Concealed manipulations within allied organizations have often been attributed to the Central Intelligence Agency alone but such internal power struggles and clandestine motivations are often hidden from the public and most officials. Yet it is the little noted evidentiary connections that might reveal new viable inferences and the longer one inspects the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency a realization may occur. In some cases, they are not quite as different as imagined.
J. Edgar Hoover was paranoid of a worldwide Communist conspiracy; all other interests were secondary to Bureau persecution of those associated to this perceived threat. Yet Hoover considered national defense a license to ignore constitutional rights and The Bureau COINTELPRO operation “grossly abused and exceeded its legal authority”.i The Bureau was supported by a massive network of Special Agents and informants and these informants could notify FBI agents and thus Hoover of any action that the Bureau considered averse to its agenda. The network was supplemented with substantial information gathered from illegal surveillance operations and penetration agents.
A subtle information gathering operation could occur if multiple former agents joined the organization in question and most reasonably would pass on minor information, but often would adopt loyalty to the new group. Additionally most people would not desire to create problems with their new employer. Only the most devious and secretive person would likely serve as a constant stream of information and notably Hoover’s methods predate the Agency’s existence.
Among the many former agents, at least one penetration agent could be hidden if the person in question has an exploitable weakness. This feasible double agent would remain torn between the agendas of each group and they would not restrict information to superficial inquiry but may offer vital secrets. Did J. Edgar Hoover use such a person within the CIA or was it largely a series of improbable repeating chance occurrences?
Prior suppressed documents have thus far revealed nine different former Bureau agents that occupy places of importance within the Kennedy assassination case or within the Central Intelligence Agency. Some are well known and their activities were considered suspect, yet the most well known nefarious claims remain unproven. Many in this group could be unaware of any concerted Bureau information gathering plan.
Most people subsequently discussed are former employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who acquired intelligence positions; some were associated in the same operation. The first among them is Robert Maheu, when his employment ended at the Bureau a fellow prior Bureau employee helped fund Maheu. This person later finds Maheu a job at the Central Intelligence Agency for “sensitive cases”.ii The prior coworker is Robert Cunningham, Chief of the Special Security Division of the Agency. Maheu is notable for his private investigation in collaboration with the Agency that helped derail a potential monopoly Aristotle Onassis had arranged with the King of Saudi Arabia. Stavros Niachos, a billionaire competitor of Onassis, American, German, and British interests were threatened by the arrangement and Maheu was dispatched to serve their cause.iii iv
Agency officer Sheffield Edwards selects James P. O’ Connell as the case officer for the Castro operations, O’ Connell served as the Chief of Operational Support Division, Office of Security, and is former member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Robert Maheu was pressed by Sheffield Edwards to undertake the first stage of the project and subsequently Robert Cunningham was aware of the Agency using the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro. O’Connell and Maheu met with Johnny Roselli prior to later Mafia associations to “pitch” the plot to Mafia leaders.v
Maheu facilitates Phase I of the Castro plots and meets repeatedly with Mafia leaders Sam Giancana, Santos Trafficante, and his contact Johnny Roselli.vi Conversation among the men revealed, “the Agency had first thought in terms of a typical, gangland-style killing in which Castro would be gunned down. Giancana was flatly opposed to the use of firearms. He said that no one could be recruited to do this job, because the chance of survival and escape would be negligible.”vii Giancana and Santos Trafficante suggest using poison and more subtle methods.
Trafficante and Giancana prior stated the sought to reclaim their lost Cuban gambling profits, and were in need of additional revenues but all of these efforts fail. Giancana and Trafficante cease plotting with officials but one case officer found during the period between Maheu and later operations other Mafia plots were ongoing. “It is possible that CIA simply found itself involved in providing additional resources for independent operations that the syndicate already had under way…in addition to its (the Agency’s) material contributions was also supplying an aura of official sanction.”viii
Roselli suggests to James O’Connell the use of a contact named “Dr. Manuel Antonio de Varona y Loredo” an influential Cuban exile leader. Varona has prior associations with Mafia schemes and Santos Trafficante and he would eventually lead the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC), which was funded by the Agency.ix He served as an Agency surrogate to the Cuban exile community and perhaps the Mafia as well.
