Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald
by Bill Simpich
Chapter 2: Three Counterintelligence Teams Watched Oswald
Bill Harvey was the king of wiretaps and the assassinations czar
Why would CIA chief Bill Harvey’s people try to take over the Oswald file in 1961? Oswald had contacted the American Ambassador and let him know that he was ready to return home. A Soviet defector like Oswald who was ready to return to the USA would be an intelligence bonanza. The Oswald file looked like it could be run by Harvey’s people, until Ann Egerter reasserted her control.
By early 1961, at least three different counterintelligence teams were watching Oswald. One team was the molehunters from Ann Egerter’s CI-SIG, discussed in the previous chapter. The second team came from the CIA’s Soviet Russia division, where Bill Bright was studying Oswald’s biography.
The third team was a husband-and-wife team known as the Potockis. Anita and Will Potocki were personally loyal to Harvey, going back to their days together in Berlin.[ 1 ] To understand the relationships among these three teams, you have to know just who Bill Harvey was.
Bill Harvey was the only real rival to James Angleton in CIA counterintelligence during this era. An ex-FBI agent who got into a tussle with Hoover, Harvey moved over to the CIA and became known to JFK as the Agency’s pear-shaped version of James Bond, due to their mutual penchant for sex, guns and alcohol.[ 2 ] Harvey and Ian Fleming knew each other. Harvey would get memos on his assassination tasks saying “EYES ONLY”. That command went right to the title of Fleming’s For Your Eyes Only. Like Fleming’s creation, Harvey had explicit permission to assassinate foreign nationals. Both Ian Fleming and Bill Harvey may have got the idea of a “license to kill” from their personal relationships with William Stephenson, the Canadian spymaster known as the legendary “Intrepid” who helped crack the German codes during the second world war.[ 3 ]
Harvey had run the CIA’s counterintelligence division prior to Angleton, and then served a stint as head of the prestigious base in Berlin. Harvey knew many of the same secrets as Angleton, and availed himself of the same tradecraft. Harvey was a busy man.
Back in late 1959, Harvey had been placed in charge of Staff D, the CIA’s top secret communications office. Communications intelligence was referred to as “an extremely sensitive and inadmissible source”. Because of Staff D’s work on codes, its work was known more generally as signals intelligence, or ‘sigint’. The reflexive protection given to wiretaps and similar techniques created much of the secrecy that surrounds the events of this story.
Staff D’s mission was to tap communications lines, steal foreign cryptographic material with safecrackers and other means, recruit foreign code clerks, and plant audio devices in government offices.[ 4 ] This illegal “procurement” was done for the benefit of the National Security Agency (NSA), which did not have experienced agents who could obtain direct access to these foreign assets. The story is that Staff D captured intelligence in order to avoid NSA having to capture it and then share it with its British counterpart GCHQ pursuant to a US-UK agreement. Harvey obtained wiretap intelligence from all over the world. Mexico City had one of the best wiretap operations in the world, and provided the NSA with some of its best data.
Tucked inside the top-secret Staff D was an even more sensitive vest-pocket program known as ZRRIFLE. Harvey had prepared what he called the “executive action capability” to murder America’s enemies du jour, such as the Belgian Congo’s emerging leader Patrice Lumumba, Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo, and Cuba’s new leader Fidel Castro. These January 1961 notes show Harvey’s discussions with covert action chief Richard Bissell on taking these men out. Both Lumumba and Trujillo were dead by mid-1961.
The story on Lumumba was that an American intelligence officer succeeded in cajoling Lumumba to leave the confines of his compound, where he was captured by his enemies and put to death. The roots of the Trujillo assassination can be found among the Americans who handed over carbines and revolvers to Trujillo’s enemies. It was known that Trujillo was going to die very soon. Trujillo’s car was cut off at the crossroads, and then he was cut down.
Fidel Castro was made of sterner stuff, and Harvey knew it. A CIA-Mafia group, led by the CIA’s Office of Security chief Sheffield Edwards, had gone to great lengths to plant a poison pill in the food at Fidel’s favorite restaurant right before the Bay of Pigs. Castro had excellent survival instincts, and continually dodged Harvey’s numerous attempts to kill him. Fidel’s method was to pick apart US intelligence by offering up double agents that would triple right back and tell him what the Americans were up to now.
