By Bill Simpich [Originally published 7/26/2013]
When it comes to working the Oswald legend, there’s no one quite like Ann Goodpasture, the station case officer at the CIA’s Mexico City station in 1963. Although she received the highest rating as outstanding in her fitness report, she made several supposed mistakes that would humiliate a rookie. Let me offer a brief hypothesis of how Goodpasture used the Oswald file in a clever maneuver designed to see who had impersonated Oswald in a telephone call in Mexico City two months before the JFK assassination.
Goodpasture had good reason to believe that there might have been enemy spy in her immediate circles. I believe that Goodpasture used a photo of a KGB operative to create a pretense that the Mexico City station believed that that this KGB Mystery Man might be Lee Oswald. Her objective was to kick off an operation designed to figure out who was trying to penetrate the CIA’s wiretap operations in Mexico City.
Oswald had twelve prominent legend makers who used him in various ways as an intelligence asset during the last years of his life. Goodpasture was legend maker #11 – she used Oswald’s biography for her own purposes. What she wound up doing was causing even more confusion over who Oswald really was. She may have had an idea, however, who was trying to penetrate the CIA’s wiretap operations.
I will stick my neck out and say that I believe that someone impersonated Oswald in a phone call precisely to convince the Mexico City and CIA HQ to conduct a molehunt to find the impersonator.
I’ll take this hypothesis further and say that the paper trail created by the molehunters was an effective way to blackmail the CIA and the FBI from conducting an effective investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
To me, the best way to analyze the JFK assassination is to focus on the cover-up. If you understand Goodpasture, you understand why the cover-up had to happen.
A little background on Goodpasture, Oswald, and Sylvia Duran
During the sixties, Ann Goodpasture was the chief aide to Mexico City station chief Win Scott. Starting in August 1963, she picked up new tapes and simultaneously delivered new ones to a new agent in Mexico City, a Soviet analyst named Bill Bright. Bright was with the counter-espionage unit that reviewed Oswald when his file was used in a molehunt during May 1960. [i] (See Part 3 of this series.) Bright’s role is intriguing, still being studied, and will be addressed later on in this article.
She would review the summary of the transcripts from the LIENVOY wiretap operation on the Communist embassies at about 8 am every morning after the taps were picked up and transcribed. She would process the take between 8-9 am, and have any items of unusual significance on Scott’s desk by nine . [ii] Transcripts on the Cuban and Soviet wiretaps arrived every day. [iii]
Goodpasture also played a key role in the more old-fashioned – but more secure, as we shall see – LIFEAT wiretap operation. During 1963, LIFEAT tapped individual locations rather than relying on the centralized telephone exchange like LIENVOY. She would also disseminate the take from the three cameras trained on the Soviet embassy compound. [iv] No one at the station knew the wiretaps and hidden cameras as well as Goodpasture.
When an American calling himself Lee Oswald appeared in Mexico City on Friday, September 27, he bounced between the Soviet and Cuban consulates in an effort to get himself an instant visa to visit these countries. I’m going to put on ice for the moment whether this man was actually Lee Oswald – what I’m concerned about is the phone calls he made to the consulates, not the personal visits to the consulates.
In June 1963, Oswald applied and received a new passport. His wife Marina was pregnant. She wanted to return to the Soviet Union and spend time with her family while the baby was an infant. Oswald wanted to go with her.
However, the Oswalds had been unable to get the Soviets to issue them a visa for almost a year. Their previous negotiations had all been with the Soviet consulate in Washington, DC. Now Lee was trying his hand in Mexico City. It’s hard to believe that he would have gone to the USSR without her. Their second child was due in a few weeks. Lee was a devoted father.
The smart way to get a Cuban visa was to make prior arrangements with the American Communist party or the Cuban Communist party prior to arrival in Mexico City. Oswald had done none of those things, even though he had written a number of letters to various American Communist officials.
Oswald’s effort in shuttle diplomacy between the Soviet and Cuban consulates did him no good. All sides pretty much agree that he visited the Cuban consulate three times and the Soviet consulate once on Friday the 27th. He told the Cubans he got the visa OK from the Soviets, and told the Soviets that he already had a Cuban visa. Cuban consulate secretary Sylvia Duran talked to the Soviets, and both sides determined that Oswald was lying.
