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Pseudonym: Seekford, Jacob

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Unknown identity. A memo in October of 1953 stated that Jacob R. Seekford was a GS-12 officer, who was on operational TDY in the United States at that time, and was expected to return to Honduras shortly. Prominent in the Guatemala project to overthrow Arbenz.
See https://snow.tm/liberation/mysteries - In 2020, these researchers concluded with the belief that Seekford was Howard Hunt. Larry Hancock, in Nexus: the CIA and Political Assassination (2011), thought that Seekford may have been a pseudo for Tracy Barnes, or the likes of Albert Haney, Henry Hecksher, Howard Hunt.

Jacob R. Seekford appeared to have disappeared after March, 1954, when he met J. C. King, after the former had apparently left intelligence papers in a hotel. There was a reference to Seekford remaining in Chicago for at least a month, and that he had never been to the Northwest and that was his preference.

A contact report in February, 1954, mentioned that Jake Esterline had Seekford right where he wanted him. On pages 58-59 of the CIA report oh 12/15/53, which was titled: Stage One Report Annex B Friendly Assets and Potential: stated that "Jacob R. Seekford, contract agent with orthodox military experience who has been associated with RUFUS (Carlos Castillo Armas) for approximately 1 1/2 years. This close association with RUFUS may have led to disclosure to RUFUS of Seekford's CIA's connections." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923959.pdf

Seekford worked with Irving Cadick (William Robertson) and Vincent Pivall (probably David Morales) amongst others in PBSUCCESS. A cable on January 31, 1954, stated that Seekford was "departing Miami area under alias for ultimate arrival Baltimore using all operational security safeguards and will contact Galbond (J. C. King) by phone from Baltimore for further instructions per LINC 308 (IN 14040)." It is unclear whether Seekford had a personal connection to Baltimore, or if there was a CIA connection to that city.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: Persons and Pseudonyms

Page XX: "Persons and Pseudonyms...Seekford, Jacob R. (pseudonym, identity not released).."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 18. 9/18/52-Memorandum From Jacob R. Seekford to the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, Central Intelligence Agency (King)

09/18/52: Memorandum from Jacob R. Seekford to Chief, WHD: Subject: Liaison Between Calligeris and General Trujillo of Santo Domingo: "1. On 12 September 1952 an agent from General Trujillo, one Félix W. Bernardino, arrived in Honduras for a conference with Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas). (2) 2. Bernardino stated that General Trujillo desired and was prepared to aid Calligeris with arms, aircraft, men, and money. 3. In return for this help General Trujillo asked that four (4) Santo Dominicanos, at present residing in Guatemala, be killed a few days prior to D-Day. (Names of the four men are not at present available.) 4. Calligeris stated that he would be glad to carry out the executive action, but that it could not be done prior to D-Day for security reasons. He pointed out that his own plans included similar action and that special squads were being designated. Bernardino was assured that the action could and would be carried out on D-Day. 5. Calligeris is confident that this matter can be resolved between him and General Trujillo. 6. Further conferences are scheduled..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 61. 10/29/53-Memorandum for the Record

10/29/53: Memorandum for the Record (from Washington): Subject: Status of PBSUCCESS: "1. The present status of PBSUCCESS is as noted below: a. Personnel...Operations officer PP (REDACTION)—Jacob R. Seekford GS–12...Seekford is on operational TDY in the United States now but is expected to return to Honduras shortly..."


01/05/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Withheld: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: "1. Alert Seekford on Jan 6 contact Irving Cadick (true IDEN follows) to be in (REDACTION) Jan 8, 9, 10, for Seekford-Cadick night meeting. Will be registered true name (REDACTION) in that order. 2. Seekford to cable (REDACTION) who will contact and inform Cadick (William Robertson) at hotel if necessary to securely effect this meeting. (REDACTION) will be informed any chances by Cadick. 3. During daylight Cadick to be located DTROBALO (Fort Clayton, Panama) intermittently. 4. Have Seekford verify receipt this cable." - - - 01/12/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: "Cadick arriving HQs morning 12 Jan to discuss final flight arrangements with Amb and carrying summary of Panama meeting with Seekford." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914256.pdf


01/17/54: Contact Report with Colonel King (REDACTION) from Withheld: "Subject: (REDACTION) 772: J. C. indicated he was completely in the dark as to what was going on and was informed by (REDACTION) that the cable appeared to be unduly alarming and indicated possibility that Seekford was exceeding his instructions. Further, to his knowledge (REDACTION) explained Seekford was to be closely confined to the operational plans as indicated in the assessment report and that funds would be allotted to him only on a 15-day, as needed basis within the authority granted by specific tasks. Therefore, the crisis indicated by Seekford is very difficult to understand at this time and that (REDACTION) wanted to await the arrival of (REDACTION) before making any further comment or recommendation as to action to be taken on this matter. J.C. concurred and said he would stand by and await word from LINCOLN (CIA's Guatemalan covert operations headquarters, a forward base in Florida). J.C. shared (REDACTION) displeasure at Seekford's commandeering the funds at (REDACTION) without proper authority and that he would have to stay in line not only operationally but in the handling and disbursement of, as well as accountability for funds. (REDACTION) assured J.C. that every effort had been made to date to so instruct him; however, it would be pursued further and clarified once and for all. J.C. did not know (REDACTION) whereabouts except that he had departed from Washington on 16 January and probably not arrive at LINCOLN until late 17 January or 18 January. Meanwhile, it was agreed that we would sit tight before taking any definite action on this cable..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 91. 1/30/54-Telegram From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the Central Intelligence Agency