Harvey did not underestimate the Cubans’ abilities. When Bissell asked Harvey to lead the effort to kill Castro in November 1961, Harvey cabled Mexico City chief Win Scott to request the return of David Morales to the Miami station known as JMWAVE, the field station for operations against Cuba.[ 5 ] Morales had a reputation as one of the Agency’s top assassins – he was forced to leave the American embassy in Cuba because of an indictment for murdering two Cuban officials. JMWAVE was the largest CIA station in the world during that era with about five hundred officers and 4000 Cuban agents. A flowchart shows how JMWAVE’s components included paramilitary (PM, or special ops), foreign intelligence (FI), and covert action (CA). JMWAVE was overseen by Harvey’s Task Force W, which operating as an autonomous unit. With a staff of two hundred, Task Force W was the largest section at the Langley headquarters.
Harvey made sure that Mafia veteran Johnny Roselli became part of his get-Castro program. Roselli had been part of the initial operation in 1960, and worked with Harvey in several attempts to poison Castro with pills in his food during 1962. Morales and Roselli had been close drinking partners in the Florida Keys for a long time – working with Harvey was a natural fit.[ 6 ] In May 1962, Roselli was given the cover of an Army colonel and a small base for his unit in Key Largo. Morales and Roselli would “drink till the sun came up, usually joined by Rip Robertson, the hard-bitten Texan and decorated veteran of World War II who was the favorite “boom and bang” guy among the exiled Cubans”.[ 7 ] Harvey told the Church Committee years later that “the Roselli operation” was the only operation to kill Castro that he “had personal knowledge of”. Roselli had no love for JFK. Roselli and JFK shared Judith Campbell as a mistress during 1961, and Roselli knew about her relationship with JFK during this time.[ 8 ]
David Morales was one of the most feared men in the CIA
David Morales was an Arizona native who spoke fluent Spanish. His Latin and Native American heritage was relatively unusual in the CIA’s ranks, and was a major asset in all operations south of the United States border. After serving as an Army CI officer for five years, he joined the CIA and assumed the pseudonym of Stanley Zamka.[ 9 ] In 1954, he played a key role in the “highly sensitive” PBSUCCESS operation that led to the overthrow of the left-wing Guatemela government.[ 10 ] In 1956, he worked in the International Organizations division, which was steeped in covert action to the extent that it merged with the covert action division a few years later.[ 11 ] He established cover in Los Angeles in 1958 for two years as a marketing consultant, “traveling extensively” during this time and working at the American embassy in Cuba.[ 12 ]
David Sanchez Morales
aka "El Indio"
Morales was a military attache at the American embassy at the time of Castro’s takeover, and was forced underground in May, 1959 after an arrest warrant was issued against him for the death of two Cuban officials. Morales had been issued an official business card by Batista’s intelligence service which had been deposed by the new Cuban government four months earlier.[ 13 ] Morales slipped repeatedly between the US and Cuba to smuggle out well-known Batista supporters and other enemies of Castro. By May, 1960, Morales was working on maritime Cuba operations with the new CIA base for Cuban operations in Miami known as JMWAVE.[ 14 ] By November, he was organizing paramilitary operations inside Cuba.[ 15 ]
Morales wrote in his bio that in the early 1960s he advised the USAF, foreign governments and their military and police personnel. This advice included the protection of personnel, installations and equipment, the use of investigative techniques, small unit tactics, and counter-guerilla activities. He also helped to set up specialized schools and training cadres. This service was performed primarily in Florida and in Washington D.C.
Morales was not only a hitman, a trainer, and an escape artist. He was the Miami station’s counterintelligence chief in the days leading up to the Bay of Pigs. As part of his contribution to the invasion effort, Morales became the founder of the Cuban exiles’ shadow intelligence service known as Operation 40 or the “AMOTs”.[ 16 ] Morales’ abilities and resources in counterintelligence put him in the same league as old pros like Angleton and Harvey.
