Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #963 Watergate and the Assassination of President Kennedy, Part 3

WFMU-FM is podcasting For The Record–You can subscribe to the podcast HERE.

You can subscribe to e-mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can subscribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can subscribe to the comments made on programs and posts–an excellent source of information in, and of, itself HERE.

This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Gordon Novel

Gordon Novel

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

Introduction: The broadcast begins with an excerpt of FTR #108.

As comparisons between the Watergate scandal and “Russia-gate” saturate the media (in the summer of 2017), the program reviews information about connections between the Watergate scandal and the assassination of President Kennedy. Nixon told aides that he didn’t want to release the White House tape recordings because he was afraid “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” might come out. Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman said in his book The Ends of Power that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word in the Nixon White House for the assassination of President Kennedy. (It should be remembered that Nixon was in Dallas on 11/22/63, yet he told the FBI in February of 1964 that he had left Dallas two days prior to Kennedy’s assassination.)

When interviewed by the Warren Commission, Jack Ruby indicated that he had been part of a conspiracy to kill Kennedy and that he feared for his life. The Warren Commission turned a deaf ear to his desire to go to Washington and “spill the beans.”

Gerald Ford (who succeeded Nixon as President and pardoned him of all crimes committed), Leon Jaworski (a Warren Commission counsel who was a director of a CIA domestic funding conduit and who was selected by Nixon to be Watergate Special Prosecutor) and Arlen Specter (another Warren Commission counsel who was Nixon’s first choice as his personal defense attorney in the Watergate affair.) were present at Ruby’s de facto confession.

Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin is also present at this interview. Nixon first selected J. Lee Rankin to serve as Watergate Special Prosecutor. Rankin was subsequently tabbed to review the Watergate tapes and determine which would be released. Rankin was the Warren Commission’s liaison between the commission and both the CIA and the FBI. Rankin was a key proponent of the so-called “Magic Bullet Theory.”

It is interesting to contemplate the text of a letter that Jack Ruby smuggled out of prison. In the letter, Ruby hints that Nazis and Japanese fascists participated in the assassination of President Kennedy. Certainly, elements of what were to become the World Anti-Communist League (including the Asian Peoples Anti-Communist League) were involved.

” . . . Don’t believe the Warren [Commission] Report, that was only put out to make me look innocent. . . . I’m going to die a horrible death anyway, so what would I have to gain by writing all this. So you must believe me. . . . that [sic] is only one kind of people that would do such a thing, that would have to be the Nazi’s [sic], and that is who is in power in this country right now. . . . Japan is also in on the deal, but the old war lords are going to come back. South America is also full of these Nazi’s [sic]. . . . if those people were so determined to frame me then you must be convinced that they had an ulterior motive for doing same. There is only one kind of people that would go to such extremes, and that would be the Master Race. . . .”

The late investigative reporter and “What’s My Line” panelist Dorothy Kilgallen published Ruby’s Warren Commission Testimony and had told associates she would “break this case wide open.” Shortly afterward, she was found dead of alcohol and barbiturate poisoning–suicide and accidental death have both been put forward as reasons for her demise. Her widower refused public commentary on her death and eventually “committed suicide” himself.

We excerpt The Guns of November, Part 2, highlighting Kilgallen’s death. Interestingly and significantly, “What’s My Line” host and moderator John Charles Daly was Earl Warren’s son-in-law, as discussed in FTR #190. Did Daly purposefully or inadvertently convey information to Warren about Kilgallen’s investigation? Was that in any way connected with her death?

On the Daly/Warren in-law relationship–note that Daly worked as a White House correspondent and globe-traveling reporter for CBS radio news, a vice-presidency at ABC in charge of news and also headed the Voice of America, which had strong links to the intelligence community. Those journalistic positions, as well as his role as director of VOA may well have brought him into the fold of the intelligence community.

The late investigative reporter and “What’s My Line” panelist Dorothy Kilgallen published Ruby’s Warren Commission Testimony and had told associates she would “break this case wide open.” Shortly afterward, she was found dead of alcohol and barbiturate poisoning–suicide and accidental death have both been put forward as reasons for her demise. Her widower refused public commentary on her death and eventually “committed suicide” himself.

