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Cryptonym: AMLEO-3

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Capt. Jose Ricardo Rabel Nunez, "a high-level defector who escaped from Cuba in an INRA plane on 6 December 1962." Almost certainly a double agent run by the Castro government. Involved with David Morales and Tony Sforza in the days leading up to 11/22/63.
See 104-10103-10350: Rabel was born 4/7/22, in Havana, the son of a native-born American citizen. 201-249386. Appointed chief of Viviendas Campesinas in Feb. 1960 until his Dec. 1962 defection, an organization that both Eusebio Azcue and AMKNOB-1 also worked in. Both LITAMIL-9/Luis Alberu Souto and Fernando Rey (reported by AMSLOUCH-1/Lauri Olavi Matikainen) accused Rabel of being a Cuban agent as early as July 1963 while Rabel was screening names for the AMTRUNK operation.

At p. 141, during April 1963, LITAMIL-9 warned that "he heard several people mention that Fidel Castro had penetrations of (CIA). He was not able to give any details of these reports but cited the care of AM-3 as an example of this." At p. 144, AMLEO-3 referred to as AM-3. 104-10185-10266.

Several Rabel family members obtain visas to come to Mexico during the summer of 1963, including Dolores Rabel y Nunez. 104-10092-10136.

In 1964 he said he was desperate to rescue his family and was no longer willing to rely on the CIA. 104-10308-10062. His wife was Silvia Rabel. He was captain of Manuel Ray/AMBANG-1's vessel the Venus in 1965, right up to the time of his capture in Sept 1965. See 104-10192-10109.

By 1966, after he was recaptured in 1965, Al Burt/AMCARBON-1 offered to write an article about his plight. Mitch WerBell went to the CIA on his behalf. It looks like he may have been a double agent. Did Morales, Sforza and Phillips know this and try to exploit him in the days leading up to 11/22/63? Or did Rabel exploit Morales, Sforza and Phillips?


See 104-10221-10127 - in early 1966, Mitchell WerBell (AMBOAR) and Cuban exile Pepe Currais took up Rabel's cause to the State Dept, taking an action to return the Cessna airplane and 9 mm pistol to Fidel (that Rabel had stolen), so that Rabel would not be executed.

1994.05.03.11:01:19:970005: Reel 13, Folder O - NUNEZ PORTUONDO EMILIO.

Dec. 1962: Rabel discusses his uncle Emilio Nunez Portunado, says he does not want to see him, describes him as "an opportunist of the worst sort."

104-10308-10061: AMLEO-3 DEBRIEFING

3/26/63 unsigned report: AMLEO-3 states that during April, 1962 housing construction in the Sierra Maestra and Escambray areas was halted in order to divert resources to containing counterrevolutionary activities. He predicted a many-factioned civil war if Castro was killed. Huber Matos is one leader who could spur great loyalty. Also see the neighboring document, 104-10308-10060: He opines that the black teams infiltrating Cuba are suicidal, because the block-by-block counter-surveillance in the communities is too effective. He cites Blas Roca as head of the Communist underground. He suggests recruiting within the navy or the rebel army rather than the militia. He cites 10 friends or so that he can work with: Conchita Fernandez and her husband; UN delegate Raul Primelles; REDACTED; engineer Roman Luis Mayor, Lt. Vasquez, army officer; Augusto and Jorge Arcos, brothers of Ambassador Gustavo Arcos. Of course, if AMLEO-3 was a double agent, much or all of this may be false.


Sept. 1963: It was decided to exfiltrate the AMLEO-3 family into the Uruguayan or Mexican embassy in Cuba as soon as possible, after Mrs. AMLEO-3 allegedly had a chance meeting with Fidel while at the beach and he refused to let her family emigrate.

104-10103-10362: WITHHELD

9/30/63, UFGA-11375: CIA feared that AMLEO-3 might redefect, which would be very damaging for the MHAPRON (worldwide program for the penetration of the power centers and armed forces of the Cuban regime) program and a psychological coup for Fidel. The plan was to use AMHALF-2 and a diplomatic vehicle to get AMLEO-3's family past Cuban military guards. It was thought that it would be better to use this method with AMCANOE-3 (Antonio Jose Ramirez Mendez) before trying it with AMLEO-3's family.


11/21/63: Cable from SAS/MOB/FI to Mexico City: "Assume with departure c/o (case officer) and AMLEO-3, reference B, agreement between AMLEO-3 and Perez consummated."


2/10/64 memorandum for the record by C/SAS/MOB/FI Paul Maggio: "On 17 Nov 63, WAVE 7237...reports that letter received by AMLEO-3 from his wife...in my opinion, the letter AMLEO-3 received contains one of the biggest cock and bull stories I have seen in a long time. According to WAVE 7237, the letter proposed two courses of action and whether these two courses of action are related is not clear. The first, proposed through a cut-out in Mexico AMLEO-3 pay some money and this cut-out would ensure AMLEO-3's family gained asylum in the Mexican embassy in Cuba no more than a week after payment to the cut-out. The second aspect of the letter involved AMLEO-3 going to a Cuban representative in the UN and giving him the pistol AMLEO-3 had been given by Fidel and offering to return the plane AMLEO-3 flew out in to Fidel. We proceeded on the first phase, i.e., we went through the crack in the door. We sent AMLEO-3 and a WAVE case officer to Mexico. AMLEO-3 contacted the cut-out who we learned was known to AMLEO-3 and old friend. About the time AMLEO-3 and his case officer were en route to Mexico we learn that AMLEO-2 arrives Mexico from Cuba. AMLE0-3 meets with AMLEO-2 in Mexico and got the story from her about his family. In my opinion, he may well have received work from Fidel at this time through his sister, AMLEO-2. In any event, after making payment to the cut-out, AMLEO-3 and his case officer return to Miami...I recommend that we take a good CI look at this whole case of AMLEO-3...to ensure we are not walking into a trap and if we are we do so with our eyes wide open. THIS CASE IN MY OPINION REPRESENTS A FLAP POTENTIAL WHICH WE WOULD FIND VERY DIFFICULT TO LIVE WITH IF IT OCCURS."

