Jefferson Morley

Jefferson Morley


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When Fidel Castro's Revolutionary Armed Forces routed the U.S.-backed Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs fiasco 40 years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy took full responsibility for the defeat. But the contrition of the young commander in chief, while popular with the American people, played poorly among the tens of thousands of Cubans living here in Miami. Many believed the liberal chief executive's refusal to send planes to support the men scrambling for cover at Playa Girón was a failure of nerve, if not a betrayal. And to this day a certain embittered distrust of Washington, born four decades ago, runs deep in Cuban Miami, erupting whenever the federal government (in the person of Janet Reno or farm-belt Republicans in Congress) pursues policies contrary to the agenda of the first generation of el exilio. But the truth is that whatever the disappointment of the Bay of Pigs, Miami's Cuban exiles have never lacked for support at the highest levels of the U.S. government. From the beginning their anti-Castro cause was taken up by senior leaders of the CIA, who encouraged their ambitions to destroy the Cuban regime. For 38 years one of the most powerful of those leaders has guarded a secret about the events leading up to Kennedy's violent death, a secret potentially damaging to the exile cause as well as to the agency itself.

The man is Richard Helms, former director of the CIA. Now retired and living in the swank Foxhall section of Washington, D.C., the 89-year-old Helms declined interview requests for this story, the basic facts of which have emerged from recently declassified JFK files.

Through four intensive investigations of the Kennedy assassination, Helms withheld information about a loyal CIA officer in Miami - a dapper, multilingual lawyer and father of three - who guided and monitored the Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil (the Revolutionary Student Directorate, or DRE). His name was George Joannides, and his charges in the DRE were among the most notoriously outspoken and militant anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the early Sixties. For several weeks in the summer of 1963, those same exiles tailed, came to blows with, and harassed Lee Harvey Oswald, who just a few months later changed the course of U.S. history.

Helms never told the Warren Commission - the presidential panel set up after Kennedy's death to investigate the assassination - about his officer's relationship with the exile group. He never disclosed that the CIA was funding the DRE when it had contact with Oswald, who was agitating on Castro's behalf in New Orleans in August 1963. A skillful bureaucrat, Helms withheld files on Oswald's pro-Castro activities from an in-house investigation of the accused assassin (and when the veteran officer in charge of that probe protested, Helms relieved him of his duties).

Helms stonewalled again in 1978, when Congress created the House Select Committee on Assassinations to re-examine Kennedy's murder. Once more the CIA kept every detail of Joannides's mission in Miami under wraps. Worse still, in veiled contempt of that inquiry, the CIA assigned to Joannides himself the job of deflecting sensitive inquiries from the committee's investigators.

As recently as 1998, the agency still disavowed any knowledge of Joannides's actions in Miami. John Tunheim, now a federal judge in Minneapolis, chaired the federal Assassination Records Review Board, which between 1994 and 1998 opened more than four million pages of long-secret documents - including a thin file on Joannides. Yet even then the CIA was claiming that no one in the agency had had any contact with the DRE throughout 1963. The Joannides story, Tunheim says today, "shows that the CIA wasn't interested in the truth about the assassination."

Journalist and author Gerald Posner, whose 1993 best seller Case Closed argued that the DRE's harassment of Oswald was a "humiliation" that propelled him on his way to shoot the president, says he finds the Joannides piece of the JFK puzzle to be "obviously important" and suggests that the CIA is "covering up its own incompetence." In his view the agency's "intransigence, lying, and dissembling are once again contributing to suspicions of conspiracy."

G. Robert Blakey , who served as general counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, says the agency's silence compromised that investigation. "If I had known then what Joannides was doing in 1963, I would have demanded that the agency take him off the job (of responding to committee inquiries)," he asserts. "I would have sat him down and interviewed him. Under oath."

In the summer of 1994 I became curious if a retired employee of the Central Intelligence Agency named Jane Roman was still alive and living in Washington.

I was curious because I had just seen Jane Roman’s name and handwriting on routing slips attached to newly declassified CIA documents about Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. This is what I found significant: these documents were dated before November 22, 1963. If this Jane Roman person at CIA headquarters had read the documents that she signed for on the routing slips, then she knew something of Oswald’s existence and activities before the itinerant, 24 year-old ex-Marine became world famous for allegedly shooting President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. In other words, Jane Roman was a CIA official in good standing who knew about the alleged assassin in advance of Kennedy’s violent death.

What self-respecting Washington journalist wouldn’t be interested?

Of course, I knew enough about the Kennedy assassination to know that many, many, many people knew something of Lee Oswald before he arrived in Dealey Plaza with a gun—a small family, an assortment of far-flung buddies from the Marines, family and acquaintances in New Orleans and Dallas, some attentive FBI agents, not to mention the occasional anti-Castro Cuban, and even some CIA officials.

But Jane Roman was not just any CIA official. In 1963 she was the senior liaison officer on the Counterintelligence Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. That set her apart. At the height of the Cold War, the counterintelligence staff was a very select operation within the agency, charged with detecting threats to the integrity of CIA operations and personnel from the Soviet Union and its allies. The CI staff, as it was known in bureaucratic lingo, was headed by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary Yale-educated spy, who was either a patriotic genius or a paranoid drunk or perhaps both. Jane Roman’s responsibilities in the fall of 1963 included handling communications between the CI staff and other federal agencies.

I was excited, perhaps foolishly, in June of 1994, when I learned that the CIA’s Jane Roman was living not far from me, on Newark Street in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington DC....

I was less interested in Jane Roman’s opinion about the conspiracy question than what she actually knew. That she knew about Oswald before Kennedy was killed was apparent from the records that the CIA released to the National Archives in the spring of 1994.Roman’s initials appeared on a routing slip attached to an FBI report about Lee Harvey Oswald dated September 10, 1963. That was ten weeks before that same Oswald allegedly shot Kennedy. By that date, anti-conspiracy writers such as Gus Russo and Gerald Posner say that Oswald was clearly on a path that would put him in the right place--and in the right state of mind--to kill the president. He had certainly tried to infiltrate one of the CIA’s favorite anti-Castro organizations. He had made himself a public spokesman for the leading pro-Castro group in the United States.

Even if you assumed Oswald was the lone assassin, the perspective of a CIA paper pusher such as Jane Roman on that moment in time was still interesting, and potentially newsworthy.

What did she make of this character Oswald? What did the CIA make of him as he made his way to Dealey Plaza? Did he raise any alarms?

It was 1:30 in the morning of Nov. 23, 1963, and John F. Kennedy had been dead for 12 hours. His corpse was being dressed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, touched and retouched to conceal the ugly bullet wounds. In Dallas, the F.B.I. had Lee Harvey Oswald in custody.

The lights were still on at the Central Intelligence Agency's headquarters in Langley, Va. John Whitten, the agency's 43-year-old chief of covert operations for Mexico and Central America, hung up the phone with his Mexico City station chief. He had just learned something stunning: A C.I.A. surveillance team in Mexico City had photographed Oswald at the Cuban consulate in early October, an indication that the agency might be able to quickly uncover the suspect's background.

At 1:36 am, Whitten sent a cable to Mexico City: "Send staffer with all photos of Oswald to HQ on the next available flight. Call Mr. Whitten at 652-6827." Within 24 hours Whitten was leading the C.I.A. investigation into the assassination. After two weeks of reviewing classified cables, he had learned that Oswald's pro-Castro political activities needed closer examination, especially his attempt to shoot a right-wing JFK critic, a diary of his efforts to confront anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans, and his public support for the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. For this investigatory zeal, Whitten was taken off the case.

C.I.A. Deputy Director of Plans Richard Helms blocked Whitten's efforts, effectively ending any hope of a comprehensive agency investigation of the accused assassin, a 24-year-old ex-Marine, who had sojourned in the Soviet Union and spent time as a leftist activist in New Orleans. In particular, Oswald's Cuba-related political life, which Whitten wished to pursue, went unexplored by the C.I.A. The blue-ribbon Warren commission appointed by President Johnson concluded in September 1964 that Oswald alone and unaided had killed Kennedy. But over the years, as information which the commission's report had not accounted for leaked out, many would come to see the commission as a cover-up, in part because it failed to assign any motive to Oswald, in part because the government's pre-assassination surveillance of Oswald had been more intense than the government ever cared to disclose, and finally because its reconstruction of the crime sequence was flawed.

In 1977, Mary Ferrell, a Dallas legal secretary and tireless JFK researcher, told the newly created House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that she'd heard an audiotape of Dallas police radio traffic around the time Kennedy died. That led the panel to retrieve the Dictabelts in May 1978. By then, the science of acoustic analysis had come a long way. The HSCA's general counsel, ex-federal prosecutor G. Robert Blakey, chose James Barger, a prominent audio scientist, to assess the recordings' value as evidence.

Barger decided to compare the sound impulses on the recordings with the sound of real gunfire. In August 1978, he led a team to Dallas for a series of elaborate ballistics tests. Setting up 36 microphones along the Dealey Plaza motorcade route, he recorded shots fired from the sixth-floor book depository window where Oswald was said to have fired, and from the grassy knoll. Barger compared the resulting sound patterns with the impulses on the Dictabelt. His findings contrasted with those of the Warren Commission, which ruled that Oswald fired three shots at Kennedy's limousine.

Barger identified at least four sound-wave patterns that he said closely resembled the muzzle blasts of gunshots in his test firing. Three of them closely resembled shots fired from the sixth-floor window. One resembled a shot from the grassy knoll, he said. Two other acoustic experts retained by the HSCA supported Barger's conclusion. The acoustic evidence became the keystone of the House panel's finding in January 1979 that Kennedy had "probably" been killed by conspirators who, besides Oswald, couldn't be identified.

Other experts disputed the findings. In 1980, the Justice Department turned to the National Research Council, a government think tank. In May 1982, a 12-scientist NRC panel unanimously ruled that Barger's supposed gunshots were something else and "came too late to be attributed to assassination shots." ( A Court TV analysis last year found essentially the same thing.)

Dictabelt No. 10 then went back to a file cabinet at the Justice Department. It was subsequently transferred to the National Archives. Then, in early 2001, Donald Thomas, a government scientist interested in the Kennedy assassination, published in a British forensics journal an article based on a mathematical review of all the acoustic evidence. Thomas's conclusion: Five shots had been fired at Kennedy's motorcade from two different directions.

People interested in the JFK story will be interested to know that the CIA is due to file papers in court tomorrorow, May 20, to block release of certain JFK assassination-related documents.

The records in question concern a deceased CIA officer named George Joannides. At the time of Kennedy's death, Joannides was the Chief of Psychological Warfare branch of the Agency's JM/WAVE station in Miami.

Among his primary responsibilities were guiding, monitoring and financing the Revolutionary Cuban Student Directorate or DRE, one of the largest and most effective anti-Castro groups in the United States. CIA records show, and the group's former leaders confirm, that Joannides provided them with up $18-25,000 per month while insisting they submit to CIA discipline. Joannides, in his job evaluation of 31 July 1963, was credited with having established control over the group.

Five day later, Lee Harvey Oswald wandered into the DRE's New Orleans delegation, setting off a string of encounters between the pro-Castro ex-Marine and the anti-Castro exiles. Members of the DRE confronted Oswald on a street corner. They stared him down in a courtroom. They sent a DRE member to Oswald's house posing a Castro supporter. They challenged him to a debate on the radio. They made a tape of the debate which was later sent to Joannides. And they issued a press release calling for a congressional investigation of the thoroughly obscure Oswald. This, at a time, when the DRE had been warned to clear its public statements with the Agency.

What, if anything, Joannides made of the encounters between his assets in the DRE and the future accused assassin is unknown. Former leaders of the DRE are divided on the question.

Within an hour of Oswald's arrest on Nov. 22, 1963, the DRE leaders in Miami went public with their documentation of Oswald's pro-Castro ways, thus shaping early press coverage of the accused assasssin. Joannides told the group to take their information to the FBI.

Joannides connection to Oswald's antagonists was not disclosed to the Warren Commission.

In 1978, Joannides was called out of retirement to serve as CIA liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Joanndides did not disclose his role in the events of 1963 to investigators. HSCA general counsel Bob Blakey says that Joannides's actions constituted obstruction of Congress, a felony. Joannides's support for the DRE was uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1998. Joannides died in 1991.

I filed suit against the CIA in December 2003 seeking records of Joannides's activities in 1963 and 1978. In December 2004, the CIA gave me about 150 pages of heavily redacted and obviously incomplete records from Joannides's personnel file. The Agency informed me that it retains an unspecified number of records about Joannides actions that it will not release IN ANY FORM.

Thus JFK assassination records are kept secret in 2005 in the name of "national security."

The records that CIA gave me are not reassuring. They show that Joannides travelled to New Orleans in connection with his CIA duties in 1963-64. They also show that he was cleared for two highly sensitive operations in December 1962 and June 1963. The nature of these operations is unknown.

It would be premature and foolish to speculate on what George Joannnides was doing in New Orleans in 1963. What is certain is that he had a professional obligation to report on the activities of the DRE in August and November 1963, especially as they related to Oswald. The CIA is legally obliged to make such records public.

Instead, they are stonewalling in court. This is a disappointing, if not disturbing.

I am interested in hearing from JFK researchers willing to publicly support a call to Congress to enforce the JFK Records Act. I know that the Joannides records are not the only assassination-related material that is being illicitly withheld so I am also interested in hearing from researchers about specific groups of records, known to exist, that have not been released.