The next stage of the official plots, Phase II, was lead by William Harvey who is advised by Johnny Roselli in 1962.x Harvey is a former special agent of the Bureau who later served in the Agency and instead of using subtlety, he quickly militarizes the plan and poison was cast aside for proposed attack teams and multiple simultaneous plots were designed using tactics later denied by officials.xi Roselli introduces a Cuban named “Maceo” to Harvey for possible use and is noted to have direct interactions with the Cuban exile community "on behalf of the CIA.”xii
Harvey decides to utilize Project ZRRIFLE. The ZRRIFLE documents call for blame to be assigned to others (Soviets) for clandestine Agency operations. They suggest false 201 files that are backdated to implicate other parties with consideration of possible blackmail and intelligence blowback.xiii Such methods were suggested prior to the Kennedy assassination, were these methods subsequently used again? An entire case might turn upon the fabrication of documents in a handful of instances.
Agency Deputy Director of Plans Richard Helms reauthorized Project ZRRIFLE until the end of 1963 while Agency employee Helen Vigness notes that no files were to be retained regarding the operation.xiv According to Agency documents Sheffield “Edwards briefed the Director (Allen Dulles) and the DDCI (General Charles Cabell) on the existence of a plan involving members of the syndicate.”xv Contrary to many repeated later claims, Allen Dulles knew of the very plots concealed from the rest of the President’s (Warren) Commission. Dulles omitted this to the investigators charged to aid him in discovering the circumstances regarding the Kennedy assassination.
O’ Connell, Harvey, and Cunningham each attained valuable Agency positions. Maheu joins them in the most potentially dangerous Agency plot crafted in decades. All were prior Bureau agents and this emerges in the related documents, “Although we see nothing sinister in it, we are struck by the fact that so many persons whose names appear in this account once worked for the FBI. We have already named Cunningham and Maheu, Later to appear are William Harvey, James O’ Connell, and Edward Morgan.”xvi Each of these men was eventually in a position to know most of the details regarding the Castro plots and O’Connell and Harvey remained in contact with Roselli until 1970.xvii
Edward P. Morgan was an Agency operative, Robert Maheu’s attorney, served as a prior Bureau employee, and subsequently represented Mafia fixer Johnny Roselli. When the Agency considered hiring Morgan, Assistant Director Cartha DeLoach recommended Morgan highly and Hoover offered to write Morgan a letter of recommendation.xviii Morgan was noted to have subsequently learned of the Castro plots from his client Robert Maheu. This information leak was in addition to an Office of Security memo stating William Harvey “was allowed to retire from the Agency on 31 December 1967, after a long series of unacceptable incidents stemming from apparent alcoholism.”xix
When considering how to stop additional information leaks a separate Agency document asks the question “Should we try to silence those who are talking or might later talk?” The answer states, “It appears this tactic offers little chance of success. For one thing, the story is already out and in about as full detail as it will ever be.”xx. Despite the precautions almost no plot shall wholly escape history and later inspection.
Arthur Dooley is a former Bureau member, and worked for the Agency.xxi “During the course of the Warren Commission investigation…Dooley worked with those CIA divisions producing substantive information related to the assassination.”xxii Since the Bureau led the investigation, the Agency information that did not conform to official findings in some cases was ignored or suppressed. For instance, the Agency possessed no photographs of Oswald in Mexico City but despite the facts, some in the Agency and Bureau continued allegations that such material did exist. xxiii
Agency and military officer Sheffield Edwards had prior acted upon orders from Richard Bissell to construct ideas that require the use of criminals.“Bissell recalls that the idea originated with J. C. King, then Chief of Western Hemisphere division, although King now recalls having had only limited knowledge of such a plan at a much later date”.xxiv Joseph Caldwell King’s role is feasibly larger than prior assessed and in 1959, and he prior sent a memo to Allen Dulles in which King observed “a ‘far left’ dictatorship now existed in Cuba which ‘if’ permitted to stand, will encourage similar actions against U.S. holdings in other Latin American countries.” One of King’s four "Recommended Actions" appeared in a note to Dulles and stated, “Many informed people believe that the disappearance of Fidel would greatly accelerate the fall of the present Government.”xxv Hoover received the plot information from Agency officer Sheffield Edwards and sent a memo to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1961 that a links the Agency and the Mafia plotting against Castro.xxvi These actions continued without the approval or full knowledge of many American leaders.