Next, the program excerpts FTR #253, featuring an intriguing commentary by the late, veteran CIA officer Gordon Novel. Highlights of that program include:

  • The broadcast highlights the controversy surrounding Richard Nixon’s White House tapes. These tape recordings were, ultimately, the vehicle for forcing his exit from the White House. That event was the culmination of the Watergate affair. There was discussion in the fall of 2000 among electronics experts concerning the possibility of utilizing advanced, high-tech equipment to recover material from a famous 18 ½ minute erasure on one of the tapes.
    (The San Francisco Examiner; 9/22/2000; p. A2.)
  • The subject of whether or not the erasure had been deliberate was a significant element of controversy during the Watergate affair. (Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she “accidentally” erased the tape. Most experts rejected her version of events. Interestingly, the tape that was erased was a recording of a conversation between White House aide H.R. Haldeman and Nixon. In an autobiography about the Watergate affair, Haldeman wrote that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word within the Nixon White House for the JFK assassination. Nixon refused to release the Watergate tapes for fear that release would lead to exposure of “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”
  • Much of the program consists of excerpts from other broadcasts. In an excerpt from G-3, the broadcast highlights a veteran covert intelligence operative and private investigator named Gordon Novel. Among Novel’s many talents is electronic counterintelligence. His name crops up in the context of both the JFK case and the Watergate scandal. Novel was the source for an important piece of information that figured in the Jim Garrison investigation. That report concerned a raid on a munitions cache to obtain arms for anti-Castro activities, the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion, in particular.
    (Coincidence or Conspiracy?; Bernard Fensterwald and the Committee to Investigate Assassinations; copyright 1976 by Zebra Books, a division of Kensington Publishers.)
  • This operation allegedly involved David Ferrie and Guy Bannister, two of the key figures in Garrison’s investigation. Novel was later consulted by White House aide Charles Colson concerning the feasibility of electronically erasing the tapes.
    (Coincidence or Conspiracy?)
  • Novel’s tangential involvement in the Watergate investigation surfaced in a magazine called Technology Illustrated. In 1983, the magazine ran an article about Novel’s presence at a gathering of veteran covert intelligence operatives, including convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy.
    (Technology Illustrated; 4/83.)
  • In a letter to the editor, Mr. Novel took issue to some of the comments about him in the April issue.
    (Technology Illustrated; 7/83.)
  • In that letter, Novel made reference to his ultra high technology role “to erase the Watergate tapes.” (Idem.)
  • In 1984, Mr. Emory was a guest on a late-night commercial talk show and Mr. Novel phoned in, taking issue with Mr. Emory’s description of his position in Garrison’s investigation.
    (The Express Way show with Larry Johnson on KOME-FM in San Jose, California; 10/29/1984.)
  • Most of the second side of this program consists of an excerpting of the conversation with the late, formidable Novel. In his conversation with Mr. Emory, Novel denied any involvement in Kennedy’s assassination and criticized Garrison’s investigation. (Idem.)
  • When the subject of Watergate came up, Mr. Emory asked Mr. Novel if he denied actually having erased the Watergate tapes. Novel replied “only because they didn’t pay me.” (Idem.)
  • When pressed further, Novel clarified his statement, saying he didn’t erase any portions of the Watergate tapes. He did state that he was one of a panel of experts who analyzed the 18 ½-minute gap and stated that it could have been made accidentally. (Idem.)
  • Intriguingly, Novel added that he was also on the panel of electronics experts that testified that the Dictaphone recording from a Dallas police motorcycle was accurate in its revealing of a fourth shot–which neutralized the single bullet theory.
  • In FTR #190, Novel confirmed his role in the burglary of the Schlumberger facility and maintained that he was involved with a plan to give anti-Castro Cubans [Castro] army uniforms to wear while attacking the U.S. Marines at Guantanamo, thereby triggering a U.S. invasion of Cuba.

After Mr. Novel’s death, it emerged that he was serving as a mole in Jim Garrison’s investigation, funneling information to Allen Dulles.

4. On the Daly/Warren in-law relationship: note that Daly worked as a White House correspondent and globe-traveling reporter for CBS radio news, a vice-presidency at ABC in charge of news and also headed the Voice of America, which had strong links to the intelligence community. Those journalistic positions, as well as his role as director of VOA may well have brought him into the fold of the intelligence community.

1. The broadcast begins with an excerpt of FTR #108.

As comparisons between the Watergate scandal and “Russia-gate” saturate the media (in the summer of 2017), the program reviews information about connections between the Watergate scandal and the assassination of President Kennedy. Nixon told aides that he didn’t want to release the White House tape recordings because he was afraid “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” might come out. Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman said in his book The Ends of Power that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word in the Nixon White House for the assassination of President Kennedy. (It should be remembered that Nixon was in Dallas on 11/22/63, yet he told the FBI in February of 1964 that he had left Dallas two days prior to Kennedy’s assassination.)

When interviewed by the Warren Commission, Jack Ruby indicated that he had been part of a conspiracy to kill Kennedy and that he feared for his life. The Warren Commission turned a deaf ear to his desire to go to Washington and “spill the beans.” Gerald Ford (who succeeded Nixon as President and pardoned him of all crimes committed), Leon Jaworski (a Warren Commission counsel who was a director of a CIA domestic funding conduit and who was selected by Nixon to be Watergate Special Prosecutor) and Arlen Specter (another Warren Commission counsel who was Nixon’s first choice as his personal defense attorney in the Watergate affair.) were present at Ruby’s de facto confession.