Whatever one's interpretation of November 22, 1963, I think we can all agree that these records should be made public immediately.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains the great unsolved mystery of American politics. With dozens of books in print on the subject, the case of the murdered commander in chief now seems to attract more interest from the publishing industry than from journalists or historians.

The fascination with a shocking crime is not hard to understand. On Nov. 22, 1963, the president was shot in the head during a motorcade through Dallas. Police arrested an ex-Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald, who proclaimed himself a "patsy." Two days later, a Dallas strip-club owner, Jack Ruby, shot Oswald dead on national TV. Not until the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, would the American people experience such a bewildering, sudden and painful loss.

Why official Washington has seemingly lost interest in the story in recent years is harder, though not impossible, to figure out. The JFK story remains an enduring symbol of popular mistrust. Public confidence in the federal government was somewhere near its high-water mark in 1964, the year the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald, for no discernible motive, killed Kennedy alone and unaided. Confidence declined steadily over the next three decades. Rejection of the Warren report was not the only or even primary cause of that decline (think of Vietnam and Watergate), merely a vivid indicator.

So while a new crop of JFK assassination books blooms every November, the Washington press corps, confident in its own ability to uncover wrongdoing, tends to see the JFK story as a black hole of misinformation and irrationality. That viewpoint has gotten plenty of support over the years from ludicrous conspiracy theories positing that Kennedy was killed by a gunman lurking in a sewer, by a bystander wielding a dart-shooting umbrella or (my favorite) by an accidental gunshot from a Secret Service agent. After the fierce debate over Oliver Stone's controversial 1991 hit movie "JFK," which portrayed the assassination as the work of a sinister CIA-Pentagon cabal determined to kill Kennedy lest he pull out of Vietnam, much of the Washington press corps never rejoined the discussion of his murder. Most (but not all) historians and journalists scorned Stone's scenario as unfounded, wild-eyed and destructive. But a CBS News poll taken two years later found that far more respondents thought the CIA was involved with JFK's murder (49 percent) than thought that Oswald acted alone (11 percent). This impasse fuels the industry of new assassination books.

The case that Oswald acted alone was most persuasively restated by the investigative reporter Gerald Posner in his 1993 bestseller Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK . His success prompted furious rebuttals of his reading of the evidence.

Beginning in 1994, the Assassination Records Review Board declassified thousands of once-secret JFK records. They generated yet more JFK books but also (mercifully) eliminated some of the least plausible theories. First to go was the claim that Oswald had acted on behalf of the Soviet Union, a claim effectively debunked by the new U.S. records and records from the former communist spy agencies.

The Board also dispatched the far-fetched claim that the U.S. government had altered Abraham Zapruder's famous home movie of the assassination to hide evidence of a conspiracy. David R. Wrone, a historian, refuted this bogus theory in his 2003 book The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination . The unaltered film, Wrone concluded, shows that Kennedy was hit by gunfire from two different directions.

Another leading theory -- that the Mafia killed Kennedy -- has endured in the memoirs of people close to top organized-crime figures. But reams of recently released FBI surveillance records do not provide any corroboration. Nor has Oliver Stone's malign vision of murder-by-military-industrial-complex found any substantiation.

The new records have bolstered other scenarios, however. Gus Russo's 1998 book Live by the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK resuscitated the lone-gunman theory by giving it what it had long lacked: a motive. Russo, an investigative reporter, argued that Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's secret efforts to overthrow Castro in 1963 were much more extensive than had previously been known. He suggested that Oswald, acting out of leftist conviction, killed JFK in defense of Castro's revolution, perhaps with Havana's help.

The Board's documents arguably enhanced another popular scenario -- that CIA operatives manipulated or framed the pro-Castro Oswald. In his 1995 book Oswald and the CIA , John Newman, a former military intelligence officer, demonstrated that senior CIA officials gave pre-assassination reporting on the itinerant ex-Marine far more attention than they ever admitted. Newman refrained from passing judgment on whether Oswald was involved in an authorized, still-classified CIA operation with a legitimate purpose and no apparent connection to Kennedy's assassination. He noted that the agency had not released all of its JFK records, which remains true in 2005.

The rational reader is confronted by the paradox that while plenty of wacko theories circulate on the Internet, a good-faith parsing of the evidence can still yield reasonable doubt. After all, many people in high places concluded that JFK had been ambushed by his enemies. Lyndon B. Johnson, for one, never believed that Oswald acted alone; he suspected Cuba's Fidel Castro had retaliated for CIA efforts to kill him. House Speaker Tip O'Neill said that JFK aide Kenneth O'Donnell had told him in 1968 that "he had heard two shots" from the "grassy knoll." Conspiratorial fears found support in 1979 when the House Select Committee on Assassinations, led by former federal prosecutor G. Robert Blakey, concluded that JFK had been killed by unidentifiable conspirators. Former cabinet secretary Joseph Califano, intimately involved in JFK's Cuba policy, wrote in his autobiography that he had "come to share LBJ's view" that Oswald was not a loner.

In 1997 it was revealed that Bobby and Jacqueline Kennedy believed there was a conspiracy in Dallas. In their book on the Cuban missile crisis, "One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964, historians Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali reported that the president's widow and brother sent an envoy to Moscow in late 1963 to tell a Soviet intelligence officer that they believed JFK had been killed by what the authors called a "large political conspiracy" originating in the United States. The grief-stricken widow and brother wanted the Kremlin to know that RFK would resume his brother's policy toward the Soviet Union as soon as he became president himself. This rather startling revelation deserved more attention in Washington than it got at the time. Inside the Beltway, the idea that serious political players believed that JFK's murderer got away with it was somehow inadmissible. Elsewhere, the strange circumstances of the Dallas tragedy make Jackie and Bobby's suspicions seem almost commonsensical. Conspiracy theories endure. Yet, as two new JFK assassination books illustrate, there is still no compelling case to explain who the alleged conspirators were, if they existed at all.

Oct 2, 2006: Jefferson Morley's lawsuit to obtain CIA records of officer George Joannides was dismissed last Friday by Judge Richard Leon (see judge's opinion). Joannides was the former chief of anti-Castro psychological warfare operations in Miami in 1963, which included oversight of the DRE, the Cuban exile group whose members knew Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans. For background on the Joannides story, see our Unredacted interview with journalist Jeff Morley (pictured at left) and AARC President Jim Lesar.

Judge Leon upheld the CIA's right to block disclosure of records about Joannides's operational activities in August 1963. That's when Joannides' agents in a Cuban exile student group had a series of encounters with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and used U.S. government funds to call attention to his pro-Castro activities.

At the time, CIA records show that Joannides was guiding and monitoring the Cuban Student Directorate and providing it with up to $25,000 a month. When JFK investigators later questioned Joannides about his knowledge of Oswald and the events of 1963, he stonewalled. In fact, the CIA had placed him in a position as liaison with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, without informing them of Joannides' prior role. When G. Robert Blakey, the House Committee's Chief Counsel, learned of this recently, he wrote a scathing response which begins: "I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee."

The dismissal of the Morley lawsuit shows that, with the demise of the Assassination Records Review Board, there is a problematic lack of enforcement of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.

Bryan Burrough’s laudatory review of Vincent Bugliosi’s book on the Kennedy assassination (May 20) is superficial and gratuitously insulting. “Conspiracy theorists” — blithe generalization — should according to Burroughs be “ridiculed, even shunned ... marginalized the way we’ve marginalized smokers.” Let’s see now. The following people to one degree or another suspected that President Kennedy was killed as the result of a conspiracy, and said so either publicly or privately: Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon; Attorney General Robert Kennedy; John Kennedy’s widow, Jackie; his special adviser dealing with Cuba at the United Nations, William Attwood; F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover (!); Senators Richard Russell (a Warren Commission member), and Richard Schweiker and Gary Hart (both of the Senate Intelligence Committee); seven of the eight congressmen on the House Assassinations Committee and its chief counsel, G. Robert Blakey; the Kennedy associates Joe Dolan, Fred Dutton, Richard Goodwin, Pete Hamill, Frank Mankiewicz, Larry O’Brien, Kenneth O’Donnell and Walter Sheridan; the Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman, who rode with the president in the limousine; the presidential physician, Dr. George Burkley; Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago; Frank Sinatra; and the “60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt. All of the above, à la Burrough, were idiots.

Not so, of course. Most of them were close to the events and people concerned, and some had privileged access to evidence and intelligence that threw doubt on the “lone assassin” version. That doubt remains today. Bugliosi himself this year joined us, Don DeLillo, Gerald Posner, Robert Blakey and two dozen other writers on the assassination in signing an open letter that appeared in the March 15 issue of The New York Review of Books. The letter focused on a specific unresolved lead, the discovery that a highly regarded C.I.A. officer named George Joannides was in 1963 running an anti-Castro exile group that had a series of encounters with Oswald shortly before the assassination.

This is obviously pertinent, yet the C.I.A. hid the fact from four J.F.K. investigations. Since 1998, when the agency did reluctantly disclose the merest outline of what Joannides was up to, it has energetically stonewalled a Freedom of Information suit to obtain the details of its officer’s activities. Here we are in 2007, 15 years after Congress unanimously approved the J.F.K. Assassination Records Act mandating the “immediate” release of all assassination-related records, and the C.I.A. is claiming in federal court that it has the right not to do so.

And now your reviewer, Burrough, seems to lump together all those who question the official story as marginal fools. Burrough’s close-minded stance should be unacceptable to every historian and journalist worthy of the name — especially at a time when a federal agency is striving vigorously to suppress very relevant information.

In the 44 years since the assassination, there have been three critical milestones in the effort to explain this devastating crime. The first story was the report of the Warren Commission, the official government body assigned to investigate the shooting. In September 1964, the Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, described as a pro-Castro Marxist, fired three shots at the presidential motorcade and killed Kennedy for reasons known only to him. They held that Oswald acted alone and unaided, and did not pay attention to the protests raised upon his arrest that he was "a patsy." He was shot to death, while in police custody, two days after his arrest by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner who had ties to organized crime that the Commission chose not to share with the American people.

Within a week, 62 percent of respondents to a University of Chicago poll rejected the notion that Oswald had acted alone. Contrary to mainstream media mythology JFK conspiratorial suspicions were not whipped up years after the fact by cranks and fantasists. Those suspicions arose immediately, they spanned the political spectrum and they percolated in the Washington political elite. Both Robert Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy believed that JFK was the victim of a major domestic conspiracy. JFK's successor, Lyndon Johnson, suspected that the assassination resulted from the struggle for power in Cuba. Richard Nixon hounded the CIA for files on "the whole Bay of Pigs thing," which his aides understood to mean Kennedy's assassination.

The second official story came in 1979. After lengthy hearings, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded Kennedy had been killed by Oswald and co-conspirators who could not be identified. By then popular skepticism about the government's "lone nut" scenario was souring into cynicism. When the HSCA's final report declared that Kennedy had been killed in a conspiracy, TV talk show host Johnny Carson said he was shocked. "Next thing you know," Carson gibed, "they'll be telling us Hitler started World War II."

Then came Oliver Stone. His box office smash JFK, released in 1991, offered an all-too-persuasive depiction of the murder of America's liberal 35th president as a virtual coup d'etat orchestrated at the highest levels of the Pentagon and the CIA. Stone endured much abuse at the hands of the Washington press corps for taking liberties with the historical record in his well-researched screenplay. The director delivered an incisive retort: If the government had nothing to hide on JFK's assassination, why was it hiding so many millions of pages of documents on the subject?

Congress was shamed into approving the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. The 1992 law mandated the "immediate" release of all government documents related to Kennedy's murder. Between 1994 and 1998, a civilian review panel oversaw the declassification of millions of pages of classified JFK records. Stone's cinematic agitation shook loose a library of records that conventional journalism never would have captured. Many of the most important new documents can be seen on the best JFK website, www.maryferrell.org.

Neither individually nor together do these documents dramatically change our understanding of November 22, 1963. But they do enlighten the evidence, and pose important questions. First, the documents show that a handful of top CIA officials had far greater knowledge of Oswald in the weeks before Kennedy was killed than they ever let on, and at least one of these operatives remained quiet about what he knew to perhaps a criminal extent. Second, the scientific evidence supporting the lone gunman theory has weakened.

Now let us put the crime scene in a larger context, the context of CIA intelligence gathering and psychological warfare operations in late 1963. Let us return now to the man who didn't talk.

What was George Joannides's reaction to Oswald's appearance at the Dallas scene?

"We called him right away," says Tony Lanuza, a Miami businessman who was active in Cuban politics in 1963. He served as the coordinator for the far-flung delegations of the Cuban Student Directorate. When he and his friends heard that a man named Oswald had been arrested for killing Kennedy, Lanuza immediately recalled the confrontations between Carlos Bringuier and the obnoxious interloper from the Fair Play for Cuba Committee the previous August. They rushed to the Directorate's headquarters in South Miami, where someone called their CIA contact to inform him the group had evidence about the communistic ways of Kennedy's killer.

Joannides's first impulse was to consult with his superiors, two months before the DRE was recruiting assassins to kill Castro. What did they know about Oswald was one question that an intelligence officer might want answered.

"He told us to wait an hour," Lanuza recalls. "He had to consult with Washington."

