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Cryptonym: LCMAYFOWL

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A sensitive CIA Headquarters operation in the latter half of the 1950s.
A memo in May of 1958 from the Chief of Station (COS), Mexico City, on the review of Project LIFEAT, mentioned that Vladimir Sokolov and Col. Jesus de Leon Toral had been monitored, on the CIA's telephone tapping operation, on November 6, 1957.

In addition, LCMAYFOWL appeared to be targeting or monitoring, Maurice Hyman Halperin, who defected to Moscow in October, 1958. Furthermore, a memo in March of 1959 stated that Oliver G. Scantling used official credentials of the DFS to make contact with targets of various sensitive Headquarters' operations, and cited LCMAYFOWL as an example.

A CIA report in 1973, on the Special Investigations Group (SIG), stated that "in the mid-fifties SIG had rather slim picking and appears to have spent most of its time investigating various aspects of the LCMAYFOWL complex (the Boris Morros case) as it affected US interests based on information the Agency acquired from foreign sources."


07/12/57: Dispatch from COS, Mexico City to Chief, WH Station: Subject: LIFEAT/Operational/Operations report for June 1957: "a. Processing of information: No change. The LCMAYFOWL phase of the operation was live monitored all day and during the early evening hours. A large number of ZONAR abstract sheets, made out by Olivia Gladmon and Alice Gailleteau, were forwarded to Headquarters. Gladmon was also used on the processing of the Maurice Halperin target....b. Exploitation of leads: Leads connected with the visit of alleged Communist agent Jacob Kuchnik, from Argentina were followed through the Maurice Halperin line and were coordinated with other activities on the case. From LIFEAT coverage it was also ascertained that LCMAYFOWL was in contact with Boris F. Kolomyakov, RIS case officer stationed at the Soviet Embassy. This knowledge, obtained by voice recognition of Kolomyakov in a single contact with the LCMAYFOWL target, resulted in the mounting of a physical surveillance of the LCMAYFOWL target which confirmed the existence of the contact and enable the station to derive further information of importance...During June 1957 the following lines were monitored part or full time: 7 - LIMERICK office lines out of 8 existing. Two were suspended for some two weeks because of the telephone company activity in their zone. 2 - LITHOSPHERE lines. 1 - LCMAYFOWL line. 1 - Maurice Halperin line (for about a week only)..." - - - Page 186: Under Base house rentals, utilities and expenses: LCMAYFOWL base house cost 1800.00


07/22/57: Memo from J. C. King, Chief, WHD to FI/OPS - Projects Branch: Attachment - Review of Project LIFEAT to Accompany Request for Renewal: Page 6: ..."American Communists in Mexico: One of the most extensive and productive coverages initiated through LIFEAT during the past year was directed against American Communists in Mexico. Most of those targets were covered at the request of ODENVY (FBI) and the production was processed in part by ODENVY. A total of 342 reels of information were recorded on three separate cases. A fourth case, LCMAYFOWL, was mounted at the suggestion of ODENVY just 15 1/2 hours after the Station received the request from Headquarters. The Station has received three communications from Headquarters on the LIFEAT coverage of this case and Edward P. Sechen received a personal commendation from the DCI for his work on this operation. Over 90 reels of valuable information have been produced since the beginning of this operation on 9 February 1957..."

104-10172-10108: HALPERIN, MAURICE HYMAN.

08/31/57: Cable from Mexico City to Director: Slugline RYBAT LCMAYFOWL: "1. From reel 168 1642 hours 29 Aug Ralph Scott and Maurice Halperin agreed Ralph should take Pablo O' Higgins with him to make proper color selection on tiles for home sterns building in Cuernavaca. 2. Ralph said 'Alfred left list of colors they wanted.' 3. Source LIFEAT (umbrella surveillance project in Mexico City, formerly code-named LIPSTICK. Included a variety of sub-projects under it). Eval 82. Dist ODENVY (FBI). 4. Released 302330Z. *Delayed in transmission."

104-10172-10108: HALPERIN, MAURICE HYMAN.

09/20/57: Cable from Mexico City to Director: Slugline RYBAT LCMAYFOWL: "1. Amb Hill cabled Dept State following: A. During comprehensive talk with MEXI FONMIN 13 Sept raised name Maurice Halperin stating heard Mrs. Halperin dropped as teacher American school. Amb confirmed latter as action taken by school authorities on own responsibility. B. FONMIN asked what Halperin does in MEXI. Amb stated Halperin working as economist for MEXI Govt. FONMIN surprised at reply and made note. FONMIN was to see president in 2 hours prior departure FONMIN for N.Y. to head U.N. delegation. C. Amb informed by KUBARK (CIA) MEXI that Halperin discharged by Financiera Nacional 17 Sept. This implies quick decision by president who went Dolores Hidalgo to celebrate independence day 16 Sept and only returned 17 Sept. 2. Source: Raymond Leddy, political counselor; eval: 8 doc dist: none. *CS Comment: No record in cable secretariat as of 2245 19 Sep."

