ARRB Document Releasing History
Copyright © 1996 by Joseph Backes
Well, the Board finally got the 5 documents that they voted to release on July 17 and 18, 1995 released. These five documents, together with two CIA documents in “The Third Batch” complete the release of “The Second Batch”. These five documents are listed below. The FBI appealed the Board’s decision to release these documents because they would reveal a connection with a Swiss police official and the FBI. The name of the Swiss official has been withheld and any code or numerical identification of the person was withheld pursuant to a vote the Board took on December 13. These documents were released December 28, 1995 and sent to me by the Board on January 10, 1996. I am calling this, “The Ninth Release.”
While I greatly admire the Board’s tenacity in getting these documents released I am appalled at how much of the Board’s time was chewed up in doing so. I worry about future appeals and if the Board will be around to see the issue resolved and the documents released.
Chairman Tunheim believes that these pre-assassination FBI records on Lee Harvey Oswald are important. They are supposed to reveal what steps the U.S. government took to determine what Lee Harvey Oswald was doing after he left the United States in 1959 and if someone was impersonating him. He praised the Swiss government for allowing their release.
The Board gave out the previously redacted version and the new and improved version without as much black ink. In fact, Chairman Tunheim used one of these documents, #124-10023-10235, the previously heavily redacted, and the new and improved version, as a kind of show and tell at the American Historical Association annual conference in Atlanta.
This particular document details an effort to find the Albert Schweitzer College in Switzerland. It was located in Churchwalden. I had previously thought Churchwalden was in Finland. I regret the error.
Document # 124-10023-10236 continues the investigation of the Albert Schweitzer College in trying to locate Oswald. He has not shown up yet. The Swiss Federal Police think it is unlikely that Oswald is there registered under a different name. There is also no record of a person possibly identical with the subject who has registered. I find that very interesting. Someone else did too as these passages are underlined.
Document # 124-10023-10238 is interesting. Dated July 28, 1961 the legat (legal attache) in Paris advised the Director, “The Swiss Federal Police were advised as to the subject’s present status in view of their previous investigation to locate him.” Well, what was Oswald’s present status? Note, this doesn’t say we told the Swiss where Lee Harvey Oswald is. I think there is a story here with this document.
Document #124-10010-10011 is a letter Director Hoover wrote to the Office of Security at the State Department dated June 3, 1960 asking for any current information the Department of State may have on Oswald. It was enclosed by the Board for reference with these five documents. Hoover believed that someone may be using Oswald’s Birth Certificate to impersonate him. Of note is Hoover’s description that though Oswald was released from active duty in the Marine Corps, “he has obligated service until 12/8/62.” Does this mean that Lee was still under contract until December 8, 1962?
On September 20, 1995 the Board released 39 CIA documents. 2 CIA documents were from the July 17 and 18th, 1995 Board vote to release and the 37 others were from a vote taken on August 17, 1995. The August 17, 1995 press release announced that the Board voted to release 16 CIA documents in full and 21 in part. The Board sustained the CIA’s objection that some information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods should not be publicly released at this time. In some instances the Board proposed and used substitute language which gives some relevant information in place of the redactions, while not revealing the sensitive intelligence information.
Chairman Tunheim explained, “The members of the Board are exercising careful independent judgement with all of the sensitive information we are seeing, just as the Congress had envisioned when it created this independent agency…our job is to balance the need to protect still sensitive government information versus the public’s right to know. The vast majority of the time we have voted in favor of public disclosure. However, there will be instances when fulfilling the mandate of the law means continuing to protect certain information.”
In an accompanying letter the Board explained that in 13 documents the information requested to be postponed reveals the true name of CIA officials. So, pseudonyms were given instead. The Review Board will review these 13 records again in December of 1995 after the CIA has had an opportunity to gather evidence about whether any of the individuals named therein might be endangered if their names were disclosed. If the CIA is unable to provide such evidence by December the Review Board will presumably open up these records in their entirety. More on this in a moment.
While any continuing secrecy is of course a concern to the research community I think everyone would agree with Chairman Tunheim when he stated, “We are aware of no comparable effort in American history to disclose so much information that goes to the heart of the intelligence community’s records.”
The 39 CIA Documents are listed below. Those with a star are to be reviewed again in December. For some reason I counted 14, not 13 documents. I will ask the Board about this.
John Newman spoke at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology on October 1, 1995. He gave a presentation that incorporates recent releases, the major thesis of his book “Oswald and the CIA”, and some of the material just recently released including information in these 39 CIA documents. I include some of it here to highlight and give added insight to the very important work being done by the ARRB.
Mr. Newman was struck by the fact that never before has a government had to legislate itself to tell the truth about something and appoint private citizens to supervise that process. He commented upon the recent dispute between the FBI and the ARRB. John explained that he released the Gayton Carver document and got some publicity on it to place pressure upon the FBI and President Clinton to release documents. The FBI appealed the Review Board decision to release FBI documents.1 This Carver document was a sworn statement by FBI agent Gayton Carver who says that James P. Hosty said Oswald was a PSI (Potential Security Informant) for the FBI. He, Carver changed his story, not in a sworn statement, three years later. So, there is some confusion about this.
However, since the FBI’s appeal was to protect informants, the FBI did not want any information about any informants released, which in this case turned out to be a Swiss police official in the above referred to documents, a person still being protected by the way, and since there was no movement by President Clinton by the 29th day of the 30 days the statute gave him John released the Carver document to make the point that yes, there are issues to be resolved involving informants and the FBI.