The DRE started calling reporters anyway with the scoop on Kennedy's killer. He was a communist and a Castro supporter. A headline in the DRE's newspaper the next day described Oswald and Castro as "the presumed assassins." When Joannides called back, he told them to take their evidence to the FBI.

The CIA man apparently did not investigate Oswald's Cuban contacts. No former DRE leader can recall any conversations with Joannides about the accused assassin. Joannides did not account for the contacts between the AMSPELL network and the accused assassin, at least not according to the available CIA records. His role as sponsor of Oswald's Cuban antagonists was not disclosed to the Warren Commission. He preserved the U.S. government's ability to "plausibly deny" any connection to the Cuban students who publicized Oswald's pro-Castro ways.

All the while, the DRE leaders continued to feed JFK information to Joannides. The group's records from early 1964 include several memos to CIA contact "Howard" about Jack Ruby's Cuban connections. From New Orleans, Carlos Bringuier sent a report about the ongoing Warren Commission investigation there. That too was passed to Joannides.

On April 1, 1964, the Warren Commission sent Carlos Bringuier a letter informing him that a commission staff would be contacting him soon about taking his testimony about the DRE and Oswald. According to a CIA travel form made public in 2004, Joannides, the DRE's case officer and an attorney, traveled from Miami to New Orleans that same day for unknown reasons.

For the rest of his career, Joannides would be commended for his actions around events related to the Kennedy assassination.

In May 1964, his bosses praised him as a "hard-working, dedicated and effective officer" with a flair for political action operations. His annual job evaluation made no mention of the fact that his AMSPELL assets had tried and failed to call attention to the man who apparently killed Kennedy or that his young friends in the DRE were using agency funds to allege that Oswald acted at Castro's behest. Joannides received the highest possible marks for his service in 1963.

He went on to serve in Athens, Saigon and CIA headquarters. In 1979, after Joannides stonewalled congressional investigators about his knowledge of Oswald he received praise from CIA director Stansfield Turner and other top agency officials. "He was the perfect man for the job," said one.

Two years ago, the CIA acknowledged in a court filing that Joannides had received an even greater honor upon retirement. In March 1981, he received the Career Intelligence Medal, bestowed for "career contributions" to the Agency.

Why Joannides was honored after his Oswald cover-up remains a secret -- for reasons of "national security." In September 2006 federal judge Richard Leon upheld the CIA's arguments in a Freedom of Information lawsuit that it did not have to release the JFK material in Joannides's file. The National Archives then requested the Joannides files from the Agency earlier this year. As of late October 2007, the CIA was still resisting disclosure.

So what can one safely and reliably conclude about the JFK story today?

On the crime scene evidence, reasonable people will differ. To me, the single bullet theory, the forensic linchpin of all arguments for Oswald's sole guilt, has lost scientific validity in the past decade via both Pat Grant and Erik Randich's ballistics analysis and via the sworn testimony of FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill.

The JFK medical evidence is much less trustworthy than was known a decade ago. Photographs have been culled from the collection. Multiple new witnesses say independently and under oath that Kennedy's body and wounds were cleaned up before being photographed for the record. Any indictment of Oswald based on the medical evidence of Kennedy's wounds has been undermined.

The acoustic evidence remains in dispute. In my view, it has not been disqualified until an alternative explanation for the order in the data is confirmed.

The new JFK forensic science, in short, has narrowed the limits of plausible conjecture by eliminating the single bullet theory as an explanation of Kennedy and Connally's wounds and by not eliminating the possibility that the fatal shot was fired from the grassy knoll.

The best minds in forensic science might be able to clarify things, Pat Grant told me in an e-mail following our interview. Grant admitted that he and probably most other experts in the most advanced forensic techniques are not up to date on the acoustic evidence and other JFK evidentiary specimens.

"The evidence should be viewed and examined by a select group of forensic scientists, by invitation only, that best represents the most advanced forensic methods possible today," Grant wrote, adding, "These cannot be encompassed solely by the practices of today's criminalistics labs." He proposed these scientists prepare "a summary report detailing prioritized recommendations for ensuing analyses, their estimations for success of each recommended analysis and the anticipated information to be gained from each."

As for the new JFK evidence from CIA archives, that too awaits clarification. Some of the most basic questions about George Joannides -- what did he know about Oswald and when did he know it? -- cannot be answered as long as the Agency withholds his files from public view. The CIA's insistence, 44 years later, that it cannot declassify those files for reasons of "national security," not only encourages the notion the Agency is still hiding something significant, it also reminds us of the infuriating truth. When it comes to the JFK story we know a lot more than we did a decade ago: We know we still don't have the full story.

Birch O'Neal, head of Angleton's Special Investigations Group, weighed in, via cable, with a suggestion. He told Win that it was "important you review all LIENVOY tapes and transcripts since Sept 27 to locate all materials possibly pertinent." O'Neal thought correctly that such material would date to September 27, the day Oswald first contacted the Cuban consulate in Mexico City. But how did he know that? It was either a lucky guess or, more likely, SIG knew of Oswald's Cuban contacts in advance of Kennedy's assassination.

Another key question: Where were the surveillance tapes of Oswald, aside from those of his October 1 call to the Soviet embassy? Headquarters demanded an answer from Win, and David Phillips came up with one. They had been erased. More than a decade later, Phillips told the Church Committee exactly when it happened. "It was not until after 5 pm on November 23, 1963 that Agency headquarters cabled its station in Mexico City as to whether the original tapes were available," the committee stated in its final report. "David Phillips recalls that this inquiry precipitated CIA station's search for the tapes which confirmed that they had been erased."

Phillips's recollection was technically accurate. It was true that the originals had been erased. Phillips did not know or did not say that Anne Goodpasture had a duplicate of at least one of the Oswald conversations. Win said the same thing. He relayed three of the transcripts of Oswald's phone calls to Helms in Washington. He did not send the transcript of the call about Oswald's travel plans made by Cuban consulate employee Sylvia Duran on September 27. About the Saturday, September 28, conversation, he wrote, "Subject is probably OSWALD. Station unable compare voice as first tape erased prior to receipt of 2nd call." With that dubious claim, the CIAs false story that there were no LIENVOY tapes of Oswald's conversations came into being.

The issue of Oswald's visit to the Cuban consulate was, as always, handled with the utmost discretion. One pressing question for Win was, what did Sylvia Duran know about Oswald? The station already had a "substantial interest" in her before the assassination, Phillips later admitted, not the least because surveillance had revealed that she had had an affair with Carlos Lechuga, the former Cuban ambassador in Mexico City, who was now serving as Castro's ambassador to the United Nations. At least one Mexican source on the CIA payroll had told his case officer that "all that would have to be done to recruit Ms. Duran was to get a blonde, blue-eyed American in bed with her."

Win called Luis Echeverria, the trim, self-effacing sub secretary to Diaz Ordaz, the minister of government, whom Win had recruited into the LITEMPO network. Echeverria, as LITEMPO-8, had shown the ability to get things done. Win asked him to have his men arrest Sylvia Duran. Then he called Diaz Ordaz, expecting full cooperation from the Gobernacion minister. He asked that Duran be held incommunicado until she gave all details of her contacts with Oswald. Diaz Ordaz agreed. Within an hour, President Lopez Mateos himself called. Win was expecting condolences for Kennedy's death, but his friend wanted to share some intelligence. His people working in the LIENVOY joint operations center had located the transcript of Oswald's September 28 call.

But when Win reported his aggressive police work to CIA headquarters, he was rebuked. Mexico desk chief John Whitten called on a nonsecure phone line with urgent orders from Helms's top deputy, Tom Karamessines: call off the Mexicans. Don't arrest Sylvia Duran. Win told him it was too late, but not to worry. The Mexican government would keep the arrest secret and make sure no information leaked.

Not reassured, Karamessines followed up with a cable to make sure Win understood his instructions.

ARREST OF SYLVIA DURAN IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS MATTER WHICH COULD PREJUDICE [U.S. ] FREEDOM OF ACTION ON ENTIRE QUESTION OF [CUBAN] RESPONSIBILITY. WITH FULL REGARD FOR MEXICAN INTEREST, REQUEST YOU ENSURE THAT HER ARREST IS KEPT ABSOLUTELY SECRET, THAT NO INFORMATION FROM HER IS PUBLISHED OR LEAKED, THAT ALL SUCH INFO IS CABLED TO US, AND THAT FACT OF HER ARREST AND HER STATEMENTS ARE NOT SPREAD TO LEFTIST OR DISLOYAL CIRCLES IN THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT

A decade later, when investigators discovered this cable and asked for an explanation, Karamessines said he had no recollection of it. When pressed on why he might have issued such an order, he said that the CIA might have "feared that the Cubans were responsible [for the assassination] and that Duran might reveal this during an interrogation." He further ventured that "if Duran did possess such information, the CIA and the U.S. government would need time to react before it came to public attention." But Karamessines could not explain why he sought to prevent Win from using his Mexican contacts to learn what Duran knew.

John Whitten, chief of the Mexico desk, wrote a rare memorandum for the record stating that he opposed Karamessines's order. When Senate investigators asked him about his objections in 1976, he too said he had no recollection of the memo he had initialed. But he did attempt an explanation. "We were concerned about blowing the revealing our telephone taps, prematurely revealing our knowledge that Oswald had been in the Cuban consulate at all," he told investigators. "Of course, that all came out later in the papers and so on but at this juncture... the 23rd, the next day. We were keeping a lid on everything because we didn't know which way the thing was going to go." Might the United States attack Cuba in retaliation for the murder of the president? That question did not need to be asked at CIA headquarters, Whitten said. "It was just in the air."

Two years later, Whitten came up with a more incisive explanation. At the time we were not sure that Oswald might not have been a Cuban agent, and the arrest of a foreign consular person was quite a serious matter under international law. Although Sylvia Duran was a Mexican.... Karamessines may not have known at the time and simply felt that this breach of international law, violation of her immunity, might have made it awkward for the United States, if we wanted to let out a roar of outrage if we discovered that Castro had been behind the assassination. In other words, Karamessines feared that this whole thing [the arrest of Duran] might be laid at the United States doorstep."

But why wouldn't American officials want to question a communist who had contact with the man who had apparently killed the president?

Jim Angleton did not want to answer that question. He told congressional investigators he had a "vague recollection" of Karamessines's order. 'All I would say is that usually if Tom intervened it was for good reason ... because he had superior information."

Karamessines's order to Win showed that within twenty-four hours of Kennedy's assassination, top CIA officials were maneuvering to preserve their "freedom of action" to blame the crime on Castro an option that would have generated the U.S. invasion of the island that Cuba hawks had long favored. The command evoked the mind-set that generated Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon pretext operations conceived and rejected by JFK in 1962 and 1963: if Castro could be blamed for a horrible crime against American interests, then the U.S. government might be able to justify an invasion to overthrow him. The Karamessines order also illuminated the difference between Win and his superiors in Washington.

Jefferson Morley’s Our Man in Mexico sets the scene and the tone of the times for one of the puzzling and mysterious jaunts south of the border by any American.

The book is a biography of CIA officer Winston Scott, Mexico City is the scene and the American is Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO), the accused assassin of President Kennedy.

It was Oswald’s September 24 to October 2 1963 sojourn to Mexico City, six weeks before Kennedy was killed that cuts right to the heart of the question of whether the President was killed by a deranged lone nut or a covert pawn in a much more serious and complex scenario.

Morley really wants to address the issue of who was manipulating the accused assassin of the president as well as the group of anti-Castro Cuban students (Student Revolutionary Directorate DRE) Oswald associated with in New Orleans before going to Mexico.

Morley approaches this issue by way of the biography and career of Win Scott, Our CIA Man in Mexico at the time, and through the perspective of Win Scott’s son Michael, who wants to come to understand the secret side of his father’s life.

Michael Scott, whose name is listed on the credits of the popular TV series Unsolved Mysteries, has been seeking the historic truth about his father, much like the sons and daughters of other peripheral figures in the assassination – E. Howard Hunt’s son, Oswald’s daughters and Frank Olson’s son, who were children at the time and have now grown up wondering what really happened.

As much as they can, Morley and Scott have been piecing together their respective stories from what’s in the official files. Michael Scott has been privately seeking the CIA records of his father, especially an autobiographical novel "Foul Foe," while Morley has been seeking the CIA records of George Joannides, the CIA case officer responsible for the DRE students who associated with Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1963.

While both Michael Scott and Jeff Morley have been thwarted by CIA lawyers in their pursuit of these records, both have won small victories, Scott obtaining a much redacted version of his father’s autobio novel, and Morley in court, obtaining a judgment to which the CIA must respond (by late April).


Our Man in Mexico : Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA

Mexico City was the Casablanca of the Cold War-a hotbed of spies, revolutionaries, and assassins. The CIA's station there was the front line of the United States' fight against international communism, as important for Latin America as Berlin was for Europe. And its undisputed spymaster was Winston Mackinley Scott.

Chief of the Mexico City station from 1956 to 1969, Win Scott occupied a key position in the founding generation of the Central Intelligence Agency, but until now he has remained a shadowy figure. Investigative reporter Jefferson Morley traces Scott's remarkable career from his humble origins in rural Alabama to wartime G-man to OSS London operative (and close friend of the notorious Kim Philby), to right-hand man of CIA Director Allen Dulles, to his remarkable reign for more than a decade as virtual proconsul in Mexico. Morley also follows the quest of Win Scott's son Michael to confront the reality of his father's life as a spy. He reveals how Scott ran hundreds of covert espionage operations from his headquarters in the U.S. Embassy while keeping three Mexican presidents on the agency's payroll, participating in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and, most intriguingly, overseeing the surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald during his visit to the Mexican capital just weeks before the assassination of President Kennedy.

