plots. Key figures in the latter group, such as William Harvey and David Morales, did not conceal their passionate hatred for the Kennedys. It is time to focus on the CIA-mob connection in Mexico as a milieu which will help explain, not just the assassination cover-up, but the assassination itself.
The Exemption of Cryptocracies from the Rule of Law
From other sources, we learn more about the autonomy of these cryptocracies, especially the CIA. It was almost by accident that the public learned of a secret agreement, in violation of a Congressional statute, whereby the CIA was exempted from reporting crimes of which it was aware to the Justice Department. This agreement was so secret that for almost two decades successive Attorneys General were unaware of it. 17 (My understanding is that the agreement arose from a "flap" in Thailand, where a CIA officer who was about to report on the local drug traffic was murdered by another, who was working with it.) 18
Although this agreement was temporarily ended under the Ford Administration, a new secret Memo of Understanding under Reagan again lifted the obligation to report the criminal acts of CIA assets who were drug-traffickers. I have argued elsewhere that these covert agreements have been significant factors in augmenting the flows of heroin and cocaine into this country.
Obviously a memo from the Reagan Administration is of little relevance to the Kennedy assassination. But it is of extreme relevance that a prior agreement was in force from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, exempting the CIA from a statutory requirement to report any criminal activity by any of its employees or assets. This agreement, drawn up under Eisenhower and eventually rescinded under Gerald Ford, was so secret that the Attorneys General under JFK and LBJ (including Robert Kennedy) were never informed of it. 19 We can assume however that the agreement was known to those CIA officers who suppressed an important clue that would have led to their Soviet intercept program, and thereby obstructed a proper investigation of President Kennedy's murder.
This exemption from a statutory obligation might be considered anomalous, except that in one form or another the CIA has enjoyed such exemptions for most of its history.
Oswald, Russia, and Cuba: How the Managed Oswald Stories Led to the Warren Commission
As noted earlier, the DFS played a central role, along with the CIA, in the management of conspiratorial stories about Oswald in Mexico, including the false Oswald-Soviet intercept. The key to this procedure, as I argued in Deep Politics, was a two-fold process. Phase One put forward the phantom of an international plot, linking Oswald to the USSR, to Cuba, or to both countries together. This phantom was used to invoke the danger of a possible nuclear confrontation, which induced Chief Justice Earl Warren and other political notables to accept Phase Two, the equally false (but less dangerous) hypothesis that Oswald killed the President all by himself.
This essay affords a close-up look of the genesis of the Phase-One story, and how it was first promoted and then defused by the CIA. Michael Beschloss has revealed at, at 9:20 AM on the morning of November 23, CIA Director John McCone briefed the new President. In Beschloss' words: "The CIA had information on foreign connections to the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, which suggested to LBJ that Kennedy may have been murdered by an international conspiracy." 20 It would be wrong however to think that the CIA cover-up was limited to defusing this Phase-One impression of an international conspiracy. The CIA, by covering up the falsity of the alleged Oswald phone call to the Soviet Embassy, actually helped strengthen a spurious supposed link between Oswald and an alleged Soviet assassination expert, Valeriy Kostikov.
It is not certain whether the conspiracy McCone referred to on November 23 involved Cuba or the Soviet Union. Beschloss's account implies that McCone's "information" concerned Oswald's alleged visit in September 1963 to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City:
A CIA memo written that day reported that Oswald had visited Mexico City in September and talked to a Soviet vice consul whom the CIA knew as a KGB expert in assassination and sabotage. The memo warned that if Oswald had indeed been part of a foreign conspiracy, he might be killed before he could reveal it to U.S. authorities. 21
Johnson appears to have had this information in mind when, a few minutes after the McCone interview, he asked FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover if the FBI "knew any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy." 22
But widely scattered clues, to be explored herein, suggest that the US Government was thinking of a Cuban connection to Oswald even before the Soviet one. Already on November 22 the FBI was reporting a claim never mentioned in CIA records: that the false Oswald-Soviet phone call was made by Oswald while telephoning "from the Cuban Embassy." 23
FBI Agent James Hosty, who handled the Oswald file in Dallas, has written that he learned later from two independent sources that at the time of Oswald's arrest,
fully armed warplanes were sent screaming toward Cuba. Just before they entered Cuban airspace, they were hastily called back. With the launching of airplanes, the entire U.S. military went on alert. 24
These planes would have been launched from the U.S. Strike Command at McDill Air Force Base in Florida. We have a cable from U.S. Army Intelligence in Texas, dated November 22, 1963, telling the Strike Command (falsely) that Oswald had defected to Cuba in 1959 and was "a card-carrying member of the Communist Party." 25 As discussed below, these allegations are incompatible with the present Phase-Two account of Oswald's life, but were corroborated at the time. At 4:00 PM on the afternoon of November 22, Hoover told Bobby Kennedy that Oswald "went to Cuba on several occasions, but would not tell us what he went to Cuba for." 26 (There is nothing in FBI files on Oswald, as released to the public, to suggest either that Oswald had visited Cuba, or that he had been interrogated about such visits by the FBI.)
We know from other sources that Bobby Kennedy, on the afternoon of November 22, was fearful of a Cuban involvement in the assassination. Jack Anderson, the recipient of much secret CIA information, suggests that this concern may have been planted in Bobby's head by CIA Director McCone.
When CIA chief John McCone learned of the assassination, he rushed to Robert Kennedy's home in McLean, Virginia, and stayed with him for three hours. No one else was admitted. Even Bobby's priest was turned away. McCone told me he gave the attorney general a routine briefing on CIA business and swore that Castro's name never came up. . . .Sources would later tell me that McCone anguished with Bobby over the terrible possibility that the assassination plots sanctioned by the president's own brother may have backfired. Then the following day, McCone briefed President Lyndon Johnson and his National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy. Afterward McCone told subordinates -- who later filled me in -- what happened at that meeting. The grim McCone shared with Johnson and Bundy a dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, strongly suggesting that Castro was behind the assassination. 27
Such dispatches did emanate from the Mexico City embassy, although we know of none as early as November 23. Three days later the Ambassador, Thomas Mann, the CIA Station Chief, Winston Scott, and the FBI Legal Attaché, Clark Anderson, enthusiastically promoted wild allegations that Oswald's act had been plotted and paid for inside the Cuban Embassy. 28 We know that McCone was wedded to this story, and continued to share it confidentially even after its narrator, the Nicaraguan double agent Gilberto Alvarado, had first recanted it on November 30.
The Early Oswald-Cuba Information Gap
The publicly released CIA record shows no trace of any linkage between Oswald and Cuba from Mexico until late November 23, long after McCone saw the President. But as we shall see this absence is itself suspicious, indeed hard to believe. There are too many loose clues that CIA Headquarters already had heard more about Oswald and Cuba than the purportedly complete record of CIA cables would account for. This would suggest that the record has been smoothed over to efface any trace of a credible Cuban implication.
For example, one of the CIA officers in Mexico City who worked on the pre-assassination Oswald file "was certain that a second cable reporting Oswald's contacts with the Cuban Embassy had been sent to Headquarters prior to the assassination." 29 But there is no surviving CIA trace of any reason on November 22 to link Oswald, or the assassination, to Cuba, or possibly covert action against Cuba.
The FBI, in contrast, has now released a November 22 memo that already linked Oswald to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico:
By Secret teletype dated 10/10/63 CIA advised. . . that a sensitive source on 10-1-63 had reported that Lee Oswald contacted the Soviet Embassy . . . inquiring whether the Embassy had received any news concerning a telegram. . . .(The Legal Attaché in Mexico advised 11-22-63 that this was a telephone call made from the Cuban Embassy to the Soviet Embassy and a transcript thereof is being forwarded.) 30
There is no known corroboration for the Legal Attaché's claim on November 22 that the call was made from the Cuban Embassy. However this early mention of the Cuban Embassy suggests that the FBI in Mexico City may indeed have had its own sources of information, including both intercepts and informants. (It is now officially admitted that the CIA had penetration agents inside the Cuban Embassy, and the FBI may have as well.) 31
Perhaps the strongest indication of deeper FBI knowledge is a CIA memo of December 11; this argued against the public release of the first FBI report on the case, "because the Soviets would see that the FBI had advance information on the reason for Oswald's visit to the Soviet Embassy." 32 Advance information???
It is commonplace now to attribute the cover-up to early reports about Oswald and Cuba. For example, Anderson suggests that a cover-up was ordered by Johnson himself, on the basis of what McCone told him on November 23 about Mexico City. According to Anderson, McCone argued that
Nikita Khrushchev was on the ropes inside the Kremlin, humiliated over backing down . . . during the Cuban missile crisis. [This was indeed true, as his ouster in 1964 would show.] If Castro were to be accused of the Kennedy assassination, Americans would demand revenge against Cuba, and Khrushchev would face another Cuban crisis. . . .This time he might do something reckless and provoke a nuclear war, which would cost forty million lives. It was a staggering figure that the new president repeated to others. 33
Telephone transcripts in the LBJ Library confirm that LBJ used this argument to coerce Senator Richard Russell into serving on the Commission. 34 Chief Justice Earl Warren told William Manchester that Johnson persuaded him to lead the Warren Commission by raising the same threat of war against Castro and Khrushchev: "Why, if Khrushchev moved on us, he could kill 39 million in an hour." 35
The Manipulation or Management of the Mexico Oswald Stories
Whatever the details, we see how important were CIA stories about Oswald's foreign involvements in securing a Commission committed from the outset to the finding that Oswald acted alone. The CIA's role might be defensible if the information were objective and well-grounded. But as will be shown, the stories of Oswald's Cuban involvements were virtually worthless. The two main sources for them, Silvia Durán and Gilberto Alvarado, both changed their stories repeatedly, under the threat or actual application of torture by the Mexican secret police. Alvarado actually recanted his story, as the Warren Commission was informed; however the Warren Commission did not learn that Alvarado claimed to have been told that, if he did not recant, he would be hung by his testicles. 36 And the supposed objective record of intercepted phone calls by Oswald is, as we shall see, just as seriously flawed.
In the days after the murders in Dallas, the U.S. was flooded with dubious stories, most of them swiftly discredited, linking Oswald to either a Cuban or Soviet conspiracy. Those which most preoccupied the FBI and CIA all came out of Mexico. These stories exhibited certain common characteristics.
1) They all came either directly from an intelligence source, or from someone in the hands of an intelligence agency. Nearly always, the agency involved was the Mexican DFS or secret police. The DFS, along with the Nicaraguan intelligence service, which was also a source, were under CIA tutelage.
2) The stories changed over time, to support either a pro-conspiratorial hypothesis (Phase One), or a rebuttal of this (Phase Two).
3) The Warren Commission was led to believe that the Phase-One stories were without basis. In fact a number of unresolved anomalies suggest that behind them was some deeper truth, still not revealed.
4) As just noted, the two main sources, Silvia Durán and Gilberto Alvarado, gave varying stories while detained by the DFS. Of the two, Durán was actually tortured, and Alvarado reportedly threatened with torture. Far from regretting this use of torture, the Ambassador, Thomas Mann, the CIA Station Chief, Winston Scott, and the FBI Legal Attaché, Clark Anderson, argued strenuously, in the face of Washington's expressed disapproval, for Durán's arrest and rearrest by the DFS, and that DFS torture be used again. 37
In retrospect, these stories should not have been taken seriously. In fact the CIA was able to rely on them, not as a source of truth, but as a source of coercive influence over the rest of government. It will I think help us to understand what was going on if we refer to the stories, not as "information" or even as "allegations," but as managed stories.
The full history is complex and confused, with many unanswered questions. But nearly all of these managed stories, along with others outside Mexico to be discussed later, resolve into this simple pattern of a Phase One/Phase Two evolution.
1) Silvia Durán's managed story
Luis Echeverría, the Mexican Minister of Gobernaciòn (which directed the DFS), told Winston Scott on November 23 that Silvia Durán had given a "written statement attesting to two visits by Oswald." 38 According to the sequence of documents in Oswald's 201 file, no written statement from Durán's DFS interview reached CIA Headquarters until November 28, after Langley had asked for it on November 27. 39
There is however evidence that the CIA HQ received a written Durán statement, not in the Oswald 201 file, from a back channel. 40 Already on November 24 we find a cable from John Scelso at Headquarters, who has already read it: "After analyzing all the [cable] traffic and reading the statement of Silvia Durán, one important question still puzzles us." 41 Even earlier, on November 23, the CIA opined in a Headquarters memo to the FBI that Oswald probably wanted a Soviet visa first, then a Cuban transit visa while waiting for it. The memo added that "This is also the conclusion reached by Silvia Durán, the Mexican national employee of the Cuban Embassy who dealt with OSWALD." 42 Durán could indeed easily have voiced this opinion, but there is nothing in the Oswald 201 file that indicates how CIA HQ could have known this.