No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir. – Sampson, Romeo and Juliet , Act 1 Scene 1
John gave a brief summary of Oswald’s past. John pointed out that everywhere Lee Harvey Oswald was stationed as a Marine there was a U-2. He lied to get out of the Marines to help his mother. He spent about a day and a half with her then made a bee-line to Moscow. This is a U. S. Marine at the height of the Cold War and he threatened in front of our own Consular officers to give military secrets to the Russians. This is where “Oswald and the CIA” begins. John told the audience that he is going to show the lies, cover-ups, and deceptions that are provable in the documents.
There are three principle conclusions in John’s book:
A. There were an awful lot of people in the CIA who were OPERATIONALLY interested in Lee Harvey Oswald from the time he defected to the murder of President Kennedy.
B. They used their most sensitive sources and methods to monitor him and gain intelligence on him.
C. They used him. He became involved in CIA operations. Notice John said used and became involved. Oswald was not 007. John did not say he became an agent.
According to John Newman, in the CIA a large number of organizations paid attention to Oswald. The Soviet Russia Division/Clandestine Services, about 9 different branches were watching him. In the Counter Intelligence arena, James Jesus Angleton, was very interested in him. His staff had a file on him, his operations element had a file on him, and his mole hunters, headed by Birch O’Neal, had their own file on him. In the Security Office, two different branches, the SRS, (Security Research Service) in which Mr. McCord (from Watergate fame) was working, had files on him. The Cuban Affairs Staff, three different offices had files on him, principally from the summer of ’63 to the assassination. The FBI, in the headquarters element alone, they had files in the Intelligence Division, the Espionage Branch had their own separate files on him, the Nationality Branch had a file on him because he married Marina. At least 5 different FBI Field Offices, had files on Oswald, including Dallas, Newark, New Orleans, Washington, D.C.; there were others. 3 different Naval Intelligence offices had files on Oswald. Air Force; OSI began their files on Lee Harvey Oswald in early 1960. The 112th Army Intelligence Unit had a branch in New Orleans that was interested in Lee Harvey Oswald.
John made an analogy to the O.J. Simpson trial. Everyone who had files on O.J. and touched those files, they all wound up on T.V. and everything about how they operated was there for the world to see. This is what the intelligence community was afraid of after Nov. 22nd, 1963. All these people with their files headed for the shredder. This raises the point of well, wouldn’t all the good stuff be destroyed?
John’s answer to that is if you ever worked in the government you know how hard it is to do that. The reason is because the more sensitive a document is, especially if it says, “Do Not Reproduce”, they bring that puppy right over to the Xerox machine and reproduce it and put it in their worker’s desk drawer. The CIA calls these “soft files”. And hundreds of thousands of Oswald documents come from these “soft files”. Oswald’s original 201 file was reconstructed from these “soft files”. John emphasized that it is very, very difficult to destroy government documents. That is why they play the withholding/postponement game, or put in false documents. John ran into a lot of false documents while researching his book JFK and Vietnam.
On November 9, 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald was placed on the HT/LINGUAL, illegal mail opening list. “Project” is a code name for HT/LINGUAL in CIA documents. Around the globe there were only 300 people who had the CIA open their mail for them. This is an example of one of the most sensitive sources and methods used by the CIA to keep track of and gain intelligence on Oswald.
John pointed out that of all the lies and cover-ups the world has been exposed to and treated to about Oswald have usually been casually dismissed as post assassination cover-up to benignly protect sensitive sources and methods and ongoing covert operations, etc. Despite this being blatant obstruction of justice this seems to be acceptable to some in government and the media. This was the case for Newsweek Magazine’s November 22, 1993 issue. However, if it can be shown in Oswald files prior to November 22nd, 1963, then you cannot apply that rationale. It has to be operational. John is about to show deception both before and after the assassination that are directly related.
When Lee went down to Mexico City on Sept. 27, 1963, the CIA reported this to headquarters in a cable dated October 9, 1963. He is there Sept 27-Oct. 2, and leaves on the morning of October 3rd, 1963.
I, Joe Backes, want to emphasize that Lee Harvey Oswald left Mexico City on the morning of October 3, 1963. This fact is very important, remember it.
On October 10, 1963, CIA HQS sent two cables, one to Mexico City, the other to the FBI, Navy and the State Dept. notifying them that they found out that Oswald had been in Mexico City.2
Note the description of Oswald in the one to the Washington agencies, “approximately 35 years old, athletic build, 6 feet tall with receding hairline”. The cable to Mexico City describes Oswald as, “5 feet 10 inches, 165 pounds, light brown wavy hair, blue eyes”. The same person wrote both 10 October cables. The CIA told that to the HSCA. The Review Board just released this cable, the one to the Mexico City station, in its entirety.3
John Newman asked, “Now what is this, is this mind cramp? Is this administrative error? Is this post assassination panic? No, its 10 October 1963; the same person [wrote both cables].”
There was a golden silence as the audience took this is in.
These cables were sent out minutes apart. “It’s just a mistake, right?” John does not have an answer for this. He pointed out he doesn’t have to explain or guess. We have a law now. They have to explain. This is deception. This is operational.
John drew the audience’s attention to paragraph three in the Oct 10 cable to Mexico City. “Latest headquarters information is an ODACID (that’s State Dept.) report dated May 1962.” This sentence is missing in the cable sent on the same day to the Washington agencies. The CIA would like its own Mexico City station to believe that they have had no information on Oswald from May 1962 until after the assassination. This is despite the fact that Oswald has been back home, his arrival was in the papers, he formed a one man Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans, got into a street brawl, got arrested, demanded to talk to an FBI agent while in jail, which he did, agent John J. Quigley, he was on radio, television, the FBI had sent numerous reports on Oswald to the CIA.