Morley reveals the previously unknown scope of the agency's interest in Oswald in late 1963, identifying for the first time the code names of Scott's surveillance programs that monitored Oswald's movements. He shows that CIA headquarters cut Scott out of the loop of the agency's latest reporting on Oswald before Kennedy was killed. He documents why Scott came to reject a key finding of the Warren Report on the assassination and how his disillusionment with the agency came to worry his longtime friend James Jesus Angleton, legendary chief of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton not only covered up the agency's interest in Oswald but also, after Scott died, absconded with the only copies of his unpublished memoir.

Interweaving Win Scott's personal and professional lives, Morley has crafted a real-life thriller of Cold War intrigue—a compelling saga of espionage that uncovers another chapter in the CIA's history.


Get A Copy


New JFK documents show CIA had ‘very intensive’ interest in Oswald before JFK assassination:

I’m re-upping this post from two years ago, because the point needs emphasizing and praise is due.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company–more than any U.S. media organization–recognized the single most important finding to come out in the very incomplete JFK document release in 2017-18.

The Fifth Estate show on CBC News understood a fact that leading historians resist: Accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was not a “lone nut.” He was the target of CIA surveillance for four years before Kennedy was killed.

Documents released recently by the U.S. National Archives on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination suggest the CIA was watching Lee Harvey Oswald much more closely than previously thought before the fatal shot was fired in Dallas, an author tells The Fifth Estate.Former Washington Post reporter and author Jefferson Morley told The Fifth Estate the official story was that Oswald came out of nowhere and shot the president on Nov. 22, 1963. “What the files show is that’s a cover story. It’s not true. High level CIA officials were paying attention to Oswald from 1959 to November 1963,” said Morley, author of several books on the assassination, the CIA and a JFK website.

The highest of those officials was counterintelligence chief James Angleton.


Jefferson Morley: From Abolitionism to OccupyDC

Jefferson Morley is the Washington editor of Salon and author of the forthcoming book, Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan Talese/Doubleday).

Before there was Martin Luther King, there was John Francis Cook. He was Washington’s first civil rights leader, a preacher, and teacher who founded of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church, which originally stood in the place now known McPherson Square, today the home of the OccupyDC camp.

And just as some once hoped to rid the capital of Cook, so some wish to get rid of his spiritual descendants camped on 15th Street. Rep. Right-wing bloggers revile them. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House committee with responsibility for the District, calls them “lawbreakers,” and wants them evicted. Mayor Vincent Gray wants them removed because they are allegedly unsanitary, a charge the occupiers reject.

Things change perhaps less than we think. When John Cook first held forth on 15th Street in the 1830s and 1840s Washington was the capital of a slaveholding republic dominated by congressmen who (like their political descendants today) defended an extreme version of property rights. Cook not only denounced the 1% of the day–those who insisted on the white man’s right to own property in people. He also taught young people not to accept the injustices inherent in the status quo. He too was reviled.

Cook lived and worked in the neighborhood of what would become McPherson Square. Born into slavery in Fredericksburg, Virginia, he came to capital in 1826 when his aunt, Lethe Tanner, a free woman of color who ran a vegetable stand near the White House, bought his freedom. At eighteen years of age, he enrolled in John Prout’s school for black children near the corner of Fourteenth and H streets. As he learned to read and write, his capacious intelligence became evident to all. Before long, he obtained a job in the government’s Land Office on Seventh Street where his “indefatigable application” to learning was “a matter of astonishment” to the white man who hired him. When Prout had to leave town for aiding a runaway slave, Cook quit his government job and took over as the school’s headmaster.


CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files

Fifty-plus years after JFK’s death, this answer is laughable but serious. The JFK story remains unsettled well into the 21st century, no matter what the various conspiracy and anti-conspiracy theorists may proclaim. Indeed, the complex reality of how a president of the United States came to be gunned down on a sunny day, and no one lost his liberty — or his job — continues to live and grow in popular memory.

This is a book that reveals deceit and deception on the part of the CIA relating to the Kennedy assassination and why the CIA should reveal to the American people what it is still keeping secret.

Employing his investigative reporting skills through interviews and examination of long-secret records, Morley reveals that the CIA was closely monitoring the movements of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the months preceding the assassination of President Kennedy.

Questions naturally arise: Did the CIA suspect that Oswald was up to no good? Or was its surveillance part of a CIA scheme to frame Oswald for the assassination of President Kennedy? Why did the CIA keep its surveillance secret from the Warren Commission?

Morley also reveals a close relationship between the CIA and an American anti-Castro group that began advertising Oswald’s connections to communism and the Soviet Union immediately after the assassination?

That raises questions: Why didn’t the CIA reveal that relationship to official agencies investigating the assassination of President Kennedy? Why did a federal judge and the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations accuse the CIA of deceit and deception?

The U.S. government retains almost 3,600 assassination-related records, consisting of tens of thousands of pages that have never been seen by the public. More than 1,100 of these records are held by the CIA.

What is in those secret files? What do they reveal about JFK’s death? Why has the CIA been so reluctant to release them? And when will they finally be revealed to the public? Will they answer the disturbing questions that the revelations in this book raise?


Jefferson Morley - History

The editor of JFK Facts Jefferson Morley, former Washington Post reporter and author of Our Man in Mexico Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA.

You can order his book by clicking here.

JFK Facts (JFKfacts.org) is the premier Web destination for hiqh-quality information about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

We fact-check JFK-related news stories, follow the blogs, curate YouTube videos, review books, and and comment on movies with the goal of dispelling confusion and establishing an accurate historical record of the JFK story.

We answer questions for high school and college students, as well as the general public. You can visit our JFK Questions vertical by clicking here.

Email us with your suggestions, comments, and complaints.

The webmaster is Rex Bradford, creator of MaryFerrell.org, the most comprehensive Web site of government records on the assassination of JFK, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Jefferson Morley’s new ebook, CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, available on Amazon, provides the fullest account yet of the JFK records that the CIA is still concealing in 2016 and why they should be made public in October 2017.

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71 comments

On page 283 of Dale Myers book “With Malice”he states that a fiber link from an FBI lab report (foornote 776) provides the strongest evidence that the recovered discarded jacket bearing a dry-cleaning mark had been worn by Oswald. However, it seems a bit disingenuous to make this statement since the footnote reveals that the fiber link was not unique and did not exclude all other sources. If this was the “strongest evidence” then the case for the jacket being Oswald’s was actually very weak and inconclusive. Has there been any further investigation regarding the source of the dry cleaning mark to establish when and were the jacket was laundered?

Joe,
Oswald’s landlady and witnesses at the Tippit scene said that Oswald was wearing a jacket when they saw him, but he had no jacket when he got to the Texas Theater. The jacket was found along the path he took between those two sites according to witnesses. That, and the fact that Marina ID-ed the jacket as Oswald’s is better evidence than the fibers, in my opinion.

The FBI found no dry cleaner matching the tag in New Orleans or Dallas, but that fits with Marina’s testimony that she always washed the jacket ever since he brought it with him to Russia. The jacket’s label names a California company, suggesting that Oswald bought it and had it dry-cleaned when he was stationed in that state before his defection. The FBI apparently didn’t check dry cleaners there.
Photo of jacket:
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/305140

Oops. That embedded photo did not work.

Here is Z-Frame 346. Are you sure that’s a movie camera? Could be a regular photo camera. I’ve never read anything about that spectator, but it’s a good question.

Bill,
I believe you’re referring to Ike Altgens, who took a famous photo of the motorcade showing the front of the Texas School Book Depository:

You can read his Warren Commission testimony here:

After reviewing the Zapruder film, it appears that at frames 345-348 (just after head shot), a man is filming the motorcade (you can see the camera in front of him). Was this man ever identified and was the film ever seen? He had a good vantage point.

That is Associated Press photographer Ike Altgens, who took well-known photographs during the assassination.

I have done some research, and if you look at the play 󈫼 Angry Men,” and Oswald’s situation, you will find several identical match-ups between the play’s story line and Oswald’s activities that support a conspiracy. For example:
In 󈫼 Angry Men,” the youth on trial is seen through a window across the street killing someone, he later goes home to retrieve the weapon, and he goes to the movie theater. Lee Harvey Oswald was reportedly seen through a window across the street, he goes home to retrieve a weapon, and goes to the movie theater. There is also discussion about a train in the play, and there were railroad tracks behind Dealy Plaza. I have found a total of 30 match-ups that point to the conclusion that Oswald was involved, but not the assassin. My name is Corine Sutherland.

Don’t know what’s reported in the Warren commission report but my friends father in law who was a lead engineer for Ford motor company in the 50-70’s was the lead of the repair team refurbishing the presidential limousine after the Kennedy assassination. The team during vehicle disassembly found a spent rifle bullet, not a bullet casing, lodged in the vehicles structure. The team contacted the Warren Commission and they immediately sent a couple of people to pick up the package of evidence. They were all directed never to discuss the information. His father in law always was curious about whether the info was releases to the public or not. They followed those instructions till I think the 80’s when he openly shared the info with his family. Don’t know what changed his attitude at that point. He assumed it was public information by that time. The engineer past away a few years back. For all we know the damaged bullet may have been one of the two known rounds already reported. Saw the authors name on the History channel program I’m currently watching and never knew they were curious about a missing bullet. Hope it’s helpful info and not a waste of anyone’s time.

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David Dokmanovich

As I recall, the Warren Report mentions bullet fragments being retrieved from the Presidential limousine by the FBI after the assassination, however there is no mention of an entire spent bullet being retrieved. The Warren Report accounts for only three shots fired: 1) Hitting both President Kennedy and Governor Connally and found nearly intact at Parkland Hospital 2) Missing the limousine but ricocheting off a curb and striking James Tague 3) Striking President Kennedy in the head.

I do not recall any published account attributed to anyone at Ford regarding what they witnessed when refurbishing the limousine. There has been a great deal of skepticism as to why the limousine was not preserved as evidence until it could be thoroughly examined and the investigation was completed. Instead it was almost immediately sent to Ford for refurbishment. Meanwhile items of the least significance were preserved and remain unmolested in the National Archives today.

There is speculation, based on photographs of the car taken immediately after the assassination, that shots were fired at the car that are not consistent with the three described in the Warren Report. This would include a bullet hole in the windshield, as well as a bullet-sized dent on the chrome trim above the passenger side of the windshield. The Ford engineer you mention may have seen a retrieved bullet that caused one of those points of damage to the car, it could have been imbedded somewhere else. One thing is certain, it did not come from one of the three shots the Warren Commission said was fired at the motorcade. What the engineer and his team saw was an additional bullet.

Many individuals, both private and in public service, were told or even ordered in 1963 and 1964 to keep what they witnessed about the assassination a secret. At the time, national security was often invoked. One major example was the staff at Bethesda Naval Hospital involved with the autopsy of President Kennedy. However, any such orders or requests were lifted during the late 1970s for the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation. As scores of witnesses have come forward since then with testimony that contradicts and refutes the findings of the Warren Report, we now know that national security was not at stake. Protecting the official story was the reason.

Don’t expect the History Channel to give you a full picture of the Kennedy Assassination.

Thank you for sharing your story. Every new piece of the puzzle gets us closer to the truth.

Navy Doctor: Bullet Found in JFK’s Limousine, and Never Reported #JFKFiles whowhatwhy.org/2017/10/06/nav… via @whowhatwhy https://twitter.com/filesjfk/status/933732463385354240?s=21

What I found interesting is that Dr. Young kept mentioning the “Queen Mary” as being the “open convertible”. The QM was the SS Follow-up Car. Wasted time.

We are interested in Jefferson Morley for an interview about her latest book about The CIA and JFK. The Jim Paris Live Show is a Sunday night radio show on the Genesis Communications Network. You can get more information about the show at Jimparisradio.com. Mr. Morley will have a full hour to promote his book and be interviewed by Jim Paris. It runs live from 10-11PM eastern time. Please let us know if he is available. Thank you.

On July 26, 2016, I posted this on another page on this site concerning ‘Celebrating Jim Garrison at UNLV’.

“I feel strongly that Lee Harvey Oswald actually believed that he was on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository on November 22, 1963 to help protect Kennedy from an assassination attempt as the result of a ‘deal’ he had made with the U.S. government that would allow him to come back into U.S. society and live a normal life again with his wife and their two young daughters. I feel that way because of a clear revelation that I had in Moscow in early 1993: He and I both spent three years in the Soviet Union, we both were engaged to Russian women (He married his fiancee, I did not.), we both had/have political views that are not accepted in the U.S. and we were both considered a ‘lost person’ by the U.S.. Being considered a lost person in the USSR meant that your government has given up on you, since you had decided to go your own way. In other words, Oswald was a prime target to be set up.”

If Oswald actually fired a shot or shots from the Sixth floor, I feel that they were most likely directed at the actual assassins – and not at Kennedy – since he was there to protect Kennedy.

Regarding the subject of two shots with emanated from the TSBD:
Does Mr. Morley or any other poster have an opinion as to the possibility of Malcolm Wallace being the so-called “sniper’s nest” shooter on the 6th floor?