It seems likely that the 10-page written Durán statement sent on November 27 was designed to replace an earlier, suppressed statement referred to in the CIA cable of November 23. Summarizing the contents of this statement, the cable repeated the Phase-One allegation that Oswald said he was a "Communist and admirer of Castro." 43 But what the CIA found worthy of reporting on November 23 (that Oswald said he was a Communist) has disappeared from the November 26 10-page written statement, as later from two subsequent differing versions of Durán's November 23 interview, all of them Phase Two.
None of the Phase-One or Phase-Two versions mention what Silvia told the Cuban Ambassador after her release: that the DFS asked her "if she had personal relations and even if she had intimate [i.e. sexual] relations with him." (In his phone call reporting this to the Cuban President, overheard by the CIA, the Ambassador also commented on the bruises inflicted on Durán during the interview.) 44
From whatever source, rumors of a Durán-Oswald sexual relationship were soon floating through the US Embassy in Mexico City in the first week after the assassination, when they were heard by an FBI agent, Larry Keenan, who had been sent down by Washington. 45 A Cuban exile who was also a CIA agent, Salvador Díaz Verson, claimed to have heard in the offices of the Mexico City newspaper Excelsior, on November 25, that the DFS had learned from Durán that Oswald "had contacted DURAN, and had stayed in her home in Mexico City." 46 (Silvia Durán herself testified that the DFS had given the results of her first interrogation to Excelsior, where a version of them was published.) 47
As late as 1967 Durán reportedly told a CIA agent, LIRING-3, that in her November 23 interrogation she had been "interviewed thoroughly and beaten until she admitted that she had an affair with Oswald." 48 CIA Station Chief Win Scott later reported on this Phase-One allegation as a fact, "the fact that Silvia Durán had sexual intercourse with Lee Harvey Oswald on several occasions when the latter was in Mexico City." 49
A decade later Durán confirmed to the House Assassinations Committee staff that she had been questioned about sexual relations with Oswald, which she linked to the claim that "we were Communists and that we were planning the Revolution." 50
all the time they tell me that I was a Communist . . . and they insisted that I was a very important person for . . . the Cuban Government and that I was the link for the International Communists -- the Cuban Communists, the Mexican Communists and the American Communists, and that we were going to kill Kennedy, and I was the link. For them I was very important. 51
We shall see that the theory of an international Communist assassination conspiracy, with the Oswald-Durán relationship at its center, was one propounded by Durán's cousin-in-law, Elena Garro de Paz, who was already in DFS custody. Durán blamed her "cousin" [i.e. Garro] for her arrest by the DFS. 52
Whatever the details, there is a conspicuous contrast between the Phase-One accounts of this November 23 interview, beginning with the missing "written statement" of November 24, and the extant Phase-Two accounts. None of the extant versions mention either a conspiracy or a sexual relationship. Yet a State Department officer later told Secretary of State William Rogers that he had heard from the Deputy Chief of the CIA Station (Alan White) that the DFS had indeed interrogated Silvia Durán about the substance of the Garro allegations. 53
The credibility of the Durán allegations is still further complicated by the hints and rumors, explored in the Lopez report, that Silvia Durán "may have been a source of information for either the CIA or the Mexicans." 54
2. Gilberto Alvarado's managed story
Another version of the Garro sexual assassination conspiracy theory was put forward on November 25 by an agent of Nicaraguan dictator Somoza. In brief, Oswald was supposed to have volunteered in the Cuban Embassy to kill President Kennedy; and to have received $6,500 in cash for the job (in front of Alvarado, a stranger). Alvarado's claim also overlapped in vivid particulars with the Garro story, even to such details as Oswald's companions (a tall thin Negro with reddish hair, a blonde-haired hippie with a Canadian passport), and the intimate embrace he received from a girl inside the Embassy. 55
There was an inherent problem with Alvarado's story, so grave that it raises questions why Alvarado was ever treated with such seriousness by the US Embassy in Mexico. This is that Alvarado claimed to have seen Oswald in the Cuban Embassy on September 18, a date when (as the FBI quickly established) Oswald was still in New Orleans. This problem vanished when Alvarado amended the date to September 28. 56 This happened to be exactly the date which the CIA (falsely, I shall argue below) placed Oswald in the Cuban Embassy. Given the extent of bad faith misreporting by the CIA about Oswald in the Cuban Embassy, we have to ask if this "correction" of Alvarado's story had not been inspired by his CIA or DFS interrogators.
The Phase-One Alvarado story was also soon retracted, and replaced by a Phase-Two denial. On November 30 the DFS told the CIA "that Alvarado has signed a statement saying that his story of seeing Oswald inside the Cuban Embassy is completely false." This information was immediately forwarded to CIA headquarters, who in turn forwarded it to the White House. 57 This tied up the "lead being pursued in Mexico," which, as Hoover told LBJ on November 29, delayed the FBI's hope "to have the investigation wrapped up" by that time. 58
There is more to the Alvarado story. As we have seen, he had retracted his retraction by December 3, claiming it was obtained under threat of DFS torture. Alvarado subsequently underwent a lie detector test by a technician from Washington, and failed it. 59
The essential point is that there was both a Phase-One and a Phase-Two version of the managed Alvarado story, which alternated in close synchrony with the political needs of the moment. As the Washington Post has noted, a Phase-One version of the Alvarado story reached Lyndon Johnson soon before he coerced Warren into accepting the Chairmanship of the Warren Commission:
Later that afternoon [at 4:30 PM] November 29, Johnson asked Warren to come to the White House. It was around this time that Johnson received a call [at 1:40 PM] from Hoover updating the investigation. The "angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble," Hoover said. Oswald had not been in Mexico on Sept. 18, as Alvarado had [originally] said, but Alvarado had now changed the date to Sept. 28, a day Oswald was known to have been there. 60
It is not known if Johnson brought up the Alvarado story when pressuring Warren. Certainly other cables had reached the White House on the same day, which weakened rather than increased the likelihood of Cuban involvement. A CIA cable to the White House at 1:30 PM had notified the White House that the Mexicans interviewing Silvia Durán now believed she had been involved only with visas.61 A cable at 4:15 told the White House that Alvarado did not recognize a photo of Durán, and the Mexicans now doubted his story. 62 From the CIA's record, it would appear that it was Johnson, rather than the CIA, who selectively screened the data to secure Earl Warren's compliance.
The Alvarado story in its brief and varied career was quintessentially managed, and manageable. Deeply flawed from the outset by an impossible alleged date, it was turned up, and then turned off, to meet the changing needs of his managers. There are indications that the Mexico City Station knew from the outset that the Alvarado story was false, and may indeed have planted it. According to a later report from CIA HQ to the Warren Commission,
Alvarado was known to CIA as a former informant of a Central American security service and to have been used to penetrate communist guerrilla groups. He said that he was in Mexico City still working for his service, trying to get himself accepted by the Cubans as a communist so they would take him to Cuba for guerrilla training. 63
But in the initial cable to HQ about Alvarado, he was identified only as a Nicaraguan who "claims he awaiting false Mexican documentation prior receiving sabotage training Cuba." 64 The author of this cable, "M.C. Choaden," has been identified by ARRB staff as David Phillips, a specialist in disinformation who, as the Lopez Report noted, later lied significantly about his role in the CIA's investigation of the JFK assassination. 65
In a second cable, using a different pseudonym ("L.F. Barker"), David Phillips reported that Alvarado had admitted he was a member of the Nicaraguan Secret Service, but saw that as no reason to question his story. On the contrary, Phillips described Alvarado as a "young, quiet, very serious person, who speaks with conviction." 66 As late as November 27, Ambassador Mann reported that the CIA ("CAS") officer interviewing Alvarado (presumably David Phillips) "was impressed by Alvarado." 67 Still later, as noted above, Alvarado modified his story to bring the date of his Oswald observance exactly into line with the date, September 28, when the CIA (wrongly) believed Oswald to have been there.
It should be understood that the Nicaraguan Secret Service, like other intelligence networks in Mexico and Central America, worked closely with the CIA. It later emerged that the CIA in Managua had already prepared several reports of which Alvarado, while in the Nicaraguan Secret Service, was the ultimate source. 68 Thus the FBI seems to have got it right when in its own reports it described Alvarado as a "source of CIA's" or "CIA source." 69
The most important part of this CIA connection is that, in Nicaragua exactly as in Mexico, the CIA's intelligence sources were grounded in the cryptonomy. It has been known for some time that the CIA's chief asset in Nicaragua was the leadership of the corrupt National Guard, which has been called "one of the most corrupt military establishments in the world. 70
We now learn that Alvarado, the "CIA source," reported "directly to General Gustavo Montiel, Chief of the Intelligence Service of the Nicaraguan Army." 71 As we shall see, Montiel was later denounced as a principal in a "massive car theft ring" run by Norwin Meneses, described in other CIA cables as "the kingpin of narcotics traffickers in Nicaragua." 72 We shall return to this striking similarity between these CIA assets -- Montiel in Nicaragua, Nazar Haro in Mexico -- that both were said to be involved in networks dealing simultaneously in massive car smuggling and in narcotics.
Given the known ambiguities about Alvarado's double identity as an intelligence agent, one can easily fault the leaders of the US Embassy in Mexico (Ambassador Mann, Station Chief Scott, and FBI Legat Anderson), for claiming that "there appears to be a strong possibility that a down payment was made to Oswald in the Cuban Embassy here." 73 But it is not clear that the management of the Alvarado story was integral to the Kennedy assassination plot. It is clear that the CIA was and is hiding something about Oswald and the Cuban Embassy. The Alvarado story might have been no more than a convenient diversion: a chance to focus attention on a different (and false) narrative.
3. The Elena Garro de Paz managed story
One reason the Alvarado story could be endorsed vigorously by CIA Station Chief Scott was that it was corroborated in small details by other Phase-One stories, also from intelligence sources, and later similarly retracted. 74 One of these corroborative stories was directly attributed to "a CIA man in Dallas," who allegedly told reporter Jerry O'Leary that Oswald returned from Mexico "with $5,000 which he did not have when he went into Mexico." O'Leary telephoned this information to FBI Headquarters. 75 The FBI account of this event commented, "In other words, the CIA man in Dallas leaked information to O'Leary." 76 However a CIA cable the next day reported from Mexico the rumor that Oswald had deposited $5000 in the United States after he got back from Mexico, and attributed the story to "an ODENVY [FBI] man named Clark." 77
No Phase-One allegation corroborated Alvarado more closely than that of the well-known right-wing Mexican writer Elena Garro de Paz. She claimed she had been present at a party where she had heard a Communist discussion of Kennedy, in which "they came to the conclusion that the only solution was to kill him." 78 She had also seen Oswald with the same people at a party given by Rubén Durán, the brother-in-law of Silvia Durán, "who she later learned was Oswald's mistress while he was here." In accounts given to the American Embassy in 1965, she linked Oswald to the same striking companions as did Alvarado: "a Latin American Negro man with red hair" and someone with "long blond hair." 79
When I wrote about the Garro allegations in 1993, I discounted them, on the grounds that Alvarado's story of a "Negro with reddish hair" had already been published in September 1964 in the Warren Report. 80 I now think it much more likely that some version of the Garro story had reached the DFS, or been planted by them, in the days following the assassination. No one disputes Garro's story that the DFS took her into protective custody between November 23 and November 30. Her story would explain why on the same day the DFS arrested, not only Silvia, but her husband Horacio, sister-in-law Lydia Durán, and brother-in-law Rubén Durán and his wife Betty (all placed by Garro in Oswald's presence at the incriminating party). 81 It would also explain why, on November 23, the DFS was grilling Silvia so aggressively about her sexual affair and Communist plotting with Oswald. 82 Finally it would explain why Silvia on November 23 attributed her arrest to her cousin [i.e. Garro] whom she "does not like." 83
The management of the Garro story was different from those of Silvia Durán and Alvarado. It was a Phase-One story from start to finish; as it never reached Washington through the usual CIA channels, so there was no need to reshape or retract it. The management consisted of keeping her in DFS custody, at a time when FBI personnel should have been interviewing her. 84
4. The Management of the False Oswald Intercepts October 1
It has been customary to contrast the fluid, changing stories about Oswald from human sources with the allegedly "hard," objective reports of Oswald himself talking, or being discussed, in intercepts obtained from a tap on Mexican phone lines into the Soviet Embassy. 85 However this intercept record is deeply flawed, and in part almost certainly falsified. In addition to containing false information, the intercepts share two other features with the managed stories discussed above. They supplied the changing need for first Phase-One and then Phase-Two stories. And they too reached the CIA via the Mexican DFS, the most likely candidate to have falsified them. (Although it is customary to talk of "CIA intercepts," the initial tapping and taping were handled by the DFS.)
It is helpful to consider the intercepts in the chronological order in which they reached CIA Headquarters. We see then that the intercepts can be divided into two categories: two early Phase-One intercepts, hinting that Oswald was part of an international Communist conspiracy, and a host of later Phase-Two intercepts, clarifying that Oswald's sole purpose for visiting the Soviet and Cuban Consulates was in connection with obtaining a Cuban visa.