2. It is interesting to contemplate the text of a letter that Jack Ruby smuggled out of prison. In the letter, Ruby hints that Nazis and Japanese fascists participated in the assassination of President Kennedy. Certainly, elements of what were to become the World Anti-Communist League (including the Asian Peoples Anti-Communist League) were involved.

The Man Who Knew Too Much; Dick Russell; Carroll & Graf [HC]; Copyright 1992 by Dick Russell; ISBN 0-88184-900-6; p. 684.

” . . . Don’t believe the Warren [Commission] Report, that was only put out to make me look innocent. . . . I’m going to die a horrible death anyway, so what would I have to gain by writing all this. So you must believe me. . . . that [sic] is only one kind of people that would do such a thing, that would have to be the Nazi’s [sic], and that is who is in power in this country right now. . . . Japan is also in on the deal, but the old war lords are going to come back. South America is also full of these Nazi’s [sic]. . . . if those people were so determined to frame me then you must be convinced that they had an ulterior motive for doing same. There is only one kind of people that would go to such extremes, and that would be the Master Race. . . .”

3. The late investigative reporter and “What’s My Line” panelist Dorothy Kilgallen published Ruby’s Warren Commission Testimony and had told associates she would “break this case wide open.” Shortly afterward, she was found dead of alcohol and barbiturate poisoning–suicide and accidental death have both been put forward as reasons for her demise. Her widower refused public commentary on her death and eventually “committed suicide” himself.

We excerpt The Guns of November, Part 2, highlighting Kilgallen’s death. Interestingly and significantly, “What’s My Line” host and moderator John Charles Daly was Earl Warren’s son-in-law, as discussed in FTR #190. Did Daly purposefully or inadvertently convey information to Warren about Kilgallen’s investigation? Was that in any way connected with her death?

4. On the Daly/Warren in-law relationship: note that Daly worked as a White House correspondent and globe-traveling reporter for CBS radio news, a vice-presidency at ABC in charge of news and also headed the Voice of America, which had strong links to the intelligence community. Those journalistic positions, as well as his role as director of VOA may well have brought him into the fold of the intelligence community.

“John Charles Daly, Jr., the Host of ‘What’s My Line?,’ Dies at 77” by Robert E. Thomasson; The New York Times; 2/27/1991.

. . . . He served as White House correspondent for CBS, and eventually traveled the globe reporting for the CBS Radio Network. . . .

. . . . When he agreed to take the job as host of “What’s My Line?” in 1950, he was told it would last about six months. Its long life and his popularity on the show led to a vice-presidency at ABC in charge of news, special events, public affairs, religious programs and sports.

When the show ended after 17 years on the air, Mr. Daly was named director of the Voice of America. He resigned after one year because of a dispute over personnel with the director of the United States Information Agency, which ran the Voice of America. . . .

. . . . Mr. Daly is survived also by his second wife, Virginia, of Chevy Chase, Md., a daughter of the late Chief Justice of the United States, Earl Warren. . . .

6. Next, the program excerpts FTR #253, featuring an intriguing commentary by the late, veteran CIA officer Gordon Novel. We present the description for that program:

This broadcast highlights the controversy surrounding Richard Nixon’s White House tapes. These tape recordings were, ultimately, the vehicle for forcing his exit from the White House. That event was the culmination of the Watergate affair. There was discussion in the fall of 2000 among electronics experts concerning the possibility of utilizing advanced, high-tech equipment to recover material from a famous 18 ½ minute erasure on one of the tapes.
(The San Francisco Examiner; 9/22/2000; p. A2.)

The subject of whether or not the erasure had been deliberate was a significant element of controversy during the Watergate affair. (Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she “accidentally” erased the tape. Most experts rejected her version of events. Interestingly, the tape that was erased was a recording of a conversation between White House aide H.R. Haldeman and Nixon. In an autobiography about the Watergate affair, Haldeman wrote that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word within the Nixon White House for the JFK assassination. Nixon refused to release the Watergate tapes for fear that release would lead to exposure of “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”

Much of the program consists of excerpts from other broadcasts. In an excerpt from G-3, the broadcast highlights a veteran covert intelligence operative and private investigator named Gordon Novel. Among Novel’s many talents is electronic counterintelligence. His name crops up in the context of both the JFK case and the Watergate scandal. Novel was the source for an important piece of information that figured in the Jim Garrison investigation. That report concerned a raid on a munitions cache to obtain arms for anti-Castro activities, the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion, in particular.
(Coincidence or Conspiracy?; Bernard Fensterwald and the Committee to Investigate Assassinations; copyright 1976 by Zebra Books, a division of Kensington Publishers.)

This operation allegedly involved David Ferrie and Guy Bannister, two of the key figures in Garrison’s investigation. Novel was later consulted by White House aide Charles Colson concerning the feasibility of electronically erasing the tapes.
(Coincidence or Conspiracy?)