Certainly some researchers (Dr. Walt Brown, Barr McClellan etc) believe one of Wallace’s right pinky fingers left a partial fingerprint on a cardboard box in the sniper’s lair, later identified by CLFE Nathan Darby as coming from none other than Mac Wallace. Such evidence would tend to point to LBJ’s involvement in the assassination planning, execution and cover-up.

(I believe it is fairly settled that Wallace was a loyal LBJ henchman and a convicted murderer of golf pro Douglas Kinser, unbelievably receiving a suspended sentence from a Texas judge in a case that seems, at least to me, Brown and McClellan to be a slam dunk, premeditated case of first degree murder.

JFK spoke against global banks and secret societies and approve things the DOD requested like Operation Northwoods (Google it). Plenty of motives for the wizard of oz

Is [email protected] still working? I tried to send an email to that address recently but it bounced back.

J.D.,
I alerted Jeff about that problem.

It is 12:38 PM where I am posting from on 3/9/2016. This is the only page I have been successfull in pulling up for JFKfacts.
I get the “404 Error: Not found” message for all the other links I tried.

Does anyone have any idea of what is happening here?
\][//

Important or urgent comments may be submitted here, temporarily until technical issues are solved. I will be able to read any comment submitted in reply to any comment in this particular comments thread.

Hi Tom, That’s cool, but we can’t draw up any of the comment threads until the issues are resolved anyway.
Did you think to call Mr Sherlock Holmes.

Thanks for the update. I figured you might be ill or taking a well deserved day off, or, maybe got fed up with our ignorance or in some cases insolence and told Jeff to take a hike. Did the NSA or CIA finally develop a beam to penetrate our tin foil hats? You know some of us are always looking for a conspiracy in everything :).

i was wondering is there any footage with the actual audio from the JFK assasination ii have looked and have found nothing of the gun shots sound

This video with Joshua Thompson has it at the very end of his talk:
When the sound is added by syncing the audio from the dictabelt recording there is no question that the film shots match up with the audio of the shots.
Without the slightest doubt the Zapruder film is authentic.
https://youtu.be/pgHllYzzFWc
\][//

Willy, it may be ‘authentic’ but this does not mean it is not ‘altered’. I believe it is, dark spot in back of head has been altered. hopefully there will be more evidence of this in near future.

I don”t know where else to post this. It’s interesting that 5 of 6 current comments are by 2 defenders of the WC. I guess this site is a threat to their belief’s or they wouldn’t care.

Hello Mr. Morley & members of this blog.

I want to say that I am simply delighted to discover this site, and that I appreciate it’s mission fully.

I am a retired special effects artist, working professionally for some 25 years in the field. My credits include some of the major blockbusters from the 1980’s. I have been a special effects enthusiast from the time I was 12 years old. I began my own film making at around the age of 15, using 8 mm, and then graduating to 16 mm in my early 20’s.

I have also been a forensic historical researcher for many years, beginning with the JFK Assassination in my early 20s (I was 16 when the event took place). I am convinced that the event was a Coup d’Etat. One of my favorite sources has been Fletcher Prouty, who I still consider a critical source of inside information on the CIA and Military Industrial Complex.

I will be studying the past issues on this site.

Again, thank’s for a great resource!

Willy, I too was 16 on 11/22/63. Some of the most compelling bits of information I have gleaned over the years is Dr. Barber’s testimony to the HSCA in December 1978 and Dr. Randolf Robertson’s article dated 11/23/2015 with three photographs that Kodak retrieved in 1998, now at the National archives.

I believe that, among others, one reason that the JFK research community has gotten off track and is still wasting its time trying to determine, for example, how many shooters there were in Dealey Plaza that day, is that this plot was a ‘body-centric’ plot. The central insight is that President Kennedy’s body is THE key piece of evidence in this case.

I will also drop another hint: there is a document that has been extant (available for public examination) since one week after the assassination, which holds a gigantic clue about what really happened, especially at Parkland Hospital. I am not at liberty to divulge this source because it would violate a trust that I have with another JfK researcher. To our best knowledge, no other researcher is aware of this evidence. It goes right to the heart of what is shown on the Zapruder film – and WHAT IS NOT SHOWN!

I believe 3 people shot JFK.
The first person to shoot JFK was Oswald and the second and third person was someone from the crowd.
That is just my opinion though.
There needs to be a new inquiry into this case to consider that Oswald may not have been alone.
Their is some evidence to say that Oswald was not alone and it needs to be investigated further in my opinion.

We can all debate and discuss the treachery of 22/11/63 and demand the truth. The murder of one of Americas greatest leaders goes far deeper than LBJ or the CIA. There is an order which runs this world keeping the rich rich and poor poor. JFK was the biggest threat to this group like Caesar before him, and Jesus Christ before that. Removed from our world because he dared to be different and change things for the better of mankind and to the detriment of the rich and powerful. RIP JFK. RFK.

Good luck with this website!

Just found your site courtesy of IBTimes

When JFK visited Ireland in 1963 I was 4 years old

I sat on my Dads shoulders and waved a little Stars and Stripes flag when JFK disembarked from his helicopter-the very first helicopter most Irish people had ever seen

His assassination was an enormous psychological catastrophe for Ireland and the Irish Nation of both my parents generation and mine

50 years later that little flag is still there, in the same drawer, in the same cupboard, in my parents house

My dad will be 86 this year and my Mom will be 80

We want to know the full truth

Seamus, I enjoyed reading your post and thought you might be interested in this NY Times article from 2009. Ireland knew of Threats to Kennedy in 1963: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/29/world/europe/29kennedy.html?src=tp&_r=0

A French photographer snaped a picture of a pickup with a large box and a crewcut man.I think that was the heavy weapon team in case JFK made it to the highway.

decoys,doppelgangers and semi-silenced weapons,Their use proves conspiracy.The Triple overpass team used all three.the tsbd team used a switch.the Dal-Tex team an epileptic and a drunk for diversion with Leopoldo and the umbrella man for I.D. of JFK.The killers feared they would kill an imposter.

Just discovered this site. Excellent. Thank you. I was in Dallas a month ago and for the first time took a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum. I was disappointed when I discovered I could not look out of the window where Oswald supposedly shot from. I was also disappointed there were no guides. We put on headsets and listened to a pre-recorded tour. Everybody walked around silent, listening. It was eerie. I did however take a peak out one of the windows and walked around the grassy knoll. I came home with two conclusions: Oswald was the luckiest shooter in the world or this was a well organized, well hashed plan.

Has anyone considered who had motive to kill BOTH JFK and RFK?
Jimmy Hoffa was put-away in jail by the Kennedys…so, consider this: JFK assassinated, RFK assassinated, Hoffa missing. After
so many years I’m wondering why people haven’t made this connection?

Gary, “The Committee of 300” is responsible for all of the “Big Event Assassinations” And they’re protected. My recently released book, “The Jon Benet Ramsey Case And Much More…” details some of this. You’re correct about Hoffa and the Kennedy’s. Also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gen. George S. Patton, and Admiral James Forrestal! My book goes into detail about J.F.K.’s murder. I refused to work for the “Commie 300” 3 times. You can find my book at amazon.com and Kindle Books. The Crime Family shills are already attacking it, and the CON-trolled Red Press refuses to even speak to me, or about my book. Great observation! Gary. Your friend, and America’s “The Specialist”

Greetings, We enjoyed your interview with James Corbett. What are your thoughts on the psychology of having a fighter jet flyby tribute in Dallas to mark the 50th Anniversary of the “Kennedy Assassination” or as we call it: The Military Coup of 1963. As you know, the lucky spectators will sit on seating platforms constructed to obscure the grassy knoll directing attention to a speaker platform where historian David McCullough (an alum of Skull and Bones) will give the keynote speech. Let that sink in. I hope to attend your presentation at the COPA conference if I can purchase admission at the door but if not my question to you is this: Is the “Official” ceremony intended to remember a fallen president or to honor the men who killed him? Instead of the usual 12:30 pm moment of silence there will be a fighter jet flyby. Is this more than an inappropriate gesture. Is it intended also to psychological intimidate observers with an unsubtle message? That from the Pentagon perspective of 50 years ago, the Joint Chiefs rescued the cold war from a premature end on Nov 22, 1963 and now on the 50th anniversary they are to be honored.

Is it too much to ask your assistance in helping to set the record straight: Remember “The Military Coup of 1963” not the Kennedy assassination.
https://archive.org/details/TwitWitRadio11172013

There is a new fiction book on Amazon.com entitled “French’s Redemption.” It uses the Kennedy Assassination as the top government secret that has been kept for fifty years until someone accesses classified information and publishes a book that details the entire plot….all true. It’s a good read.

Sometime in 1964 or 1965, some people came out with a play called “MacByrd.” or “MacBird.” It was based on Shakespeare’s”MacBeth” and was about an assistant (Modern) ruler who murdered his way to become the Big Ruler. There were simililarities to LBJ & his family. It did not stay around very long, I don’t know what happened to it. Do any of you remember it? It never made Broadway, I read about it in (I think LIFE Magazine as it was the only one I read every week.) It did arouse some curiosity before it disappeared.

I still have a copy of the original play MacBird and it did not last long probably because it accused a sitting president of having murdered his successor.

Are you all planning to present some information of John & Nellie Connally? I remember reading an article in the Ladies Home Journal by Nellie Connally titled “Since that Day in Dallas>” One of the reasons it was interesting is that rumor had it that she refused to speak about the events of 22 Nov. 1963 until she agreed to that article. Her husband, the governor, had by then switched from being a Democrat to a Republican. There was some information put out that he had been advised “not to ride with the President”, that day. But wouldn’t if have looked odd if he didn’t? What would that do to the myth of Democrats United in the Republic of Texas? Wasn’t it to unify the squabbling Democrats that the president had been asked to visit Texas? There was little in the artical that stands out, just the general “brave Jackie” theme. Don’t believe Lyndon & Lady Bird were mentioned.

The 9-11 Warren-Kean Commission is an apt description. I warned the C.I.A., D.I.A., Delta Force in July of 1978, and N.Y.P.D. in 1985, of a 4 plane suicide attack by the P.L.O.,through my best friend who worked for thier most covert, and elite unit. Later I switched the profile to the Al Qaida. Bush got the last warning via the C.I.A. on Aug. 6, 2001, and did nothing about it. I was guaranteed that I would be able to testify to the Warren-Kean Commission by a Senators Staffer. After I provided my 27 page hand written opening statement. I was disallowed to testify. They covered up for “The Committee of 300, British MI6” manufactured, armed, shipped, and equipped Al Qaida. Who Prime Minister, Obama and his “Committee of 300 Comrades” are once again arming, and equipping, in Syria, like they did in Egypt, and Libya. Let’s see? The Al Qaida are “Our” enemy here in America, in Afghanistan, and Iraq. And “Our Brave Soldiers”, and others, are being killed, maimed, and families are made desolate for life. But yet! “The Red Puppet” is supporting them elsewhere. When does the Lawful Prosecution begin? I’m been ready to testify! Also with the Hard Evidence that “We” have in the J.F.K. assassination! God Bless America! Because We need it!

Zelikow had to leave his job as head of the Presidential Tapes Project at the Miller Center, where they appear to have intentionally mis-transcribed certain parts of the Oval Office and AF1 Tapes to obscure the truth or for political purposes.

I know that this is a JFK focused website, and I only raised 9/11 because I see many parallels between the JFK story and 9/11.

I don’t appreciate my comments being censored on this website when they were provided respectfully. I would like to continue to participate on this website, but if my comments continue to be censored, I will not.

My observations are as follows:

When the Government sets up a commission to investigate a crime (e.g., the Warren Commission, HSCA, 9/11), it is not for the purpose of getting at the truth, it is for damage control.

Those in power believed that the Warren Commission didn’t do a sufficient job in damage control because of efforts by early serious researchers (e.g., Garrison, Mark Lane, and others) in raising doubts about the findings of the Warren Commission.

Thus, the HSCA was set up. But, again, the HSCA was not interested in getting at the truth, but for plugging holes in the shortcomings of the Warren Commission.

The 9/11 Commission was another repeat of the Warren Commission. However, they learned their lessons this time by not rehashing a follow-up committe for 9/11. It would only raise more doubt of the official story, as it did in the JFK story.

My theory as to why they will never come forth with the true story of what happened is that they want to reserve those same or similar options if the need arises in the future. If they would admit involvement to these crimes, then it would be harder for them to defend cover stories of future events they orchestrate.

Further, I believe that “national security,” as they see fit, trumps the Laws of the United States. We see this over and over again. The internment of American of Japanese descent the removal of a President duly elected in accordance with the Constitution the staging of a false flag to muster public support for a perpetual military agenda in the Middle East.

The wrapping is very aesthetic full of notions like freedom, democracy, rule of law, etc., but when you open the box, you find something else inside not as aesthetic.

I disagree strongly that the 9/11 Commission is “a repeat of the Warren Commission.”

The Warren Commission did not present an intellectually coherent or factually well-documented account of the causes of JFK’s death. The 9/11 Commission did.

The evidence is quite strong that that 9/11 was indeed a conspiracy–a conspiracy organized by Khalid Sheik Mohamed and funded by Osama bin Laden. They were the intellectual authors of the 9/11 attacks.

That’s not to say we know the whole story of the intelligence failure that culminated on 9/11. Why the FBI wasn’t informed when two identified al-Qaeda assets who would become hijackers entered the country in January 2000 has never been satisfactorily explained. But there is no doubt in my mind that KSM and OBL were the authors of the attacks.