J. C. King though officially the leader of Western Hemisphere Division operations was not included in some operations due to higher authorities directly utilizing groups in “his” control. One such group was Task Force W, “Although the separate Task Force W (TFW) was not officially established until 8 March 1962, the planning an execution of the Bay of Pigs operation were for all practical purposes conducted independently of WH Division…". The document clarifies "There was an informal but understood shortcut in the chain of command; basic decisions were made at the DDP (Richard Helms), DCI (Allen Dulles), or Presidential level (John F. Kennedy)…no one pretended that J.C. King was running the show.”xxvii For a time William Harvey controlled Task Force W and it remained largely devoid of regular oversight but a subsequent agreement was formalized between the Agency and the Bureau. William Harvey agreed to provide any intelligence regarding criminals and contacts made with them.
Another key Agency officer was the Chief of Mexico City station Winston Scott, who is a former Special Agent of the Bureau. Scott managed vital aspects of intelligence operations that occurred in Mexico City and reviewed most evidence the Agency connected to Oswald. The arrest of Silvia Duran, a witness who alleged Oswald visited the Cuban Embassy drew Agency notice and was particularly of interest to Scott and others would attempt to use Duran's claims to advantage.
Officials seize on Duran’s statement but ignore the contending facts because Duran’s claim was “ascertained” by her alone. Consider her description of “Oswald” did not match the official suspect “…blonde, short, dressed unelegantly (sic) and face turned red when angry.”xxviii J.C. King requested that Winston Scott stop Duran’s arrest but Scott replies he is unable and Scott arranges for all information acquired by Mexican authorities to be sent to the CIA. He attempts to prevent leftist groups from learning of Duran’s capture.xxix
James Walton Moore is a name associated with Oswald’s companion George de Mohrenschildt. Moore was an Ensign in the United Stated Naval Reserve, Intelligence employee of the Office of Strategic Services (a military intelligence organization), former Special Agent of the Bureau, and eventually joined the CIA Domestic Contacts Division.xxx xxxi xxxii He was assigned to the Dallas CIA Field Office during 1963 and represents someone directly within the events occurring in Dallas prior and following the assassination. Moore is in a position to learn facts that were unavailable to distant officials.
Henry Wade is the District Attorney of Dallas, and a former member of the Bureau and is a strange figure whose credibility and ideas are questionable. Wade made repeated statements based on press speculation that include Oswald being a possible Bureau informant.xxiii This speculation still lingers without definitive proof and Wade in my view is not likely informing Hoover, but creating unintentional problems for him.
The final prior Bureau member with intelligence connections is Guy Banister and since the 1960s critics of conspiracy offered claims that he possessed no connections to the Agency. Yet Banister was an informant for the Agency that associated with David Ferrie, anti-Castro militant and both were investigators for Carlos Marcello.xxxiv Banister allied with Sergio Arcacha Smith noted anti- Castro exile leader to aid anti-Communist militant operations and he is one of the many former Bureau employees used by the Agency. Banister is later among those focused on by the Garrison investigation with connections to other notable people in New Orleans.