Novel’s tangential involvement in the Watergate investigation surfaced in a magazine called Technology Illustrated. In 1983, the magazine ran an article about Novel’s presence at a gathering of veteran covert intelligence operatives, including convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy.
(Technology Illustrated; 4/83.)

In a letter to the editor, Mr. Novel took issue to some of the comments about him in the April issue.
(Technology Illustrated; 7/83.)

In that letter, Novel made reference to his ultra high technology role “to erase the Watergate tapes.” (Idem.)

In 1984, Mr. Emory was a guest on a late-night commercial talk show and Mr. Novel phoned in, taking issue with Mr. Emory’s description of his position in Garrison’s investigation.
(The Express Way show with Larry Johnson on KOME-FM in San Jose, California; 10/29/1984.)

Most of the second side of this program consists of an excerpting of Miscellaneous Archive Show M3. In his conversation with Mr. Emory, Novel denied any involvement in Kennedy’s assassination and criticized Garrison’s investigation. (Idem.)

When the subject of Watergate came up, Mr. Emory asked Mr. Novel if he denied actually having erased the Watergate tapes. Novel replied “only because they didn’t pay me.” (Idem.)

When pressed further, Novel clarified his statement, saying he didn’t erase any portions of the Watergate tapes. He did state that he was one of a panel of experts who analyzed the 18 ½-minute gap and stated that it could have been made accidentally. (Idem.)

Intriguingly, Novel added that he was also on the panel of electronics experts that testified that the Dictaphone recording from a Dallas police motorcycle was accurate in its revealing of a fourth shot–which neutralized the single bullet theory.

In FTR #190, Novel confirmed his role in the burglary of the Schlumberger facility and maintained that he was involved with a plan to give anti-Castro Cubans [Castro] army uniforms to wear while attacking the U.S. Marines at Guantanamo, thereby triggering a U.S. invasion of Cuba.

6. After Mr. Novel’s death, it emerged that he was serving as a mole in Jim Garrison’s investigation, funneling information to Allen Dulles.

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government by David Talbot; Harper [HC]; 2015; Copyright 2015 by The Talbot Players LLC; ISBN 978-0-06-227616-2; p. 597.

. . . . Even the private investigator Garrison hired to sweep his office for electronic bugs turned out to be a CIA operative. After Dulles was subpoenaed by Garrison, the security specialist–Gordon Novel–phoned the spymaster to slip him inside information about the DA’s strategy. . . .

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #963 Watergate and the Assassination of President Kennedy, Part 3”

  1. While it often seems like the Trump era is just one long, unceasing national nightmare, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are some unusual perks that come with the Trump experience. Or at least potential perks. For instance, thanks to Trumps never ending war with the intelligence community, the kinds of presidential actions that might be shaped by a desire to maintain good relations with the nation’s spooks have a very different context with Trump in the White House. Presidential actions like releasing the national archive of JFK assassination documents. A CIA-friendly president would obviously be inclined to defer to the CIA’s reviewers in their request to keep certain sensitive documents suppressed for another 25 years. But Trump isn’t exactly a CIA-friendly president at this point. It’s unclear what exactly his relationship is with the intelligence community since there are all sort of different factions with competing interests, but there’s at least one faction that Trump is not on good terms with.

    So what’s he going to do when the issue of releasing all those JFK files comes up? Will he suppress as many as possible in a bid to appease the ‘Deep State’? Or will he release as much as possible in a bid to discredit the ‘Deep State’ and potentially create one of the greatest political distractions in history? These are the kinds of questions we get to ask with someone like Trump sitting in the Oval Office. It’s not much of a perk, but it’s something:

    Politico

    Will Trump Release the Missing JFK Files?

    Unless the president intervenes, we’ll soon know more secrets about the Kennedy assassination.

    By Philip Shenon
    April 27, 2017

    The nation’s conspiracy-theorist-in-chief is facing a momentous decision. Will President Donald Trump allow the public to see a trove of thousands of long-secret government files about the event that, more than any other in modern American history, has fueled conspiracy theories – the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

    The answer must come within months. And, according to a new timeline offered by the National Archives, it could come within weeks.

    Under the deadline set by a 1992 law, Trump has six months left to decide whether he will block the release of an estimated 3,600 files related to the assassination that are still under seal at the Archives. From what is known of the JFK documents, most come from the CIA and FBI, and a number may help resolve lingering questions about whether those agencies missed evidence of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death. As with every earlier release of JFK assassination documents in the 53 years since shots rang out in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, it is virtually certain that some of the files will be seized on to support popular conspiracy theories about Kennedy’s murder; other documents are likely to undermine them.

    For the first time, the Trump White House is acknowledging that it is focused on the issue, even if it offers no hint about what the President will do. A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Politico last week that the Trump administration “is familiar with the requirements” of the 1992 law and that White House is working with the National Archives “to enable a smooth process in anticipation of the October deadline.”

