Central Intelligence Agency officer William K. Harvey hired assassins with the intention of eliminating adversarial world leaders. The first was Jose Andre Mankel (QJWIN), the other was David Tzitzichvili that used the alias David de Panaskhet whom the Agency assigned the cryptonym WIROGUE-1.i ii He was among those expressly secured for the staging of assassinations and spotting candidates for such operations. WIROGUE-1 was "an ethnic Georgian recruited and trained for the old REDSOCKS program."iii Tzitzichvili's family moved to Europe and he later served in the French Foreign Legion. He was briefly involved with the French Resistance in WWII until he was captured by the Nazis and received a death sentence. The timely arrival of the United States Army liberated the area before his sentence was passed and he escaped his Nazi captors.
"In 1950 he had managed to rob a Paris bank of a sizeable sum of money, receive a prison sentence and be released five years later for good behavior." "...as of 1960 he was essentially stateless...the Agency was involved in a reasonably major effort to resettle WIROGUE/1, possibly in Mexico, for the mission which he had been brought to the United States had been canceled. However, on 19 September 1960 two members of the Africa Division met with him to discuss 'an operational assignment in Africa Division." "He was provided a new pseudonym" and travels to Africa and is subject to the needs of multiple African Agency stations, yet he resides in Leopoldville, the capital of the Congo.
WIROGUE-1 attempted to recruit a European to be a member of an "execution squad" yet this was no mere European but Jose Andre Mankel (QJWIN) himself, who declined the invitation. iv v vi vii "A rather lengthy assessment of his (Tzitzichvili's) character can be summed up by saying he was able to rationalize any action if he had strong case officer direction." Tzitzichvili serves the Agency in Africa, "Headquarters noted the intent to use him as utility agent in order to (a) organize and conduct a surveillance team; (b) intercept packages; (c) blow up bridges; and (d) execute other assignments requiring positive action."viii
Subsequently during training, WIROGUE's association with another Agency operative is a possible issue because the other agent "was never involved in any assassination schemes."ix The feasible scheme was the assassination of Patrice Lumumba and the local Agency Station Chief Larry Devlin refused to authorize the assassination. Subsequently, local militants serving Mobutu Sese Seko captured and executed Lumumba.
Yet a few in the Agency had planned to utilize criminals and militants to assassinate Patrice Lumumba and Fidel Castro. Agency member John Scelso (Whitten) stated during testimony, "...setting out by stealth and surprise to kill an important foreign person was abhorrent to the standards of the clandestine service and the fact that the way--you know, what the response was in the Lumumba case. They refused to carry out the order, but they were guilty of conspiring to commit homicide."x Thus while operatives did not complete the proposed assassination, it was their feasible murderous intent.
A few Executive branch leaders twisted assigned duties to include a series of assassination plots; to accomplish what intelligence gathering could not. These plots largely focused on the Castro regime with repeated attempts to overthrow it. A few were confirmed instances of Agency operatives conspiring to murder world leaders and the similar tactics of multiple assassinations could feasibly denote other potential targets. Each illegal plot disseminates key tactics and operations to outside groups and individuals. A compartmentalized group could accomplish what larger groups could not without detection and the Central Intelligence Agency collaborated with the Mafia, Cuban exile groups, and paramilitary mercenaries. A few could turn such power to advantage, perhaps even striking at those who constructed the operation.
i. HSCA, Segregated Central Intelligence Agency files, List of names re Kennedy Assassination investigation, Box 9, February 15, 1978, National Archives and Records Administration: 104-10061-10115
ii. CIA files, FOIA Request, Dickopf, Paul, Volume 1, April 8, 1963,
iii. HSCA, Seg. CIA files, Subject: WIROGUE/1, March 14, 1975, pp. 1-2, NARA ID: 104-10182-10059
v. Nina D. Lowland, David C Humphrey, Harriet D Schwar, Adam T. Howard, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V, XXII, Congo, US State Department, Government Printing Office, March 18, 2014, p. 67
vi. HSCA, Seg. CIA files, Microfilm Reel 18 (Webster-WiRogue), Subject: WIROGUE, December 27, 1966, pp. 1-2, NARA ID: 104-10182-10194
vii. Senate Select Committee to Study Intelligence Activities, Boxed files, Testimony of Richard Bissell, September 10, 1975, NARA ID: 157-10014-10093
viii. N. Lowland, D. Humphrey, H. Schwar, A. Howard, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968 GPO, March 18, 2014, p. 67
ix. Ibid, p. 3
x. HSCA Exec. Session, Classified Testimony of John Scelso, p. 145
Edited: December 2017
Who was WIROGUE-1? part II