Cuba rallied against the
Bay of Pigs invasion
The role of the AMOTs was to serve as the rearguard of the invasion force at the Bay of Pigs. The plan was for them to “purge pro-Castro officials, seize documents, and take over administration of “liberated” towns and villages.”[ 17 ] JFK’s aide Arthur Schlesinger wrote about his concern about Operation 40 in the immediate aftermath of the failed invasion, saying that he had heard that “the CIA agent in charge, a man known as Felix, trained members of the group in methods of third-degree interrogation, torture, and general terrorism.” The principal group was described as “39 selected, highly educated Cubans, who were trained as case officers to form the future Cuban intelligence service”. There were about 150 AMOT officers, all funded by the CIA and stationed in Miami. Besides the AMOTs, they had 100 back-up intelligence reserves known as the AMCHEERs, and 100 fledgling counterintelligence officers known as the AMFASTs.[ 18 ] The AMOTs handled men such as the well-known terrorist Luis Posada, also known as AMCLEVE-15, who the CIA used as a trainer. Morales lost his chief AMOT field officer, Vicente Leon Leon, who killed himself at the Bay of Pigs rather than be captured.[ 19 ] Morales told his friend Ruben Carbajal that he was there on the beach watching as the Cubans killed the men that he had helped recruit and train. He held Kennedy responsible.[ 20 ] The consensus among many CIA officers was that JFK betrayed them by not providing sufficient air power to ensure the invasion’s success.
Interrogation of a captured Bay of Pigs
invader by Cuban militia
After the Bay of Pigs, Morales worked with Angleton’s office to reorganize the AMOTs into a unilateral anti-Castro security service, while plans remained for the AMOTs to administer the Cuban government after Castro was overthrown. Sometimes referred to as the Anonymous Organization Group, it was considered the most valuable operation at the Miami base. The AMOTs performed tasks that the primarily Anglo CIA officers could not, such as counterintelligence (not listed on the JMWAVE flowchart), and were paid with CIA funds even though they were not CIA employees. They spotted and recruited potential assets, and handled debriefings, investigations, surveillances and penetrated Cuban exile groups. One officer explained that the AMOTs “could do things we were not aware of.” These shadow intelligence officers were tucked away in a portion of the Miami base known as JMDUSK.[ 21 ]
The AMOTs were able to run secure operations without eavesdropping by other divisions of the Agency. Tom Mangold revealed in Cold Warrior that Jim Angleton had his own indexing system for his documents, which were not merged with the Agency file documents. The AMOTs did the same, using an autonomous file system that was separate from the CIA's larger system. They communicated in Spanish, with millions of cards and tens of thousands of soft files that contained a wide variety of information on Cuban and American citizens. A larger group focused on the collection of intelligence, while the smaller group conducted counterintelligence and other operations. There was a central index for all these documents in the sixties.
By mid-1961, Morales had become the #2 man as the deputy chief of station; he often referred to himself as Chief of Base. Two witnesses said that he was known for frequently going off to Mexico City to work with his colleague, covert action chief David Phillips.[ 22 ] He went from the chief of operations in 1961 to paramilitary chief in 1962. He worked closely with the chief of station Ted Shackley, a Harvey acolyte from Berlin. Captain Bradley Ayers, a military man involved with training and operational planning at JMWAVE, said that Morales “ran all the station’s activities with a heavy hand and was famous for his temper. We soon learned that no one, save Ted Shackley, argued with Dave.”[ 23 ]
Morales’ right-hand man with the AMOTs was Tony Sforza, a foreign intelligence and paramilitary officer at the Miami base. The head of the AMOTs, Joaquin Sanjenis, answered to Sforza. HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi saw a memo stating flatly that “Sforza is a hit man and should be regarded as dangerous.”[ 24 ] One of Sforza’s many pseudonyms was Henry Sloman, probably because he was a “staybehind agent” after Castro took power. He was literally the slow man, one of the last CIA officers to leave Cuba.
Harvey’s plan was to split the Castro regime
As of March 1962, Harvey was wearing a third hat as the head of Cuban operations at Headquarters, in addition to his roles as czar of Staff D and ZRRIFLE. He named his team Task Force W after William Walker, the 19th Century adventurer who conquered Nicaragua and raised the American flag. He even took on the Walker name as an alias for Cuban operations. He then joined in with Edward Lansdale at Defense to form Operation MONGOOSE, a plan to overthrow the Cuban government. Harvey made three separate attempts to poison Castro with pills during the first half of 1962.