    Under the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, the library of documents about Kennedy’s death must be made public in full by the deadline of this October 26, the law’s 25th anniversary, unless Trump decides otherwise. It is his decision alone.

    The prospect of the release of the last of the government’s long-secret JFK assassination files has long tantalized historians and other scholars, to say nothing of the nation’s armies of conspiracy theorists, since no one can claim to know exactly what is in there.

    Martha W. Murphy, the Archives official who oversees the records, said in an interview last month that a team of researchers with high-level security clearances is at work to prepare the JFK files for release and hopes to begin unsealing them in batches much earlier than October – possibly as early as summer.

    Beyond releasing the 3,600 never-before-seen JFK files, the Archives is reviewing another 35,000 assassination-related documents, previously released in part, so they can be unsealed in full. Short of an order from the president, Murphy said, the Archives is committed to making everything public this year: “There’s very little decision-making for us.”

    Many of the documents are known to come from the files of CIA officials who monitored a mysterious trip that Oswald paid to Mexico City several weeks before the assassination – a trip that brought Kennedy’s future killer under intense surveillance by the spy agency as he paid visits to both the Soviet and Cuban embassies there. The CIA said it monitored all visitors to the embassies and opened surveillance of Oswald as soon as he was detected inside the Soviet compound for the first time.

    Other documents are known to identify, by name, American and foreign spies and law-enforcement sources who had previously been granted anonymity for information about Oswald and the assassination. At least 400 pages of the files involve E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA operative turned Watergate conspirator who claimed on his deathbed that he had advance knowledge of Kennedy’s murder.

    The documents were gathered together by a temporary federal agency, the Assassination Records Review Board, that was established under the 1992 law. In an interview last month, its former chairman, Judge John R. Tunheim of the Federal District Court in Minnesota, said he “wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something important” in the documents, especially given how much of the history of the Kennedy assassination has had to be rewritten in recent decades.

    He said he knew of “no bombshells” in the files when the board agreed to keep them secret two decades ago, but names, places and events described in the documents could have significance now, given what has been learned about the assassination since the board went out of business. “Today, with a broader understanding of history, certain things may be far more relevant,” he said.

    Murphy, the Archives official, said she, too, knew of no shocking information in the documents – but she said her researchers were not in a position to judge their significance. “As you can imagine, we’re not reading them for that, so we’re probably not the best people to tell you,” she said. “I will say this: This collection is really interesting as a snapshot of the Cold War.”

    The Review Board, created by Congress to show transparency in response to the public furor created by Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-minded 1991 film “JFK,” did force the release of a massive library of other long-secret documents from the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and other federal agencies, as well as from congressional investigations of the assassination.

    Many showed how much evidence was withheld from the Warren Commission, the independent panel led by Chief Justice Earl Warren that investigated the assassination and concluded in 1964 that there was no evidence of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death.

    The documents showed that both the CIA and FBI had much more extensive information about Oswald—and the danger he posed to JFK—before the assassination than the agencies admitted to Warren’s investigation. The evidence appeared to have been withheld from the commission out of fear that it would expose how the CIA and FBI had bungled the opportunity to stop Oswald.

    Under the 1992 law, agencies may make a final appeal to try to stop the unsealing of specific documents on national security grounds. But the law grants only one person the power to actually block the release: the president. The law allows Trump to keep a document secret beyond the 25-year deadline if he certifies to the National Archives that secrecy was “made necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations” and that “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

    Both the CIA and FBI acknowledged in written statements last month that they are reviewing the documents scheduled for release; neither agency would say if it planned to appeal to the White House to block the unsealing of any of the records. “CIA continues to review the remaining CIA documents in the collection to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously-unreleased CIA information,” said agency spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak. The FBI said it had a team of 21 researchers assigned to the document review.

    According to a skeletal index of the documents prepared by the Archives, some of the files appear to involve, at least indirectly, a set of conspiracy theories that Trump himself promoted during the 2016 campaign – about possible ties between Cuban exile groups in the United States and Oswald.

    On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promoted an article published last April in the National Enquirer that suggested a connection between Oswald and the Cuban-born father of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, one of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination. The article was based entirely on a 1963 photograph that showed Oswald, a self-proclaimed Marxist and champion of Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution in Cuba, handing out pro-Castro leaflets in New Orleans with a man who, the tabloid suggested, was Cruz’s father, Rafael.

    The Cruz family denied that the senator’s family was the man depicted in the photo and that Rafael Cruz had any connection to Oswald; there is no other evidence of any connection.
    The National Archives index shows that the documents to be released this year include a 86-page file on a prominent CIA-backed anti-Castro exile group that Oswald appears to have tried to infiltrate in New Orleans, his hometown, in order to gather information that might be of use to the Castro government.