“Do you realize that Oswald hadn’t even left Russia in May 1962?”, John emphasizes. John continued, “Is this administrative error? Is this post assassination panic? No, this is a lie, a deception. It’s not true. It’s secret. This is a deception at the secret level inside the CIA from headquarters to it’s subordinate station in Mexico City.”
John pointed out that “John Scelso” is really the one in charge here. I want to point out that “John Scelso” appears a lot in the documents released by the Review Board and that “Scelso” is a fictitious name. John Newman did not point that out in his presentation, though it is in his book on page 402.
John then offers the counter-argument that well, maybe these people did not know what was coming into the CIA, maybe the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. Well, that doesn’t work because we now have record and routing sheets. These tell us who read these files and when they read them. They are an internal audit trail. The HSCA asked for these and the CIA said no. John Newman then went on to show that a large number of people were reading Oswald files. Many of the files were FBI files that are dated and that came into the CIA after May ‘62.1 A lot of CIA people are reading files they don’t have.
John found and asked Jane Roman, whose name appears on the bottom of the CIA 10 October cable to Mexico City why people were coordinating on messages that were not true. Jane Roman said, “I am signing off on something that I know is not true. It was not my operation. It was something very closely held on a need to know basis. It was the Cuban Affairs Staff operation.”
John phrases the question, “Well, if we take out those 18 months of Lee Harvey Oswald’s life what is missing? His Cuban escapades.”
John then played a section of the recording from the WDSU radio program “Conversation Carte Blanche”2 . John explained, “I just wanted you to know that all of those people, Stuckey, Butler, and Bringuier were FBI and CIA assets. All of them. And in fact, Mr. Bringuier, the CIA asset, was the local AM/SPELL delegate.”
AM/SPELL is the CIA crypt for the Cuban Student Directorate, also known as the DRE. They were a propaganda tool of the CIA. John then showed a document he showed at A.S.K. ’94 in Dallas.3 It is a cable from the JM/WAVE station to CIA HQS. The CIA has information, has files on Oswald and is not passing them on to the FBI, Secret Service and the State Department because a Cuban emigre group, AM/SPELL, re: Carlos Bringuier, wants to hold a press conference. This document is written a few short hours after the assassination.
These are AM/SPELL files on Lee Harvey Oswald that are still being withheld.
John then shows a document that states that CIA did not know that Lee Harvey Oswald was inside the Cuban consulate until after the assassination. He then showed a document that states that it was because Oswald was at both the Soviet and the Cuban consulates that caused them to report it in the first place.4 It is not the Soviet consulate that they are protecting, it is the Cuban consulate. He then showed a document from the then head of CIA Counterintelligence that there were several Mexico City cables in October 1963 concerned with Oswald’s visits in Mexico City to both the Soviet and Cuban consulates. He then showed another document, “Every piece of information concerning Lee Harvey Oswald was reported immediately after it was received to U. S. Ambassador Thomas Mann by memorandum, the FBI chief in Mexico by memorandum, and to my headquarters by cable.” That was written by Mexico City CIA Chief of Station, Winston Scott.
John Newman, holding the audience enraptured explained, “I call this the dream team, the CIA Director, Counterintelligence Chief and Station Chief. This is an operation. This is a cover story designed to cover up something.”
John went to Dick Helms and asked him, “Does this mean that you knew that he was in the Cuban consulate?”
“Yes, of course it does”, Helms said.
John explained, “I would not be in your office, sir, unless there was a problem with this.”
“Yes, what’s your problem?”
“Well the problem is the agency has never admitted to knowing this until after the assassination.”
John said Helms did the good thing and told the truth. Unfortunately, John did not further elaborate on exactly what Helms said in response. John hinted at it in the videotape of essentially the same presentation from A.S.K. ‘94.5 Helms confirmed John’s conclusions and admitted they, the CIA, lied for more than 30 years, to protect sources and methods.
John then briefly went into the other element of the Mexico City story and that is that Lee Oswald, while in the Soviet Embassy talked to Valery Kostikov, a KGB agent in charge of assassinations in the Western Hemisphere, known as Department 13. The cover story here by the CIA is that we, the CIA, didn’t know that until after the assassination. In other words, we had files on Kostikov, we just didn’t read them. Then Kennedy gets shot, Oswald is the suspect, we look into Oswald’s stuff some more, then Oh my god! he talked to an assassinations guy. That’s the official story. John thinks, cannot prove it yet, that this too is a cover story.
John then talked about his book where he proves that Oswald did not make any of the calls into the Soviet or Cuban consulates. John believes that a CIA agent impersonated Lee Harvey Oswald’s voice. Silvia Duran, was also likewise impersonated.
John then talked about Eldon Hensen, a Texan cattle rancher. This is a story which details the importance of the telephone taps. He, Hensen, wanted to hustle the Cubans for a buck.6 He called the Cuban embassy but he didn’t want to meet there because the CIA might see him. He wanted to meet in a restaurant. A Cuban embassy officer agreed and met him. This would be called “Operation: Laredo”.
The Cuban officer, really a CIA agent, continued to pose as a Cuban embassy officer to Hensen and warned Hensen never to call the embassy again because it is full of CIA spies.
As John Newman describes it the CIA entered Hensen’s reality to see what he was up to and to use him to their own purposes. Anyone who called the Cuban Embassy was an opportunity to do this.
Begin to see something now?