The center of Harvey’s plan was to split the Castro regime. One memo describes eleven defections and recruitments that had been conducted successfully in the previous two years, mostly from the Cuban Embassy. A June 1962 memo shows Harvey’s plans to recruit Fidel’s sister Juanita Castro. Sforza was a central player in the successful recruitment of Juanita.[ 25 ] At the same time, Harvey was mulling over about whether and how to use the titular #4 man in the Castro government, the former student leader Rolando Cubela.
Che Guevara and Fidel Castro
Che Guevara, Cubela and Fidel were three of the key military leaders who wrested control of Cuba from the dictator Fulgencio Batista in the last days of 1958. Cubela had already distinguished himself by assassinating the head of Cuban military intelligence in 1956. Cubela was disaffected and had made comments going back for years about wanting to kill Castro. During June 1962, a memo from CIA Miami station chief Ted Shackley to Harvey stated that Cubela was planning to defect after a youth festival in Helsinki, and was trying to find a way to meet with his friend Carlos Tepedino to get into the United States. Francisco Wilfredo Varona (pseudonym AMCONCERT-1) vouched for Tepedino’s credentials, while Tony Sforza said that Tepedino’s father had hidden him for five days while in Cuba.[ 26 ]
Harvey made a plan for a pitch to Cubela at a youth festival in Helsinki for early August. If it was successful, it would be a public relations coup. Carlos Tepedino was a New York jeweler that had helped the Agency in the past. Tepedino’s pseudonym was AMWHIP, and Cubela’s was AMLASH - the idea was to deliver a whiplash to Castro.
Tony Sforza kept in touch with Tepedino on the progress of the Cubela effort in Europe. Sforza had unsuccessfully tried to smuggle Cubela out of Cuba in 1961, and the CIA had sent out a warning that they believed the Cuban authorities were aware of Cubela’s defection plans.
Tepedino had previously set up a friendly but unsuccessful attempt at recruitment of Cubela by a Mexico City officer in 1961. A CIA agent in Mexico City, LITAMIL-3, reported that Cubela had been drinking heavily while residing at the Cuban consulate during this period.[ 27 ] The CIA was concerned that Cubela might have tipped off Castro about this approach. Harvey oversaw a memo giving the younger officers the go-ahead in a defection effort with Cubela, but “play it so no possibility of future blackmail of (the CIA)”.
Rolando Cubela (at right)
with Fidel Castro
When the scheduled meeting with Cubela was conducted in Helsinki in early August, contact was made by calling the same two "pink hotels" Oswald stayed at before his entry into the Soviet Union. That would indicate a particular Agency interest in those hotels. Cubela’s case officer Richard Fallucci was known as both Bill Thompson and Harvey Thompson. That would indicate a particular interest by Bill Harvey in Cubela. The decision made in Helsinki was that instead of Cubela defecting and coming to the USA, he could do more good by “defecting in place” and working from within Cuba to bring down Castro.[ 28 ]
Despite Harvey’s reputation as a brawler and gunman, he was viewed as the opposite of reckless by those who worked closely with him. Harvey was highly security-conscious. Harvey once reminded his colleagues to follow top-secret protocols while looking for a ZRRIFLE spotter. He brought up the code word RYBAT – CIA lingo for “secret” – and said that "the use of the RYBAT slug alone ain't what it used to be."[ 29 ] With Cubela’s repeated history of failed recruitments, it’s hard to imagine why anyone in Task Force W felt that they could trust Cubela in any way, shape or form. I don’t believe Harvey trusted Cubela.
Harvey worked with the FBI in Miami on the ZRKNICK wiretapping operation that listened to the Cuban espionage net that was spying on the FBI and CIA.[ 30 ] His awareness of American spies being spied upon by Communist spies forced him to use extraordinary measures to maintain the security of his operations.
Oswald had three teams of officers handling his file – CI-SIG molehunters, Harvey’s People, and Soviet Realities analysts
It’s well established that Ann Egerter of CI/SIG, Angleton’s counterintelligence analyst, had full control of Oswald’s biographical file. Egerter answered to CI-SIG chief Birch O’Neal and to Angleton himself. Two other teams of counterintelligence officers were also keeping an eye on Oswald.