01/30/54: Telegram from Operation PBSUCCESS in Florida: "1. Following views are presented for HQS consideration: A. White Paper (2) has effectively exposed certain aspects of PBSUCCESS, probably more to come. Stage One report clearly recognized this possibility (cover page and page 2). Stage Two was implemented to explore and probe potential assets, testing while developing. (3) 2. Aside from KUHOOK (CIA Paramilitary Operations Staff) camps and limited KUFIRE (Intelligence) progress, other operations not even implemented to date. Assessment thus far has been favorable to good. (4) Losses sustained by arrests and exposé not believed irreparable providing no lessening in determination develops. C. Believe remaining assets will deteriorate rapidly if any doubts or evidence of abandonment permitted, thus effectively destroying what appears to be only known substance to resistance. (5) Our pressure, once applied, should not be released but intensified. Nothing is more demoralizing than on–again, off–again. 2. Current situation however requires careful consideration. The enemy has played a strong card which we must be prepared to counter and exploit or withdraw...6. Advise soonest. Meanwhile Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) and Seekford being kept separated and in safe lodging for cooling off period or re–direction..."


01/31/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: PBSUCCESS RYBAT: ..."B. Seekford: Is departing Miami area under alias for ultimate arrival Baltimore using all operational security safeguards and will contact Galbond (J. C. King) by phone from Baltimore for further instructions per LINC 308 (IN 14040)..."


02/03/54: Cable from Withheld to Director: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: FROM PIVALL (probably David Morales): "1. Liaison with (REDACTION) is through personal contact with Major (REDACTION). 2. (REDACTION) assures Pivall that plane will be held physically secure until Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) notifies him as to its disposal. 3. (REDACTION) gave go ahead to training program. (REDACTION) wholly approves. Had never discontinued entirely. Pivall had personally trained three possible assistants for cadre. All turned out excellent. Can maintain activities for at least ten more days while Pivall in (REDACTION). Pivall has been commuting (REDACTION) early morning and late night. 4. (REDACTION) wants commo gear moved, but will do so only on request of Seekford who left word with (REDACTION) that gear was not to be moved until his return. (REDACTION) expects Seekford to return 3 or 4 Feb. 5. (REDACTION) paid. Turned over some receipts that may be of interest LINC. Will pouch. Have always been careful with him. Too well known here and drinks excessively. 6. Sale of launch will be complete 3 Feb. 7. Have personally met one (REDACTION) (thru Chief Personnel) who has a market for spitfire aircraft. Absolutely no commitments because Pivall completely ignorant this phase. (REDACTION) stated 18 available plus one P-39. Claims to have U.S. passport, acquired by having served U.S. Army World War Two. Station Fort Ord major part of war. True nationality unknown. Claimed to be distributor for General Paints, Inc. Said he going to U.S. around 14 Feb to close out $50,000 deal. Did not say what kind. Claims to work out of SALV and sometimes SANJ. Said he spoke to Seekford and Delgado re sale aircraft. 8. Pivall returning LINC 5 Feb to discuss overall conditions...Initially contracted as training instructor. Presently finds himself everything from intelligence specialist to chaplain..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 101. 2/19/54-Dispatch From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, Central Intelligence Agency

02/19/54: Dispatch from Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to Chief, Western Hemisphere Division: Subject: Security Matters: Compromise Cable Traffic, PBSUCCESS: "1. Foregoing references and statement from Pivall (probably David Morales) clearly establishes that: A. (REDACTION) failed to properly paraphrase and/or substitute official cryptonyms and pseudonyms for field counterparts on messages involved, which had been passed to Seekford. B. Case Officer, Seekford, failed to properly safeguard above messages received from (REDACTION). C. Messages in question, according to intermediary, had been brought to personal attention of President Somoza. 2. Pending Headquarters’ action as per LINC 612, LINCOLN’s initial reaction aside from the compromise of communications security, was more or less to the effect that President Somoza is simply more witting of PBSUCCESS than heretofore known. In this regard a verbal comment was made to one of LINCOLN’s officers in November 1953 to the effect that shortly after President Somoza’s visit to President Truman, and while enroute back to Managua, the escorting U.S. officer had spoken quite openly to Somoza regarding his cooperation against Guatemala. Upon making the assessment of PBSUCCESS no record of the latter was found in the files of WHD. LINCOLN is only slightly informed as to the true extent of Seekford’s personal negotiations with Somoza. As an indication of the extent of this relationship, a reference is made to (REDACTION) 775. (REDACTION) was queried as to the identity of this American on the occasion of the Regional Conference of 12–13 February and admitted that, unquestionably, the person referred to was Seekford. However, he was reluctant to so state it in a cable until he could quote some reliable source. 3. From the security aspect, LINCOLN urges fullest Headquarters investigation and the change of all pertinent cryptonyms...Jerome C. Dunbar (Albert Haney)."