124-10283-10100: No Title

3/16/65 FBI memo on JURE: "The motor vessel VENUS of the JURE had arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Aboard was the Captain JOSE RABEL NUNEZ and a small crew of JURE members...Source stated that RABEL, Captain of the VENUS, is planning to resign from the JURE because of the indecision on the part of the JURE leader, MANUEL RAY RIVERO." See 124-10285-10255 - p. 10 - early 1965 - this memo indicates Rabel is planning to take over the VENUS and other vessels in the JURE naval base because he allegedly wanted to use it to rescue his wife from Cuba.


9/20/65: AMLEO-3 had been seeking a boat to bring his family out of Cuba - he checked in with AMSWIRL-1 (Customs agent Cesar Diosdado) and AMSHED-1 before his departure. He was captured inside Cuba. "The AMSHED-1, Adolis Cobo (AMBIG-3), WerBell group was expecting a second call from AMLEO-3". When it did not materialize, they contacted his wife Silvia..."AMLEO-3's sister said she plans to contact her uncle Emilio Nunez Portunado in Panama to ask him to use his influence with the Presidents of Panama and Mexico to request leniency for AMLEO-3 from AMTHUG-1 (Fidel Castro)." See http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/White%20Materials/White%20Assassination%20Clippings%20Folders/Miscellaneous%20Folders/Miscellaneous%20II%20Cubans/Cubans%20060.pdf - he was arrested on 9/4/65. 124-10283-10132, p. 15: On 9/16/65, it was assumed that Rabel, Miguel Ramos and Gilberto Fundora were captured in the whaler taken to Cuba to rescue Rabel's wife and daughters. 124-10283-10133, p. 3: Their capture was reported in the Miami News on 9/8/65. 104-10221-10127: Mitchell Werbell and Pepe Currais working on returning the Cessna and 9 mm pistol used by Rabel to defect to US in hopes of Castro sparing his life.

104-10113-10147: MEMO:CESAR DIOSDADO

9/1/67, memo from Helene Finan to C/LEOP: "During the interrogation of Jose Ricardo Rabel Nunez, Cuban prisoner and alleged CIA agent, by members of LASO and the newsmen present in early August 1967 in Havana, Cuba, he advised that upon his arrival in the United States from Cuba he was met by a group of U.S. officials and that he knew the names of but two of these individuals, James McGarran (phonetic) aka "Joaquin" and one Diosdado (AMSWIRL-1). The latter was believed by Nunez to be a Mexican and a Immigration official in Key West also. When asked by the Cuban Security Officer if he meant Cesar Diosdado Nunez replied in the affirmative and added that Diosdado is supposedly the immigration official who really does the recruiting for the Central Intelligence Agency."

104-10113-10140: Francisco Avila Azcuy, Alberto L. Diaz, Jose R. Nunez, Vincent's Mygoyo, Jose Rodriguez, Pablo Roqueta

Memo from Cecil Tighe to Chief, Security Research Staff, Sept 5, 1967: Rabel was arrested with these five men for counter-revolutionary activities - this was a new arrest, dated 7/18/67, "alleged to have been sent to the island (Cuba) by CIA to prepare for the assassination of Castro and other Cuban leaders...they were interrogated openly as a show piece before a number of visiting newspaper, magazine, TV and radio people from the left wing press of the Latin American and European countries, and the United States."


1977 review by Chris Hopkins, LAD/JFK Task Force: The AMTRUNK operation's objective was to set off a coup d'etat conducted by internal military and civilian Cuban leaders to oust Castro and his allies from power. The operation appears to have been doomed from the beginning due to lack of compartmentalization and loose talk among its principals. AMLEO-3 was used to screen names for the AMTRUNK operation. "He was terminated in July 1964, reportedly due to conflict with JMWAVE station for not having infiltrated his wife and children. He returned to Cuba on his own in 1965, allegedly to infiltrate his wife and children, was arrested, sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, served two years, and was set free in July or August 1967. When he flew back in 1965, he was given a 30 year sentence but released by 1967...it appears that AMLEO-3 could have been providing Castro information on the AMTRUNK operation from its inception." Note that the recently released 104-10103-10367 - identical with this document - has a number of redactions that this document does not.

104-10308-10059: MFR : AMLEO OPERATION

LAD/JFK Task Force memo in 1977: AMLEO was "an FI propaganda operation involving the exploitation of Capt. Jose Ricardo Rabel Nunez (AMLEO-3) a high-level defector who escaped from Cuba in an INRA plane on 6 December 1962. In February 1962 Rabel claimed that he had high-level anti-Communist contacts in the GOC (who he refused to name) who would listen to Rebel Army exiles but would take no positive action with them unless they demonstrated their power by eliminating Fidel or carrying out other strong action that would prove they had strong outside backing. Researcher comment: Seems possible that Rabel may have been CIS provocation agent whose mission was to convince the CIA or some exile group to try to undertake a plot to assassinate Fidel."

Brian Benson • Bill Simpich

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