We have already referred to the suggestive Phase-One character of the first intercept, the only one forwarded to Washington before the assassination. This linked the name of Lee Oswald to a Soviet Consul, Kostikov, whom the CIA later identified (at least for a time) as a KGB Agent from Department Thirteen, specializing in assassinations. The cable deserves to be quoted verbatim:
Acc[ording] LIENVOY [the CIA's phone intercept program] 1 Oct 63, American male who spoke broken Russian said his name Lee Oswald (phonetic), stated he at Sovemb on 28 Sept when spoke with Consul whom he believed be Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov. Subj asked Sov guard Ivan Obyedkov who answered if there anything new re telegram to Washington. Obyedkov upon checking said nothing received yet, but request had been sent. 86
Almost certainly this speaker was not the Lee Harvey Oswald who visited the Soviet Union, and spoke relatively fluent Russian. No less an authority than J. Edgar Hoover advised Lyndon Johnson of this by telephone on the morning of November 23: "We have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance." 87 Audio tapes for these LBJ phone calls have been preserved at the LBJ Library. However nothing of this conversation can be heard on the relevant tape; it would appear to have been erased. 88
Hoover's reasons for saying this were laid out in a Letterhead Memorandum sent out on the same day to the President and to the Secret Service:
The Central Intelligence Agency advised that on October 1, 1963, an extremely sensitive source had reported that an individual identified himself as Lee Oswald, who contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City inquiring as to any messages. Special Agents of this Bureau, who have conversed with Oswald in Dallas, Texas, have observed photographs of the individual referred to above and have listened to a recording of his voice. These Special Agents are of the opinion that the above-referred-to individual was not Lee Harvey Oswald." 89
Other FBI cables and memoranda confirm that the tape was indeed flown up on a US Navy plane from Mexico City to Dallas, where FBI agents confirmed the voice was not Oswald's.
John Newman has shown in detail how this initial candor was obfuscated by subsequent clumsy attempts by the Mexico City CIA to assert, falsely, that the tape, and others like it, had been erased. 90 By noon EST November 23, the Mexico City CIA Station had cabled headquarters to say that "Station unable compare voice as first tape erased prior receipt second call" (on October 1). 91 This false claim was soon abandoned. A headquarters memo reports that by 7 AM EST November 24, headquarters knew that the first tape had been reviewed, and the voice found to be identical with that in the other intercepts. 92 Ann Goodpasture, who handled the intercepts in the Mexico City CIA station, has confirmed that she herself commented on an internal document that the voices on the first and other intercepts had been compared (by "Feinglass," [Tarasoff] the responsible translator) before the assassination. 93
Later on the same critical day of November 23, the CIA reverted to a second false cover story: that all the Oswald intercept tapes had been erased by that time, not just the first. The FBI notified its Dallas office that evening that "With regard to the tapes [deletion] referred to herein, CIA has advised that these tapes have been erased and are not available for review." 94 This crucial lie (concealing the existence of evidence which could have led to a conspirator in the assassination) was repeated the next day in a cable from CIA Mexico City to headquarters: "HQ has full transcripts all pertinent calls. Regret complete recheck shows tapes for this period already erased." 95
However contemporary CIA documents suggest that comparisons of the voices on the tapes had been made, including tapes only listened to after November 22. 96 I do not accept this as conclusive evidence of the survival of the pre-assassination tapes, because (as I shall argue shortly), nothing said by the CIA about these alleged Oswald intercepts can be accepted as certain. What is certain is that in April 1964 two members of the Warren Commission staff, William Coleman and David Slawson, visited the Mexico City CIA Station and listened to the pre-assassination tape of the man identifying himself as "Lee Oswald." 97 So the tape certainly existed on November 23, when FBI agents are supposed to have listened to it. And the rebuttal that the tapes had been destroyed is certainly false.
In 1976 the staff of the Church Committee discovered the evidence that the October 1 tape had been listened to, revealing the role of an Oswald impersonator; and they reported also the ensuing cover-up. Their staff report, only recently released, noted cogently as follows:
On November 25, 1963 some two days after Dallas cabled the Bureau that the tapes had been erased Bureau supervisor Burt Turner cabled legat stating: "If tapes covering any contact subject [Oswald] with Soviet or Cuban embassies available forward to Bureau for laboratory examination. Include tapes previous reviewed Dallas if they were returned to you." 98
But this explosive staff report was ignored in Book V of the Church Committee's Final Report, which purported to review the performance of the intelligence agencies in the investigation of the assassination of President John. F. Kennedy 99 In a misleadingly detailed chronology of CIA and FBI behavior on November 23 and 24, 1963, the central problem of the October 1 tape in Dallas is ignored altogether. 100
The cover-up was perpetuated, in a more sophisticated manner, by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Its report stated, no less than three times, that no "recording of Oswald's voice" was ever "received" or "listened to" in the United States. 101 This language is a lawyer's subterfuge: what was received and listened to was precisely not a recording of Oswald's voice.
In contrast to other "benign" "Phase-Two" cover-ups of a false Oswald-Soviet link, this cover-up in November 1963 can only be called sinister. The October 8 cable about the intercept was the strongest single piece of evidence for an illusory Oswald-Soviet assassination conspiracy. By concealing its falsity, the CIA and FBI did not just keep alive the illusion. More importantly, they obstructed the pursuit of the most important available clue at that time of a high-level assassination conspiracy.
Digression: The October 1 Kostikov Intercept and the November 9 "Kostin" Letter
This clue did not stand alone. It dovetailed with a letter, purportedly from Oswald, which was mailed from Irving, Texas on November 12 to the Soviet Embassy in Washington. In this letter, the writer spoke of "my meetings [sic] with comrade Kostin in the Embassy of the Soviet Union, Mexico City." The letter also alluded suggestively to the lack of time there "to complete our business." Even more alarmingly, the author revealed knowledge that the Consul in the Cuban Embassy had been "replaced." 102 (The CIA confirmed later that Consul Azque "was scheduled to leave in October but did not leave until November 18.") 103 And finally the writer spoke of speaking with Dallas FBI Agent James Hosty on November 1, a claim which would cause considerable post-assassination embarrassment to the FBI at the very highest levels. 104
The Warren Commission accepted the genuineness of this letter, largely because of corroborating evidence in the form of a rough draft, said to be in Oswald's handwriting, which Ruth Paine allegedly discovered and then after the assassination gave to James Hosty. 105 The Soviets however considered the letter to be a fake. In a post-assassination analysis they observed that the letter was typed, whereas all of Oswald's other correspondence had been in his own handwriting. As the Soviet Ambassador pointed out at the time, the tone was also quite dissimilar to anything Oswald had communicated before; it gave "the impression we had close ties with Oswald and were using him for some purposes of our own." 106
I myself suspect that neither the letter nor the rough draft were genuine. There is no evidence that Oswald had plural "meetings" with Kostikov; I doubt that he had any. There is only one slight passing reference to the question of Oswald's and Marina's possible return to the Soviet Union, which had been the sole topic of their urgent appeals to the Washington Consulate in July. 107 It is surprising that there is no reference whatsoever to the Consulate's rejection, just one month earlier in October, of Marina's application to return to the Soviet Union. 108
What is particularly suspect about the November 9 Kostin letter is its timing. After being intercepted by the FBI on its way to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, the letter was summarized and communicated to Dallas, where the news arrived on November 22. Hosty thus only learned of it right after the assassination. Had he learned earlier, Oswald might have been put under surveillance; and the assassination could not have unfolded as it did.
As for the rough draft, I believe that it was composed, as well as discovered, after the assassination: to corroborate, and also neutralize, the dubious Kostin letter. The "draft" pointedly converts the typed letter's Phase-One language ("time to complete our business") into an innocuous description of Kostikov's role ("time to assist me"). 109
Quite independently, and for different reasons, the researcher Jerry Rose also argued that "the typed version was generated before the handwritten one," the latter designed "to create proof that Oswald had written the letter." 110 Among other things, Rose pointed out that six words spelt incorrectly in the "final" typed version, are in fact spelt correctly in the "draft"; while there are no misspellings in the "draft" that are corrected in the "final" version. 111 It is worth adding that virtually all the evidence that arrived separately to the authorities from the Paine household -- the Walker note, the pristine Mexican bus ticket -- is suspect. 112
The Kostikov intercept, and the supporting Kostin letter, were and remain two of the most incontrovertible clues of a pre-assassination conspiracy. The CIA and FBI conspired together to suppress the known fact that the voice of the intercept was not Oswald's; and the CIA, at least, saw this as an operational matter. 113 The CIA's behavior here was in accordance with its agreement with the Department of Justice. Its priority was to protect its sources and methods -- in this case, one of its most secret and important intercept operations. By prior agreement, it put this priority ahead of the pursuit of justice -- in this case, the major political crime of the century.
The FBI handling of the Kostin letter was also deficient. Ruth Paine claimed that it had been typed on her typewriter; but apparently this claim was never tested, as it should and easily could have been. Whoever did have control of the originating typewriter (I personally doubt that it was Ruth Paine's) should be considered a prima facie suspect in the murder conspiracy. 114
5. The Management of the False Oswald Intercepts September 28
The second intercept forwarded to Washington, at 2 PM EST on November 23, must have seemed even more indicative of a mysterious relationship between Oswald, the Cubans, and the Soviets. Keep in mind that at this stage the cables to Washington had not yet indicated that Oswald's visits to the two Embassies were in pursuit of a visa:
On 28 Sep 63 Silvia Duran Cuban Emb called Sov Consul saying Northamerican there who had been Sov Emb and wish speak with Consul. Uniden Northamerican told Sov consul quote "I was in your Emb and spoke to your consul. I was just now at your Emb and they took my address." Sov Consul says, "I know that." Uniden Northamerican speaks Russian "I did not know it then. I went to the Cuban Emb to ask them for my address because they have it" Sov Consul "Why don't you come again and leave your address with us It is not far from the Cuban Emb". Uniden Northamerican "Well, I'll be there right away." 115 This strange intercept might have appeared credible if the DFS had truly heard from Silvia Durán in her first interview (as alleged by Salvador Díaz Verson) that Oswald "had stayed in her home in Mexico City." 116
Nevertheless, as discussed below, this alleged intercept is even more improbable than the first. Both the Soviet and the Cuban Embassies were closed to the public on September 28, a Saturday. Durán has consistently testified that she made only one phone call on Oswald's behalf, on Friday September 27; and that she did not see Oswald again on Saturday (3 AH 49-51). MEXI 7023 notes further that the unidentified Northamerican "spoke terrible, hardly recognizable Russian;" as already noted, Oswald was relatively fluent in Russian.
In 1993 a new witness claimed that, although the Soviet Embassy was closed to the public on Saturday, Oswald was indeed admitted there. This witness was Oleg Nechiporenko, a Soviet KGB official who claimed to taken part in a Saturday morning meeting in the Embassy with Oswald and also Kostikov. 117 However Nechiporenko also denied strenuously, on videotape, that there could have been any phone calls into the Soviet Embassy on September 28; because the switchboard was closed. 118
The September 28 "address" intercept is, even more than the October 1 "Kostikov" intercept, an important clue as to the perpetrators of the Kennedy assassination. It is possible that on October 1, the Soviet phone and CIA intercept program were exploited by an outsider, about whom we know only that his Russian was bad. 119 If Durán and Nechiporenko are correct, however, the alleged "address" intercept of September 28, did not occur at all, at least in its purported form of a phone call to the Soviet Embassy. In this case we would have a strong clue that conspirators to frame Oswald in a Phase-One conspiracy existed within the LIENVOY intercept process, either in the CIA, or (as I shall suggest) within the DFS.
Let me summarize the arguments that the "address" intercept of September 28 was a fake through and through:
1) Both the Cuban Consulate and the Soviet Consulate were closed on September 28.
2) Silvia Durán has testified repeatedly that on September 28 Oswald was not in the Cuban Consulate, where their voices are alleged to have been overheard (3 AH 49-50).
3) Oleg Nechiporenko of the Soviet Embassy is the chief source supporting the claim that Oswald was in the Soviet Embassy on September 28. Yet he has stated, on video, that the telephone switchboard was closed on September 28, and that there could have been no phone conversations on that day.
4) The voice said to be Oswald's was reportedly that of the first "Kostikov" intercept, and if so not that of the Dallas Lee Harvey Oswald.
Response to the Phase-One Intercepts
It was in response to these two intercepts, but especially the second, that the CIA Station Chief moved unilaterally to have the Mexican DFS arrest Silvia Durán:
Silvia DURAN, the girl who put Oswald in touch with the Soviet Embassy, is a Mexican citizen. It is suggested that she be arrested as soon as possible by the Mexican authorities and held incommunicado until she can be questioned on the matter. She lives at Bahia de Morlaco #74. Her mother lives at Ebro # 12. Her brother [i.e. brother-in-law Rubén Durán] lives at Herodoto #14. 120
Note that the CIA already had information on both Silvia and Rubén Durán, and may
have been responsible for the latter's arrest as well. 121 Four days later this second intercept was
being characterized by Win Scott in Phase-Two language:
A telephone call . . . by Silvia DURAN who puts on an unidentified norteamerican man who tells the Soviet that he was just at their Embassy and wants to give them his address. The Soviet tells him to return to the Embassy with the address. 122
But the ominous importance attached to it originally is reflected in the tone of the questions the CIA (apparently CIA station chief Scott in Mexico) prepared on November 24 or 25:
Was the assassination of President Kennedy planned by Fidel CASTRO Ruz; and were the final details worked out inside the Cuban Embassy in Mexico?. . . .