The second team was the husband-and-wife team of Anita and Will Potocki. Anita was Harvey’s chief aide at Staff D, while also working counterintelligence at Headquarters in the Cuban division. Bill’s title was “CI/OPS”, indicating that he worked in the operations group in Angleton’s division. He also had a second title as “CI/OG/SS”, indicating that he wore a second hat as Angleton’s security staff for the operations group. [ 31 ] Will Potocki had experience as a molehunter.[ 32 ]
A third team included the CIA’s Soviet Russia division officers Stephan Roll and Bill Bright, who spent much of their time analyzing defectors from the USSR. We saw in the previous chapter how Bright’s tip convinced J. Edgar Hoover that Oswald might have been impersonated back in 1960.
Bright was with the counterespionage unit that reviewed Oswald when John Fain and Egerter began using the Oswald file in their molehunt during May 1960.[ 33 ] We know that Bright shared Egerter and Fain’s interest in Oswald, but was Bright privy to the molehunt that they were conducting with Oswald’s file? Given the careful attention Bright paid to Oswald’s birth certificate, the story that Oswald was a Soviet citizen, and his description of Oswald as “5 foot 10, 165”, as described in the previous chapter, I conclude that he was in on it.
Meanwhile, Anita Potocki was quietly keeping an eye on Bright. Anita described Bright as a member of Soviet counter-espionage projects “who has nominal responsibility for keeping track of the members of the domestic Soviet installations and their activities".[ 34 ] Bright was in charge of biographic data, which meant that he played a big role in the handling of 201 files of Americans like Oswald.
Anita was the right person to evaluate Bright, as her husband Will was currently serving in the same section as Bright.[ 35 ] Anita was studying Bright’s SR/6/Biographics, which kept 201 files on people of interest in the Moscow region. Anita’s memo indicates that she didn’t want SR/6 to know that Staff D was interested in their work.
Lee and Marina Oswald
on a train leaving Russia
During May 1961, Oswald announced to the Ambassador that he had just married Marina Prusakova, a pharmacy student who lived in Minsk. Operations officer Will Potocki spent days pulling together all the references to Oswald until he learned that Egerter was in charge of Oswald’s file.[ 36 ] After that incident, Egerter resumed her primacy over the file as Oswald spent the next year trying to obtain visas for his family to come to the USA.[ 37 ] An informal pecking order was established. The Oswald file generally went first to Egerter, then to Potocki, then to Bright.
After Oswald's return to the US, Gheesling told the Dallas FBI to interview him to see if he made any deals with the Soviets. Bright received Fain's 8/30/62 memo where Oswald essentially agreed to be a potential security informant if he ever heard anything from the Soviets.[ 38 ] CI officer Dottie Lynch referred to Egerter as the person who held Oswald's "full file".[ 39 ]
Bright now had a new job – he was described as SR/CI/RED. There were a wide array of “RED” operational activities used by the Soviet division. Bright may have been working on an activity known as REDWOOD, designed to examine how to use a Soviet citizen who was outside of the Soviet Union.[ 40 ] Oswald’s wife Marina fits the REDWOOD description. And, in a funny way, Oswald could be squeezed into that category. Oswald had, in a certain sense, defected from the Soviet Union as well as the United States. Also, as discussed, one of the CIA’s own index cards listed Oswald as a Soviet citizen. Another possibility is that Oswald was used within the REDSKIN program, which was used to follow the activities of legal tourists to the Soviet Union. Even a year after his entry, CI files referred to Oswald as a tourist.
During 1962, the chief of SR/CI/RED was Stephan Roll, who worked closely with Egerter later on in this story. This routing slip shows how the August 1962 interview of Oswald upon his return to the US by FBI agent Fain passed among all three teams – first to Egerter of CI/SIG, then to Potocki of CI/OPS, then to several members of the Soviet Russia division, including Bright. The Oswald interview wound up in the hands of SR/6/Biographics on October 15, 1962, days before the height of the Cuban missile crisis, and was not passed to anyone else until after the assassination a year later. When Potocki got the Oswald interview after the assassination, he wrote a big question mark on the routing slip.