By the end of the day, Oswald had struck out at both consulates. Oswald made one final pitch to the Soviets at about 10 am on Saturday the 28th, which also ended in failure. [v] The conversations between the Soviet and Cuban consulates about what to do with this unprepared man were all picked up on tape. Mexico City chief Win Scott wanted to know if this man could be identified.
Oswald was identified, and quickly. Shortly after Oswald left the Soviet consulate on Saturday the 28th, a call came in from the Cuban consulate to the Soviet consulate. Goodpasture reported that “Oswald came to the attention of the listening post operators from a tap on the Soviet line”.
The initial caller on the line identified herself as the Cuban consul’s secretary, a young Mexican woman named Sylvia Duran. She told the Soviets that she was with a man had a question. She then put a man on the phone, and insisted in speaking in what was described as “broken Russian”. It was reported that two individuals who heard the tapes reported that the man was also speaking “broken English”. The linguistically challenged man told the Soviet officer that he had a contact number that he wanted to pass on to the Soviets. The Soviet officer told the man to come on over.
Three days later, the man called again, inquiring about the status of his visa that had been the purpose of his call on Saturday the 28th. He said his name was Lee Oswald.
The CIA’s translators reported that they received tapes of the Oswald phone calls right after they were made. After JFK was killed, these translators were left strictly alone.
The CIA’s translators, the husband-and-wife team of Boris and Anna Tarasoff, listened to these tapes. Boris focused on Russian voices; Anna focused on English and Spanish voices. Boris reported that both of these tapes were rushed over to them right after the phone calls were made.
Boris’ testimony is consistent with the general procedure, which was to get tapes from the Soviet compound to the translator and pick them up all on the same day. Boris was very clear that the voices on the September 28 tape and the October 1 tape were the same man. Both the wiretap monitors and Tarasoff were trained to memorize the voices of the individuals who worked at the embassy compounds. When Tarasoff told Bill Bright that these tapes were of the same man who identified himself as Oswald, Bright got very excited.
On November 23, the day after JFK was killed, Goodpasture reported to HQ that Boris Tarasoff (also known as “Feinglass”) was the man who had translated and matched up these calls. No one asked Boris or Anna any questions about these phone calls for thirteen years after the assassination — not until the assassination probe was reopened. The Tarasoffs held invaluable information about Oswald and his contacts. Why in the world wouldn’t the officials want to interview the Tarasoffs?
Ann Goodpasture by John Simkin, Education Forum
The short answer is that certain high officials did not want the Tarasoffs interviewed. Ann Goodpasture is still alive, and should be interviewed and asked why.
The long answer starts with an assumption driven by the facts. Goodpasture and the other lead officers in Mexico City knew that there was a problem with the tapes that portrayed the voices of Duran, Oswald, and an unknown Soviet on September 28, as well as the tape of Oswald on October 1. One enterprising CIA officer even made a chart of the supposed Oswald visits and the times that the CIA cameras trained on the embassies were in operation, trying to figure it all out. He also created a very short and effective index of the alleged Oswald visits and phone calls.
The problems flowed from a few obvious questions.
How did Oswald get into the Cuban consulate on Saturday the 28th, when the consulate was generally closed?
How did Oswald convince Duran to call the Soviet consulate and put him on the line?
Especially after the Soviet and Cuban officials had compared notes on Oswald on the 27th and had concluded that he had lied to both of them in his attempts to obtain an instant visa?
Why did Oswald try to speak in “broken Russian”? And why would a native-born American like Oswald speak in “broken English”, according to two of the individuals who heard the tapes?
Another problem was the voice of Duran on the tape. Duran had been working at the consulate all summer long. Duran was identified by name in the station’s photo logs back in 1962 and as recently as September 30, 1963. The monitors would have known her voice in late September.