The CIA did this routinely. We were preparing to invade Cuba. We were going to assassinate Castro. There were many black operations being run through that consulate. This consulate is a portal to the outside world for Cuba. It still is today.
This makes me think that this is the reason for much of the secrecy and cover-up because many of the same anti-Castro operations, I repeat the same anti-Castro operations, not new ones, may be or are still going on, like tapping the telephones into the Cuban embassy.
John thinks that at the least Oswald became involved in a phone impersonation CIA operation, maybe something more. There may also have been an attempt to discredit the F.P.C.C. John describes it further in chapter 18 of his book. He says it is not overwhelming, it is not even convincing, but it looks like they sent him down there for something.
John then went into the importance of the phone conversations. We now have a large amount of data, from the Russians, Cubans and Mexicans, and CIA surveillance. The transcripts do match the personal recollections of the people who were there for the first day and a half. John elaborates, “What they say happened is in fact in the transcripts. However, at one point in time, beginning Saturday morning, none of the CIA transcripts have anything to do with what the people who were there recall having happened. They say Oswald never came back. No phone calls, no visits, after 10 AM Saturday morning, nothing. And yet the fun was just beginning. The transcripts go on, that day and the following week, several of them. And if I’m right it is not Oswald’s voice on that tape.”
John then shows a part of a transcript of a conversation between new President Lyndon Johnson and FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover. This can be seen on page 520 of “Oswald and the CIA”. This is the morning after the assassination. LBJ asks, “Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September?” John finds it odd that Johnson asks this question this early. Hoover responds, “No, that’s one angle that’s very confusing for this reason. We have up here the tape…”
Cover story number 3 by the CIA is that we erased the tape before the assassination. So, if anyone wants to investigate this they can say sorry we don’t have any tape.
Yet, Hoover says, “We have up here the tape..”. Hoover continued, “…and the photograph of the man that 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. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet Embassy down there.”
John then showed an FBI memorandum from Hoover to the head of the Secret Service the morning after the assassination that special agents of this Bureau who have spoken with Oswald (Hosty and Fain) have listened to the tape. It wasn’t Oswald on the tape.
John then showed another FBI memorandum from Belmont to Tolson. This again is the morning after the assassination. Dallas agents listened to the tape, from the Cuban Embassy to the Soviet Embassy. This conversation is different than the Oct 1 conversation. This taped conversation occurs on Saturday, October 5, 1963 at about 11AM. Now we have two tapes, two different conversations This is not Oswald’s voice either. Remember, Oswald left Mexico City October 3, 1963
The FBI changed its story a few days later to say oops, we never listened to any tape. John thinks this too is a deception, a cover story.
John then referred to a document released by the Review Board, “Now in this stack of documents there is a much better version of Mr. Feinglass’ name, who is described as a transcriber, I actually believe that that is a pseudonym, it is probably Mr. Parasol (sic?) would be his real name, and we know that from various sources as a transcriber. But I would like to draw your attention to the marginalia in this newspaper article, you can see it in the lower left hand portion of the page. It says here, ‘the caller from the Cuban Embassy was unidentified until headquarters sent traces on Oswald and…’ do you see what it says after that, ‘voices compared.’!7
How do you compare voices from a transcript? No, you need a tape, you need the intercept. You need the intercept to compare the voices. You can compare statements from transcripts. This document here tells me, and this is actually a October ’64 article; although I do believe that this marginalia would pertain to the time frame of the assassination, I do not beleive it was before the assassination because why in the hell would you be comparing Oswald’s voice before Kennedy is murdered, that doesn’t make any sense, but I may be wrong.”
John then showed yet another document from the CIA written the morning after the assassinaiton. It says, “As soon as our Mexico City Station realized that Lee Harvey Oswald was the prime suspect, it began rescreening all the written telephone transcripts in its files covering the Soviet Embassy for the pertenant period, the actual tapes were also reviewed but many of them were erased.” 8
John pointed out it said “many”, not “all”, “And if our FBI memorandum are correct at least two of them were not erased.” John then displayed the final document. This was from the Review Board. John descriped it as very near and dear to his heart. This is another CIA document written very shortly after the assassination about Oswald’s visit to Mexico City. John continued, “In the center of this page you will notice a very large, what we call a redaction, or postponement. In plain English, the withholding of information from the public. And the Review Board has now gone to an extraordinary measure, it is something that I have never seen before in all of my years. Either you let it loose or you don’t. Well, now we have a new tactic called substitute language. So, the Review Board has decided that it is going to sustain the CIA’s request to keep this stuff classified but they really want you and I to know something about what’s in here. So, they have come up with some substitute language. Here’s what they said, of course the reason for the redaction is that it discusses sources and methods, ‘the redacted information refers to the 1 October intercept on Lee Oswald’, well we knew that , ‘and the possible existence of another copy of the intercept that was discovered after the assassination.” See, “Assassination Record Review Board Final Determination Notice” for document 104-10004-10199, postponement # 5.
John asked, “Well what does that mean, ‘another copy of the intercept’. In my professional opinion, that’s a tape, I may be wrong. If I am right it may still exist and the Review Board seems to think so and is trying to find it.”
So, there is hope for some amazing things to come out in the near future with this Review Board. Stay tuned.
The following is my review of the 39 documents.
