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Cryptonym: PECTATE

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PECTATE was probably a project in Beirut, in 1957-58, in the television/radio broadcasting sphere.
In David Phillips CIA Ops Files (104-10194-10026), his qualifications for the PECTATE project stated "PP operations officer in the development, management and supervision of radio broadcasting facilities, professional experience in several media, particularly television and radio."

A memo from Ghosn Zogby, Chief of Station (COS), Beirut, in March of 1958 referred to Phillips as the PECTATE case officer. There was also a reference to Phillips leaving a Beirut assignment, which would "bring up the problem of future CIA control of PECTATE."

A CIA document in August of 1958 mentioned Phillips' resignation from the CIA, and stated that he was involved in Project PECTATE, in Beirut, Lebanon.

A cable on December 6, 1963, mentioned that Michael C. Choaden (David Phillips) had received a letter from PENUMBRA (it is unclear whether this is a cryptonym or not). There was a reference to the sender and Phillips being together at the beginning of PECTATE.


05/03/57: Cable from Withheld to Director: Slugline PECTATE: "Phillips and family arrived 30 April." - - - See p. 247: "Qualifications (for Project PECTATE): PP operations officer in the development, management and supervision of radio broadcasting facilities, professional experience in several media, particularly television and radio."

104-10128-10358: REASSIGNMENT.

05/16/57: CIA document: "Michael M. Choaden: Reassignment: Ops. Off. (PP)...DDP/WH, Branch III, Havana, Cuba...Ops. Off. (PP)...DDP/NEA: Egypt and Arab States Branch, Project PECTATE, Beirut, Lebanon. T. J. Hester, NEA/ADM/PERSONNEL. Shirley Matthews ext. 8671."

104-10177-10121: PHILLIPS, DAVID ATLEE.

11/15/57 letter from Rafford W. Herbert* (*"pseudonym used in original letter received from field") to J. C. King, WH Division Chief, describing Phillips as the owner of a Chilean newspaper that was waging "an all-out campaign against the Klein-Saks mission and their economic plan for Chile." - - - 2022 release, page 28: https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2022/104-10177-10121.pdf

104-10177-10121: PHILLIPS, DAVID ATLEE.

03/24/58: Memo from Ghosn Zogby, Chief of Station, Beirut: Subject: Future Resignation from CIA of David Phillips: "1. In a recent meeting with the Chief of Station, David Phillips, the PECTATE case officer, informally announced his intentions of resigning from CIA in the near future. At that time Phillips requested that Headquarters be informed by the Chief of Station. The decision to resign has been made informally, in order for the Station and Headquarters to have as much advance notice as possible. Actually, Phillips does not expect to leave his Beirut assignment for about four months, or sometime in the month of July. Phillips reports that the PECTATE building will have been finished and occupied by PECTATE staffers long before that time...4. Phillips' plans for leaving the Beirut assignment bring up the problem of future CIA control of PECTATE. Phillips has submitted to the Chief of Station his personal recommendations on this score, which have been considered in preparing a separate dispatch." - - - 2022 release, page 24: https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2022/104-10177-10121.pdf

104-10177-10121: PHILLIPS, DAVID ATLEE.

04/15/58: Memo from Eugene Milligan (?) for Norman S. Paul, Chief, Division of Near East and Africa: Subject: Mr. David A. Phillips: "1. The attached dispatch from the Chief of Station, (REDACTION) covers the proposed resignation of Mr. David A. Phillips from CIA. The matter was discussed with the Chief of Station during his recent visit to Headquarters, and he feels that Mr. Phillips' decision to return to South America is irrevocable. 2. Mr. Phillips, as you are aware, was in Havana until 1957, at which time he accepted a staff agent position (REDACTION). His primary responsibility was the establishment of a radio and television production center in addition to providing a variety of covert programs in the psychological field..." - - - 2022 release, page 23: https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2022/104-10177-10121.pdf


08/18/58: CIA document: "1. NAME: Michael M. Choaden (P). 2. DATE OF BIRTH: 10/31/22. 4. DATE: 18 Aug 58. 5. NATURE OF ACTION: Resignation (Staff Agent)...FROM: Ops Officer (PP)...DDP/NEA: Project Annex, Egypt & Arab States Branch, Project PECTATE: Beirut, Lebanon..."

104-10097-10045: CABLE: EFFORT TO CONTACT

12/06/63: Cable from Mexico City to Director: Slugline PECTATE: "1. Michael C. Choaden (David Phillips) has received letter from PENUMBRA. FOLL is gist: 'I have been trying to find you for a long time but I have unfortunately not found out where you were until a few days ago when I met a friend called Alberto Slim (Choaden acquaintance) who had seen you in Mexico. The reason I want to find you is because I would like to find out if you are prepared to help me in the matter in which I got involved some years ago. You were right with me at the beginning of (PECTATE) and are certainly aware of all the facts more than anyone else. I have now for over a year been having terrible trouble and I was even blackmailed in trying to arrive at an amicable solution with the principals in Washington. However all the people involved have turned their back on me, and despite my repeated letters and telegrams to several of them I have not even had a reply. I somehow feel that you are not like them and that you will answer my request for finding an amicable settlement. However before I give you the details of the case and embarrass you with them, I would rather hear from you whether you would be prepared to take action or otherwise.' 2. Choaden will not answer for previous HQs instructions. PENUMBRA now aware Choaden official status MEXI and will undoubtedly continue seek contact if not visit MEXI seeking help. Request current HQs guidance. C/S Comment: *Action unit determined as though indicator AJAJA used."

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Gavin McDonald

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