A Cuban undercover agent, Luis Alberu, also known as LITAMIL-9, worked inside the Cuban embassy. Alberu would regularly meet CIA officer Robert Shaw in his car and talk with him about the people who were working at and visiting the Cuban embassy. Later, Robert Shaw said, I kept an eye on Duran. He knew who she was. Alberu would look at the CIA’s photos of visitors to the Cuban compound and identify who they were. If it wasn’t Duran’s voice on the tape, the wiretap monitors would have known it. Goodpasture would have known it. What would a reasonable CIA officer do in this situation?
There is no record of anyone identifying Duran’s voice on the September 28 tape. Until 1976, no one ever asked either of the Tarasoffs about this call from Duran and Oswald.
Sylvia Duran has consistently said that she never saw Oswald again after the 27th . If she is telling the truth, then the callers on the 28th were not Duran and Oswald. The day after the assassination, Duran was seized by Mexican authorities and held incommunicado until CIA officials figured out how to handle her story. A few days later, CIA covert action chief Richard Helms went so far as to write that “we do not want any Americans to confront Silvia Duran or be in contact with her” . [vi] Helms did not want it to get out that Duran never met with Oswald on the 28th. Until 1978, no American official ever asked Duran about this call.
Similarly, there was no effort to identify the Soviet officer that picked up the call from the Cuban consulate on the 28th. Boris Tarasoff prided himself on knowing the voices of the Soviets who worked in the embassy compound. Tarasoff believed that the Soviet officer was probably a man named Konstantinov. The Soviets say that the switchboard was closed that day to the public. A review of the transcript of the 28th reveals that this was the only call that was not made by friends or family of someone who worked at the station. The calls for that day concerned social affairs like going on a picnic, grappling with the grippe, and taking care of the children and the chickens.
Goodpasture knew that the LIENVOY wiretap system could be penetrated by other spies
Goodpasture, Scott and a few other insiders also knew that the LIENVOY wiretap system that had picked up the Cuban consulate call of the 28th might have been penetrated by spies. The problem was that LIENVOY was run by the DFS, one of the most corrupt agencies in the Mexican government. Goodpasture knew that LIENVOY was insecure . [vii]
A CIA memo — almost certainly prepared by Goodpasture — describes the section of DFS working with the CIA in Mexico City as a “hip-pocket group run out of the Mexican Ministry of Government. This Ministry (Gobernacion) was principally occupied with political investigations and the control of foreigners. Its employees were cruel and corrupt”. [viii]
After Win Scott saw the photos of Oswald on TV the night of the assassination, he wrote HQ saying that he suggested to Mexican presidential candidate Gustavo Ortiz (LITEMPO-2) that Duran be arrested and held incommunicado until she provided all details on Oswald, as she was on the Sept. 28 transcript with Oswald in her office at the Cuban consulate. Scott added that
“LITEMPO-2 can say DFS coverage revealed call to him if he needs to explain.” [ix] This is an indicator that DFS had its own set of tapes and transcripts from the Mexico City station, and was not forced to rely on CIA largesse.
So both the CIA and DFS had access to tapes from the Mexico City station — and they weren’t the only ones! The FBI also had access to these tapes — one story is that the FBI got their tapes from the DFS! [x] So, now, three agencies had access to these tapes.
The FBI’s Mexico City field office was considered to be a security problem by the CIA. A key factor was a joint CIA-FBI operation in 1963 designed to convince Soviet military attache Valentin Bakulin to defect . Both the CIA and the FBI were using double agents in this effort. [xi] The aforementioned Bill Bright who had handled Oswald’s file in the Soviet Union was part of this operation. Win Scott’s people concluded that the FBI Mexico City office had been penetrated by LAROB, an FBI double agent working on Bakulin. After a meeting with another double agent on October 1, Bakulin was immediately placed under physical surveillance by the CIA.
Concern about this alleged penetration was the focus of discussion between CIA HQ and the Mexico City station from October 2 to October 5 . [xii] On October 7 , twenty sets of reports about double agent LAROB were sent by the FBI Mexico City field office to the CIA’s Mexico City station and Headquarters.
The molehunt: It looks like Goodpasture tried to smoke out a spy who was trying to penetrate CIA operations by pretending that the station believed that a photo of a KGB operative was really Oswald
Cuban covert action chief David Phillips left Mexico City for Washington and Miami right after the Duran-Oswald call was allegedly made on September 28. It looks to me like he put his head together with Goodpasture as soon as he came back to Mexico City.