Thanks for your comments, Jeff. I don’t agree with your view on 9/11, but I respect it.

I think you did a great job with the discovery of George Joannides as the handler for the DRE during the Oswald contacts, and the CIA disgenuous assignment of Joannides as the CIA liason to the HSCA.

Parallels between Warren Commission and 9/11 Commission:- I have trouble understanding the choice of Philip Zelikow as the Allen Dulles of the 9/11 Commission due to the paper he co-authored in 1998 entitled “Catastrophic Terrorism” which fantasises 9/11 with remarkable prescience. “It would be another Pearl Harbor”, a transformative event in which history was measured before (9/11) and after (9/11) etc. Mr. Zelikow’s other expertise is in myth-making and he has been involved in transcribing much of the Kennedy White House Tapes (a golden opportunity to alter the historical record and indulge in yet more myth making?).

Initially, the White House wanted Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 commission – that, in-and-of-itself, smells afoul. It was through the efforts of certain victims’ family members, specifically the “Jersey Girls,” that they discovered Kissinger’s to have conflicts of interest due to him having clients by the name of Bin Laden.

They left WT7 out of the entire report.

They ignored NYPD and NYFD witnesses and VIDEOS of the sight and sounds of explosions occurring separate of the planes’ impacts just before and after.

They ignored the explosive breakup of the buildings seen in videos that occurred at the center of the building in addition to the SYMMETRICAL demolition of each floor below the impact zones of the planes. The buildings were completely stable after the impacts and the floors were hermetically sealed. The elevators impacted only had limited range in terms of floors covered and they did not offer full access to allow heat, fire, and fuel to cause damage to the rest of the building the fuel burned off within seconds and due to FAA regulations, could not have been a type of fuel that would cause the heat needed to soften the steel closest to it when ignited, let alone reach any of the unbreached, hermetically sealed floors below.

The 19 hijackers who controlled hundreds of people and militarily trained pilots with only boxcutters weren’t on the flight manifests and their bodies never recovered, with at least five of them being seen alive after the controlled demolition, yet there was a pristine passport of one of the patsies that apparently survived without a mark that was located near the scene.

The crisis acting was debunked, proving the passenger calls from the flight could not have occurred at the altitude as claimed.

The 9/11 Omission was worse than the Warren Commission. At least the Warren Commission got the cause of death right. The 9/11 Omission couldn’t even get the cause of collapse right. After research of the fuedalist neocon closet Marxist organization PNAC and its Hegelian confederates, one should be very careful in having faith in commissions controlled by the same people who can lose trillions of our dollars stolen for their DoD funding with no repercussions.

I agree wholeheartedly with you on every point that 9/11 is not a repeat of the WC*. In a nut shell, the towers collapsed at their point of impact. Building 7 was impacted by a huge chunk off one of the taller towers with raging fires that destabilized it’s structural integrity as predicted by the fire fighters using a transit level (they saw the sag on the vertical and knew it was destined to collapse). However, I know a few engineers (one of whom was 1st noted for his excellent work on debunking the “jet effect” theory of the JFK Assassination) that disagree with the official version.

*I still don’t understand how the USA was caught by surprise.

Want To Know More?
Why is the Sixth Floor Museum listed under the heading ‘scene of the crime’? That is highly speculative as you are well are. Surely, many felt at the time the grassy knoll was the so-called scene of the crime. As Bonnie Ray Williams and Charles Givens where they originally thought the scene of the crime was. You could list the sixth floor museum as “a historic assassination site.” Wouldn’t that be less judgmental? Less opinionated? Or are you simply stating the editorial belief of the website editors?

I call the Sixth Floor Museum “the scene of the crime” because the assassination took place in front of the Texas School Book Depository, now home to the Museum. No matter what one thinks of the causes of JFK’s assassination, it is certain that at least two gunshots were fired at the presdidential motorcade from the Book Depository. These are factual statements and the basis of my opinion. I know of no reputable account of the assassination that says no gunshots were fired from the Book Depository or that JFK’s murder took place somewhere else.

Maybe it was ONLY two shots from the TSBD 6th floor. There’s a strong possibility of that, which leads to other shots coming from at least one other location.

I came across your post just now while using searching the net for something else. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but that’s all it is–your opinion–and (IMHO) it is seriously flawed and not credible (i.e., not worthy of belief). Bottom line (which goes unmentioned in your post, and which you have always studiously ignored): there were no entry wounds on the rear surface of JFK’s body, when it was observed at Parkland Hospital. There certainly were two entries present (along with clothing holes that didn’t match–see B.E., Chapter 7, for detailed discussion) when the autopsy commenced some six hours later at Bethesda Naval Hospital. It it also a fact that when Humes, the autopsy doctor, called Perry either very late on 11/22 or early the net day, Perry said that Humes asked him “if we had made any wounds in the back” (quote based on recollection. See Best Evidence for details). The key issue is whether the two entry wounds reported at Bethesda (and most importantly, the lower one in the back, or shoulder) was present after the shooting, or was (somehow) “added” prior to autopsy. When Humes wrote the autopsy report, he originally wrote (of the rear wound) that it was an “entrance” (and then added the words “presumably of” entry. A very telling addition. IMHO: The rear entries were added after the fact. If they were actually present on JFK’s body immediately after the murder, they would have been observed –widely observed–at Parkland. If even a single person saw the entries, their presence would have been all over the new. They were not observed at Parkland, and I believe they weren’t observed at Parkland because they weren’t there. Jeff Morley: You should understand the myriad anomalies connected to the issue of these two (allegedly present) entries before making these bland (and bald, and incorrect) pronouncements about your “certain” opinion –which you present as fact–that there is “no reputable account” that says “no gunshots” were fired from the TSBD. Yes, there certainly is “evidence” that shots were fired from the sniper’s but I put the word in quotes, because I believe such “evidence” is the result of a strategic deception that was executed at the time of the shooting. As the editor/creator of JFK Facts, you should respect the record when you write with such unqualified certainty about this crucial and critical subject. DSL 8/3/19)

Mr. Lifton, I’ve read your remarks to Mr. Morley. Sir, you wrote Best Evidence correct?? Yet, you should have known that the reason no wounds were seen on Kennedy’s back in Parkland was because they didn’t turn him over to examine the body. Also, one ( Bennett??) of the Agents in the QM ( follow up car ) did report he saw evidence of a bullet striking Kennedy from behind and in his back/shoulder area. With statements like yours, especially from a WC Investigator, makes it even more obvious as to why JFK’s killing was mishandled by those people ( you Sir) actually given responsibility for solving it.

Jeff, you say that ” it is certain that at least two gunshots were fired at the presdidential motorcade from the Book Depository”, but you should demostrate your assertion, because the US government, through the WC, never has shown the paths of the trajectories in the body of president Kennedy, and so that would point at the 6th floor of the TSBD.

I’m not sure I understand your question about the trajectories. My conclusion is based mainly on the testimony of the Connallys who were quite certain that the first shot hit JFK in the back and the second hit the governor in the back.I think the Zapruder film supports this assertion.

I think the shots came from the grassy knoll (shooter is mertz the french gunman) and the Dal-Tex building (cuban shooters) because Brading, mafia guy, is arrested outside the Dal-Tex. The TSBD team planted the rifle to set up Oswald. Lamar Waldron has the most accurate theory and Oswald worked with Angleton to find Russian moles when he defected to Russia, and David Atlee Phillips to get a cuban visa to kill Castro. The only direct CIA involvement came from Cuban CIA agents Barker, Sturgis, and Morales who all worked for Traficante/Marcello in secret to plan the attack. The mafia paid the expenses of Mertz and the Cuban exiles Alpha 66 hit squad. The mafia paid the dallas PD to cover up and implicate Oswald.

There are witness accounts as to a shooter on the west end of the 6th floor as well as the famous sniper’s lair.

Moreover, extant photos may indicate movement of boxes or another figure suggesting more than one person.

Two shots are highly possible.

Other possible locations include the Dal-Tex building and County Records building but nobody saw any shooters there.


Wilderness of Mirrors

V eteran CIA officer Cleveland Cram was nearing the end of his career in 1978, when his superiors in the agency’s directorate of operations handed him a sensitive assignment: Write a history of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff. Cram, then 61, was well qualified for the task. He had a master’s and Ph.D. in European History from Harvard. He had served two decades in the clandestine service, including nine years as deputy chief of the CIA’s station in London. He knew the senior officialdom of MI-5 and MI-6, the British equivalents of the FBI and CIA, the agency’s closest partners in countering the KGB, the Soviet Union’s effective and ruthless intelligence service.

Cram was assigned to investigate a debacle. The Counterintelligence Staff, created in 1954, had been headed for 20 years by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary spy who deployed the techniques of literary criticism learned at Yale to find deep patterns and hidden meanings in the records of KGB operations against the West. But Angleton was also a dogmatic and conspiratorial operator whose idiosyncratic theories paralyzed the agency’s operations against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and whose domestic surveillance operations targeting American dissidents had discredited the CIA in the court of public opinion.

In December 1974, CIA Director William Colby fired Angleton after the New York Times revealed the then-unknown counterintelligence chief had overseen a massive program to spy on Americans involved in anti-war and black nationalist movements, a violation of the CIA’s charter. Coming four months after the resignation of Richard Nixon, Angleton’s fall was the denouement of the Watergate scandal, propelling Congress to probe the CIA for the first time. A Senate investigation, headed by Sen. Frank Church, exposed a series of other abuses: assassination conspiracies, unauthorized mail opening, collaboration with human rights abusers, infiltration of news organizations, and the MKULTRA mind-control experiments to develop drugs for use in espionage.

The exposure of Angleton’s operations set off a political avalanche that engulfed the agency in 1975 and after. The post-Watergate Congress established the House and Senate intelligence committees to oversee covert operations. The passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required the CIA to obtain warrants to spy on Americans. And for the first time since 1947, the agency’s annual appropriation was slashed.

Cram’s mission — and he chose to accept it — was to soberly answer the questions that senior CIA officials were asking in their private moments: What in the name of God and national security had Jim Angleton been doing when he ran the Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1974? Did his operations serve the agency’s mission? Did they serve the country?

With his porkpie hat and trenchcoat, the portly Cram bore a passing resemblance to George Smiley, the fictional British spymaster as played by Alec Guinness in the BBC’s production of John le Carré’s classic “Smiley’s People.” There was some professional similarity as well. In le Carré’s novels, Smiley is introduced as a veteran counterintelligence officer called on by his superiors to assess a covert operation gone disastrously wrong. He is drawn into a hunt for a mole in the British intelligence service.

Cram’s task in 1978 was to investigate a covert career that culminated in a disastrous mole hunt. Like Smiley, Cram was a connoisseur of files, their connections and implications, their deceptions and omissions. Like Smiley, he embarked on a Cold War espionage odyssey that would fill more than a few volumes.

When Cram took the assignment, he thought his history of the Counterintelligence Staff would take a year to write. It took six. By 1984, Cram had produced 12 legal-sized volumes about Angleton’s reign as a spymaster, each running 300 to 400 pages — a veritable encyclopedia of U.S. counterintelligence that has never before been made public. With professional thoroughness, Cram plumbed the depths of a deep state archive and returned with a story of madness that the CIA prefers to keep hidden, even 40 years later.

L ast June, I received a phone call from a Los Angeles area code. Half expecting a robocall, I tapped the green icon.

“I’ve heard you are interested in a man named Cleve Cram,” the caller said in a British accent. “Is that so?”

Was I ever. I had just sent in final changes to the manuscript of “The Ghost,” my biography of Angleton. I thought of Cleve Cram the way a fisherman thinks of the Big One that got away. I had focused on Cram in 2015, as soon as I started to research “The Ghost.” He had written an article, published in an open-source CIA journal, about the literature of counterintelligence, which gave some insight into his classified conclusions about Angleton. To learn more, I sought out his personal papers, more than a dozen cartons of correspondence and other documents that his family had donated to Georgetown University Library after his death in 1999. The library’s finding aid indicated that the bequest contained a wealth of material on Angleton.

But I was too late. The CIA had quietly re-possessed Cram’s papers in 2014. I was told that representatives of the agency had informed the library that the CIA needed to review the material for classified information. All that had been publicly available vanished into the CIA’s archives. By withdrawing the Cram papers from view, the agency effectively shaped my narrative of Angleton’s career. Without Cram’s well-informed perspective, my account of Angleton would necessarily be less precise and probably less critical. I wrote about the experience for The Intercept in April 2016.

The caller said his name was William Tyrer. He had read my article. He told me he had visited the Georgetown library a few years earlier, while developing a screenplay about a mole in Britain’s MI-5. He had gone through the Cram papers, photographed several hundred pages of material, and become fascinated by the man. “He’s like an American George Smiley, no?” Tyrer said.

I agreed and said I would be most interested to see what he had found. He questioned me closely about my views on Angleton, Cram, and the CIA, and said he would be in touch. A quick web search revealed that Tyrer is a British-American movie producer, the man behind “Memento,” a brilliant and unforgettable backward-running thriller, the cult favorite “Donnie Darko,” and scores of other movies. He was a serious man and a credible source. A few days later, Tyrer started emailing me 50 pages of material about Angleton that he had found in Cram’s personal papers.