Document # 104-10004-10195 has three postponements each using substitute language. This document concerns inaccuracies and errors noted in a draft of an Oswald report. I believe this Oswald report, that had the errors, is reproduced on p. 513 of John Newman’s “Oswald and the CIA”. This document was recently released in its entirety. It is basically Document # 104-10015-10048. The postponed information is [GP/FLOOR] and [Scelso]. Now [GP/FLOOR] is, I believe, a CIA cryptonym for Lee Harvey Oswald. On page 402 of “Oswald and the CIA” John Newman refers to John Scelso and believes that the name is a pseudonym. Well, I think we can now take it as proven that Scelso is indeed a pseudonym. John Newman points out, “Scelso was the first line supervisor above the Mexico City desk responsible for both the cables (See p. 512-513). He might even have been the drafter.”9 He was also Chief of Western Hemisphere Division 3. Mr. Scelso wrote this one page document. Hopefully, we will know very soon exactly who Mr. Scelso is.
Document # 104-10004-10199 has 6 postponements. This is a 23 page report from “Mr. Scelso” to the Chief of Counterintelligence. Scelso informs the C/CI/SI that this is the complete unexpurgated version of the report on [GP/FLOOR] covering Oswald’s stay in Mexico and including summaries [of the telephone intercepts]. It begins with “We Discover Lee Oswald in Mexico City”. Sounds like the introduction to a scene from a play doesn’t it? The document discusses the intercept of the October 1, 1963 phone call Lee Oswald made to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. There are two sizable redactions right off. In mentioning where the information came from the document says, “This piece of information was received from,” then it goes blank for a line and a half, “It is highly secret”, then a blank for three lines. This has to be about the source and method of how the phone call was intercepted, for the next readable line is, “which are transcribed and reviewed by our small staff in Mexico City.”
The document states that by October 9 the October 1 intercept had been transcribed and a summary cabled to Washington. On October 10 CIA HQ sent a cable on this to the FBI, the Department of State, and the Navy department. A copy was also delivered by hand to INS as CIA had no cable system to that agency. Also on October 10, 1963 a long cable went out to Mexico City on this. There is something very important on the Mexico City October 10 cable that is not on the one sent to the FBI, State, and Navy.10
The report mentions that a very sensitive method of surveillance allowed the CIA Mexico City Station to photograph people going in and out of the Soviet Embassy. They took a picture of someone they thought might be Lee Oswald.11 They asked the Navy for a photo of Oswald from his Marine days to compare on October 24, 1963. They did not receive a reply before the assassination.
This report which “Scelso” tentatively dates to December 13, 1963 states that they knew, by Dec. 13, that the man photographed was not Oswald. Also, that none of the photographic surveillance points took one identifiable picture of Lee Oswald. The report also states that information on U.S. citizens trying to contact Soviet bloc embassies is always passed onto the Deputy Director for Plans, or his assistant and permission must be obtained to pass such information onto other government agencies. Only in absolute emergencies is the Mexico City Station authorized to pass such information directly to the FBI offices in the U. S. Embassy. CIA HQ surmised that the FBI investigated to see if Lee Oswald was actually in Mexico City on October 1. Well, that’s interesting. However, almost gloating, the report acknowledges that the FBI would have had to start checking after October 10, and Lee left Mexico City on October 3, 1963. There are then 4 lines left blank.
Oddly, Mrs. Anne Egerter is referred to as Betty on the next page. Supposedly, 27 cables went out on Oswald from the Mexico city station in the week following the assassination. There is repeated mention of the intercepts made, “Oswald’s name was not actually mentioned in these additional calls, but similarity of speech and various plain points of content link them to him.”
This document also talks of the arrest of Sylvia Duran. This is a very important document.
Document #104-10015-10013 concerns requested name traces and results. This is in sections. The first part is a hand written note from R to Jack. There is no date, although the top of the page says 0100 HRS. At the very bottom of the page the number 59 appears as though this is page 59. This document appears to be page 59 to 68 of something. Page 59-61 is a three page handwritten note as described. Papich thinks some information is too sensitive to pass onto the Bureau (FBI). Mr. Sam J. Papich is an FBI man who handled liaison with the CIA.12
Traces were run on Aleksander Kosterski, aka Alexander Ivanov with the Polish desk, negative results. SR/CE traces on Kosterski and Beznos also negative. RI traces on same also negative. This is page 62.
Another section is a letter to Jane (Roman?) Someone reviewed the attached cards [WSSA-2110] on LEMBKE. LEMBKE’s name appears as follows George Folke Vallentin LEMBKE, 14, February 1909. Apparently a trace was also done on Albrecht and the FBI and the Navy have no record of subject. This is page 63.
A trace was done on Celia SANCHEZ Manduley. She was Castro’s private secretary and lover. She is a powerful figure in the 26th of July Movement. All intelligence agents report to her. She apparently has a 201 file, 201-290165. This is page 64.
A trace was done on (Fnu) Saavedra. They found eight people with that last name. These are pages 65-67.
Lastly, a trace was done on Ramon B. Cortes (Cortez?). He is apparently the president of the Transcontinental company.
Document #104-10015-10014 is a cable from the Director of CIA to the JM?WAVE station. It is hard to read as the typeset is a bit blurry. “HQS HIGHLY INTERESTED POSSIBLE AMkirk/1 VISIT MEXI. SUGGEST LICOOKY/1 ANSWER LETTER AND ENCOURAGE [A/1] MAKE TRIP.” The document also suggest that L/1 would assist in living expenses.
Of note is a signature that looks like Holman signing for C/WH/3 who is supposed to be “John Scelso”. Now did someone sign for “Scelso” or is Holman “Scelso”?
Document # 104-10015-10015 is a one page cable from the Director CIA to Mexico City requesting information on a shipment of U.S. goods to Cuba through Mexico. LIFEAT heard a conversation between Ramon Cortes and a man in Tyler, Texas believed to be Lorenzo Saunders, V.P. of Transcontinental.