On October 8, after an unheard-of one week delay by the highly efficient Mexico City station, the Mexico City Soviet desk was finally given the go-ahead to prepare a memo to CIA HQ on the October 1 phone call from Lee Oswald. CIA HQ now had a total heads-up as to what would be coming from Mexico City. A molehunt designed to see who was trying to penetrate CIA operations by impersonating Oswald was about to begin.
Goodpasture got things started by referring to a Mystery Man photo for a memo sent out to HQ on October 8 . The Soviet desk officer said that Goodpasture told her that the photo log portrayed a six-foot “Mystery Man” with an athletic build leaving the Soviet consulate on October 1 . She figured that since he looked like an American, he might be Oswald. Goodpasture admitted finding the photo, but refused to take responsibility to admit that she thought the Mystery Man might be Oswald, saying that she didn’t remember who suggested it.
It was not unusual for the station chief Win Scott to press the officers to match a report of a phone call with a corresponding photo. It’s unusual, of course, for these two female Mexico City officers to disagree about such a fundamental issue involving Oswald. It was also unusual for Goodpasture to refer to the exact date and time of a photo in a log created on October 2, while pretending that it was taken on October 1.
Goodpasture was supposedly relying on a photo log that separated the dates of October 1 & October 2 with a full line of red percentage marks . She claimed many years later that this was her mistake. She was ordered to review the dates immediately after the assassination and didn’t catch the mistake. In 1967, she was asked again and referred to “Log 145” when the actual photo and chronology for October 1 was in “Log 144“. This is not the kind of mistake that an exceptional officer like Goodpasture would make, who routinely received the highest rating of “outstanding” in her fitness reports . The staff of the House Select Committee on Assassinations reviewed this evidence in the 1970s along with her explanation , and concluded that Goodpasture’s story was highly implausible. Staffer Ed Lopez concluded that Goodpasture belonged in jail.
Much evidence indicates that CIA knew that the Mystery Man was a Soviet intelligence operative named Yuri Moskalev
There are strong indications that the Mystery Man was a Soviet intelligence operative named Yuri Moskalev, whose cover was that of a scientist in Mexico City whose papers “rarely, if ever, were specific, or presented new data.” [xiii] A CIA source who used to work with Cuban intelligence identified him as “Yuri”, a KGB officer who he met in Moscow in 1964 while attending an intelligence course. The CIA’s file card for Moskalev identified him as “35, medium height”. [xiv] The photo shows he had an “athletic build”. He fit the legend being told about Oswald.
Several identification experts from the Disguise and Identification Section reviewed photos and concluded that “Moskalev could very likely be identifiable with the unidentified man.” [xv] A photo of Moskalev in 1971 is available and can be viewed within this endnote. [xvi] Moskalev’s dossier stated that the famed spy Oleg Penkovsky identified a 1961 photo as “Col. Yuriy Ivanovich Moskalevskiy, Air Force colonel and GRU officer”. [xvii] As late as 1978, the Chief of the CIA’s Latin American Division protested that this finding was “entirely theoretical”. [xviii] Nonetheless, the man who handled Oswald’s CI file in the 70s, Russ Holmes, came to the conclusion that the Mystery Man might be Moskalev. Given the number of sources and the strength of the evidence, a strong argument can be made that the Mystery Man is Yuri Moskalev.
Headquarters went along with Goodpasture’s ruse
Ann Egerter at CIA HQ, the analyst from counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton’s “office that spied on spies”, was in on Goodpasture’s ruse. Egerter came up with a response to the October 8 memo that Goodpasture helped put together. (See Part 3 — Angleton was legend maker #1, and Egerter was legend maker #5) Egerter and Angleton were skilled in smoking out spies, also known as the art of the molehunt. Egerter’s foray can be found in twin Oct 10 memos that were cleverly crafted.