The evidence offers conflicting interests at various points and the remaining questions include whose agenda guided the Castro plots and feasibly related operations? Many state the Agency was in control but the facts do not wholly support this claim. J. Edgar Hoover spent decades utilizing informants who served other interests and groups to support his agenda. Was the Central Intelligence Agency one of them?
i. Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Sec. II, Pt. E, subs. 1 & 2, Department of Justice, and the FBI, p. 432
ii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Maheu, Robert A. [Short Bio], Biographic Data, Box 44, June 13, 1966, pp. 1-2, National Archives and Records Administration Identification Number: 104-10122-10348
iii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Draft MFR on Maheu Relations with Niarchos and Onassis, Box 44, File 200, June 14, 1966, NARA ID: 104-10122-10341
iv. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Maheu, Robert A. [Damage assessment of Maheu’s testimony before Long Committee], Box 44, May 31, 1966, NARA ID: 104-10122-10332
v. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Plots to Assassinate Castro, Box 9, Gambling Syndicate, October 17, 1978, NARA ID: 1993.07.12.08:32:18:030530
vi. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Roselli, Johnny; Summary of Activities in Cuba, Box 1, December 9, 1970, pp. 1-2, NARA ID: 1993.06.28.18:56:36:370310
vii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Plots to Assassinate Castro, Box 9, Gambling Syndicate, October 17, 1978
x. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Roselli, Johnny; Summary of Activities in Cuba, Box 1, p. 4
xi. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Notes in Draft Re ZRRIFLE Project, Box 5, (n.d.), NARA ID: 104-10051-10278
xii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Plots to Assassinate Castro, Box 9, Gambling Syndicate, October 17, 1978, NARA ID: 1993.07.12.08:29:05:620530
xiii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Notes in Draft Re ZRRIFLE Project
xiv. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Extension of Authorization of ZRRIFLE Agent Activities, Box 56, p. 1, March 6, 1963, pp. 1-2, NARA ID: 104-10051-10281
xv. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Plots to Assassinate Castro, Box 9, Gambling Syndicate, October 17, 1978
xvii. HSCA, CIA Segregated Files, Memo’ on Galvatore (sic) Giancana, John Roselli, and Santos Trafficante Agen, Subject: Johnny Roselli, Box 48, August 9, 1976, NARA ID: 1993.08.03.17:16:45:120036
xviii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Memo for the file on Edward P. Morgan, Box 44, File 511, January 16, 1951, NARA ID: 104-10122-10328
xix. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Office of Security Answers to SSCI request on Robert A. Maheu, Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana, Box 48, May 22, 1975, p. 2, NARA ID: 104-10133-10307
xx. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Staff Notes, Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro (1967 Inspector General's Report, p. 128, 104-10213-10101
xxi. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Staff Notes, File 180-10147-10179, Organization of CIA Investigation of President Kennedy’s Assassination, (n.d.), p. 24
xxiii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Review of Agency Holdings Re Photo of Unidentified Individual in Mexic, Box 7, May 2, 1975, p. 5, NARA ID: 1993.07.07.11:17:02:090800
xxiv. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Plots to Assassinate Castro, Box 9, File 680, Gambling Syndicate, October 17, 1978
xxv. Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, Interim Report, Part III, Section B, Cuba, p. 92
xxvi. Ibid, p. 126-127
xxvii. CIA Files, Miscellaneous Series, Excerpts from History: Western Hemisphere Division, 1946-1965, December, 1973, pp. 242-243, NARA ID: 104-10301-10001
xxviii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Staff Notes, C. Silvia Duran, File No. 1430, (n.d), p. 4, NARA ID: 180-10142-10302
xxix. Ibid, p. 3
xxx. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Moore, J. Walton [A Government file that reflects that the Subject was a commissioned as Ensign in the U.S. Navy…, Box 44, November 13, 1953, NARA ID: 104-10124-10306
xxxi. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Biographical Data Form on J. Walton Moore, Box 44, (n.d.), NARA ID: 104-10124-10317
xxxii. CIA, Russ Holmes Work File, Was J. Walton Moore connected with CIA, Wash (sic) he connected to the Oswald Case, (n.d), NARA ID: 104-10414-10132
xxxiii. CIA, Oswald 201 File, Vol. 56-b, Information furnished to the Commission by Henry M. Wade, February 10, 1964, pp. 1-2,
NARA ID: 1993.06.25.18:47:05:750260
xxxiv. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Guy Banister’s alleged involvement with Cuban Exile Activities, Box 40, November 21, 1967, p. 1, NARA ID: 104-10109-10359
Edited: December 2017