Again, signing next to C/WH/3 is Holman, W.P. Holman as the authenticating officer. It looks to me like Holman is “Scelso”. If so, that was very easy to figure out. And is hard to imagine why all the secrecy. You see they are still protecting this secret.
Document #104-10015-10019 is an information report on Transcontinental as per the request in the previous document. This information is dated from February 2-9 1962. A lot of CIA sections were interested in this company. I count 16. I do not understand why this is an assassination record. The Cubans accused the company of selling them used parts as new. Holy shades of Iran/Contra, Batman!
Well, this sounds like a covert operation then but I still don’t see how it’s an assassination record. (A document in “The Eight Batch” Document 104-10015-10018 refers to this as an operation called AM/CONCERT.)
Document #104-10015-10027 is a one page letter from CIA, Thomas W. Lund to Willard (first name) on Sylvia Duran. Someone wants to check and see who were all the people who were with Oswald when he first met Silvia Duran. He met her at this party. For some reason I have two copies of the same page.
Document # 104-10015-10047 is a one page cable from Director to Mexico City. There is a near exact duplicate of this document on p.509 of “Oswald and the CIA”. The LI/ crypts have been released. Under DIR CITE MEXI 6453 is LC/IMPROVE.
Paragraph 1 begins, “ACC [LI/ENVOY] 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 ALERIY VLADIMIPOVICH 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.”
Paragraph 2 begins, “HAVE PHOTO MALE APPEARS BE AMERICAN ENTERING SOVEMB 1216 HOURS, LEAVING 1222 ON 1 OCT. APPARENT AGE 35, ATHLETIC BUILD, CIRCA 6 FEET, RECEDING HAIRLINE, BALDING TOP, WORE KHAKIS AND SPORT SHIRT. SOURCE [LIEMPTY]
They request a pouched photo of Oswald.
Document # 104-10015-10048 is Mexi cable 6453 referred to in the above document. It is a three page document. The first two pages are reprinted on p. 512 of “Oswald and the CIA”. [ODACID] is CIA language for the State Department. On the third page is a lot of bracketed information.
“Scelso” appears in brackets signing off for C/WH/3, so we are back to protecting him again.
Document # 104-10015-10061 is a one page document of which I have two copies of again. It is quite hard to read. Supposedly dated November 23, 1963. It is a memorandum for, then it is gone, worn out as this is probably a multigenerational copy far removed from the original. Support activities this date re [GPIDEAL] assassination for Mexico City station personnel.
Almost all of the document is handwritten in where original type is too far gone to be read.
Document # 104-10015-10070 mentions that Kostikov is under Mexican Secret Service physical surveillance so LIEMBRACE (the Mexico City Station surveillance team) was called off. They are protecting this source and method even though we know what LI/EMBRACE is.
Document # 104-10015-10074 is a cable from Mexico City to the Director. It is three pages summarizing of local contacts with Ivan Gabrilovich Alferiev.
Document # 104-10015-10080 is a cable from Mexico City to director on contacts of Kostikov per request in above cable.
Document # 104-10015-10091 is a cable from Mexico City to director with a routing sheet. It is postponed in part. “Scelso” appears on the routing sheet. The cable states that photos sent to Dallas are not identical to Lee Oswald shown on television. Paragraph 3 orders arrest of Silvia Duran. A very important document.
Document # 104-10015-10092 asks for check on license plates of two cars with Texas licenses that were at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico on October 21 and 24, 1963. “Although no known connection suggest above be called attention officer handling Lee Oswald case.”
Document # 104-10015-10114 Director CIA requests Mexico City to review all LI/ENVOY tapes and transcripts since September 27 to locate all material relating to Oswald, although Oswald is not mentioned in the text. Director asks, “are all tapes available?”
“Scelso” is the WH/3 authenticating officer again.
Document # 104-10015-10118 is a cable from Director to Mexico City requesting that arrest of Sylvia Duran be kept secret and not spread to leftist or disloyal elements in the Mexican government.
“Scelso” is the authenticating officer again.
Document #104-10015-10157 is a cable from the CIA to the White House attn: McGeorge Bundy, the FBI, and the Department of State attn: U. Alexis Johnson on the Gilberto Alverado story. He is referred to as “D” in the Schweiker-Hart report. Also, see 3rd paragraph on p. 306 of “Photographic Whitewash”.
“Scelso” is the coordinating officer.
Document # 104-10015-10173 is a cable concerning lack of meetings double agents have had with Soviets since assassination.
Document # 104-10015-10176 is a cable from CIA to presumably the Mexico City station. It requests that double agents not initiate discussion on the assassination but to be alert and report any comments on the assassination.
Document # 104-10015-10177 is a two page document concerning Alverado wherein Alverado admits to fabricating his story solely because he wanted action taken against Castro.
Document # 104-10015-10188 is a cable from CIA to Mexico City. CIA is concerned about a Dept. of Justice report that might contain LI/CRYPT information. Someone is basically trying to protect the LI/CRYPT operation.
Document # 104-10015-10212 is a memorandum from Win Scott to Clark D. Anderson, legal attache. It is titled Lee Harvey Oswald with alias. They are the transcripts of the phone intercepts.
Document # 104-10015-10304 is reproduced on page 509 of “Oswald and the CIA”.