One memo went to the national headquarters of the FBI, State, and Navy, and contained a description of Oswald as “6 feet tall, athletic build, age 35“. This description was wholly inaccurate, but it did match up with Goodpasture’s “Mystery Man” photo described in the October 8 memo but not sent to HQ at that time. It claimed that this information was being shared “with your representatives in Mexico City”. But that was not true.
The second memo went directly to the Mexico City station itself, with a different description of Oswald as “5 foot 10, 165 pounds” that matched the description of Robert Webster that had been used for molehunting purposes by the CIA and FBI during Oswald’s days in the Soviet Union. (See Part 5 of this series).
Unlike the first memo, the second memo said that the last information on Oswald was when he was in the Soviet Union during May 1962, where he had “matured” . And where the first memo provided the Mystery Man description to the headquarters of the FBI, State and Navy, the second memo instructed the station to share the Robert Webster-like description with the local Mexico City offices of these same agencies!
A clever aspect of all this was that the memo to Mexico City said that their latest info on Oswald was from May 1962, but to hold this information back from the FBI and other agencies. Otherwise, the whole game would have been blown, as FBI HQ agents and others had provided post-May 1962 information about Oswald to the CIA.
When the ruse didn’t work, the result was that the CIA and FBI were now effectively the victims of blackmail
The hope was that one of these marked cards would pop up in the wrong hands in the midst of this clash between the agencies’ headquarters and the local agencies’ offices. But it didn’t happen.
Instead, Lee Oswald was accused of killing President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
Goodpasture’s immediate response on November 23 was to tell CIA HQ that the September 28 tape was destroyed before the October 1 tape was obtained. [xix] But that doesn’t make any sense, as the rule was to hold tapes for at least two weeks. For tapes that emanated from the Cuban consulate, the rule was to hold on to them for 30 days. By the 24th, the word from the Mexico City station was that all the tapes involving Oswald’s voice had been destroyed.
In fact, Goodpasture’s boss Win Scott played the tapes for the Warren Commission investigators several months later in a successful effort to convince them to get the Commission to shut up about them. The Warren Commission investigators had no idea that Oswald might have been impersonated, so they put no special value to his voice . [xx]
Meanwhile, the Mexico City station was sitting there with all the above-mentioned memos, tapes, and transcripts about Lee Oswald over the past two months of his life. If they had released these documents to the public, it would have probably meant the end of their agencies and the careers of the officers involved. The solution was for the CIA to provide paraphrased versions of the documents to the Warren Commission.
Goodpasture does not appear to be in on any plan to kill Kennedy. She does appear to be in on a molehunt to find out who made the Oswald calls, which created a paper trail that had to be covered up and hidden from the Warren Commission after November 22. In other words, it appears that she was involved in a compartmentalized operation and took action like any officer would to protect the operation.
Who made those phone calls? I will address my thinking on that in my book on Mexico City, coming out in late September. I will say this much. If whoever made those calls genuinely had a hard time speaking either Russian or English, their native tongue was probably Spanish. Oswald was not a Spanish-speaker.
[i] Bright was with the counter-espionage unit that reviewed Oswald when his file was used in a molehunt during May 1960: Routing and Record Sheet, opened 5/31/60. Oswald 201 File, Vol 1, Folder 2 . http://www.maryferrell.org/
[ii] She would process the take between 8-9 am, and have any items of unusual significance on Scott’s desk by nine: Memo by Paul Levister, October 1963, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm – reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION) / NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447. https://www.maryferrell.org/
[iii] Transcripts on the Cuban and Soviet wiretaps arrived every day : Request for Renewal of LIENVOY Project, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm – reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION) / NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10049. https://www.maryferrell.org/
[iv] She would also disseminate the take from the three cameras trained on the Soviet embassy compound: The LIFEAT tap and Soviet photographic take was obtained by Goodpasture, http://www.maryferrell.org/
A memo in September 1964 says that Goodpasture would continue to analyze the finished take from the photo surveillance sites: http://www.maryferrell.org/
Soviet data was provided to Frank Estancona http://www.maryferrell.org/
The Cuban data went to John Brady. http://www.maryferrell.org/
[v] Oswald made one final pitch to the Soviets at about 10 am on Saturday the 28th, which also ended in failure: Read the first-hand account in Oleg Nechiporenko’s Passport to Assassination.