Oswald had just begun work at a photographic firm in Dallas, doing highly classified work for the Army Mapping Service as it analyzed maps of Cuba obtained by U-2 flights.[ 41 ] Oswald’s employment at a sensitive position in a key industry was the very work that the FBI was designed to watch out for and prevent. If Hoover had known that a known Soviet defector was working at a sensitive position at a key industry right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis, he would have gone into orbit.[ 42 ]
Both the FBI and Oswald were playing games here. FBI agent John Fain had closed Oswald’s file just two months earlier, after the aforementioned interview, even though he knew that Oswald had lied to him earlier that summer several times. Most significantly, Oswald denied ever trying to renounce his citizenship. Fain discovered that Oswald told the same lie in a letter to a Marine brigadier general protesting his undesirable discharge. Lying to an FBI agent was then and remains a federal crime under 18 USC 1001. If Oswald was ever recruited as an FBI informant, this would have been the moment of maximum leverage to get it done. Fain’s report says that Oswald agreed to report to the FBI any attempt by Soviets to contact him. Despite the affidavit filed saying that Oswald was never recruited as an informant that day, Oswald may have a “137 file” somewhere as a Potential Security Informant, or PSI, based on that statement alone, which was highlighted at the beginning of Fain’s report.
Whether or not Fain, Bright, or other government officials actually used Oswald during this time, it’s clear that Oswald could be used in some way as a witting or unwitting asset. There is no legal obligation to pay an asset or even maintain any kind of a record in a file. Most importantly, I don’t think it matters much whether Oswald knew that he was being used as an asset or not. What Oswald did – or what was done with the Oswald file – was the important thing.
1 Anita and Will Potocki were personally loyal to Harvey: Bayard Stockton, Flawed Patriot, p. 295.
3 The idea of a license to kill: John S. Craig, "Where Did Ian Fleming's License-to-Kill Idea Come From?" On Stephenson, see A Man Called Intrepid (1976), p. 270. (Ian Fleming); Peter Wright, Spycatcher, p. 161.
Tasks performed by Staff D: Secrets of Signals Intelligence in the Cold War and Beyond, Matthew M. Aid, Cees Weibes, p. 41.
6 Morales and Roselli had been close drinking partners in the Florida Keys: Bayard Stockton, Flawed Patriot, pp. 170-171.
7 Roselli was given the cover of an Army colonel…: Stockton, p. 179; Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, The Plot to Kill the President, p. 179ff.
8 Roselli and JFK shared a mistress: Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters, pp. 569, Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked (2010), pp. 250-251.
10 Morales’ work in PBSUCCESS led to the overthrow of the Guatemala government: 3/4/54, Memorandum for the File, Re: David Morales. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 44/NARA Record Number: 104-10121-10171.
11 In 1956, he worked in the International Organizations division, which was steeped in covert action to the extent that it merged with the covert action division a few years later: Promotion Action: David Morales, 9/6/56, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 1: Manuel Artime Buesa)/NARA Record Number: 104-10162-10195.
The merger of the International Organizations division with the covert action division: Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, “After Action Report on the Findings of the Working Group”, 10/23/62, p. 13. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 50/NARA Record Number: 104-10118-10427.
12 Morales established cover in Los Angeles in 1958 for two years as a marketing consultant, “traveling extensively” during this time and working at the American embassy in Cuba: Memo from Paul T. Auden to SAC, Los Angeles, 10/18/60, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 44/NARA Record Number: 104-10121-10148.
13 In May, 1959, Morales was forced to leave Cuba after an order was issued for his arrest for a matter that resulted in two deaths…: Memo by David Morales (Stanley Zamka) to the Ambassador, 5/6/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 44/NARA Record Number: 104-10121-10169.
15 By November, he was organizing paramilitary operations inside Cuba: Memo from to WH/4/PM to C/WH/4/PA, 11/1/60, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 28: MIRR - MRP)/NARA Record Number: 104-10193-10367.
AMYUM refers to paramilitary activity.
16 A post-Bay of Pigs memo reveals that Morales was not only a covert action expert (and for that matter, an expert in paramilitary activities and propaganda), but he was also the chief of the CI section at the Miami base: CIA memorandum for the record, by R. D. Shea, 2 June 1961, Subject: Interview with Dave Morales, GS-14. Chief of CI Section, Miami Base, 25 May 1961, NARA Record Number: 104-10310-10020.
17 The plan was for the AMOTs to purge pro-Castro officials, seize documents, and take over administration of “liberated” towns and villages: Don Bohning, “Indoctrination U”, 6/11/08, Washington Decoded website. While citing Bohning’s article, I should add that I do not agree with his criticism of the Education Forum website, which is a great resource for historians and casual readers alike.