Document # 104-10015-10359 is a 5 page document titled “Summary of Relevant Information on Lee Harvey Oswald at 0700 24 November 63. It includes a routing slip. There is one lie, (oops! how serendipitous, I meant to type line but I like lie too.) line in here that I really love, “Since our agency is not supposed to investigate U. S. citizens abroad without special request, we did nothing further on the case.” (after disseminating the October 10, 1963 cables). Of note is paragraph five where the CIA believes that Lee Harvey Oswald entered Mexico apparently by car from Neuvo Laredo, Texas on September 26, 1963 claiming he was a photographer, living in New Orleans and headed for Mexico City.
Page 4 paragraph 9 has a deletion, “on 23 November 1963, Mexican authorities, [deletion] and who noticed the name of Lee Oswald in it, arrested Silvia Duran and her husband. Well, what was the it that Mexican authorities found?
Another deletion is in paragraph 11 on the same page, “Mexican President Lopez Mateos is aware of this case [deletion], however they did include the period, so it looks like this .] Oh goody! punctuation marks are not protected by “National Security”.
Document # 104-10018-10040 is titled “Summary of Oswald Case Prepared For Briefing Purposes Given 10 Dec 63 Concerning The Discovery of Oswald In Mexico City”. It is 20 pages. It is very similar to document #104-10015-10199
Document # 104-10018-10064 is a one page cable from the Director of CIA to Mexico City titled Re: Plan of Passing Info to Warren Commission. The plan is to eliminate mention of the telephone taps.
Again, “Scelso” appears as the authenticating officer.
Document # 104-10018-10103 is a two page document with a one page routing sheet. It is a memorandum from “Scelso” to the Deputy Director for Plans (Richard Helms). It is titled “Plans for the [GPFLOOR] Investigation” GPFLOOR is Oswald, or the Oswald case. There is concern that the FBI report, Commission Document 1, will be published and that such publication would jeopardize the telephone tap operation.
Interestingly, “Scelso” asks to be relieved of his job as C/WH/3 in order to handle the [GPFLOOR] case. C/WH/3 has 45 people at CIA HQS and well over 100 in seven Central American countries. So, I think we can infer that the Oswald case, after the assassination of President Kennedy, had to be large and pretty damn important.
Document # 104-10052-10056 is the operational monthly report from the Mexico City station to CIA, specifically Chief, KURIOT. This report gives highly technical details of how photographic surveillance was carried out.
Document 104-10062-10001 is a two page dispatch from Chief of Station, Mexico City to CIA. All I can understand is something is being sent to AMSPOON.
Document # 104-10086-10002 is a one page document with information on Silvia Duran.
Document # 104-10086-10003 is a one page cable on the arrival of David Atlee Philips in Mexico City. The typeset is quite blurry and makes the document nearly illegible. I believe he arrived October 7, 1963. I think this is a very important document.
Document # 104-10086-10005 is a cable from Mexico City to CIA HQS. Subjects arrived April 8, 1964. Again, someone wants to protect the telephone tap operation from appearing in Mexican and FBI reports. Also includes a routing sheet.
Document #104-10095-10001 is a six page report of an interview of Charlotte Bustos-Videla. Mrs. Bustos is listed on the October 10, 1963 cables. She is, “CIA officer in charge of headquarters support to liaison and support operations in Mexico City.”1 This document contains numerous postponements. Some of the postponements contain substitute language, some are to be reviewed again this past December, others in 2017. It is from Scott D. Breckinridge, OLC. A memorandum for record. It is dated December 3, 1976. This looks like the CIA got to her before the HSCA could. Mrs. Bustos recommended that they, John Leader, Ted Anderson, and Scott Breckinridge, talk to Anne Goodpasture who was the case officer in the station. According to Bustos, Goodpasture “ran [deletion]”, she handled sensitive things for the COS and was involved in the investigation of the Duran aspect of the matter. There was another person mentioned but substitute language is used [Employee]. Mrs. Bustos revealed that the Cuban tap was active at the time Oswald visited the Cuban Embassy which apparently is contrary to what the guys writing this report were told. She, Mrs. Bustos, did the name trace on Oswald. There are three handwritten pages of notes included in this document.
Document 3 104-10096-10001 is a report commenting on Ronald Kessler’s article in The Washington Post of November 26, 1976, entitled “CIA withheld details of Oswald’s call.”
Kessler comments that Oswald called the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City in late September 1963 and tried to make a deal.
The CIA’s response, to itself, is to acknowledge the intercept but that voice comparisons could not be made because they erased the tape. There is no indication that Oswald tried to make a deal.
Kessler comments that “in exchange for unspecified information, he (Oswald) wanted a free trip to Russia”. CIA responds that that statement is not substantiated in their files.
Kessler writes that the CIA intercepted the call and did not hand the tape over to the FBI or the Warren Commission. The CIA responded that information regarding the October 1, 1963 contact with the Soviet Embassy was disseminated on October 10, 1963 to the State Dept., FBI, Navy and INS, and their representatives in Mexico City. A copy of one of the October 10, 1963 cables was delivered to the Warren Commission on March 24, 1964. In April Warren Commission counselors Coleman, Slawson and Willens reviewed “the ‘take’ from the telephone tap operation”. Well, what does that mean? Does that mean they listened to a tape recording? This response does not address what happened to the tape and the contradiction of people listening to it after the CIA said it was destroyed. Supposedly, FBI agents Fain and Hosty listened to it and reported that it is not Oswald on the tape.
Kessler writes that the CIA told the Warren Commission that it learned of most of Oswald’s Mexico City activities after the assassination. The fact is they monitored Oswald’s activities before Kennedy’s assassination.