Did the Cuban Embassy furnish him a place to stay in Mexico City? It is reliably reported that OSWALD did not know his address in Mexico City, but the Cuban Embassy did know his address in Mexico City. . . .
If CASTRO planned that OSWALD assassinate President Kennedy, did the Soviets have any knowledge of these plans? 123
That Scott formulated these questions on November 25 suggests that he already contemplated the rearrest and reinterview of Silvia Durán (as he and Ambassador Mann, along with the FBI attaché, formally requested one day later). 124 Indeed the ominous questions may have contributed to Durán's rearrest, after they were read on the night of November 25 to the President of Mexico. 125 If so, the apparently fortuitous arrival of Alvarado on November 25 fit into a project already formed in the mind of the Mexico Chief of Station.
The Arrival of the Phase-Two "Visa" Intercepts
Meanwhile, late on November 23 (according to Oswald's 201 file), Washington received its first Phase-Two version of why Oswald had visited the two Embassies. About five hours after the second Phase-One cable arrived, Washington read for the first time additional intercept transcripts suggesting that someone ("probably Oswald") had sought Durán's help in getting a Cuban transit visa in order to go to the Soviet Union. 126 This more benign alternative was soon corroborated by the first report we have of Durán's statement after being arrested. 127
It is often assumed that the Phase-Two "visa" intercepts corroborate the Phase-Two testimony from Silvia Durán about Oswald's desire for a visa. In one respect, this is not true. Early reports of Silvia Durán's testimony say that the Soviets said on the phone that Oswald's case "would have to be referred to Moscow." 128 This accords with the language typed on to Oswald's visa application, that the Soviets said "that they had to wait for authority from Moscow." 129 But the transcript of the alleged Durán phone call at 4:26 PM on September 27 has the "outside man" (i.e. the Soviet official) saying, just as clearly, "we have to await the approval of Washington" ("deben de esperar la contestacion de Washington"). 130 The reference to Washington here alludes back to, and puts a Phase-Two spin on, the reference in the Phase-One Kostikov intercept, when Oswald allegedly asked "if there anything new re telegram to Washington." 131 It cannot however be reconciled with the Durán testimony and the visa application. Either the intercept or the testimony (if not both) has to be false.
The belated appearance of these Phase-Two intercepts (about a visa) poses some very embarrassing questions about the CIA's performance. Station Chief Win Scott later wrote in his autobiographical manuscript, Foul Foe, that
Lee Harvey Oswald became a person of great interest to us during this 27 September to 2 October, 1963 period . . . [In] the Warren Commission Report [p. 777] the erroneous statement was made that it was not known until after the assassination that Oswald had visited the Cuban Embassy! . . . Every piece of information concerning Lee Harvey Oswald was reported immediately after it was received. . . .These reports were made on all his contacts with both the Cuban Consulate and the Soviets. 132 The Lopez Report gathered corroborating reports, principally from the two Russian translators, that Oswald was already of interest to the CIA Station before the October 1 intercept, and that Oswald (as Scott wrote elsewhere) had asked the Soviet Embassy for financial assistance. If such an explosive "assistance" intercept ever existed, official traces of it have now disappeared. 133
Scott's claim of pre-assassination reporting on Oswald in the Cuban Embassy, never officially admitted or revealed, is corroborated also by Ray Rocca's deposition in 1978 to the House Select Committee. 134 Cumulatively these reports are further evidence that cables about Oswald in the Cuban Embassy reached headquarters by a back channel. This strengthens the hypothesis that there was a pre-assassination CIA operation involving Oswald and Cuba. Such an operation, at least in its Mexico City aspects, would almost certainly have been directed by David Phillips.
As noted elsewhere, there are other signs that pre-assassination knowledge involving Oswald and the Cuban Embassy has been suppressed. For some reason the FBI already associated Oswald with the Cuban Embassy in a memorandum of November 22, based on a phone call from the Legal Attaché in Mexico City. 135
But Scott's claim in his manuscript is hard to reconcile with his reaction to the second Phase-One intercept (about Oswald's going to the Cuban Embassy for his address). If Scott did already know about intercepts linking Oswald to a visa application, there is no excuse for his having linked the address intercept to a Cuban assassination plot. If he did not know about the visa intercepts, it would appear that these Phase-Two intercepts were post-assassination fabrications, created ex post facto as part of a CIA cover-up.
The Importance of the Managed Oswald Stories
Most critics have given only passing attention to the role of the Oswald Mexico stories in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. The Phase-Two accounts of his visit to the Embassies (to obtain a visa), because of their abundant corroboration, are almost universally accepted, even by severe critics of the Warren Commission narrative. 136 It is not my intention at this point to challenge the Phase-Two version, except to urge caution in accepting it. The CIA and FBI have also managed the visa story told by Silvia Durán on November 23, editing and re-editing this story on at least four different occasions.
I do wish to argue that these managed stories, fleeting and insubstantial though they are, were of central importance in determining the outcome of the Kennedy assassination investigation. In succeeding years, furthermore, the discredited Phase-One stories have been revived to manipulate public opinion, even after the CIA and FBI had agreed on a Phase-Two interpretation of Oswald's movements in Mexico City.
Two of the key figures to keep the Phase-One stories alive in the early stages were CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton, and his subordinate Raymond Rocca, C/CI/RAG (Research and Analysis Group). In late January 1964 Rocca sent a memo to the Warren Commission with a section on Kostikov, with a last sentence containing a new reason to suspect a suspicious Kostikov-Oswald connection:
Kostikov is believed to work for Department Thirteen of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB. It is the department responsible for executive action, including sabotage and assassination. These functions of the KGB are known within the Service itself as "Wet Affairs" ( mokryye dela ). The Thirteenth Department headquarters, according to very reliable information , conducts interviews or, as appropriate, file reviews on every foreign military defector to the USSR to study and to determine the possibility of using the defector in his country of origin. 137
This last sentence so concerned another Counterintelligence officer in Soviet Russia Division that he dictated a memo to file concerning it.
I called Tom Hall [CI/RAG] to inquire about the source of the statement included in the last sentence of para 17 of Rocca's memo. Rocca called me sometime later and said that the source was AELADLE [Anatoliy Golitsyn, Angleton's preferred Soviet defector]. It seems that he made the statement to C/CI [Angleton], who, himself, drafted and inserted the sentence in question. 138
This is one of the rare occasions when Angleton himself is visible in the JFK record. Note that he calls his preferred KGB defector "very reliable;" this was at a time when another KGB defector with a Phase-Two message, Yuri Nosenko, had been isolated by Angleton from the Warren Commission and confined in a specially-constructed room. 139
The opposing views of an Oswald-KGB relationship had by now produced, among other things, a battle between two KGB defectors, each with their supporters. This conflict ultimately contributed to a showdown in 1974, when CIA Director Colby fired Angleton and reconstructed the Counterintelligence staff. In the wake of Angleton's departure the CIA conducted an internal review of its JFK assassination records, releasing some of them to the Church Committee and later the House Committee on Assassinations. At the same time watered-down Angletonian innuendos about Oswald and Kostikov were leaked to the public, notably in the 1978 book Legend, by Edward J. Epstein. 140
To this day both Phase-One and Phase-Two versions are trotted out from time to time. These control public perceptions of the Kennedy assassination and seize the debate from genuine critics who have less access to the media. In November 1976, for example, David Phillips of the CIA Station gave a new conspiratorial Phase-One spin to the intercepts. At a time when student activists were pressuring Congress to reopen an inquiry into the Kennedy assassination, former Warren Commission member David Belin countered with a proposal for an inquiry to see if there was "there is any credible evidence of a foreign conspiracy." 141 Backing this demand was a lengthy secret memorandum written in 1975 by Angleton's deputy, Ray Rocca, the CIA liaison to the Rockefeller Commission.
Phillips lent strength to this Phase-One alternative by telling the Washington Post, falsely, that he had authored the Mexico City cable on the first intercept; and that Oswald had told the Soviets, "I have information you would be interested in, and I know you can pay my way to Russia." 142 But there was nothing about this alleged offer in Phillips' memoir published two years later: a Phase-Two account that admitted someone else had written the cable. 143
Privileged authors, those who (unlike the rest of us) are able to interview CIA officers and quote from unreleased classified documents, continue to dominate the U.S. media with their dance between Phase-One and Phase-Two accounts of Oswald. Gus Russo, for example, writes of the "tantalizing leads about a possible Cuban conspiracy with Lee Harvey Oswald." 144 He claims, very misleadingly, that "The CIA was unsuccessful . . . in preventing the arrest" of Silvia Durán, which (although opposed by the CIA in Washington) had in fact been ordered by CIA Station Chief Scott. Referring to the questions prepared by Scott about possible Cuban or Soviet involvement, he calls them the "most critical questions surrounding the assassination." Russo states, against the available evidence, that "Duran's Mexican interrogators chose not to ask" them. 145 To assert this, he has to overlook the contrary testimony of Durán herself, partially corroborated by a CIA informant (LIRING-3), whom Russo cites elsewhere as "a CIA contact viewed as very reliable by the agency." 146
The opposite Phase-Two stance in this propaganda duet is assumed by Gerald Posner. Posner dismissed the claims of Alvarado ("now so discredited that few repeat his story"), five years before Russo would re-open questions of why the claims of this "young Nicaraguan" were so "quickly disregarded." 147 Posner found Garro's story "highly unlikely," and unsupported. 148 Russo faulted the CIA in Mexico (i.e. Scott) for reaching "the wrong conclusion," when it reported that "[The fact] that Sylvia Duran had sexual intercourse with Lee Harvey Oswald . . . adds little to the case." 149 With both of these books receiving rave reviews from the New York Times, it is hard for the American public to look behind this ballet of bestsellers, and discern the actual dynamics of case management.
The Intercepts, the Cover-Up, and the Assassination Plot
With the wholesale releases of the cable traffic in the 1990s, there is more and more recognition that the CIA and FBI, in the days after the assassination, engaged in a cover-up. Richard Mahoney reports that Bobby Kennedy, on November 29, asked Hoover if Oswald had been "connected with the Cuban operation [Mongoose] with money;" and received only a guarded reply, "That's what we're trying to nail down now." 150 According to Mahoney,
It was obvious . . . to anyone in the know that the CIA, in particular Allen Dulles, a Warren Commission member, had covered up the CIA's violent relationship with anti-Castro Cubans and the fact that Oswald, as Senator Schweiker later said, "had the fingerprints of Intelligence all over him." 151
Even Gus Russo, whose book is throughout a defense of CIA integrity, concedes that the CIA withheld information that "could have given the public the misperception that the Agency had a relationship with Oswald." 152 But according to Russo, Dulles' cover-up activities on the Warren Commission were intended chiefly to protect Bobby Kennedy, rather than the CIA. 153 "A full disclosure of Mexico City matters," Russo argues, "would have bared the Kennedys' plans to murder Fidel Castro. . . .Such a disclosure would certainly have diminished JFK's mystique as an innocent martyr." 154
Both of these two variant explanations focus on a cover-up designed to cover up anti-Castro assassination plotting in 1963: plotting in which both CIA personnel (certainly) and Bobby Kennedy (possibly) were involved. But neither Mahoney nor Russo point out the degree to which the 1963 post-Mongoose plotting involved the sources and managers of the Oswald Mexico City stories.
The Sources of the Stories and the ZR/RIFLE Assassination Project
In the pages to follow, I shall show how Staff D, the small CIA unit responsible for SIGINT (signals intelligence), and thus for electronic intercept operations, was also the unit which housed the CIA's ZR/RIFLE assassination project. The Mexican DFS, which supplied the raw intercept data to the CIA in Mexico City, also overlapped in many ways with the Cubans and organized crime personnel picked for the CIA-mafia anti-Castro assassination plots.
It is possible that the special circumstances in Mexico City explain why the CIA's generic assassination project, ZR/RIFLE, was housed within the Staff D's intercept operations. ("ZR" normally prefixed the cryptonym for a intercept program.) In his hunt for killers, ZR/RIFLE chief William Harvey searched for individuals with criminal connections. 155 The Mexico City intercept operation against the Soviet Embassy was by far the largest and most important CIA intercept program anywhere in the world. 156 And the DFS, the local intelligence service on which the CIA relied to man its listening posts, was probably the intelligence service with the profoundest links to the international drug traffic and to American organized crime.
For example, the brother-in-law of Luis Echeverría Alvarez, in 1963 the main liaison between Win Scott and the DFS, was Rubén Zuno Arce, who during Echeverría's term as President of Mexico emerged as a top drug trafficker, eventually jailed for the murder of a DEA agent (Los Angeles Times, 3/25/93). Such direct family links between Mexican politicians and the drug traffic were unfortunately not uncommon.