18 Besides the AMOTs, they had 100 back-up intelligence reserves known as the AMCHEERs, and 100 fledgling counterintelligence officers known as the AMFASTs: Memorandum for the Record re interview with Dave Morales (AMFASTs are misspelled as AMFATS) by R.D. Shea, 6/2/61, FILE:DDCI DOCUMENTS, NARA Record Number: 104-10310-10020.
19 Vicente Leon killed himself at the Bay of Pigs rather than be captured: Don Bohning, The Castro Obsession, p. 144.
20 Morales said that he was on the beach at the Bay of Pigs watching as the Cubans killed his friends that he had helped train: Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked (2010 edition), p. 111. The aforementioned “Felix” could have been Felix Rodriguez, known for his role in the capture of Che Guevara and also known as “Max Gomez” during the Iran-Contra scandal. Also conceivable that “Felix” was Felix Gutierrez, described as second in command to Sanjenis. Either man could have been a “CIA agent in charge”.
21 The AMOTS also had a covert base on the Miami campus - their base for shadow intelligence was known as JMDUSK: Memo from Theodore Shackley to Desmond FitzGerald, 4/2/64, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 2/NARA Record Number: 104-10048-10124.
“JMDUSK buildings”: Cable from Director to JMWAVE, 9/30/61, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 68: AMBUD, CRC)/NARA Record Number: 104-10233-10316.
“CIA funds”; “CIA employees? No sir…”; “could do things we were not aware of”. See Deposition of William Sturbitts, 4/16/75, pp. 59 and 62. NARA Record Number 157-10011-10083.
22 Two witnesses said that Morales was known for frequently going off to Mexico City to work with his colleague, covert actions chief David Phillips: Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, p. 451, 458.
23 Bradley Ayers, who was stationed at JMWAVE, said that Morales “ran all the station’s activities with a heavy hand and was famous for his temper. We soon learned that no one, save Ted Shackley, argued with Dave”: Bradley E. Ayers, The Zenith Secret (Brooklyn: Vox Pop, 2006), p. 19.
24 Sforza is a hit man and should be regarded as dangerous: Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation, p. 384.
26 Francisco Wilfredo Varona vouched for Tepedino’s credentials, while Tony Sforza said that Tepedino’s father had hidden him for five days while in Cuba: Memo from JMWAVE to Director, 6/18/62, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 50: Alpizar - Cubela)/NARA Record Number: 104-10215-10107.
Note that AMCONCERT-1 is Francisco Wilfredo Varona Alonso: “List of Names re Kennedy Assassination”, List of crypts provided to researcher Leslie Wizelman, p. 49, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 9/NARA Record Number: 104-10061-10115.
Also see the CIA Inspector General’s Report of 1967, p. 82, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 48: Defectors, 201 Files, CI/SIG, IG Report, AMTRUNK, Ortiz, ...)/NARA Record Number: 104-10213-10101.
27 A CIA agent in Mexico City, LITAMIL-3, reported that Cubela had been drinking heavily while residing at the Cuban consulate during this period: “Weaknesses (and Derogatory Information)” a chronology re Rolando Cubela, 10/24/63, P. 5, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 50: Alpizar - Cubela)/NARA Record Number: 104-10215-10235.
SAS officer Nestor Sanchez testified that the policy to encourage Cubela to defect in place remained throughout 1963. Testimony of Nestor Sanchez, 7/29/75, p. 23.
29 Harvey once reminded his colleagues…: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 20: ZRRIFLE, AMMUG)/NARA Record Number: 104-10185-10046.
Harvey’s office was 1502 L – and it looks like his initials of “wkh” on this routing slip: Id.
In the memo above, Harvey referred to this directive in OIRW 18582 in setting forth his desired secrecy protocol while looking for a spotter for the ZRRIFLE operation: Dispatch from William Harvey, Chief, Staff D to Chief of Station, Rome, ATTENTION: DESMOND OR SHERIDAN, OIRW 18582, 6/8/61, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 20: ZRRIFLE, AMMUG)/NARA Record Number: 104-10185-10045.
Harvey asked for the memo OIRW 27542 to be a permanent fixture in the ZRRIFLE file. The link is to a memo whose subject, when interviewed, was apparently shown a photo of QJWIIN. Memo from REDACTED to REDACTED, OIRW 27542, 5/10/61, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 20: ZRRIFLE, AMMUG)/NARA Record Number: 1994.03.11.16:07:16:500005.
