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Cryptonym: ZRCHEST

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A Staff D project which put Technical Services Division/Audio chief David Christ and his team into Cuba to tap the New China News Agency circuits and obtain information for breaking their commercial codes.
It is likely that intelligence operations were managed and hidden within the commercial codes, given the lack of direct communication with China at the time.

104-10111-10049: DAVID L. CHRIST

1957-1960: David Christ was the chief of TSD/Audio Operations. He was in charge of all audio operations worldwide from December 1957 to the time of his arrest by the Cubans in late 1960. He had complete knowledge of all R&D aspects of audio equipment research. Knowledge of certain Staff D and FI equipment and operations.


The CIA told the HSCA that ZRCHEST was a "Special Cable Routing indicator for Sensitive CI Case."


August-September 1960: See 9/20/60 memo from FI/D/OPS to Chief, FI/D William Harvey. On 8/10/60, Christ told FI/D/OPS he was going to "redo" an installation in Havana. He was asking for assistance - it looks like he was seeking help from Earl Harter and his second story men described in Bayard Stockton's book Flawed Patriot. An eleven letter redaction would fit Earl Herter perfectly. When Christ's request was denied, he "mentioned the possible need for surveillance" to protect himself. That argument did not work either.

1993.07.20.17:46:05710440: MFR, John Mertz and Robert Bannerman -- Relations with Charles Siragusa

1960-1963: David Christ's audio operation was arrested while trying to set up a tap against Chinese news agency NCNA on 9/15/60. Mertz assumed a cover as a lawyer for the prisoners' relatives. Jim Angleton suggested to Mertz that Siagusa might know mobsters with connections in Cuba who could free the prisoners. Siragusa put Mertz in contact with several people, such as Batista's chauffeur and wife, who had the desired connections. Project did not succeed. Prisoners were freed pursuant to the Bay of Pigs negotiations.

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

1960-1963: David Christ and his colleagues were arrested on 9/15/60. Christ's pseudonym was Daniel Carswell; his colleagues' names and pseudos can be found in this document. James Donovan - the attorney who negotiated the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners - was made witting of their Agency background. Constantine Kangles - a Chicago attorney who worked with people like Richard Cain and had formerly been the attorney for the Cuban government and Fidel Castro in the US - allegedly did not know of the Agency background of Christ and his colleagues. The prisoners were in the Isle of Pines prison at the same time as John Martino, as pointed out in Larry Hancock's book "Someone Would Have Talked".

124-90120-10037: No Title

The FBI seized several alleged Cuban spies in November 1962 due to the alleged pro-Castro plot to blow up buildings in Manhattan. A jeweler named Orellana and Cuban intelligence officer Roberto Santiesteban at the UN were arrested. The "Manhattan plot" in NYC was aimed at military and commercial targets which included Jose Garcia Orellana (aka Orellano) described as a "jewelry manufacturer" and a costume jewelry dealer, where explosives and incendiaries were found. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=860&dat=19621120&id=TnsKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=U0sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6964,5564977&hl=en Also picked up was Roberto Santiesteban, a Cuban DGI agent who was at the meeting where AMMUG-1 said he heard second hand stories about meetings with Oswald. Garcia who was active with the pro-Castro Casa Cuba and friends with the FPCC. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=140761&relPageId=35 Carlos Tepedino/AMWHIP-1 may have known, as Tepedino was also a NYC jeweler, successful in the wholesale business, and had other jeweler contacts). http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=104133#relPageId=29 Was the Manhattan terror plot a set-up to capture some Cubans to have someone to trade off for the CIA spies? That is the trade-off that happened during April 1963.

124-90120-10003: No Title

The indictments against the Cubans were dismissed "in the national interest" on April 22, 1963, and Orellana, Santiesteban and the others were flown back to Cuba in exchange for Christ (aka Carswell), the two other officers, and more than 20 other Americans still held by the Cubans. See David Wise, The Invisible Government: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_secretgov_5h.htm Curiously, in April 1963 Angleton wrote a major memo about Cuba to the Joint Chiefs after this incident, saying that the plot was aimed at "commercial establishments" not military. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=184#relPageId=19


Memo by CI staff officer John Mertz: During Sept. 1963, David Christ was reviewing the file about his imprisonment with his fellow "ZRCHESTERS". Mertz reminded Christ that he had said at one point that he might have lied about "certain events in Cuba" during his debriefing.

Mary Ferrell Database entry for James W. McCord

Ms. Farrell believed that James McCord had something to do with this operation.


4/22/63 cable WAVE 7480, ref DIR 33068, WAVE 7245 from Chief of Station, JMWAVE Andrew Reuteman/Ted Shackley to Director: "Mr. Miskovsky OGC rep discussed refs with Reuteman 21/22 April. Pressures involved ZRCHEST matters resulted in decision Miskovsky would postpone action on refs until completion ZRCHEST op." The referenced WAVE 7245 was an earlier call by AMBUD-1 to halt Communist incursion in the Western Hemisphere, see: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=34779&search=%22wave_7245%22#relPageId=2&tab=page CIA lawyer Milan "Mike" Mikovsky worked closely on the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners and the ZRCHEST prisoners: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/17/AR2009101701821.html Also see: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=61812&search=quebodeaux#relPageId=2&tab=page Memo from INS intelligence officer Francis Quebodeaux to G.T. Flagg, Chief Intelligence Officer: Describes the 23 men that returned from Cuba that day, with reference to attorney James Donovan that arranged the release. The names of the 23 men include CIA TSD officer David Carswell and famous CIA agent John M. Spiritto. Spiritto was not actually returned until years later. See Hearings. Volume 8, US Congress, p. 37: https://books.google.com/books?id=qFVFAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=%22JOHN+M.+SPIRITTO%22&source=bl&ots=uX2hNiX_pR&sig=ACfU3U3VBCUWX_KUNqzhqNSSUPTvMgGPcw&hl=en&ppis=_e&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi3qPCQ15LnAhWCvJ4KHWvjCbUQ6AEwA3oECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22JOHN%20M.%20SPIRITTO%22&f=false


John Mertz identifies himself as the case officer of ZRCHEST. He writes that Christ was unable or refused to "tell the whole truth to the investigating officers regarding certain portions of his conversations with the Cuban arresting officers on matters relating to his judgment but not related to his loyalty."


11/26/63 cable DIR 85239, ref 8057, slugline RYBAT TYPIC YOBITE ZRCHEST from SAS/CI P. Miller to JMWAVE: "Assume II B 1 ref should read ZRCHEST not ZRKNICK. If any connection ZRKNICK please advise prity." When looking at the referenced WAVE-8057, it states "see WAVE 7945 for location ()KNICK personality". It does appear that ZRCHEST is now history.

Peter Dale Scott • Carmine Savastano • Bill Simpich • Larry Hancock

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