The DFS was involved in the LIENVOY intercept project and probably manned the listening posts. The DFS may have been assisted in this LIENVOY project by Richard Cain, an expert telephone tapper and adjunct to the CIA-Giancana [ZR/RIFLE] assassination connection, when he was in Mexico City in 1962 as a consultant to a Mexican Government agency. Richard Cain at the time was also part of that Dave Yaras - Lennie Patrick - Sam Giancana element of the Chicago mob with demonstrable links to Jack Ruby in 1963, and the HSCA speculated that Cain may have been part of the 1960-61 CIA-Mafia plots against Castro. [Cain's CIA file, according to a later CIA memo, "reflects that . . . in 1963 . . . he became deeply involved in the President Kennedy assassination case.]
Since 1995 new releases from Cain's FBI file have revealed that the file identified Cain not with the CIA or its Bay of Pigs Cuban Front, the FRD, but as "a former United States Army Military Intelligence Officer. 157
Unmistakably Staff D, the small secretive part of CIA in which the CIA-Mafia plots were housed, controlled the LIENVOY intercept intake inside the Mexico City CIA station (Ann Goodpasture, the responsible officer, was a member of Staff D). If Richard Cain trained and possibly helped recruit the Mexican LIENVOY monitors, then the CIA-DFS LIENVOY collaboration would present a matrix for connecting the CIA's internal mishandling of Oswald information to the behavior of Ruby and other criminal elements in Dallas. It would also put the CIA-Mafia connection, through Staff D, in a position to feed to the CIA the false intercept linking a false Oswald to a suspected Soviet assassination expert (Kostikov), the intercept that became a major pretext for creating a Warren Commission to reach the less dangerous conclusion of a lone assassin.
There are contextual corroborations of this matrix. Both Ruby and the DFS had links to the Mexico-Chicago drug traffic, dating back to the 1940s. The DFS and the Mexican drug traffic became increasingly intertwined after 1963; the last two DFS Chiefs were indicted, for smuggling and for murder; and the DFS itself was nominally closed down in the midst of Mexico's 1985 drug scandals.
To this we should add that Nicaraguan security forces, to whom Alvarado reported, were also deeply implicated under Somoza in the international drug traffic. Indeed military intelligence officers from Mexico to Panama in this period recurringly exhibited the same pattern: involvement with each other, with the drug traffic, and with the CIA. 158
Involvement with drug-trafficking was associated with other criminal activities, notably the smuggling of stolen U.S. cars. Miguel Nazar Haro, a key DFS official who was also a CIA asset, was indicted in California as part of a $30 million car theft ring. 159
We have seen that Alvarado himself was part of this milieu. As CIA cables reveal, his reports on Communists for Nicaraguan intelligence reached the CIA through his superiors. And the man to whom he reported, Gustavo Montiel of Nicaraguan Military Intelligence, was accused years later of being behind a "massive car theft ring" in the 1970s, which was run by another undercover informant against subversives, Norwin Meneses Canterero. 160 Norwin Meneses became the key figure in a Contra-drug connection exposed by Gary Webb; CIA cables released in connection with Webb's charges confirm that already in the Somoza era Meneses "was called the kingpin of narcotics traffickers in Nicaragua." 161 Yet Meneses was able to move in and out of the United States with impunity in the Contra period. This immunity aroused suspicions in law enforcement circles that Meneses enjoyed CIA protection, just as undoubtedly the CIA intervened to remove Nazar Haro from the list of DFS agents indicted in California for car smuggling. 162
It is highly unlikely that Scott and the other CIA Station officers were unaware of the corruption with which they were dealing, but of which their cables mention nothing. Indeed Scott was a personal beneficiary, having accepted from his friend Miguel Nazar Haro a Cadillac for his personal use. 163
New Revelations about Staff D, the DFS, and ZR/RIFLE
There are new revelations which strengthen the importance, in the ZR/RIFLE assassination nexus, of the Mexico City connection between Staff D and the DFS. The first is the importance of Mexico City to Staff D operations globally. As already noted, Mexico City was the site of the largest CIA intercept operations around the globe, as it afforded the CIA the opportunity to target one of the largest KGB outposts outside of the Soviet bloc. 164 Anne Goodpasture, who supervised the intercept operations in the Mexico City station, was a member of Staff D. She was also a co-author of the suspect cable naming Oswald and Kostikov, MEXI 6453, which I have characterized as evidence of a conspiracy.
As Chief of Covert Action in the Mexico City CIA Station, and later as Chief of Cuban Operations, David Phillips oversaw these intercept operations. Simultaneously he held a second operational responsibility in the Special Affairs Staff, which in 1963 was coordinating all covert operations (including assassinations) against Castro. Some of these anti-Castro Cuban assets were based in Mexico City, and two of these in particular have been linked to the Kennedy assassination.
The first is Isidro (or Eusebio) Borja, the Mexican-born Cuban military chief of the exile group DRE, the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil. At the 1995 meeting in Nassau between Cuban and American students of the assassination, the Cubans reported that according to their files Borja was back in Mexico in 1962-63, as an asset of Phillips. This is quite credible, given Borja's Mexican background, plus the DRE's role in propaganda activities for the Bay of Pigs, for which Phillips was responsible. 165
The Cubans, who had seen a photograph of Borja also suggested that Borja might have been the alleged Mexican observed in the photographs of Oswald leafleting in New Orleans. 166 More relevant in my view is Borja's responsibility for the DRE's military arms procurement program in 1963, which brought the DRE to Dallas and possible contact (according to a book by Ray and Mary La Fontaine) with both Oswald and Jack Ruby. 167 Of particular interest is the fact that arms were being supplied by a Captain of the U.S. Army at Fort Hood (Capt. George Nonte), the army base in Texas which for some reason maintained an intelligence file both on Oswald and his alias "A.J. Hidell." 168
The second of Phillips' anti-Castro Cuban assets was Bernardo de Torres, the assassination suspect referred to by Gaeton Fonzi as "Carlos." 169 De Torres also developed close relationships with the DFS and has been accused of smuggling drugs out of Mexico with the knowledge of Nazar Haro. 170
Bernardo de Torres has further been established as a contact of David Sanchez Morales. 171 Morales was a CIA officer and killer who "was well known as the Agency's top assassin in Latin America." He also openly described Kennedy's conduct during the Bay of Pigs operation "as traición (betrayal)." 172 According to a friend, Morales once ended an anti-Kennedy tirade with the words, "Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn't we?" 173
Since the 1950s Morales' career had closely paralleled that of his friend David Phillips: in Caracas, on the Guatemala operation, on the Bay of Pigs, and by 1963 at the JM/WAVE station. Two witnesses have stated that when Morales was stationed at JM/WAVE in Miami, and Phillips in Mexico City, "Morales would frequently travel from . . . Miami to Mexico City." 174 Two of Morales' friends said that Morales spoke of having taken part in the killing of Che Guevara (1967), and also of "a leader of the government in Chile" (either General Schneider in 1970 or President Allende in 1973). 175 The former assassination at least would have been while under the direction of David Phillips, who was in charge of the CIA's program to prevent Allende from assuming office. 176
But in 1963 Morales was also meeting with the former principals of the ZR/RIFLE plots, William Harvey and John Rosselli, for purposes which are unexplained, and were possibly unauthorized. 177 Rosselli, an associate of Richard Cain from Chicago, had been the principal mob participant in the ZR/RIFLE project to assassinate Castro. 178 But by 1963 Harvey, after infuriating both Robert Kennedy and CIA Director McCone, had been taken off anti-Castro operations and reassigned as CIA Station Chief in Rome. The FBI had Rosselli under close observation in 1963; and allegedly overheard him and Harvey indulge themselves "by saying nasty things about Bobby Kennedy." 179
Another significant revelation is the presence in William Harvey's ZR/RIFLE files of Harold Meltzer, who in the 1940s helped build up the Mafia's Mexico City drug connection. 180 According to Richard Mahoney,
In 1975, the Church Committee catalogued Harvey's ZR/RIFLE files and found the dossier of one Harold Meltzer, whom Harvey had described as "a resident of Los Angeles with a long criminal record." What the ZR/RIFLE memo did not say was that Meltzer was a longtime collaborator and sometime shooter for Rosselli. Who, if not Rosselli, would have introduced him and vouched for him to Harvey? It was yet another indication that the alliance between Harvey and Rosselli went far deeper than the one-shot joint venture to kill Castro. What sealed their relationship was a venomous hatred of the Kennedys, and their collaboration in the sensitive art of murder. 181
And what Mahoney does not mention is that both FBN and FBI files linked the Mexican drug connection to Jack Ruby. Ruby's contacts with Mexican drugs are first reported in 1948, but seem to have been reactivated in 1963. At least one old collaborator of Meltzer in the Mexican drug traffic, Paul Roland Jones, contacted Ruby in Dallas just before the assassination. 182
It is clear that throughout 1963, members like David Morales of the CIA's Special Affairs Staff, designated to co-ordinate operations against Castro (including new assassination projects), maintained contact with Cuban and other enemies of the Kennedys. What has become clear only recently is that David Phillips, when he acquired his second role in the fall of 1963 as Chief of Cuban Operations in Mexico City, now answered in this capacity to the Special Affairs Staff. 183 Phillips was in effect rejoining the officers he had worked with on the Bay of Pigs in 1961, at which time he had been responsible for propaganda operations against the newly-created Fair Play for Cuba Committee. 184
From about October 1 to October 9 Phillips made a quick trip, authorized by the Special Affairs Staff, to Washington and then Miami. 185 On October 1 the Mexico City CIA station also sent a cable directing that a diplomatic pouch, sent on October 1 to Washington, should be held in the registry until picked up by "Michael C. Choaden" (i.e. Phillips) presently TDY (temporary duty) HQS." 186 The date October 1 catches our eye, inasmuch as it is the date of the alleged Oswald-Kostikov intercept. One is also struck by Phillips' presence in the Miami JMWAVE station from October 7-9. There are reports that Rosselli, who had good standing in the JMWAVE station, met on two occasions in Miami in early October with Jack Ruby. 187
Phillips' trip coincides curiously with a significant change in the contents and handling of Oswald's 201 file. Up to late September 1963, incoming documents about Oswald had been referred to the CI/OPS and SR/CI (Soviet Russia/Counterintelligence) desks. 188 But there was a new addressee for the next Oswald document, an FBI Report of September 24 from New Orleans about Oswald's arrest in August 9 after distributing Fair Play for Cuba leaflets. This was "Austin Horn" of SAS/CI (replacing the usual SR/CI), whose name appears next to the date stamp "8 Oct 1963." This exclusion of SR/CI, coupled with the initial exclusion of the report (entitled "Lee Harvey Oswald") from Oswald's 201 file, helps explain how an unwitting member of the SR/CI staff (Stefan Roll) could clear an outgoing cable that stated, falsely, that
Latest HDQS info [on Oswald] was ODACID [State Department] report dated May 1962 [!] saying ODACID had determined Oswald is still US citizen and both he and his Soviet wife have exit permits and Dept State had given approval for their travel with their infant child to USA. 189
Of the six officers responsible for drafting and signing this important cable, only one, Jane Roman of CI/LS (Counterintelligence/Liaison), had seen the incoming FBI report of September 24 that disproved their text.
Who was this "Austin Horn" who was privileged to see documents on Oswald denied to those who were drafting cables about him? There is the possibility that "Austin Horn" may in fact be David Phillips. Whether he is or not, David Phillips is the one man who seems to cover all aspects of the CIA-Oswald operation and cover-up in 1963. David Phillips even had one friend, Gordon McLendon, in common with Jack Ruby. McLendon, a sometime intelligence officer and Dallas owner of radio stations, had known Phillips since both men were in their teens. (The two men would in the 1970s join in forming the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers.) McLendon was close to two other wealthy men in Dallas who have attracted the attention of JFK researchers, Clint Murchison and Bedford Wynne. 190
What has not yet been explained is why McLendon, whom Ruby described as one of his six closest friends, embarked on a sudden and surprising trip with his family to Mexico City in the fall of 1963. 191
Conclusion: Cryptocracies, Cryptonomy, and History
By looking closely at the Mexico Oswald stories, and particularly at their genesis in the corrupt drug-linked Mexican DFS, we have learnt more about the CIA role in covering up important clues about the Kennedy assassination. But we have also seen an example of how the CIA, as a cryptocracy, interfaces with the covert but highly organized international drug economy, or what we have called cryptonomy.
Such interactions between cryptocracy and cryptonomy are widespread among major powers, and by no means limited to the CIA. The interactions are mutually beneficial: what the former gains in extra-governmental powers, the latter gains in protection and even (in the Mexican case) institutional status.