    Judge Tunheim said that Oswald’s trip to Mexico City in September and October 1963 figures directly or indirectly in many of the documents that remain under seal, including the internal files of CIA operatives who worked at the American embassy there.

    Historians agree that the trip, which Oswald apparently undertook in hopes of obtaining a visa to defect to Castro’s Cuba, much as he had once tried to defect to the Soviet Union, has never been fully investigated.

    “I still think there are loose threads in Mexico City that no one has ever explored,” Tunheim said. “It was a bizarre chapter – there’s no question about it.” Previously declassified CIA and FBI documents suggest that Oswald openly boasted to Cuban officials there about his intention to kill Kennedy and that he had a brief affair with a Mexican woman who worked in Cuba’s consulate. The American ambassador to Mexico at the time of the assassination said later that he believed the woman had probably been working for the CIA.

    Tunheim said the Review Board agreed to keep the Mexico-related documents secret in the 1990s at the request of the State Department, the CIA and other agencies that warned that their release could do damage to relations with the Mexico government, which worked closely with the CIA and FBI during the Cold War. “Mexico City was where everybody spied on everybody else,” the judge said.

    But given the chill in relations between the United States and Mexico following Trump’s election and early moves by his administration to build its long-promised wall along the Mexican border, a similar plea to keep the documents secret may not go very far with the new president. Said Tunheim: “I guess we don’t have much of a relationship with the Mexican government to protect anymore.”

    ———-

    “Will Trump Release the Missing JFK Files?” by Philip Shenon; Politico; 04/27/2017

    “Under the 1992 law, agencies may make a final appeal to try to stop the unsealing of specific documents on national security grounds. But the law grants only one person the power to actually block the release: the president. The law allows Trump to keep a document secret beyond the 25-year deadline if he certifies to the National Archives that secrecy was “made necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations” and that “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.””

    When it comes to which documents remain secret, Trump is ‘the Decider’, which potentially gives him some rather remarkable leverage over his intelligence community adversaries. And quite a bit of flexibility too because if there’s anything ground breaking in those archives that demonstrate, say, CIA culpability in JFK’s assassination Trump can either placate the spies by keeping things secret or release everything and instantly create a mega-story that casts the CIA in a very negative historical light. Just imagine the fiasco he could unleash. And the worse that fiasco makes the CIA look the better Trump would look in comparison. It’s a fascinating situation. Especially since it sounds like a lot of the documents relate to the alleged Oswald meeting in Mexico City, an element of the ‘Oswald did it’ narrative with a lot glaring of holes.

    And while all those documents in the archive are presumably going to somehow be related to the JFK assassination, don’t forget they’re related to a lot of other scandals too:

    Newsweek

    Donald Trump and the Kennedy Assassination: America’s Most Powerful Conspiracy Theorist Will Decide Fate of Secret JFK Trove

    By Jefferson Morley and Rex Bradford
    On 6/21/17 at 7:30 AM

    He has called global warming a hoax, suggested that Barack Obama is not an American and linked autism to childhood vaccinations. And soon, President Donald Trump—America’s most powerful conspiracy theorist—will decide the fate of more than 113,000 pages of secret documents about the ultimate conspiracy theory. No, not Russian meddling in the 2016 election—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

    Ever since JFK was shot and killed on that fateful Friday afternoon in Dallas, theories have abounded about who really did it. The Russians? The Cubans? The CIA? During the 2016 campaign, Trump even claimed, without evidence, that the father of his Republican rival Ted Cruz might have been involved.

    Now, on the year marking the 100th anniversary of Kennedy’s birth, Trump will have to decide whether highly anticipated secret JFK assassination files can be released in October as planned. By law, federal agencies such the CIA and FBI may contest the release of these records, but in that case, the president would make the final call.

    Newsweek has learned that the files are twice as voluminous as previously estimated. Metadata analysis of the government’s JFK database reveals the coming files contain more than 113,000 pages of material, ranging from trivial to sensational. This trove will likely illuminate many of the events leading up to Kennedy’s murder in 1963 and other pivotal parts of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

    Credit for this goes to the JFK Assassination Records Act of 1992. Passed unanimously by Congress in the wake of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, the law mandated that all assassination-related records in the government’s possession had to be made public within 25 years. The measure was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, a former CIA director, and set the statutory deadline that arrives later this year.

    The Cold War conspiracies documented in the coming records include: transcripts of the interrogation of a Soviet defector, a report on a suspected assassin in Mexico from the KGB Soviet intelligence service, the CIA connections of four Watergate burglars and the operational files of two CIA assassination planners.

    Over the years, opinion polls have consistently shown that more than 60 percent of Americans don’t believe the official story—that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy. To their disappointment, this coming trove of JFK documents isn’t likely to contain any “smoking guns.” But, as Politico noted in 2015, there will be plenty of potentially embarrassing information about the CIA, an institution Trump and his supporters have denigrated as part of the “deep state.”

