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Cryptonym: AMCREW-1

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AMCREW-1 was Mario Nordio. A CIA memo (104-10111-10040) described Mario Nordio as "a stay-behind agent", and stated that he and his case officer, Robert Neet, were among those arrested in Havana on September 15, 1960.
CIA operatives David Christ, Thornton Anderson and Walter Szuminski were also captured by Cuban Intelligence while they were installing audio surveillance equipment. Mario Nordio's wife was also arrested, but she and Neet were soon released and deported.

AMCREW-1 was described in a August 1960 cable as a cutout to the MDC. AMCREW-1 reported to the CIA's Havana Station in 1960, and liaised with CIA officer, Henry D. Hecksher.

A CIA document, on the subject of Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, was based on the debriefing of Mario Nordio on January 25, 1961.

The cable on September 15, 1960, mentioned above referred to contact with AMCREW-1's wife. Leovigildo Ruiz, in Diario de Una Traicion Cuba 1960, stated that "the communist regime of Cuba, expelled Robert L. Neet and Marjorie A. Menox (note: probably Lennox), Mario Nordi and his wife Mary Nardio. American citizens Eustace Dan Brunet (note: Thornton Anderson), Edmundo K. Taranske (note: Walter Szuminski) and Daniel L. Carswell (note: David L. Christ), were charged with espionage and subjected to jurisdiction of the courts of justice." http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/book/Diario-Traicion-1960.pdf

A FBI memo on February 3, 1961, mentioned Mario Nardio and his wife. The former was described as a "CIA informant". The memo also stated that "on 2-1-61 S. H. Horton, CIA, advised that since his return Nardio has undergone extensive interrogation. He has firmly denied that he cooperated in any way with the Cubans. However, a polygraph examination has very clearly indicated that Nardio is not telling the truth on this point. The polygraph results suggest a very strong possibility that Nardio did cooperate with the Cubans."


08/19/60: Cable from Havana to Director: "1. 11 August AMCREW-1, cutout to MDC, reported that MDC liaison in contact with him are Marcial Garcia Vasquez and Roberto Villasante Rodriguez. They informed AMCREW-1 that MDC Coordinator is Rozas (FNU), code name 'El Professor.' Neither knew Rozas last name. 2. Marcial Garcia being granted visa appointment for 19 August. He told A-1 that he informed of militant group in Las Villas Province headed by Gilberto Rodriguez Fernandez. He wishes discuss bring this group into MDC complex with AMPALM-5 (Jose Ignacio Agusto Rasco Bermudez). 3. HKH 3072 (not sent MASH) previously reported one Captain Gilberto Rodriguez, American, as anti-Commie and ousted from Cuban Army on 24 June 1963. Source commented Rodriguez hot and may take asylum. No other information on Las Villas group...C/S Comment: *Dissemination applicable to JMNET cables. **Gave names of alternates who to take places of EXCON members should they become temporarily incapacitated."


08/24/60: Dispatch from COS, Habana to Chief, WHD, Chief of Base, Santiago de Cuba; Chief, JMASH: "Attached is a list of 'responsible people' in the MDC in Oriente Province. It was given to AMCREW-1 by Jose 'Pepin' Fernandez Badue, the National Coordinator, for passing to the MDC in Miami. The original and a thermo-fax copy as well, has already been sent to JMASH by courier." - - - 08/28/60: Cable from Havana to Director: "1. 18 August AMCREW-1 reports Marcial Garcia Vasquez has introduced Eddy Carrerras Vallinas to him as new MDC liaison contact. No Station trace Carrerras. 2. A-1 reports he told MDC Internal Coordinator changed. New man is 'Lucas', a code name. Will endeavor ascertain his identity...CS Comment: *Dissemination applicable to JMNET cables." https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=52846#relPageId=2