With respect to the assassination, I would propose that a coherent investigation of what happened should look closely at both sides of this interface: correlating the genesis of the false Oswald intercepts in the DFS with the pre-assassination behavior of mob-linked figures with connections to the Mexican drug traffic, like Richard Cain, Harold Meltzer, and Jack Ruby. It will I think prove relevant that key figures on the cryptocracy side, notably William Harvey and James Angleton, had direct or indirect links to the Mexican cryptonomy. 192
But we should also pause to consider what this effective interface between cryptocracy and cryptonomy means for history. With respect to the Kennedy assassination, it meant that the limited resources of the cryptocracies to suppress embarrassing events were allied to the resources of the cryptonomy in this case the international drug traffic which as is well known included assets skilled in, and already recruited for, assassination. This combination would indeed have been powerful enough to redirect the structural institutions of our society.
It also presents a crisis for our society's normal intellectual procedures. As we have seen, history is defined in dictionary terms as a narrative or record of what is known. A successful assassination plot, by contrast, represents an interruption of this record by the unrecorded, the unknown. Thus the defense of succeeding political legitimacy becomes indistinguishable from a defense of the integrity and dominance of the historical record. This defense propels people to trivialize the assassination as an accident, the work of a "lone nut."
Those of us who genuinely wish to see overt, rational forces prevail in the world must reject such a superficial and spurious defense of our institutions. The ideal embraced by our society, that it be based on truth and openness, is not a cynical cliché, but a real condition for our institutional health. The pursuit of leads hinted at in this essay may seem frustratingly difficult, esoteric, and above all slow. But to abandon this pursuit is to break faith with the American dream, indeed the dream of enlightenment itself.
1 Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy, 171.
2 There are previous examples where the actual events of American history are at odds with the public record. Allen Dulles represented the conventional view of John Wilkes Booth when he represented Booth to the Warren Commission as a loner, ignoring both the facts of the case and what is known now of Booth's secret links to the Confederate Secret Service (Scott, Deep Politics, 295; cf. Tidwell, William A., with James O. Hall and David Winfred Gaddy, Come Retribution: the Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln. [Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1988]).
3 American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. "history."
4 James Mills, The Underground Empire: Where Crime and Governments Embrace (New York: Dell, 1986), 1139.
5 For a candid account of how KMT China was torn between management and suppression of the opium traffic, see Alan Baumler, "Opium Control versus Opium Suppression: The Origins of the 1935 Six-Year Plan to Eliminate Opium and Drugs," in Opium Regimes: China, Britain, and Japan, 1839-1952, ed. Timothy Brook and Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 270-91. Baumler notes how "The opium trade was a vital source of income and power for most of the colonial and national states of East and Southeast Asia" (270). I believe this state of affairs is less restricted, and has changed less, than his choice of terms implies.
6 These and other examples in Sally Denton and Roger Morris, The Money and the Power: The Rise and Reign of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947-2000 (New York: Knopf, 2001), 185,290, etc.
7 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 207, 218-19.
8 For an instructive example involving Citicorp, America's largest bank, see Robert A. Hutchison, Off the Books (New York: William Morrow, 1986). This Citicorp scandal (one involving double bookkeeping and tax evasion rather than drugs) was richly documented by first the SEC staff and then a Congressional Hearing, yet it was successfully suppressed through political influence.
9 New York Times, 11/11/99: A Senate Committee "subpoenaed Citibank for transcripts of conversations among its private bankers on March 1, 1995, the day after Mr. Salinas had been arrested for murder. He has been convicted and is in prison in Mexico. In one conversation, the head of Citibank Private Bank, Hubertus Rukavina, asked whether Mr. Salinas's money could be moved from trust accounts in London to Switzerland, which has strict secrecy laws, according to the transcript."
10 Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 39.
11 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 104-05.
12 Desperados, 180.
13 Cf. Mills, Underground Empire, 840-43, 550.
14 MEXI 7041 24 November 1963; NARA #104-10015-10070.
15 Mills, Underground Empire, 549-50; cf. Kruger, The Great Heroin Coup, 178-79.
16 Cf. Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 107-08.
17 Samuels, Dorothy J., and James A. Goodman, "How Justice Shielded the CIA," Inquiry (October 18, 1978), 10-11. Discussion in Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Contras and the CIA: Government Policies and the Cocaine Economy. An Analysis of Media and Government Response to the Gary Webb Stories in the San Jose Mercury News (1996-2000) (Los Angeles: From the Wilderness Publications, 2000), pp. 39-40. Samuels and Goodman summarize a little-noticed Report from the House Committee on Government Operations that I (even with the help of university librarians) have so far been unable to locate in Congressional Research Service indices. I have however located a second, follow-up report: U.S. Cong., House, Committee on Government Operations, Justice Department Handling of Cases Involving Classified Data and Claims of National Security. 96th Cong., 1st Sess.; H. Rept. No. 96-280. Washington: GPO, 1979.
18 I know of no adequate published account of this murder and cover-up. There is a veiled account of the "flap" in John Ranelagh, The Agency: the Rise and Decline of the CIA (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 221.
19 Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Contras and the CIA: Government Policies and the Cocaine Economy (Los Angeles: From the Wilderness Publications, 2000), 2, 12, 39-40.
20 Michael Beschloss, ed., Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997), 22.
21 Beschloss, 23n, citing the National Archives. To my knowledge, no other researcher has yet discovered this memo.
22 Beschloss, 23.
23 FBI Memo of November 22; NARA #124-10027-10395; 62-109060-lst nr 487; RB95; PS 75-1.
24 James P. Hosty, Jr., Assignment: Oswald (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1996), 219.
25 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press), 1966), 275; Deep Politics II, 80-85.
26 Hoover memo of 11/22/63 (4:01 PM) to Tolson, Belmont, Mohr, etc.; reproduced at http://www.jfklancer.com/backes/newman/documents/hoover/Hoover_RFK.JPG
27 Jack Anderson, with Daryl Gibson, Peace, War, and Politics: An Eyewitness Account (New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1999), 115-16.
28 MEXI 7072 262113Z; NARA #104-10015-10368; PS#71-54.
29 Lopez Report, 174-75. On November 22 a State Department cable from Mexico City, announcing that Mexico had closed its U.S. border in response to the assassination, was distributed inside the Mexico City CIA Station to only three people. The two first were the Station's Chief, Winston Scott, and Deputy Chief, Alan White. The third was David Phillips, in charge of covert action against the Cubans (NARA #104-10015-10309: State Cable 269 of 22 November 1963).
30 FBI Memo from Branigan to W.C. Sullivan (Turner); (NARA #124-10027-10395; 62-109060-lst nr 487; RB95; PS 75-1). Cf. Mexico FBI memo 105-3702-12, 11/23/63: "On 10/1/63, a person calling from the Cuban Embassy, Mexico City, to the Soviet Embassy, and speaking very bad Russian, identified himself as LEE OSWALD."
31 As recently re-released, the Lopez Report talks of reporting on Silvia Durán "from one of the Station's penetration agents, LI[redaction, "crypt"], at the Cuban embassy" (Lopez Report, 199; cf. 154).
32 Scelso memo of 11 December 1963 to Deputy Director (Plans), "Plans for the GPFLOOR Investigation;" NARA #104-10018-10103; PS #62-167. Cf. Newman, 406.
33 Anderson, 116.
34 [LBJ:] "We've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill forty million Americans in an hour" (Beschloss, 67).
35 Manchester, 717; Washington Post, 11/14/93.
36 MEXI 7203 (NARA #104-10016-10020).
37 TX-1915 of 23 Nov 1963 (NARA #104-10015-10055, PS#64-28: "Silvia Duran, the girl who put Oswald in touch with the Soviet Embassy"); MEXI 7029 232048Z (NARA #104-10015-10091, PS#78-94); MEXI 7072 262113Z (NARA #104-10015-10368, PS#71-54).
38 MEXI 7046 of 23 November; NARA #104-10015-10274; PS#70-172.
39 JKB[enedum] letter of 26 Nov with report in Spanish of Durán interview; under covering letter 27 November; NARA #104-10015-10189, -10190; PS#63-97. Cf. MEXI 7105 27 Nov (10-page Durán statement coming to Washington by hand 28 Nov); NARA #104-10015-10416 PS#74-34.
40 In her 1995 ARRB deposition, Ann Goodpasture confirmed (p. 39) that "I think there was what they called back channel, but I don't know the details of it."
41 DIR 84920 of 24 November; NARA #104-10015-10064; PS 73-30.
42 CSCI-3/778,826 NARA #104-10004-10257, 102-514)
44 Edited transcript of November 26 phone call between Cuban President Oswaldo Dorticos and Cuban Ambassador Joaquin Hernandez Armas; NARA #104-10015-10007 PS#73-3: "They asked her. . . did she have personal relations with him -- including intimate relations -- and she denied them all. . . .She has black and blue marks on her arms, which she said she got during the interrogation process. They were squeezing her arms" (p. 12). On December 10 a CIA HQ report "translated" Hernandez as follows: "he says that Mexican police bruised Silvia DURAN's arms a little shaking her to impress her with the importance of his questions" (XAAZ-17958 10 Dec 63; Summary of Oswald case prepared for briefing purposes; NARA #104-10018-10040 PS#62-142).
45 Personal interview with Larry Keenan.
46 26 WH 411. Díaz Verson's CIA cryptonym was AMPALM-26 (MEXI 7776 of 14 Jan 1964, NARA #104-10404-10089, p. 2).
47 3 AH 87.
48 Dispatch HMMA-32243 of 13 June 1967, covering TX-1937 of 26 May 1967.
49 Dispatch HMMA-32243 of 13 June 1967, covering TX-1937 of 26 May 1967.
50 3 AH 86.
51 3 AH 91; cf. 3 AH 86. Note that the DFS exempted the Soviets from their hypothetical conspiracy, as did Ambassador Mann (Summers, 441).
52 MEXI 7054 241837Z; NARA #104-10015-10082 PS#64-77.
53 3 AH 292-93.
54 Lopez Report, p. 200. "The Committee cannot definitely resolve whether Silvia Duran was a Mexican or American intelligence agent or source" (p. 201).
55 A.C. Plambeck memo of 25 November re Alvarado; NARA #104-10015-10301 PS#70-96. Also MEXI 7069 262037Z; NARA #104-10015-10366 PS#71-43 (Canadian hippie).
56 Hoover LBJ phone call, 11/29/63; Beschloss, 53. I have been unable to find any cable which documents the change in Alvarado's testimony, which may have been conveyed to Washington by telephone.
57 MEXI 7168 of 30 Nov 1963; NARA #104-10025-10177; PS#62-110.
58 AR 244; Scott, Deep Politics, 38.
59 MEXI 7289 070145Z; NARA #104-10017-10030 PS#72-71. A confused Alvarado accepted the negative results of the polygraph, stating "that he had utmost confidence" in it.
60 Washington Post, November 23, 1993; cf. Beschloss, 53. In a memorandum of the same day Hoover noted that it was Johnson, not Hoover, who initiated the call (3 AH 476). The call logs of the LBJ Library (available on its website) indicate that the call was from Hoover to Johnson. The September 28 date coincided exactly with the date the Mexico City CIA Station believed Oswald to have been in the Cuban Embassy. I shall argue later that in fact he was not in the Embassy on that Saturday (when the Embassy was closed), even though someone using his name was creating that impression.
61 DIR 85714 291631Z; NARA #104-10015-10224.
62 DIR 85744 291915Z; NARA #104-10015-10228.
63 Warren Commission Document 347, p. 12.
64 MEXI 7067 of 26 November; NARA #104-10015-10297; PS #70-102.
65 Lopez Report, 127-28.
66 MEXI 7069 of 26 November; NARA #104-10015-10366; PS #71-43, RB95. The identity of "Barker" with Phillips is revealed by comparing the role of "Barker" in the CIA cable reporting the Eldon Hensen story (MEXI 5448 of 20 July 1963; NARA #104-10015-10044; PS #66-14) with Phillips' first-person narration of it (The Night Watch, 126-28). Hensen was another American who in July 1963 attempted to contact the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, but was foiled by Phillips (Newman 363-63; Phillips, 126-28). The CIA later reported that for some unexplained reason the cable about Hensen was included in Oswald's pre-assassination 201 file (Newman, 506). If this is true it would indicate that Phillips had a hitherto unexplained relationship to the Oswald story before the assassination.
67 MEXI 7104 of 27 November; NARA #104-10015-10191; PS #63-114.
68 CIA Cable MANA (Managua) 4609 of 26 November; NARA #104-10015-10362 RB96A.
69 3 AH 595 (FBI memo of December 12, 1963); Mexico City serial MC 105-3702-22 (Legat Cable to HQ of November 26, 1963).
70 Richard Millett, Guardians of the Dynasty (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1977), 251; Webb, Dark Alliance, 52; Scott, Drugs, Contras, and the CIA, 15.
71 Attachment to CIA Memo of 12 December 1963 from DDP to FBI, "Mexican Interrogation of Gilberto Alvarado;" NARA #104-10018-10043; PS 74-16.