    The contents of the trove can be gleaned from metadata in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) online database of JFK records. That repository catalogs the secret JFK files by document type, agency, title, subject field keywords and other metadata, including the page count for each document.

    Last fall, the Mary Ferrell Foundation, a nonprofit that publishes government records related to the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., obtained a copy of the full database of JFK records metadata from Ramon Herrera, a programmer in Houston, who scraped it from the public pages of NARA’s website.

    About a third of the records are CIA documents, and another third are from the FBI. The remaining third are divided among several agencies—the Justice Department, the State Department and the Internal Revenue Service—as well as investigative bodies such as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Some documents are duplicates; others may have already been released. (In an email, Martha Murphy, the chief of JFK records at the National Archives, says she can’t confirm the figure of 113, 000 pages.)

    The JFK database provides many clues about what’s coming. It cites 44 memoranda, 34 reports, 19 cables, 62 letters and three affidavits, as well as 12 audio cassettes, 23 magnetic tapes, 10 sound recordings and a batch of photographs, apparently taken in Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where JFK was pronounced dead.

    Among the keywords found most frequently in the records: Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Oswald in police custody. Ruby is mentioned 119 times, mostly in IRS records. Other common tags in the JFK metadata: Russia (71), Cuba (68) and Cuban Revolutionary Council (68)—that’s the Miami-based CIA front group that sought to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro during JFK’s presidency. There are also 48 documents about Mexico and Mexico City, which Oswald visited six weeks before the assassination. And there are 47 documents that mention Castro, the charismatic Cuban strongman the CIA plotted to kill, beginning in the Eisenhower administration. Five documents contain information about Rolando Cubela, a disaffected Cuban official, known by the code name AMLASH, whom the agency recruited to assassinate Castro in late 1963. Five documents reference the KGB.

    Among other mysteries, the metadata identify a series of Cold War spy tales that shaped American history.

    An Infamous Mole Hunt

    The records are sure to illuminate the ordeal of Yuri Nosenko, a KGB officer whose defection to the United States in January 1964 set off a bitter power struggle in the CIA that paralyzed its Soviet operations until 1970.

    The agency’s chief of counterintelligence, James Angleton, claimed that Nosenko was a false defector. Angleton, the agency’s leading expert of Soviet intelligence operations, argued that Nosenko had been sent to protect a mole at CIA headquarters and hide a possible Soviet connection to Oswald. Nosenko was detained and interrogated at two secret CIA detention facilities in Maryland and Virginia. Held for more than four years without facing legal charges, Nosenko never confessed, despite Angleton’s efforts to break him. Nosenko was not tortured, but he told a 1991 Frontline TV documentary that he was dosed with LSD while in detention. He died in 2011.

    The secret JFK files include transcripts of Nosenko’s interrogation, several lengthy reports and even audio tapes of him. In 1968, the CIA’s Office of Security concluded that Nosenko was a bona fide defector; so did three subsequent agency investigations. Yet that conclusion is still controversial among intelligence historians. Some cite Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election as evidence that the CIA counterintelligence has consistently underestimated Russian penetration efforts.

    The 42 records on Nosenko, including more than 2,000 pages of material, will almost certainly help clarify a central mystery of the mole hunt that some say drove Angleton mad.

    Oswald and a KGB Assassin?

    In the History Channel’s new documentary series JFK Declassified, former CIA officer Robert Baer describes a meeting in Mexico City between Oswald and Valery Kostikov, a Soviet diplomat, six weeks before JFK was killed. On the program, Baer identifies Kostikov as “the head of KGB assassin operations.”

    The CIA had touted this identification of Kostikov to the White House the day after Kennedy’s assassination, and it may have played a role in President Lyndon Johnson’s decision to support a presidential commission to as fears mounted over the Kremlin’s possible involvement in the assassination. The Warren Commission received an ominous CIA memo that repeated the allegation that Kostikov was “believed to work for Department Thirteen…of the KGB…responsible for executive action, including sabotage and assassination.”

    The JFK metadata shows that the CIA has a secret 167-page file on Kostikov, which could clarify who he really was. In May 1963, counterintelligence chief Angleton had discounted him as a threat, telling FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that he had “no information” that Kostikov was associated with the KGB’s 13th Department. The Kostikov file may also reveal more about his contact with Oswald in Mexico City six weeks before JFK was killed.

    The Plumbers Plunge

    The arrest of seven burglars at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in June 1972 was the beginning of the scandal that ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

    A search of the online JFK database reveals the existence of more than 700 pages on the CIA connections of four of the Watergate burglars. The most notorious was Howard Hunt, a career CIA officer, prolific novelist and acerbic conservative critic of JFK’s Cuba policy. The agency has three operational files, three folders and two interviews concerning Hunt, a total of 391 pages of material.

