An enduring question lingering in the shadows of modern history is the true name of one of the Central Intelligence Agency's most concealed assets. QJWIN is the cryptonym assigned to this person active prior to President Kennedy's death. The first sign of him was among a large trove of cryptonyms buried in a document over a hundred pages in no particular order. I was startled to find he was the very first entry. QJWIN's name is Jose Marie Andre Mankel and multiple primary documents confirm this including his contract, contract extension, biography file, and in a Select Committee file listing various cryptonyms.i ii Mankel additionally utilized pseudonyms and the false identities of a New York businessperson called John J. Berger and Jacques Berger a German salesperson.iii
Documents state he was "6 ft. 1 in. thin build, hair dark brown, large ears...above left eyebrow is a permanent lump...large enough that it cannot be overlooked; walks with head and shoulders bent slightly forward; speaks German and French fluently and can pass as a native of France; on a scale of excellent...his English is rated good. If English is used with him, it should be spoken slowly and distinctly, choosing words which leave no doubt as to what is meant." However, the Agency was not candid with even him. "In view of the extreme sensitivity of the objective for which we want him to perform his task, he was not told precisely what we want him to do. Instead, he was told we have evidence of Soviet operations among nationality groups in Africa...we would like to have him spot, assess, and recommend some dependable, quick witted persons for our use. (Comment: It was thought best to withhold our true, specific requirements pending the final decision to use MANKEL.) He agreed to go on the trip for us."iv
Mankel suggested portraying a sales representative of a German firm whose owner could provide supporting documentation for a cover story. Mankel displayed knowledge of dealing with political groups and had a suitable reference if needed for the operation. The document concludes noting that all documents, photographs, and identifying notes about Mankel and the future operations should be destroyed.v Agency opponent and Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba is assassinated months later in March of nineteen sixty-one. Were Mankel or those he was asked to provide services for related to Lumumba's political murder?
The Agency contract with Mankel states "The United States Government, as represented by the Contracting Officer, hereby contracts with you as an independent contractor for the submission of certain information and related services of a confidential nature under the following terms." Thus the United States Government, namely the Central Intelligence Agency, contracted Mankel multiple times. Compensation, travel, operational expenses, and reimbursement were also provided. "If necessary to protect the security of this arrangement, monies due you here under may be funded in other than a direct manner" feasibly by using covert means or front businesses and organizations. Mankel's contract was approved in nineteen sixty-one and he received a contract extension on March of nineteen sixty-two.vi
Any possible involvement by Mankel in the Kennedy assassination is still an item of open inquiry. However, we can now state the identity and employment of Mankel for the Central Intelligence Agency years prior to the death of John F. Kennedy. We can prove the Agency had plans for him it was even unwilling to initially share with Mankel himself. His appearance and sensitive operations shortly prior to one assassination may indicate his participation in others.
i. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA Files, Box 9, List of Names Regarding the Kennedy Assassination, February 15, 1978, National Archives and Records Administration Identification Number: 104-10061-10115
ii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Microfilm Reel 20: ZRRIFLE, AMMUG, QJWIN Contract, February 28, 1961, NARA ID: 104-10185-10409
iii. HSCA, Seg. CIA Files, Urgent HSCA Request for do file search on Mankel, Andrie (sic) Alias Jacques Berger, April 4, 1978, NARA ID: 104-10079-10112
iv. HSCA, Seg. CIA Files, Dispatch: Description and Photograph of Jose Marie Andre Mankel, October 7, 1960, p. 1, NARA ID: 104-10185-10015
v. HSCA, Seg. CIA Files, Microfilm Reel 20, ZRRIFLE, AMMUG, p. 3
vi. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Memorandum: Contract Extension for Jose Marie Andre Mankel, March 1, 1962, p. 1-2, NARA ID: 104-10185-10422
Edited: December 2017