72 Webb, 55-56 (Montiel); Scott, Drugs, Contras, and the CIA, 15 ("kingpin").
73 MEXI 7072 of 26 November, p. 4; #104-10015-10350 PS#78-13.
74 For example a Mexican credit investigator, Pedro Gutierrez, wrote on December 2 to President Johnson that he had seen a Cuban in the Embassy count out dollars to an American, whom he later recognized as Lee Harvey Oswald (Coleman-Slawson Memorandum, 11 AH 161; cf. 24 WH 633, Summers, 444, Posner 194.) Another example is the swiftly retracted claim that Luisa Calderon of the Cuban Embassy, whom Alvarado allegedly saw kiss Oswald, had prior knowledge of the Kennedy assassination. (AR 454, 4 AH 181, 11 AH 494).
75 FBI Memo of 27 November from DeLoach to Mohr, FBI File 62-109060-1571.
76 The "CIA man in Dallas" presumably refers to J. Walton Moore, an acquaintance if not associate of Oswald's friend and patron George de Mohrenschildt. Both de Mohrenschildt and his wife Jeanne have claimed that Moore had pre-assassination knowledge of Oswald (Summers, Conspiracy, 226-28).
77 DIR 85654 281520Z; NARA #104-100154-10438; PS#73-128. "Clark" is presumably the FBI Legal Attaché Clark Anderson, who joined with Scott and Mann in calling for the rearrest and "cracking" of Silvia Durán to corroborate the Alvarado story. In discrediting the rumor of the $5000 deposit, the CIA cable said that "ODENVY [FBI] here has just affirmed they never heard this story," a claim hard to reconcile with the FBI memo just quoted.
78 3 AH 300.
79 3 AH 300, Memo of conversation with Elena Garro de Paz; cf. 3 AH 297; Lopez Report, 217. The Garro story , like those of Durán and Alvarado, was a malleable and changing one. I have conflated the most prominent Phase-One details.
80 Scott, Deep Politics, 123; citing WR 307.
81 The CIA originally reported that Silvia was arrested at home with husband and members of family who were having a party (MEXI 7054 of 24 Nov 1963; NARA #104-10015-10082; PS#64-55). A CIA version of Silvia's November 23 interview repeated that these others had all been picked up with Silvia because they were dining with her at Rubén Durán's home at the time of her arrest. The FBI version of the same interview ("DFS-4") indicated otherwise, that Silvia, Horacio, and Lidia were at Silvia's home, while Rubén and his wife were dining at their own home. See JKB Memo and attachment of 26 November, 1963, p. 7; NARA #104-10015-10190 (DFS-2); 25 WH 637 (DFS-4). In her 1978 HSCA interview Silvia testified that Rubén had already been arrested before she went to his house from her own and was arrested in turn (3 AH 81).
82 Silvia's account of such interrogation (3 AH 86, 91) was earlier corroborated, as we have seen, by a State Department officer's claim to have heard from CIA Station Deputy Chief Alan White that the DFS interrogated Silvia on details of the Garro story (3 AH 292-93).
83 MEXI 7054 of 24 Nov 1963; NARA #104-10015-10082; PS#64-55.
84 There is no proof that Garro shared her story in 1963. However in October 1964, when a version of the Garro story was first entered into the CIA Oswald file which we possess, Winston Scott noted that the "Garros [Elena and her daughter] have been talking about this for a long time" (Mexico City CIA TX-1928 n.d. (5 Oct 64); NARA #104-10016-10031; PS#72-109).
85 See for example AR 249-50; Summers, Conspiracy, 373.
86 MEXI 6453 of 9 Oct 090043Z; NARA #104-10015-10047; PS#62-59; 4 AH 212. The CIA Station later supplied an allegedly verbatim transcript of this conversation. In this transcript the person identifying himself as Oswald did not mention Kostikov as the cable suggested; he merely replied affirmatively when Obyedkov suggested that Kostikov was the Consul who had been spoken to on Saturday (Lopez Report 79; PS #19-52). Was this transcript in fact a later Phase-Two rewrite to neutralize the Phase-One cable? This possibility seems less far-fetched when we see how the only other alleged Oswald allusion to Kostikov, the Phase-One "Kostin" letter of November 9, was similarly neutralized by the later presentation of a dubious alleged "draft," also Phase-Two.
87 Phone call from Hoover to LBJ, 10:01 AM, 11/23/63 (Beschloss 23; Newman 520).
88 Rex Bradford, "The Fourteen-Minute Gap," Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Spring 2000, 28-32.
89 Letterhead Memo from Hoover to James J. Rowley, Secret Service, 11/23/63; AR 249-50; cf. FBI #62-109060-1133, in Holmes papers at NARA #104-10419-10022. (The drafter is SA Fletcher D. Thompson of Criminal Division, who on the next day flew to Dallas with SA Richard Rogge, to prepare memoranda on deaths of Kennedy and Oswald: 3 AH 465, 478, 479). Discussion below, pp. 11, 25; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 41-45.
90 Address to November 1999 JFKLancer Conference, available on line at http://www.jfklancer.com/backes/newman.
91 MEXI 7023 231659Z (11:59 AM EST November 23), NARA#104-10015-10124.
92 "SUMMARY of Relevant Information on Lee Harvey OSWALD at 0700 on 24 November 1963," NARA #104-10015-10359, PS 62-137. Reprinted in Hosty, Assignment Oswald, p. 289. Cf. CIA Memo of 11/23/63 to FBI, CSCI-3/778,826, NARA # 104-10004-10257, PS 64-5: "Voice comparisons indicated that the `North American' who participated in several of these conversations is probably the person who identified himself as Lee OSWALD on 1 October 1963."
93 Ann Goodpasture comment on newspaper column by Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott (10/21/64) preserved in Mexico City Oswald file; NARA #104-10125-10001. See December 1995 ARRB Interview of Anne Goodpasture, p. 140: Q. "So did Mr. Feinglass then make that identification prior to the assassination?" A. Prior to the assassination and prior to Sylvia Duran's arrest. Q. Yes is the answer? A. Yeah."
94 FBI Cable of 11/23 from Eldon Rudd to SAC, Dallas; FBI file MX 105-3702-12. Eldon Rudd was of course the FBI agent who reportedly had flown up the tapes the day before. In 1995 Ann Goodpasture told the ARRB that she thought Rudd "may have carried the tape dub [copy]." She suggested that the ARRB interview Rudd: "I think he refused to talk to the House Committee [on Assassinations] because he was a Congressman at that time" (ARRB Interview of Ann Goodpasture, 12/95, p. 146).
95 MEXI 7054 2401837Z (1:37 PM EST November 24); NARA #104-10015-10082; PS 64-77. The day before, at 2:11 PM EST, the station had reported it was "probable that Oswald conversation LIENVOY tapes erased" (MEXI 7024 23911Z, NARA #104-10015-10125).
96 E.g. CIA Memo to FBI of 23 November 1963, CSCI 3-778/826, NARA #104-10004-10257: "Voice comparisons indicated that the `North American' who participated in several of these conversations is probably the person who identified himself as Lee OSWALD on 1 October 1963."
97 ARRB Counsel Jeremy Gunn in ARRB Deposition of Anne Lorene Goodpasture, December 1995, p. 147: "Q. I have spoken with two Warren Commission staff members who went to Mexico City and who both told me that they heard the tape[,] after the assassination obviously."
98 Church Committee Staff Memo of 3/5/76; NARA #157-10014-10168.
99 U.S. Cong., Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, Final Report, Book V, The Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies; 94th Cong., 2nd Sess., Report No. 94-555.
100 Ibid., p. 102. The Report is dated April 23, 1976; it is possible that the 3/5/76 memo was prepared too late for inclusion.
101 AR 250.
102 Warren Commission Exhibit 15, 16 WH 33.
103 WR 310; WCE 3126.
104 The importance of the alleged Kostikov-Kostin material was underlined in his autobiography by former FBI Director Clarence Kelley (Kelley, p. 293): "William C. Sullivan, assistant director in charge of security in Washington, was probably the highest FBI official, at that point, to review the Oswald file. What he discovered there must have astounded him. He read the data on the meeting between Oswald and Kostikov (Sullivan would have known exactly who Kostikov was), surmised the Cuban connection, viewed the CIA surveillance data on the Soviet embassy in Mexico City, studied FBI wiretaps involving Oswald and Kostikov, then read the November 9 follow-up letter from Oswald to the Soviet embassy in Washington. This information, it would surely have struck him, had such dire international implications that the White House must be informed immediately."
105 WR 309-11; WCE 103, 16 WH 443; cf. 3 WH 14, 97; James Hosty, Assignment Oswald, 40-41, 85-86. [Priscilla McMillan, 401 ZZ]. Hosty claims that he received the draft on November 23, but this is uncorroborated. The draft does not form part of the inventory of items retrieved on that day from Ruth Paine's residence and typed three days later in the FBI office (24 WH 332-37). Hosty gives an elaborate explanation of why this draft was not filed by him in the regular way, but segregated in an envelope (Hosty, 85-86; Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 546). An alternative explanation would be that knowledge of Oswald's Mexico trip, still classified because of its origin from a CIA intercept program, had not yet been shared with the Dallas police.
106 Ambassador Dobrynin in AP story, "Soviets Suspected Oswald Letter a Fake"; Boston Globe, 8/6/99, A8. This Soviet reaction was also headlined in Canadian newspapers, but omitted from George Lardner's account of the recently released "Yeltsin documents" in the Washington Post, 8/6/99. The full text is in Yeltsin Documents, p. 91; LS no. 0692061-26 Washington to Moscow cable of 27 November 1963: "This letter was clearly a provocation: it gives the impression we had close ties with Oswald and were using him for some purposes of our own. It was totally unlike any other letters the embassy had previously received from Oswald. Nor had he ever visited our embassy himself. The suspicion that the letter is a forgery is heightened by the fact that it was typed, whereas the other letters the embassy had received from Oswald before were typewritten." Cf. p. 91: "The embassy had suspicions about this letter the moment it arrived: either it was a forgery or was sent as a deliberate provocation. The embassy left Oswald's letter unanswered."
107 Warren Commission, CE 7-14 (16 WH 10-32); CE 986 (18 WH 501-35).
108 Yeltsin Documents, LS no. 0692061-8, Washington Embassy Cable 1967-1968 to Moscow, 23 November 1963. The cable notes that Marina's application had been rejected by a Foreign Ministry letter of October 7,1963. The cable does not explicitly say that this information had been forwarded (as one would expect) to Marina, and there is no trace of such notification in the Warren Commission release of the Consulate-Oswald correspondence (WCE 986, 18 WH 501-35). But, whether the Oswalds had received news of the rejection or not, it is hard to believe that a genuine Oswald letter to the Consulate would pay such marginal attention to the issue.
109 The Phase-Two draft is thus exactly analogous to the Phase-Two Kostikov intercept transcript indicating that Oswald had not in fact spoken of Kostikov (as the earlier Phase-One Kostikov intercept cable had suggested). Both Phase-Two documents purported to be earlier; but both in fact entered the record later. Even the draft had alleged corroboration, in the form of a handwritten draft which Ruth Paine allegedly made and gave to FBI Agent Bardwell D. Odum after the assassination. It too was withheld from the regular inventory of Oswald evidence (Hosty, 86). Ruth Paine testified about making this copy (3 WH 15, 52), but for unexplained reasons it (unlike the draft) was not introduced as a Warren Commission Exhibit (cf. 3 WH 52).
110 Jerry Rose, The Fourth Decade, November 1999, 5. I had not seen this article until after writing my own comments.
111 Ibid. Rose also pointed to real problems with the date of the postmark on the typed letter, and the unlikelihood that Oswald, having concealed the typed letter from Ruth Paine, would then leave his "draft" on her desk for her to pick up afterwards (cf. 3 WH 13-15).
112 Both the Walker note and the Mexican bus ticket were retrieved from the pages of books in Ruth Paine's house, both just when they were needed to fill gaps in the reconstructed Phase-Two account of Oswald's life. See Marrs, Crossfire, 261 (Walker note); Scott, "Some Familiar Faces Reappear in Monicagate." Pacific New Service, January 26, 1998 (ticket). (Other suspect evidence would include the silver Mexican coin, Spanish-English dictionary, silver bracelet for Marina, and postcards from Mexico City, all of which Ruth Paine confirmed seeing together in Marina's drawer; 3 WH 13).
113 We see evidence of this in the cover-up cable that the CIA sent to Mexico City shortly after noon on November 23. The cable reported the FBI as saying "that photos of man entering Soviet Embassy which MEXI sent to Dallas were not of Lee Oswald;" it said nothing about the voice on the tape which the FBI had also shown not to be Oswald's (DIR 84888 231729Z; NARA #104-10015-10115 PS#64-121). The cable had an unusual releasing officer: William P. Hood, WH/COPS. Hood was the Chief of Operations for Western Hemisphere Division. More importantly, Hood was a senior Counterintelligence Officer who had been involved for some time on a highly sensitive case, a possible Soviet mole who had leaked information about the CIA's secret U-2 program. Before the assassination, William Hood had signed as Authenticating Officer for the misleading HQ cable in response to news of the Kostikov intercept (DIR 74830 of 10 October 1963; NARA #104-10015-10048; PS #62/65). I have argued elsewhere that Oswald and his files were manipulated as part of the search for this mole.
114 Ruth Paine gave false or misleading testimony on a number of matters, but usually to corroborate a Phase-Two interpretation of events.