    Late in life, Hunt made some murky statements that seemed to implicate some of his CIA colleagues in a JFK conspiracy. Hunt’s remarks were not quite a “deathbed confession,” as some claim, but his use of the phrase “the big event” to describe JFK’s murder did renew questions about what he knew about what happened in Dallas.

    A CIA file on James McCord, former chief of the agency’s Office of Security, runs to 267 pages. He was the burglar closest to CIA Director Richard Helms, according to The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward. There are also withheld files on burglars Bernard Barker (84 pages) and Frank Fiorini, aka Frank Sturgis (35 pages).

    Senator Howard Baker, vice chairman of the Senate Watergate committee, famously likened the role of the CIA in the Watergate affair to “animals crashing around in the forest—you can hear them, but you can’t see them.” As Woodward wrote in 2007, “Baker and many Watergate investigators came away with the sense that senior CIA officials knew more than was ever revealed.”

    Seven hundred pages of what the CIA knew about the burglars are scheduled to be revealed in October.

    Flawed Patriots?

    William King Harvey and David Atlee Phillips were decorated CIA officers who conducted authorized assassination operations for the agency in the 1960s. The metadata show that the JFK files include nearly 500 pages of material on their activities in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Previously declassified CIA records disclosed that Harvey ran the agency’s assassination program from 1960 to 1963. It was known by the unsubtle code name ZR/Rifle. Harvey was one of the agency’s legendary operators: a fat, shrewd, gun-toting man with a prodigious work ethic, memory and appetite for booze. He was known to despise Kennedy and his brother Robert. Harvey’s admiring but appalled biographer called him a “flawed patriot,” with one of his CIA colleagues, John Whitten, calling him “a thug.” Another CIA colleague, Mark Wyatt, told a journalist that he encountered Harvey flying to Dallas on a commercial flight in November 1963, an unusual destination for the chief of the CIA’s station in Rome.

    Harvey inevitably pops up in conspiracy theories about CIA involvement in Kennedy’s murder, and the agency is due to declassify 123 pages of his operational files in October, which has some people salivating. “Do the Harvey files contain travel records?” asks author David Talbot, who reported Wyatt’s story in his recent biography of Allen Dulles, The Devil’s Chessboard. “That’s what we’ll find out.”

    Many are also eager to find out what the files say about Phillips, who rose to become chief of the Latin America division of the clandestine service. Acting on the orders of Nixon, Phillips ran a covert operation against leftist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1970 that ended with the assassination of a top Chilean general and the bloody overthrow of Allende’s democratically elected government three years later.

    Phillips was a person of interest for JFK investigators. When Congress re-opened the JFK inquiry in the 1970s, some House Select Committee on Assassinations investigators thought Phillips perjured himself in closed-door testimony about Oswald. Before his death in 1988, Phillips denied any role in a JFK conspiracy, but he did say on at least one occasion what Howard Hunt insinuated late in life: that JFK was ambushed by gunmen working for rogue CIA officers who used Oswald as their patsy.

    Conspiracy theories aside, the new records, if released, could expose new details of the exploits of two famed undercover operatives.

    ‘Let’s Clear This Up’

    So what will Trump do with all that tantalizing material? The CIA has not committed to releasing the files, and a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Politico in May that the administration “is familiar with the requirements” of the law mandating full disclosure.

    The issue White House counsel Donald McGahn will have to resolve pits congressional and public interest in full disclosure against the government’s claim to secrecy. Under the JFK Records Act, the CIA and other federal agencies have the right to postpone the release of any records whose disclosure would cause “an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations.” The law requires the agency seeking to maintain secrecy to prove that “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” That is a high bar.

    ———-

    “Donald Trump and the Kennedy Assassination: America’s Most Powerful Conspiracy Theorist Will Decide Fate of Secret JFK Trove” by Jefferson Morley and Rex Bradford; Newsweek; 06/21/17

    A search of the online JFK database reveals the existence of more than 700 pages on the CIA connections of four of the Watergate burglars. The most notorious was Howard Hunt, a career CIA officer, prolific novelist and acerbic conservative critic of JFK’s Cuba policy. The agency has three operational files, three folders and two interviews concerning Hunt, a total of 391 pages of material.”

    Watergate. CIA assassins. James Angleton’s treatment of Yuri Nosenko. All sorts of secrets possibly tucked away in that archive. Secrets highly embarrassing to the ‘Deep State’ and highly likely to involved James Angleton’s various anti-Communist ‘witch hunts’. And it’s Donald Trump, the guy constantly complaining about a ‘Deep State’ ‘witch hunt’ against him, who gets to decide whether or not to release them. It’s pretty remarkable but that’s the situation. If Trump is looking for a distraction from his present-day ‘witch hunts’ there’s an opportunity for a pretty giant historic distraction sitting right there. Will he use that opportunity? We’ll see. Seems possible.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2017, 3:52 pm

Post a comment