08/31/60: Dispatch from COS, Habana to Chief, WHD (Info: Chief of Base, JMASH, COS, Mexico City (TWICKER); Chief of Base, Santiago de Cuba): "1. On 25 August 1960 the undersigned (Nelson L. Raynock, alias for CIA officer, Henry D. Hecksher) met Jose Fernandez Badue, the national coordinator of the Christian Democratic Movement (MDC). The meeting was arranged through AMCREW-1 who is the cutout to this operation...4. Fernandez went into a long talk on the militant value of the MDC. He said that he has 8,000 militants throughout Cuba who want to take action. He said that the maddening part of the whole business was that sabotage targets were so vulnerable and yet untouched. He related several of his plans, sabotaging the Texaco refinery in Santiago de Cuba through the use of acids, and blowing up a Soviet tanker in Santiago Bay and thereby closing off the harbor entrance. Following the latter, he planned that the men who did the job would take asylum in the Guantanamo Naval Base. He said that the only thing which was stopping this whole business was the lack of equipment, and he explained that the entire MDC did not have one pistol, one rifle, one bullet, or one stick of dynamite..." - - - Page 2: ...9. "From the above conversation, the undersigned certainly got the impression that the MDC in Cuba does not have any pre-'D' day paramilitary capabilities at the present time. If there are to had, the MDC is going to have to start from scratch. They need at least a radio operator and someone trained in sabotage, to say nothing of arms, reception committees and what have you. If time remains, perhaps something can be coaxed out of them."


08/31/60: Cable from Havana to Director: "19 August AMCREW-1 reported new internal coordinating MDC in Cuba is Jose 'Pepin' Fernandez, originally from Santiago de Cuba and once active in Catholic Action. Resides in Havana and known by code name 'Lucas.'"


09/15/60: Cable from Havana to Director: Slugline LCHARVEST KOBIRD: "1. (REDACTION) ESCALADE blown and and Carswell, Tronsky, Dandbrunt under detention. Following are facts present time: A. 0800 15 September AMCREW-1 who handling LP, reported his apartment being watched. Contact made with A-1 who reported he left LP 1800 hours 14 September and made an agent contact which went well. Returned his own apartment 2000 hours and found two men outside his door. A-1 sneaked out and destroyed agent report and spent night in bar. Returned apartment 0700 hours and found two men outside. Later contact with A-1 wife who in apartment. She reported nothing unusual. B. Alpher, one of three technicians in STESCALADE failed make contact 2400 hours 14 September. Case Officer waited until 0130 hours then attempted go STESCALADE apartment. Watchman intercepted Case Officer and Case Officer returned to another apartment, which he knew not occupied. Returned, asked watchman for phone number rental where could get change of address since occupant apparently had moved. While waiting for watchman get number, noted three militiaman, policeman, two civilians who appeared be reporters Prensa Latina in front which more people than usual that time night, but on entering noticed large group couples waiting for cars at adjoining garage apparently leaving from party in building. C. At 0100 September 15 apartment on 23rd floor occupied by Mrs. Marjorie Lennox, Embassy staff employee, was entered into and searched by DIER agents. Mrs. Lennox was detained without explanation and at approximately 1100 hours taken to DIER HQs. Ambassador has lodged energetic verbal protest with foreign office demanding her immediate release. D. On afternoon 14 September Station borrowed key Mrs. Lennox apartment under pretext need to observe Prensa Latina personnel from apartment..." (CONTINUED BELOW).


09/15/60: Cable from Havana to Director: Slugline LCHARVEST KOBIRD: Page 3: ..."Duplicate of key was made and given to Carswell for use in extreme emergency is evasive action required in building. Can be surmised men were apprehended and key found and through process of elimination Lennox apartment located. E. Embassy officer who called DIER HQs at 1130 hours has reported having seen all three technicians there under detention. Was told by Ramiro Valdez that all four are being held for espionage 'against the people of China.' 2. Ambassador has been advised of pertinent details re blowing of op. Asks that these details be made known pertinent officials of department by HQs since he is not reporting them directly. He is limiting his actions entirely to protesting Lennox detention and will disclaim any knowledge of other three men their detention is publicized. 3. HQs guidance requested..."