02/20/54: "Contact Report: PLACE: Telephone. PERSONS INVOLVED: Withheld and J. Esterline. DISCUSSION: Re (REDACTION) 0925 - it is your (LINC's) decision. Esterline and (REDACTION) agreed that Hqs should have had only an INFO copy of that cable. Next subject - The person discussed on 19 Feb. (Seekford) is right were JE wanted him. The matter of his (Seekford's) having left letters down there (Nicaragua) was discussed. JE said he planned to handle the matter of Seekford personally, and said they were getting something out on the subject up at Hqs. (REDACTION) asked what JE's impression of reaction of people to this last bit of info was? (REDACTION) and JE concurred with (REDACTION) and JE made the statement that 'the big boy is completely behind you.' (REDACTION) mentioned that there is little we can do besides clean up the record. He asked if JC King had been advised of this latest development. He was told that though JCK was not there he had been advised. There is not much he could do about it now anyhow. (REDACTION) said he had another problem which JE wouldn't get that night - it was an administrative problem and we would like to have early action taken on it Monday. JE said he was trying to keep (REDACTION) informed. (REDACTION) questioned JE as to whether he had gone over the questions which had been raised in the past about Seekford so that they could be used for references. JE said that by the time they are through, in about 10 days, they won't have missed anything. Statement was made that 'his' (Seekford's) old buddy in Nicaragua, the governor of Nicaragua had told his buddy to be careful, that this sort of thing would happen and this information was in that recording which was sent up. (REDACTION) said he would send this info along in the exact words so that there would be no misinterpretation."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 108. 3/2/54-Memorandum for the Record

03/02/54: Memorandum for the record from J. C. King, Chief, WHD: Subject: Meeting with Seekford: "1. At 1910 on 28 February, I picked Seekford up in my car at the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin. We drove for about an hour out River Road and I am certain were not observed. 2. Seekford expressed his regrets for the compromise of the five paraphrased cables, and in a manner which appeared to be entirely sincere. I asked him how it was possible, with all of the security indoctrination which he had had, plus the great emphasis on secrecy based on all phases of PBSUCCESS, to have done such an unpardonable thing as to leave sensitive papers in a hotel room. He replied that he had no explanation, that it was a stupid, unpardonable thing to do, but that it was an act of thoughtlessness and carelessness. He expressed himself as most concerned over the effects on the operation and the OAS Conference. (2) 3. I told Seekford that while it was impossible to undo the past, it was his obligation and duty to remain under (REDACTION) for a long while to come. He said that he realized how important this was during the OAS Conference. I told him it was equally important for a much longer period, because the enemy might time their disclosures to coincide with expected paramilitary action on our part, and that this might be many months in the future. To this he agreed. 4. It was agreed that for the next month Seekford will remain in Chicago. We discussed two general areas where he could bury himself after that date—Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. While he is willing to go to Alaska, he prefers the Northwest (REDACTION). He has never been in the Northwest...5. It is my impression that Seekford will be amenable and cooperative to any reasonable request on our part..."

Larry Hancock, Nexus: The CIA and Political Assassination (2011)

Pages 19-20: ..."In April of 1952, during a visit to Washington, he proposed that if provided with arms and support, he and Guatemalan exile Carlos Castillo Armas could overthrow the Arbenz government. President Truman reportedly asked CIA Director Smith to investigate that option and he dispatched a high level officer to explore the possibility. Available documents identify the officer only as 'Jacob R. Seekford; however, it seems likely that Seekford may have actually been either Tracy Barnes, the officer eventually designated with oversight for the Guatemala project or one of its senior field officers, Albert Haney, Henry Hecksher or Howard Hunt. (14) 'Seekford' was sent to contact Guatemalan dissidents about armed action against the Arbenz regime. Based on his report, the Chief of Operations proposed to CIA Deputy Director Allen Dulles that the CIA supply Armas with arms and $225,000 in funding...At the same time, CIA officer Seekford also reported to headquarters that as of September 1952, General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republican had agreed to aid Castillo Armas in return for the murder of four Santo Dominicans residing in Guatemala...In late November 1952, it was reported that in conversation with an Arbenz opposition leader, that individual had confirmed that Castillo Armas had special 'K' groups whose mission was to kill all leading political and military leaders, and that the hit list with the location of the homes and offices of all targets had already been drawn up. In December, Seekford related that Castillo Armas planned to make maximum use of the 'K' groups. Another CIA source provided the information that Nicaraguans, Honduran, and Salvadoran soldiers (operating in civilian dress) were designated to infiltrate Guatemala and assassinate unnamed Communist leaders...(18)"

Gavin McDonald • Larry Hancock

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