[vi] A few days later, CIA covert action chief Richard Helms went so far as to write that “we do not want any Americans to confront Silvia Duran or be in contact with her” : Memo from Richard Helms (“Knight”) to Win Scott (“Curtis”) 11/27/63 . HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm – reel 7: Duque – Golitsyn) / NARA Record Number: 104-10169-10451. http://www.maryferrell.org/
[vii] Goodpasture knew that LIENVOY was insecure: Comments on Book V, SSC Final Report, Goodpasture memo, created in 1977, p. 3. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 36 / NARA Record Number: 104-10103-10360. https://www.maryferrell.org/
[viii] A CIA memo — almost certainly prepared by Goodpasture — describes the section of DFS working with the CIA in Mexico City as a “hip-pocket group run out of the Mexican Ministry of Government. This Ministry (Gobernacion) was principally occupied with political investigations and the control of foreigners. Its employees were cruel and corrupt”: Id., http://www.maryferrell.org/
Gustavo Ortiz is LITEMPO-2: See “LITEMPO: The CIA’s Eyes on Tlatelolco”, Jefferson Morley, National Security Archive. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/
Ortiz became president of Mexico from 64-70 and was a candidate at the time of the assassination. As can be seen from the discussion above, Ortiz was securely within the CIA’s orbit.
[x] The FBI also had access to these tapes — one story is that the FBI got their tapes from the DFS!: Rex Bradford, More Mexico Mysteries, Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Volume 7, Issue 4. http://www.maryferrell.org/
Also see Telephone Conversation between DCI John McCone and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 11/26/63, 11:20 am. https://www.maryferrell.org/
Also see Ray Rocca deposition, 7/17/78, pp. 277-278.
[xi] The FBI’s Mexico City field office was considered to be a security problem. It stemmed from a joint CIA-FBI operation in 1963 designed to convince Soviet military attache Valentin Bakulin to defect. Both the CIA and the FBI were using double agents in this effort: Memo from Mexico City to Director, 5/27/63. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm – reel 50: Alpizar – Cubela) / NARA Record Number: 104-10215-10022. https://www.maryferrell.org/
[xii] Concern about this alleged penetration was the focus of discussion between CIA HQ and the Mexico City station from October 2 to October 5 : DIR 73144 from HQ on October 2 reads as follows (except for the blurred sections): “Re coordination of FBI (oper?)ations in mexi, -__ in liaison with odenvy (FBI) is still delicate matter which ___ amdead at hdqs 0– directives foresee that certain types of operations may be coordinated at hdqs rather than in the field. on the whole our relations with fbi on world-wide and pbprime ce matters are extremely productive and still improving and we do not wish at present time to raise new issues in mexico…FBI has agreed and has instructed its mexi rep to discuss with you pertinent details of such russian CE ops as LAROB case.” http://www.maryferrell.org/
On October 5, the Mexico City station reported that “HQs was deferring discussion of
the high level of penetration, but would take it up after hearing results of closer liaison between (the Mexico City station and the FBI) in Mexico City.”
Also see NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10055. http://www.maryferrell.org/
CIA researcher Russ Holmes apparently agreed that this identification was accurate: See…
[xviii] As late as 1978, the Chief of the CIA’s Latin American Division protested that this finding was “entirely theoretical”: 7/13/78 memo from Raymond Warren, Chief, Latin American Division, to Scott Breckinridge, Principal Coordinator/HSCA, Russ Holmes Work File / NARA Record Number: 104-10428-10033. http://www.maryferrell.org/
[xix] Goodpasture’s immediate response on November 23 was to tell CIA HQ that the September 28 tape was destroyed before the October 1 tape was obtained: Note that Goodpasture used her pseudonym in the in the November 23 memo, “Robert B. Riggs”. This document reveals her pseudonym. Chronology of Duran interrogation, p. 4, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/ NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10126. http://www.maryferrell.org/
[xx] The Warren Commission investigators had no idea that Oswald might have been impersonated, so they put no special value to his voice: Joseph N. Riley, “Listening to Lee”, Fair Play, Issue No. 9 (1996).