104-10172-10109: HALPERIN, MAURICE HYMAN.

10/15/57: Cable from Buenos Aires to Director: Slugline RYBAT LCMAYFOWL: "BIOGENESIS report from C source (their eval): Mauricio Halperin in MEXI aided flight Alfred and Martha Stern, getting them three KLM tickets to Prague in name Escamilla family. Stern and wife used Paraguayan passports. Halperin and Frederick Vanderbilt seem to have left MEXI where they not occupying their homes. FC: Above received from BIOGENESIS rep MEXI. C/S Comment: *Explained BIOGENESIS delay in interviewing Mintz and other subjects."

104-10172-10109: HALPERIN, MAURICE HYMAN.

10/19/57: Cable from Mexico City to Director: Slugline RYBAT LCMAYFOWL: "1. Alfred Stern phoned Ruth Hirschfield from Moscow 7 October. Subsequent conversations Ruth and Ralph Scott revealed Ruth told Stern Maurice Halperin and Samuel Novick, signers of checks for Stern, were attempting get Stern money and take over Stern business. Stern immediately cabled bank nullifying Halperin and Novick signatures and authorizing signature Benito Noyola, Stern attorney, until current difficulties settled. 2. Noyola and Ruth planned meet Halperin morning 17 October saying he no longer signing checks. 3. Comments: Above Moscow call not monitored by station because call received at Stern office. Attempts obtain transcripts from LIVESTOCK-2 and Telefonos de Mexico source unsuccessful because long distance calls reportedly not recorded by telephone company. However Telefonos official stated calls might have come thru New York. 4. Source LIFEAT eval B 2 dist ODENVY (FBI). C/S Comment: *Concerned a letter from Ruth Hirschfield to William O' Dwyer which was given to Amb Hill on 2 October."


05/21/58: Memo from COS, Mexico City to Chief, WH Division: Subject: Operational LIFEAT Project Renewal: "1. There is attached a Review of Project LIFEAT for the period 1 July 1957 to 30 June 1958. 2. In accordance with the suggestion made in reference, Part I of the Project Outline has been revised only in those sections where there have been personnel changes of the operation has been otherwise altered in a basic aspect. 3. Part II is submitted in its entirely. LICOOL and the provision for Harvey C. Mulford have been removed from this section, thereby cutting the budget from the sum requested for FY 1958. 4. It is requested that Project LIFEAT be renewed for FY 1959 for the amount requested." - - - Page 4 of PROJECT REVIEW - LIFEAT: ..."Counter-Intelligence Information: CI/CE matters constitute a major portion of the Mexico City Station's priority objectives. Project LIFEAT has contributed more leads and general information on the Soviet aspect of this subject than all other Station sources. A few representative samples of this type of information are the following...HMM-A-8552, Vladimir Sokolov; Col. Jesus de Leon Toral, 6 November 1957 LCMAYFOWL..."


07/02/58: Memo from R. N. Dahlgren, Chief, WH/III to CI/OPS (Attention: Robert Brown): Subject: Project LIFEAT: "1. The WH/Mexico Desk is now in the process of requesting the annual renewal of Project LIFEAT for the period 1 July 1958 - 30 June 1959. 2. During the past year a considerable amount of operational and intelligence information from the LCMAYFOWL phase of this project has been forwarded to your office. In view of the pending project renewal, it would be appreciated if you would forward to the WH/Mexico Desk at your earliest convenience a memorandum evaluating this project with regard to your area and sphere of interest."


03/14/59: Memo from R. N. Dahlgren, C/WH/III, C. Anderson, WH/FI, and R. Gomez, AC/WHD to Chief, FI: Subject: Amend LIEMPTY Project to Include a Special Benefit for Oliver G. Scantling (ps) and to Include Louise J. Macrino (ps): ..."3...Scantling has in his possession official credentials of the Federal Security Police (DFS). He has used these credentials in making contacts with targets of various sensitive Headquarters' operations (i.e., LCMAYFOWL)..."


1964: CIA document: Mention of the LCMAYFOWL cryptonym on two days in 1957.

104-10301-10011: EXTRACTS FROM CI HISTORY.

01/01/73: CIA document: Page 2: ..."The first chief of the Special Investigations Unit (STU) (as it was called in CSI NO. 70-1) was Birch O'Neal, a former FBI officer who had transferred to CIA after World War II.* In the mid-fifties SIG had rather slim picking and appears to have spent most of its time investigating various aspects of the LCMAYFOWL complex (the Boris Morros case) as it affected US interests based on information the Agency acquired from foreign sources... *The term Special Investigations Group (SIG) became common usage in the sixties but no exact date can be assigned for this change."


1976: In the "CI/A/IS" location, there are about 9 feet of documents involving the LCMAYFOWL Project. Includes about 10,000 5 x 8 cards. The official subject file is 100-006-113.

Gavin McDonald

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