The Cleveland Cram File, portions of which are published here for the first time, contains a sample of the primary source materials that the veteran CIA official used to write his Angleton study. The documents were photographed in Georgetown University’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections. A Georgetown archivist did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment the CIA also declined to comment.

The Cram file illuminates a pregnant moment in the history of America’s secret government, when the CIA began to reckon with the legacy of James Angleton, a founding father of the deep state, a master of mass surveillance, a conspiracy theorist with state power.

Chief Soviet delegate Semyon Tsarapkin, center, and colleague Yuri Nosenko, right, at the Geneva Disarmament Conference in February 1964. A few days later, Nosenko, a lieutenant colonel in the KGB, disappeared and later defected to the U.S.

Photo: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

P erhaps the most complex and contested Angleton story that Cram had to untangle concerned two KGB officers who defected to the United States and offered their services to the CIA in the early 1960s. Angleton insisted the men’s conflicting stories had enormous implications for U.S. presidents and policymakers, and indeed for U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. For the CIA, the question was, which defector was the more reliable source?

Anatoly Golitsyn, the chief of the KGB station in Finland, bolted to the West in December 1961. He was a heavyset man with hazel eyes and a methodical and manipulative mind. Yuri Nosenko, a career KGB officer embedded in the Soviet delegation to a U.N. disarmament conference in Geneva, started selling information to the Americans in June 1962 to pay back official funds blown in the company of dubious women. Eighteen months later, he approached the CIA and struck a deal to defect in return for a $50,000 cash payment. Among other things, Nosenko had firsthand knowledge that the KGB had not recruited accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald when he lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962.

Golitsyn, resettled in upstate New York by the CIA, convinced Angleton that Nosenko was a false defector sent by the KGB. Under Golitsyn’s influence, Angleton came to believe that in 1959, the KGB had launched a massive deception operation designed to lull the U.S. government into believing Soviet propaganda about “peaceful coexistence” between capitalism and communism, with the goal of prevailing over the complacent West.

Nosenko’s purpose, Golitsyn said, was to protect a Soviet “mole” already working inside CIA headquarters. “He is a provocateur, who is on a mission for the KGB,” Golitsyn told Angleton, according to a memo found in the agency’s declassified online database known as CREST, or the CIA Records Search Tool. “He was introduced to your agency as a double agent in Geneva in 1962. During all the time until now he has been fulfilling a KGB mission against your country.”

Angleton reneged on the payment and ordered that Nosenko be held in what would now be known as a “black site,” a secret CIA detention facility in southern Maryland. Nosenko was not tortured, but he was fed a minimal diet, denied all possessions, and, he said later, dosed with LSD. He was held in solitary confinement for the next four years, all the while protesting his innocence.

In 1968, Angleton lost out to the institutional consensus within the agency that Nosenko was in fact a bona fide defector. Nosenko was released from solitary confinement and the CIA resettled him in suburban Washington, D.C. Nothing he did in his retirement supported the idea that the KGB had sent him or that he knew of a mole inside the CIA.

A few years later, Cram was faced with a simple but important question: Had Angleton been right to incarcerate Nosenko?

To answer it, Cram relied in part on a secret CIA history titled “The Monster Plot,” written by John Hart, a career officer in the Soviet Russia division who had previously studied the Nosenko case on behalf of CIA Director Richard Helms. “The Monster Plot,” which runs to more than 180 pages, was declassified with a batch of JFK assassination files in November Cram kept a copy in his personal papers.

The introduction and conclusion of “The Monster Plot,” photographed by Tyrer in the Georgetown collection, detail how legitimate concerns about Soviet penetration of the CIA blossomed into Angleton’s certainty that a giant KGB deception operation was undermining the West. The history’s title referred to the massive size of the suspected Soviet “plot” that Angleton and others feared was unfolding within the CIA.

Harold “Kim” Philby, former first secretary of the British Embassy in Washington, at a press conference in response to his involvement with defected diplomats Burgess and McLean, at his brother’s home in Drayton Gardens, London, on Nov. 8, 1955.

Photo: J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images

After Philby’s betrayal, Angleton and other CIA officials worried that another communist mole might still be working the agency, a theory that seemed to be borne out nearly a decade later, when the CIA began losing a string of spies inside the Soviet Union. In October 1959, Petr Popov, a Soviet military intelligence officer who had been passing secrets to the Americans for seven years, vanished. A few months later, it emerged that he had been arrested, which “added a specific problem to the general concerns about the possibility the CIA was penetrated,” wrote Hart.

Soviet Military Intelligence Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, center, was sentenced to death during his public trial on May 11, 1963, in Moscow.

In 1961, the CIA began receiving anonymous letters warning that Western intelligence agencies — but not the agency itself — had been penetrated. The information in the letters was considered genuine because it led to the arrest of Soviet spies in the upper ranks of the British and German intelligence services. A year later, Oleg Penkovsky, a British spy in Soviet military intelligence who had given the U.S. information of “great strategic importance,” was arrested.

Angleton suspected the worst, and he found Golitsyn’s explanation persuasive. All the Soviet defectors who came after Golitsyn’s arrival in late 1961, including Nosenko, were phonies, Golitsyn said. They had been dispatched with false information to discredit Golitsyn, to protect KGB moles already in place, and to confuse U.S. policymakers about Moscow’s intentions. Hart noted that when Golitsyn “stressed themes of KGB ‘disinformation’ (dezinformatsiya) and extensive (but initially unspecified) staff penetration of the Western services, he found a willing and eager audience” in Angleton.

Golitsyn couldn’t have known how ready Angleton was to believe him when it came to Soviet disinformation, for Angleton had learned firsthand how strategic deception operations could influence the course of history. As a young intelligence officer in World War II, he was cleared for the ULTRA operation, in which British intelligence fed false information to the German High Command. Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower both believed the ULTRA operation gave the Allies a decisive advantage over the Germans, and so did Angleton.

The Soviets’ goal, Golitsyn said, was to dupe the West into believing that a schism was developing between the Soviet Union and its longtime ally China in the late 1950s. On the surface, at least, there were ample indications of a split. When Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s tyranny in 1956, the Chinese communists turned hostile to Moscow, issuing bitter demarches about the correct course of communism and launching border skirmishes over obscure territorial disputes. But Golitsyn didn’t buy it. According to Hart, the defector “was certain” the purported distance between the two powers “was the clever product of KGB disinformation.”

Angleton was persuaded, viewing the public Sino-Soviet conflict as part of a KGB deception operation designed to persuade the West that the communist world was divided, Hart wrote. If the deception succeeded — that is, if the CIA believed it — it would undermine the U.S.’s commitment to a firm policy of containing Soviet power, Angleton thought. Hart concluded that Angleton had set out to break Nosenko before ascertaining the facts.

“There was never an honest effort at the time to establish NOSENKO’s bona fides,” Hart wrote. “There was only a determined effort to prove NOSENKO was mala fide, and part of a KGB deception operation meant to mislead the CIA into believing it was not penetrated.”

In his report, Hart affirmed the agency’s 1968 finding, reached over Angleton’s bitter objections, that Nosenko was a genuine defector. Not for the first or last time, a self-serving informant had used the agency’s ideological preconceptions to manipulate it to his own ends. Angleton’s handling of Nosenko “did not conform to any generally accepted sense of the term ‘methodology,’” Hart wrote. In his recommendations, he called for more rigorous psychological assessment of defectors and “improvement of intellectual standards” in the clandestine service.

Cram agreed. In a summary of his assessment of the Nosenko case, published in a 1993 monograph for the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence titled “Of Moles and Molehunters,” he concluded Angleton was wrong about Nosenko. The excerpts from Cram’s papers reveal the classified information on which he based his conclusion.

A s Cram delved into Angleton’s records, he received a signed memo, included in the Georgetown collection, from a branch chief in the Soviet Russia division named “Miles.” Miles explained that in the mid-1960s, he had served on a CIA team code-named AESAWDUST that sought to vindicate Angleton’s theory of false defectors and strategic disinformation. (All CIA operations involving the Soviet Union were identified by the diagraph AE, followed by a randomly selected code name.)

With the benefit of hindsight, Miles admitted that groupthink had distorted his work. “The AESAWDUSTERS were convinced people (I ought to know, I was one of them), and they were very impatient with anyone who disagreed with them or were critical [sic], often snapping back that the critic did not have all the information they had, so didn’t know what he was talking about,” he wrote. “Convinced participating AESAWDUST members were terribly concerned and motivated by fear that until this vast deception complex was exposed and countered, we would be in bad trouble which could get worse at any moment.”

The sheer enormity of Angleton’s “Monster Plot” theory convinced its advocates that it must be true, Miles wrote. But a counterintelligence theory that explained everything was suspect. The mass of cases “tossed into the boiling pot grew and grew, until outsiders simply could no longer swallow the idea that all [Soviet defectors] were bad,” Miles wrote. “Sooner or later those not bound up in the mission said ‘Hold it, Wait a minute! Maybe NOSENKO [was a fake defector], maybe some [double agent] cases, maybe even a few more, but almost all? Too much.’”

“Simple passage of time has proven that AESAWDUST was wrong,” Miles continued. “The idea was that NOSENKO would not have been sent unless the goals of the KGB were truly major. These were postulated as negating GOLITSYN’s information (which NOSENKO never did, nor do I believe he could have) then to protect sources the KGB had in place in the USG and CIA (none discovered despite marathon effort) and finally to destroying CIA itself.”

The CIA had indeed “gone downhill” in the 1970s, Miles noted, but he attributed that decline to sensational revelations of CIA abuses in the press and the cultural changes wrought by the 1960s, not KGB deception operations. “Nothing has turned out as AESAWDUST predicted,” Miles concluded.

Even Angleton’s original supporters eventually became disenchanted with the rigidity of his thinking. Such testimony fortified Cram’s findings about Angleton and clarified the fate of another one of his victims, James Leslie Bennett, chief of counterintelligence for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

I n the course of his inquiry, Cram heard from a counterintelligence officer with the initials “PTD” who seems to have known about the origins of Angleton’s investigation of Bennett.

PTD sent Cram a one-page memo on “The Bennett Case,” which was included in the Georgetown collection and photographed by Tyrer. It was a damning account of Angleton’s methods and his misguided reliance on Anatoly Golitsyn.

The Bennett Case began in 1970, when senior Canadian intelligence officers became convinced, correctly, that there was a communist spy working inside their headquarters. Because the CIA worked closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known as the RCMP, Angleton was concerned, too. He consulted with Bennett, his Canadian counterpart, an intellectual whose headstrong opinions were not always appreciated by his more provincial colleagues. But Angleton liked Bennett, according to PTD. Angleton “never thought of Bennett as a spy and in fact was very high on him as a pro among cowboys,” PTD wrote. Angleton even gave a “tongue-lashing” to a colleague who suggested Bennett might be working for the Soviets.

One of the Canadian officials who clashed with Bennett came to Washington in the summer of 1970 for “long discussions of penetration of RCMP by [Russian Intelligence Service] and probable Bennett role,” PTD recalled.

After defending Bennett, Angleton asked Golitsyn to analyze the case. “In early 1972 Golitsyn was given RCMP files to peruse about the supposed RIS penetration,” PTD recalled. In his report, Golitsyn wrote down three names of Canadian officials, one of whom was Bennett. “After pondering some he decided Bennett was the penetration.”

Angleton was suddenly persuaded. “JJA forced Golitsyn on the RCMP for this purpose of supposedly aiding them in the investigation,” PTD wrote, using Angleton’s initials. “And all through the case, JJA kept up an unrelenting pressure on the RCMP … to push Bennett out.”

Bennett protested his innocence and took a polygraph test to prove it. The exam “showed him to be a strong reactor on certain subjects not related to the investigation,” PTD reported. “But when queried whether he was working for an adversary service (and they tried them all), there was no response.”

When a CIA polygraph security officer looked at the results, PTD wrote, “he concluded Bennett had passed the test.” By then Bennett had already been forced to retire.

As first reported in “Cold Warrior,” Tom Mangold’s 1993 book about Angleton’s mole hunt, Bennett left intelligence work under a cloud of undeserved suspicion. He got divorced and moved to Australia. The Canadians eventually caught a Russian spy in their midst who had nothing to do with Bennett. In 1993, the Canadian government cleared Bennett of any wrongdoing and gave him $150,000 Canadian in compensation, according to journalist David Wise.

To Cram, PTD’s account showed that Angleton had acted on Golitsyn’s whim, misinterpreted the polygraph results, and ruined a man’s career on the slenderest of suppositions.

Edward Petty was a CIA officer whose career ended after he accused his boss, longtime chief spycatcher James J. Angleton, of snooping for the Soviets during the height of the Cold War. Petty died in 2011 at 90. Here he is pictured in 1973 with his grandson.

Photo: Family photo/Washington Post/Getty Images

A s Cram dug into the debacle of the mole hunt, he came across its absurd culmination: Angleton, the mole hunter, became the prime suspect.

Cram heard the story in May 1978 from Clare Edward Petty, a veteran U.S. counterintelligence officer. After years of unsuccessful mole hunting, Petty became convinced that the mole must be working on Angleton’s staff. First, Petty wrongly suspected Angleton’s longtime deputy, Newton “Scottie” Miler, and later Pete Bagley, chief of counterintelligence for the Soviet Division, who didn’t actually work for Angleton but was, in Cram’s estimation, “wholly under Angleton’s domination.”