115 MEXI 7023 231659Z; NARA #104-10015-10124 PS 73-43.
116 26 WH 411.
117 Oleg M. Nechiporenko, trans. Todd B. Bludeau, Passport to Assassination, (New York: Birch Lane/Carol, 1993), 75-81; see discussion in Deep Politics II, 12-15.
118 "Interview with a KGB Colonel: Peter Dale Scott interviews Col. Oleg Nechiporenko in Dallas" (videotape). Prevailing Winds Research, #884, $19.95 (http://prevailingwinds.org/videomain.html).
119 According to a later CIA note, the monitors of the call said that the "caller (who called himself Oswald) had difficulty making himself understood both (as I recall) in English and in Russian" (Handwritten note on Scott D. Breckinridge Memo for the Record of 12 December 1976; NARA #104-10095-10001; PS 62-197).
120 TX-1915 of 23 Nov 1963; NARA #104-10015-10055 PS#64-33. Cf. MEXI 7029 232048Z; NARA #104-10015-10091 PS#78-94, in which Scott reports that he has suggested to the Mexicans that they arrest Durán, citing an earlier cable (MEXI 7025) with the full texts of the two Phase-One intercepts.
121 Scott's error in describing Rubén Durán as Silvia's brother, rather than brother-in-law, is consistent with, and may have derived from, Garro's recurring habit of describing the Duráns (as opposed to Rubén Durán's wife) as her "cousins" (3 AH 295, 297, 305). Scott also supplied a wrong address for Silvia, who told the DFS she lived at 143, Calles de Constituyentes. This may explain why the DFS went first to Herodoto #14, and only arrested Silvia when she arrived there.
122 TX-1907 of 27 Nov 1963; NARA #104-10015-10428, PS#78-37.
123 Memo of 24 or 25 November 1963, "Subject: Lee Harvey OSWALD, also known as Lee Harry OSWALD; Alex HIDELL; Harvey Oswald LEE." Cf. Edward Jay Epstein, Legend (New York: McGraw Hill, 1978), 250; Gus Russo, Live By the Sword (Baltimore: Bancroft Press, 1998), 344. The memo is undated and unsigned, but is aware of Oswald's death on November 24. It mentions nothing about the claims made by Alvarado on November 25, which were included in a list of questions compiled by Scott for the Mexicans to ask after Durán's second arrest (MEXI 7124 282116Z; NARA #104-10016-10010 PS#72-124).
124 MEXI 7072 262113Z; NARA #104-10015-10368.
125 Cover sheet to memo, in Scott's handwriting with initial: "Read to President on night of 25/XI/63 -- S." The Washington Post (November 14, 1993) concludes that the memo was read to President Johnson, but this is most unlikely. The Church Committee agrees that the person informed was "a senior Mexican government official" (Schweiker-Hart Report, 28).
126 MEXI 7033 of 23 November 232246Z; NARA #104-10015-10094 PS#66-41.
127 MEXI 7046 of 23 November 240419Z; NARA #104-10015-10075 PS#64-48.
128 DIR 85758 291945Z; NARA #104-10015-10229 PS#73-73.
129 Oswald visa application; 3 AH 129; 25 WH 814.
130 MEXI 7033 232246Z; NARA #104-10015-10094; PS #66-43.
131 MEXI 6453 Oct 090043Z; NARA #104-10015-10047 PS#62-59.
132 Winston Scott, Foul Foe, ms. (retrieved for the CIA after Scott's death in 1971 by James Angleton), 268-69; Newman, Oswald and the CIA, 415-16; HSCA, Lopez Report, 125. Scott's claim is supported by a CIA memo written in 1975 by CIA Counterintelligence Chief George Kalaris, successor to James Angleton: There is also a memorandum dated 16 October 1963 from [redacted] COS Mexico City. . .concerning Oswald's visit to Mexico City. . . .Subsequently there were several Mexico City cables in October 1963 also concerned with Oswald's visit to Mexico City, as well as his visits to the Soviet and Cuban Embassies.(Memo of 18 Sept 1975, FOIA #1187-436; Newman, Oswald and the CIA, 415).
133 Lopez Report, 82-88. Cf. Newman, 369-77.
134 Ray Rocca deposition of 7/17/78 to HSCA, pp. 82-83. Rocca's remarks may explain why the House Assassinations Committee reported from testimony that the connection between Oswald and the Cuban consulate "had in fact been made in early October 1963" (AR 249n).
135 FBI Memorandum of 22 November from W.A. Branigan to W.C. Sullivan; NARA #124-10027-10395; FBI 62-109060-lst nr 487; RB95; PS 75-1.
136 Among those who accept the Phase-Two version as real are Newman (pp. 356-57), and Russell (pp. 492-94).
137 Warren Commission Document 347 of January 31, 1964, p. 10, emphasis added.
138 Lee H. Wigren, C/SR/CI/R[esearch], Memo to File of 4 February 1964; NARA #104-10003-10004.
139 Summers, Conspiracy, 194-99; AR 101-02.
140 Epstein, Legend, 16, 237: "The FBI knew through a double agent that Kostikov was a high-level officer of the Thirteenth Department of the KGB, heavily involved in controlling saboteurs .[T]he Thirteenth Department was involved with planning sabotage and other violent acts."
141 New York Times, November 23, 1975. In first moving the resolution for a House Select Committee on Assassinations, Congressman Downing, the future HSCA Chairman, supported his case by referring to the Kostin letter, and to the CIA's identification of Kostikov as a member of the KGB's "Liquid Affairs Department, whose responsibilities include assassination and sabotage" (Congressional Record, House, September 17, 1976, H10360).
142 Washington Post, November 26, 1976; Russell, p. 494; Scott, Deep Politics II, Chapter VIII, p. 97. Further support for a Cuban conspiracy was dredged from CIA files for David Belin by Raymond Rocca, a former member of the CI Counterintelligence staff under James Angleton (e.g. NARA #157-10011-10072: Memo of 5/20/75 of David Belin on Castro and assassination plots, citing Ray Rocca).
143 Phillips, Night Watch, 139.
144 Russo, Live By the Sword, (Baltimore: Bancroft Press, 1998), 459.
145 Russo, 344.
146 Russo, 219; cf. Durán, 3 AH 86, 91. The New York Times Book Review found Russo's book "compelling, exhaustively researched and evenhanded."
147 Posner, 194; Russo, 345.
148 Posner, 191n.
149 Russo, 219. (Russo does not quote the words, "The fact.")
150 Richard D. Mahoney, Sons and Brothers, 303.
151 Mahoney, 336; citing Schweiker in Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 31.
152 Russo, 218.
153 Russo, 363.
154 Russo, 218.
155 Church Committee, Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders; Interim Report, Senate, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., Report No 94-465, 182.
156 Scelso Deposition to HSCA, 5/16/78, NARA #180-10131-10330, 1-140: "the performance of the Mexico City support apparatus, as we call surveillance, photo-surveillance, phone taps and so forth, was unequalled in the world. There is nothing like it anyplace else in the world."
157 FBI HQ 105-93264-3, NARA #124-90059-10087 SAC Chicago to Director, 2-17-61: "CIA on 2-10-61 advised that subject is not connected with CIA or FRD;" FBI HQ 105-93264-3, NARA #124-90059-10111: SAC Chicago LHM of 11/02/60, 3 ("Army Military Intelligence officer").
158 Cocaine Politics, 65 and passim.
159 Washington Post, 3/28/82 ($30 million).
160 Gary Webb, Dark Alliance, 54-56. Cf. CIA Memo to Papich of 12/12/63; NARA #104-10018-10043 PS#74-16 (Alvarado-Montiel).
161 Hitz Report, I, para 100; Scott, Drugs, Contras, and the CIA, 19.
162 Webb, Dark Alliance, 200-05 and passim (Meneses-CIA); Scott and Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 36 (Nazar Haro protected).
163 Scott, Deep Politics, 105.
164 David Atlee Phillips, Nightwatch, 113-14.
165 10 AH 81 (DRE); Phillips, The Night Watch, 88.
166 December 1995 Nassau Conference, Proceedings; http://cuban-exile.com/doc_026-050/doc0027-3.htm, http://cuban-exile.com/doc_026-050/doc0027-4.htm. Photo is Warren Commission Bringuier Exhibit No. 1, 19 WH 173.
167 Ray and Mary La Fontaine, Oswald Talked: The New Evidence in the JFK Assassination (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 1996), 288-99, etc.
168 Ray and Mary La Fontaine, Oswald Talked, 277, 283-88, etc.
169 Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 232-239, etc.
170 Scott and Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 35; Fonzi, 232-239.
171 Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, 700-02 (Bernardo de Torres-Morales).
172 Richard D. Mahoney, Sons & Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1999), 135.
173 Fonzi, 390.
174 Twyman, Bloody Treason, 451.
175 Twyman, 454-57.
176 Ranelagh, The Agency, 515-20. Phillips confirms the assignment in his autobiography (The Night Watch, 220-21); he also describes "El Indio" (Morales) as someone whom he met on the Guatemalan operation, "but was to work with in other operations over the years" (p. 49).
177 Twyman, Bloody Treason, 438-40 (Harvey-Morales-Rosselli).
178 The CIA Inspector-General's Report on the subject said that "after Harvey took over the Castro [assassination] operation, he ran it as one aspect of ZR/RIFLE (IG Report, 40-41; Church Committee Interim Report, 182). Harvey thus took over the CIA contact with Rosselli "as part of Project ZR/RIFLE" (Interim Report, 188).
179 Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets, 213.
180 Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 141-45.
181 Mahoney, 269.
182 Scott, Deep Politics, 141-43. Among the anonymous reports received by the Dallas Police Department after the assassination was one linking Ruby to an international ring smuggling cars and narcotics. (I am grateful to Michael Parks for this information.)
183 ARRB Deposition of Anne Lorene Goodpasture, December 1995, p.67: "we were all advised that he was head of the [Cuban] task force." Task Force W, which directed Operation Mongoose against Castro in 1962, was renamed the Special Affairs Staff in early 1963.
184 Newman, Oswald and the CIA, 236-43.
185 DIR 73214 of 4 Oct 63: "Mr David Phillips, newly appointed Chief PBRUMEN [Cuba] Ops in MEXI will arrive 7 October EAL FL 655 for two days consultations WAVE" (NARA #104-10046-10003). WAVE was the SAS field station in Miami.
186 Almost certainly there could have been nothing relevant to the October 1 intercept in a pouch the same day in Washington. However there could have been materials pertinent to the alleged but missing intercepts of Oswald in the Cuban Embassy. MEXI 6344 011831Z, PS 61-1. The full text of the cable is as follows: "Bulk materials under TN 251905, Pouch number 4083, pouched one October to be held in registry until picked up by Michael C. Choaden presently TDY HQS."
187 Scott, Deep Politics, 117-18.
188 NARA #104-10015-10045, cover sheet to FBI Hosty Report of 9/10/63; in Newman, 501. William Potocki of CI/OPS initialed this cover sheet on September 25.
189 DIR 74830 of 10 Oct 1963, NARA # 104-10015-10048, p. 2. The CIA tried to conceal this trickery from the Warren Commission by giving the September 24 FBI memo a forged FBI transmittal slip, dated "November 8," and burying the memo in the November section of the 201 file (Warren Commission Document 692). But the CIA cover sheet (not seen by the Warren Commission) shows clearly that the FBI memo was received in the CIA on October 3, and seen by Jane Roman on October 4. The forged FBI transmittal slip was re-released by the CIA in May 1992, and was published in the Sckolnick edition of this release (p. 112). It has disappeared from the CIA's 1993 release of the same 201 file, but can be seen in Newman's book on page 503. The nature of the forgery is this: the CIA took a genuine FBI transmittal slip dated "Nov 8 1963" and added to it the CIA registry number ("DBA-52355") of the 9/24/63 FBI. The cover sheet to the same document (NARA #104-10015-10046; Newman , 502) has a date stamp showing that it was received by CIA on October 3.
190 Scott, Deep Politics, 206-18, 226-27, 288-90, etc. Gerald Patrick Hemming, an ex-Marine Soldier of fortune involved with anti-Castro Cubans, has hinted that both Murchison and McLendon were present at a July 1963 meeting in the Dallas Petroleum Club, at which Hemming declined an alleged proposal to assassinate President Kennedy (Twyman, 699, 745).
191 20 WH 39 (Ruby). The information about the McLendon family trip I owe to Mary Ferrell, a close friend of some of McLendon's children.
192 For William Harvey, see the Rosselli-Meltzer connection noted above. Angleton spoke at some length about Harvey-Rosselli contacts in his depositions by the HSCA (p. 87). But John "Scelso," Chief of the CIA's Western Hemisphere/Mexico Branch, also testified to the HSCA about Angleton's "ties to organized crime," and specifically about protection he supplied against RFK's investigation of the skim from Las Vegas casinos (organized principally by Meltzer's patron Meyer Lansky). See HSCA, Subcommittee Executive Session, May 16, 1978, Testimony of John Scelso, NARA #180-10131-10330, 167-69.