09/15/60: Cable from Havana to Director: "13 September MDC National Coordinator told AMCREW-1 that AMPALM-5 (Jose Ignacio Agusto Rasco Bermudez) is still the boss and that he is working for AMPALM-5...C/S Comment: *Dissemination applicable to JMNET cables. **HQs continued to receive vague reports that MDC in Cuba has disowned AMPALM/5."


09/16/60: Cable from Director to Havana (Orig: R. E. Whedbee, WH/4/FI): "1. Advise if Station considers feasible exfiltrate by attaché plane Mr. Robert L. Neet (sp). 2. Suggest also you confer with ambassador re protection for Miss Caroline Stacey occupant first LP. Probe remains in wall and liable to be discovered. As we see it she should either by exfiltrated on attaché plane or moved to area under diplomatic protection. 3. Have AMCREW-1 and wife been moved to safe area." Releasing Officer: R. E. Gomez, ACWH. Coordinating Officers: TSD/Mr. Roosevelt (in draft). FE/Mr. Nelson (in draft). - - - Caroline Stacy was also mentioned in another cable the same day: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=223518#relPageId=1

104-10111-10040: MRS. DAVID L. CHRIST.

Undated CIA memo: "1. On 15 September 1960, 3 staff employees (David Christ, Thornton Anderson and Walter Szuminski) were arrested by the Cuban G-2 while installing audio surveillance against the New China News Agency in Havana. About the same time an Agency case officer, Robert Neet, and a stay-behind agent and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Mario Nordio, were picked up. All six were jailed. Subsequently, Mrs. Nordio and Neet were released and deported..."

(2004) Fabian Escalante, The Secret War (p. 54)

..."The second technical penetration was against the Chinese news agency Xinhua, located in the Retiro Medico building at the corner of 23rd Avenue and N Street in Vedado. Agent Mario Nordio, a U.S. citizen, was sent to rent the apartment above the one to be used by the news service. When everything was ready, the CIA dispatched three technicians - Eustace D. Brunet, Edmundo R. Taranski and Daniel L. Carswell (pseudonyms)- to drill holes in the floor and place the microphones. The specialists set to work. They operated out of a safe house in the same building, the apartment of Marjorie Lennox, a secretary at the embassy, who supplied them with food and drinks while they worked. Everything went fine until September 8, when G-2 agents captured them by surprise. Nordio fled and sought refuge in the home of another spy-diplomat Robert L. Need, but it did him no good. The next day, after a public denunciation, they were all expelled from the country..."


01/25/61: CIA document: Page 2: "Subject: Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo: Involved in contemplated escape plan for prisoners in La Cabana fortress, December 1960. Attempt not implemented. Debriefing of Mario Nordio 25 January 1961, p. 26."

124-90137-10115: No Title

02/03/61: FBI memo from S. J. Papich to R. O. L'Allier: Subject: Cora Carlinee: IS - CUBA: "We have given consideration to interviewing Mrs. Mario Nardio concerning her knowledge of the subject. Mrs. Nardio is the wife of the CIA informant who was imprisoned several months ago by the Cubans for his implication in setting up a technical surveillance in the offices of the New China News Agency. Recently Nardio was released and deported to the United States. The other participants in the operation were given ten-year sentences. One source of unknown reliabilty had indicated to CIA that Nardio may have served as an informer for the Cubans. On 2-1-61 S. H. Horton, CIA, advised that since his return Nardio has undergone extensive interrogation. He has firmly denied that he cooperated in any way with the Cubans. However, a polygraph examination has very clearly indicated that Nardio is not telling the truth on this point. The polygraph results suggest a very strong possibility that Nardio did cooperate with the Cubans. Horton advised that Nardio is unaware of the polygraph results. At this time CIA is not in a position to take any action against Nardio for fear of establishing a situation which might prejudice the security of the imprisoned CIA employees in Cuba. In view of the above development concerning Nardio, Horton is of the opinion that it would be advisable for the Bureau to interview Mrs. Nardio concerning the subject. If we entertain different views, CIA will be glad to discuss the matter with us. ACTION: The above information is being directed to the Nationalities Intelligence Section."

Gavin McDonald

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