Petty had also spoken to two reporters, David Martin, a defense correspondent for Newsweek, and David Ignatius, then a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Both had written glancingly about the astonishing-if-true allegation that Angleton was suspected of being the mole, and were trying to confirm it with sources inside the agency.

In a four-hour interview with Cram, Petty gave a more detailed version of the story he had told Martin and Ignatius. He said that he had written up his suspicions of Bagley in a memo and sent it to Angleton at some point in the late 1960s. Several months later, during a long conversation about something else, Angleton suddenly said, “Bagley is not a spy.”

That blanket denial, Petty said, set him wondering what made Angleton so sure. Could it be that Angleton was himself the mole? Cram thought it unlikely that Petty was alone in his suspicions, “for there were many who regarded Angleton as sinister,” he observed in his memo about the interview, which was included in the Georgetown collection.

Petty said he recorded 30 hours of commentary in which he outlined the various “litmus tests” he had run on Angleton to see if he was a KGB spy. His reasoning might have been called “Angletonian.” Assuming the CIA had been penetrated at a high level, Petty considered the possibility that both Anatoly Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko had been sent by the KGB under the guidance of the real mole, Angleton himself. Through this analytical lens, Petty saw new meaning in the anomalies of Angleton’s career: his friendship with Kim Philby his faith in Golitsyn his insistence that the Sino-Soviet split was a ruse. Every decision he made seemed to impede U.S. intelligence operations, Petty noted. Perhaps it was intentional.

Cram’s account of the interview makes clear that Petty had no solid evidence to support his musings. Petty specialized in “airy theorizing,” Cram wrote later, favoring “extreme speculation unsupported by facts.”

There was — and is — no evidence that Angleton was a spy for the KGB. Given Angleton’s staunch anti-communism, the notion is close to absurd. Petty’s accusation is most significant as evidence for Cram and the CIA leadership that Angleton’s theory and practice of counterintelligence were deeply flawed.

I f Angleton wasn’t working for the Soviets, what could account for his folly?

Among the papers Cram reviewed was a “very secret” report prepared in January 1973 for Angelo Vicari, chief of the Italian National Police, and included in the Georgetown collection. It conveyed the views of an Italian intelligence officer serving in Washington to his superiors in Rome, including his impressions of the CIA.

“He regards the offensive sector of the CIA as better than the defensive sector and says that noteworthy conflicts exist between the two of them,” the report said. “The man who ruined the defensive sector there is Angleton, known to you personally — who though fortunately set aside for some time — is still in a position to do harm.”

“According to this opinion, not his (because he does not know him personally) but of his service, Angleton is clinically mad and his madness has only gotten worse in these later years. This is a madness that is all the more dangerous because it is sustained by an intelligence that has about it elements of the monstrous and that rests on a hallucinatory logical construction. The whole is unified by a pride that imposes a refusal to recognize his own errors.”

That was hearsay evidence of a widely held belief that buttressed what even Angleton’s onetime supporters admitted: The man’s thinking bordered on delusional, even as he was too proud to admit he might be wrong about anything.

James Angleton, former chief of counterintelligence at the CIA, answers questions concerning the CIA’s cover-up of reading the mail of many prominent Americans, including Richard M. Nixon, before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 25, 1975.

Angleton acted zealously on a theory of history whose validity is hard to accept and harder to dispute: that secret intelligence agencies can control the destiny of mankind. He had a keen understanding of how intelligence agencies covertly manipulate societies, and he believed that such operations could turn the tide of history. He would not have been surprised by Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election of 2016. The CIA had used such tactics in scores of votes around the world, starting with the 1948 Italian elections, which prevented the communist party from coming to power, and in which Angleton himself played a key role.

Angleton lived and thrived in what he called “the wilderness of mirrors,” his favorite phrase for Soviet deception operations. When David Martin published a book about Angleton called “Wilderness of Mirrors,” Angleton indignantly claimed he had coined the phrase, according to a three-page memo included in the Georgetown collection. He hadn’t. He had first read it in T.S. Eliot’s poem, “Gerontion.” But his explication of the metaphor was apt. The phrase, he wrote in the memo, perfectly captured the “myriad of stratagems, deceptions, artifices, and all the other devices of disinformation which the Soviet bloc and its coordinated intelligence services use to confuse and split the West … an ever fluid landscape where fact and illusion merge.”

The most powerful intelligence agencies traffic in facts and illusions to manipulate societies on a massive scale. Substitute “CIA” for “Soviet bloc” and “America’s perceived enemies” for “the West” and you have a solid description of U.S. covert action around the globe for the last 70 years. Substitute “Putin’s Russia” for “Soviet bloc” and you’ve captured the FSB-sponsored social media operations in recent U.S., French, and German elections.

The Cram papers suggest that if Angleton were in government today, he would approve of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance capabilities, which were reportedly used to listen in on Russians calling their contacts in Trump Tower. He probably would have overestimated the FSB’s capacity to pull off deception operations, such as social media-driven “fake news,” and their impact on American government, just as he overestimated the KGB’s capabilities and influence in the 1960s. He would have searched long and hard for “moles,” the agent or agents inside the U.S. intelligence community who helped the Russians advance their schemes. Counterintelligence was Angleton’s religion, and he would have insisted on its relevance.

Cram continued to study Angleton and share the lessons of his extraordinary career for the rest of his life, even as his epic study remained a state secret. In his 1993 monograph, declassified a decade later, Cram concluded that Angleton was “self-centered, ambitious and paranoid with little regard for his agency colleagues or simple common sense.” He was a visionary and a crank, a prophet and a law breaker, a national security menace just slightly ahead of his time.


Longtime county administrator abruptly resigns in Jefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND &mdash Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley has resigned, effective Friday.

The &ldquomutually agreed upon resignation&rdquo was discussed in an executive session of the county commissioners Monday afternoon, and finalized between commission chair Kate Dean and Morley on Tuesday, Morley said. It was announced to staff on Thursday.

&ldquoIt has been an honor to serve the citizens of this county. It&rsquos been the honor of a lifetime,&rdquo said Morley, who has worked as the county administrator since October 2008, about ϴ½ years.

The resignation was effective as of 5 p.m. Friday. Mark McCauley, county central services director, is the acting county administrator.

Morley will be a county employee through June 30, working virtually to assist the county with transition, but not as the administrator.

&ldquoIn conversations with the commissioners, once we decided we wanted to move forward with a transition, it just made sense for us to get on with it and there are these two months I&rsquoll be on hand to help as may be needed,&rdquo he said.

Dean who was not prepared to talk about the resignation when first approached Friday, later said expects to begin hiring process discussions as soon as Monday and hopes to fill the position permanently within three to four months.

Dean said the board of county commissioners wants a change in leadership.

&ldquoWe have one of the youngest boards of commissioners in the state and we would like to see more innovation and there&rsquos some excitement I&rsquod say at the board level thinking anew about we do things and why and how we can do them better.&rdquo

Dean, who is 46, said that commissioners are eyeing a &ldquoworking board&rdquo model, which would have them more involved in the day-to-day work of the county. They are looking at models for &ldquohow the government can work differently more nimbly,&rdquo she said.

&ldquoIt&rsquos become clear in the last year that there is a new board that wants to head in a different direction,&rdquo Dean said, &ldquoand Philip has provided really stable leadership for the county but I think he saw it was time for new leadership as well.

&ldquoWe&rsquore really lucky that we have somebody to serve as the interim to keep things rolling along at the county.&rdquo

Leadership positions such as Morley&rsquos normally changes every five to seven years and it&rsquos unusual for someone to stay for longer and it&rsquos normal for new leadership to come in to bring new perspective, Dean said.

She did not say why the resignation was so abrupt.

District 2 Commissioner Heidi Eisenhour, 50, who has been on the board only since late December, didn&rsquot comment on the resignation agreement itself but was appreciative of the work Morley has done and how reliable he has been, she said Friday.

&ldquoPhilip has done great service to the county in his 12 years with us,&rdquo Eisenhour said. &ldquoHe&rsquos done great work for the county.&rdquo

District 3 Commissioner Greg Brotherton, who is either 48 or 49, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

&ldquoBeing a younger board, I think Greg, Heidi and I bring a fresh perspective and desire to roll up our sleeves more than other commissioners have in the past and we think it will be easier to establish this working board model with an administrator who can start over with that understanding,&rdquo Dean said. &ldquoIt makes sense to bring in somebody new as we bring in new ways of doing things.&rdquo

Morley, who is 67, said it was time for a change.

&ldquoThis is a time now for a transition of leadership for Jefferson County,&rdquo Morley said. &ldquoThis was the right time.

&ldquoI feel like I set up the county for really being able to move forward towards recovery from the pandemic, building bigger and better for the welfare of the citizens.&rdquo

His tenure was bracketed by two national crises: the Great Recession of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other senior management officials have left in the last few months &mdash former Community Development Director Patty Charnas and former Human Resources Manager and Clerk of the Board Erin Lundgren and two retirements are planned later this year.

In addition, the county has been notified of state funding for the Port Hadlock Sewer Project, a facility that has been discussed off-and-on for the last 20 years, and the county is, many feel, heading toward the end of the pandemic,

Morley also tapped the Olympic Discovery Trail extensions, the 7th and Hendricks affordable housing project and the county receiving about $8 million in the next two years from the America Rescue Plan Act funds as major projects that will benefit from new leadership.

&ldquoIt&rsquos really the right time I think for a new team to tackle these opportunities and I just feel great about having contributed to helping the county through two national crises, accomplishing a lot in the intervening years and handing it off to a new team,&rdquo he said.

Terms of a settlement agreement are expected to be finalized next week.

&ldquoWe expect to reach a settlement agreement that is appropriate with his employment agreement,&rdquo Dean said.

The county is really looking at its leadership strategies moving forward out of the pandemic, which played a factor in the decision, Dean said.

&ldquoIt&rsquos also an opportunity for us to look how we want to do things differently and coming out of Covid is a great time to be thinking about the future.

&ldquoSo, we will be working with all of the leadership team at the county about what is the position we want to hire for, do we want to make changes in staffing these important responsibilities the administrator holds, how do we want to think differently about leadership.&rdquo

&ldquoI feel cautiously optimistic, we have a really strong team at the county right now,&rdquo she said. &ldquoI feel like we&rsquoll weather this fine, with maybe a few bumps in the road.

&ldquoIt&rsquos so easy to do things the same way because that&rsquos how it&rsquos been done, and sometimes it takes a change like this to think differently and government is never going to be the most innovative sector to work in,&rdquo she continued.

Both Morley and Dean said that there was no animosity concerning the resignation and that the process has been &ldquovery gracious.&rdquo A farewell lunch was offered for him on Friday. They said that there was &ldquoa lot of respect&rdquo from both him and the commission in an effort to move the county forward.

Morley chose to resign verses retire because he doesn&rsquot know quite yet what he wants to do next, he said, adding that he just hasn&rsquot had time to process that decision for himself.

&ldquoI&rsquove put in pretty long hours working for the public here and for the citizens of Jefferson County,&rdquo he said. &ldquoSo, I&rsquom looking forward to spending some time for me and really looking at what the next chapter may be.

&ldquoI haven&rsquot really had the time to be present to myself and my future to even think about it. So, that&rsquos part of this too, stepping back and having the time to think about next steps.&rdquo

Morley said he is proud of his contributions toward &ldquocreating a culture of collaborations&rdquo between the eight elected county officials and the appointed county directors, that he feels has been key to the county working through crises.

Morley is confident that McCauley will be successful as the interim administrator, as his current role already had him step into the administrator position when Morley wasn&rsquot there and he served as the county manager for Clark County before being hired in Jefferson County, Morley said.

&ldquoHe had my job in a larger county, so Jefferson County is in good hands,&rdquo he said.

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]


Timeline of Morley

  • Thomas Dawson built Morley Hall in 1683.
  • 1801 first census.
  • 1846-1848 Morley Tunnel was constructed and completed, whilst in 1848 Morley Low and Churwell stations were opened.
  • 200 deaths in Morley in 1849 due to Cholera.
  • 1856-1858 saw the opening of several stations - Drighlington and Adwalton station, Gildersome Street Station, Morley Top, Ardsley and Tingley Stations.
  • 1862 - the local Government Act Adopted, 12 boards members appointed
  • Morley street lights were built, gas operated
  • 1872 Morley Main Colliery explosion, 34 people killed.
  • 1878 Morley R.F.C was founded.
  • 1880 first general election 452 voted: 271 libs and 129 cons.
  • 1880 Morley Market opened.
  • 1885 first Morley MP elected - Milnes Gaskell (Lib) 6,684, Dunnington Jefferson (Con) 3,177
  • The Morley Coat of Arms - granted in 1886 - shows the town's connection with Textiles, Coal Mining and the Civil War.
  • 1886 first meeting of town council
  • 1893 Commission of peace granted. 13 Morley magistrates
  • 1895 town hall clock started.
  • 1900 formal opening of Public Baths.
  • 1901 Sewage Purification Works opened
  • 1906 The first Morley Secondary school opened (later to be Grammar School)
  • 1906 New Fire Station opened behind Town Hall
  • 1922 Morley & District Bus Co started services
  • 1933 The Prince of Wales visited Morley Social Service Centre
  • 1973 opening of Windsor Court and Morrisons Supermarket
  • 1974 J.S. Binks is the last Mayor
  • 1999 New Morley Town Council set up

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