The CIA responds that in no way was Oswald under investigation prior to November 22, 1963. None of the facts of his defection, return, and the period 1959-1962 were known to the Mexico City station before October 10, 1963. The intercept is usually not analyzed in real time but afterward. What usually speeds this up is the mention of a name which occurred on October 1, 1963. Had Oswald done what Kessler says he did it would have triggered an immediate reaction.
I do not believe that Oswald did what Kessler states. However, the CIA is playing semantics. It is not the Mexico City station’s job to have all the information about Oswald. The CIA knew all about Oswald, far more than they ever admitted to as John Newman proved in “Oswald and the CIA”. The idea that latest HQ info on Oswald is a report dated May 1962 is a lie. That they did not know that he was in the Soviet and Cuban embassies until after the assassination is a lie.
Paragraph 8 quotes the Kessler article. “It was the CIA’s belief that the two embassies were heavily involved in the spy business and that, specifically, they were operational bases for intelligence activities directed at the United States. So with the full cooperation of the Mexican government, CIA wiretaps were installed on telephone lines going into both embassies. Thus, when Oswald showed up in Mexico City in late September, and telephoned the Russian embassy, his conversation was picked up from the wiretap. A transcript was made and circulated in the CIA offices in the American embassy in Mexico City. The station chief at that time was the late Winston M. Scott , who personally reviewed all transcripts emanating from wiretaps on Soviet bloc installations. The Oswald transcript, according to a CIA translator who worked with Scott, aroused a lot of interest.”
The CIA’s response? “No comment”. Isn’t that hysterical? Isn’t that glorious?
Document # 104-10125-10001 is a Washington Post (?) article dated October 21, 1964 titled “CIA withheld vital intelligence from Warren Commission” by Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott. This concerns a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warning that it is Kremlin policy to remove from public office by assassination Western officials who oppose Soviet policy. This also has vital marginalia about comparing Oswald’s voice.
Document # 104-10125-10002 is a memorandum for the record. Breckinridge, et. al visit Ann Goodpasture. She was asked what did the HSCA want. She was asked if she talked with agency personnel prior to giving her deposition to the HSCA. The HSCA boys were interested in the photographic surveillance and if there were any photos of Oswald. “She told them there was no photography of Oswald. They went past that to why it no longer exists which she couldn’t explain. She said it had been maintained intact so long as she had a responsibility for it. Subsequent to Win Scott’s retirement, she understands, the new chief didn’t want so many records. She says the file room was unbelievably crowded, full of “unnecessary records” She understands that [deletion, substitute language used, “employee”] (who had custody) and Charlotte Bustos (who had to approve what happened), under Charlie Rivera’s authorization, represent the ones who cleared out files and would have been the ones most likely to have destroyed them. Bustos says they weren’t destroyed, which Goodpasture doubts is correct.
Goodpasture described an “unidentified Man” being photographed by LILYRIC and that that is the file that no longer exists. She protested sending in the photograph and that it was done over her objections. She believes her memos of objection were removed for some ulterior purpose. The CIA interviewers were concerned that the HSCA would take this as proof that files were destroyed to cover something up.
She stated that Win Scott’s manuscript was in error. Oswald did not spell his name nor give it in full. She stated that whatever Scott saw she saw first so she is positive on this.
Document # 104-10007-10152 is a cable from Chief of Western Hemisphere division to Chief of Mexico City with an attached tape recording. Well, not exactly. There is a xerox of a box. No, it is not related to the Oswald telephone taps. It is a tape of the phone call described in the document below.
Document # 104-10008-10116 is a cable from CIA to Mexico City. LIENVOY reported 15 June 65 that an unidentified woman speaking French called Cuban Ambassador Hernandez Armas from Chicago on behalf of a Mr. Gan. She wanted to know if Silvia Duran was a friend of Lee Oswald’s.
Well, there are some documents in here that I do not understand why they were released or why they are assassination records. There are also several assassination records that are very important and I am glad for their release.
Obviously, “Scelso” is an important piece of the Mexico City puzzle.
I’ll write on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th batches soon.
1.) See Joseph Backes “ARRB Document Releasing History: Batch One and Batch Two” The Assassination Chronicles, Volume 1, Number 4, December 1995 pgs. 20-23, also Backes, “ARRB Document Releases: A Review and Commentary,” Fair Play Issue #8
2.) John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (New York: Carroll and Graff 1995) p. 512-513 (Updated and expanded edition, 2008)
3.) Document # 104-100015-10048.
4.) See Oswald and the CIA, pps. 501,502,504,505.
5.) See Harold Weisberg, Oswald In New Orleans (Canyon Books: New York City 1967) p. 131-2
6.) See “Assassination Symposium on John F. Kennedy, 1994, Newly Released Information” videotape. Available from A/V Presentation 7477 Airport Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76118. Phone (817) 589-2159
7.) Oswald and the CIA, p. 514
8.) See “Assassination Symposium on John F. Kennedy, 1994, Newly Released Information” videotape. Available from A/V Presentation 7477 Airport Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76118. Phone (817) 589-2159
9.) Oswald and the CIA, p. 362
10.) Document # 104-10125-10001
11.) Document # 104-10004-10199
12.) Oswald and the CIA, p. 402
13.) For an important analysis of the two October cables See Oswald and the CIA. Also, A.S.K. 1994 Newly Released Information videotape wherein John Newman explains the importance of these two cables and other documents.
14.) See CE 237. Also, J. Gary Shaw and Larry Ray Harris Cover-Up (Austin, Texas: Collector’s Editions: An Imprint of Thomas Publications, Inc.1992 ) p. 106 for photo.
15.) Oswald and the CIA, p. 20
16.) Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (New York: Stonehill Publishing Co. 1975) p. 604