31 Potocki was part of Angleton’s security staff for the operations group: As shown earlier, Potocki was CI/OG/SS. "OG" stands for "Operations Group". Russ Holmes, for example, was CI/OG; see memo to Counterintelligence Chief, 1/25/77, NARA Record Number: 104-10147-10322.
"SS" stands for "Security Staff". C/SS is common in CIA documents.
32 Will Potocki had experience as a molehunter: Peter Dale Scott describes in some detail Potocki’s role in a molehunt conducted with Oswald’s file in 1961, as well as molehunts involving Richard Snyder. See “The Hunt for Popov’s Mole”, Fourth Decade, March 1996, the ground-breaking article on molehunts in the JFK case. I discuss one of Snyder’ molehunts in my essay “The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend” (Part 3), relying on Scott’s work.
33 Bright was with the counter-espionage unit that reviewed Oswald in 1960: That unit was SR/CE. Routing and Record Sheet, 5/25/60, re DBF-49478, Oswald 201 File, Vol 1, p. 137. Routing and Record Sheet, 7/3/61, re DBF-82181, ARRB 1995 Releases/NARA Record Number: 104-10015-10041.
Also depicted in John Newman’s Oswald and the CIA, pp. 493-494.
Betty Stacey is repeatedly included within the routing slip of the 7/3/61 Fain memo on Oswald; see Newman, p. 226, 494. Also seen once again are Brady and Bright, now working in the SR/RISB division.
34 Bright was described in a CIA document from that era as a member of SR/CE/Projects “who has nominal responsibility for keeping track of the members of the domestic Soviet installations and their activities”: Anita Potocki, Memorandum to File, 9/1/60, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 12: Rolando Masferrer)/NARA Record Number: 104-10176-10107.
36 Will Potocki spent days pulling together all the references to Oswald, until he learned that Egerter was in charge of Oswald’s file: Routing and Record Sheet, 5/26/61, NARA Record Number: 104-10322-10043.
Peter Dale Scott opines that Potocki may have conducted a molehunt about this time. See “The Hunt for Popov’s Mole”, Fourth Decade, March 1996.
38 William Bright was part of SR/CI/RED when Oswald met with Fain in August 1962: See Bright’s initials on line 7 of the attached Routing and Record Sheet, DBA-20883, 8/30/62, Oswald 201 File, Vol 1, Folder 2, p. 35. In contrast, this is a full copy without redactions.
Fain denied ever filling out any forms designating Oswald as a potential security informant or of any type of source.
39 At the time of Oswald’s “debriefing” with Fain the previous year, Bright was included on the routing sheet of this meeting. Bright’s boss at that time was C/SR/CI/RED Stephan Roll: Id.; also, see Newman, p. 499. For another reference to C/SR/CI/RED, see Louise M. Lyon, SR/CI/RED and Paul R. Cawood (C/WE) to Chief of Station, London, 5/22/62, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 17: Ruiz - Webster)/NARA Record Number: 104-10181-10054.
40 "RED" is shorthand for REDWOOD, a program designed to examine how to use a Soviet citizen who was outside of the Soviet Union: This description of REDWOOD comes from Angleton aide Edward Petty, told to researcher A. J. Weberman.
41 Oswald had just begun work at a photographic firm in Dallas, doing highly classified work for the Army Mapping Service as it analyzed maps of Cuba obtained by U-2 flights: Warren Commission Hearings, Lee Oswald’s time sheets at JCS, 10/12/62-10/31/62; John Graef testimony: “highly secret work?...yes…Army Map Service.” Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 10, p. 191. Robert Stovall testimony, “cleared through Navy Bureau Materiel…charting of coastal areas, sea bottoms…” Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 10, pp. 168-169.
Also see Edward Epstein, “Reading Oswald’s Hand”, Psychology Today, April 1978, on how Jaggars Chiles Stovall had long lists of city names typeset and then placed on maps, based on satellite and U-2 surveillance.
42 Oswald’s employment at this photographic firm at a safety-sensitive job in a key industry was the very single factor that would have put the FBI in orbit if they had known that a known Soviet defector was working there right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis: Deposition of Warren de Brueys, 1/8/76, p. 126.