Project ZRRIFLE Assassination Plots

In addition to the Castro Plots with the Mafia, these connected undertakings were designed by the CIA and included one or more criminal members of the former operations. Project ZRRIFLE included the use of poison, plans for additional paramilitary actions, and hiring clandestine assassins to potentially remove multiple foreign leaders threatening official agendas.  

Project ZRRIFLE draft file: A prior description and notes related to Project ZRRIFLE. William Harvey was the Agency supervising officer for this project, Task Force W, and Staff D. Harvey met with various criminals and Cuban exiles to undertake the assassination of Fidel Castro. He was advised by Mafia notable Johnny Roselli, and hired potential assassin Jose Marie Andre Mankel for use in operations and the recruitment of additional operatives. Some information is repeated and refined over the course of the draft. 



1. Identification: The purpose of Project ZRRIFLE is to spot, develop, and use foreign agent assets for Division D operations. Agents will be spotted in usual areas including the United States, but for operations security reasons will probably not be used in their countries of residence.  Present developmental activity is being conducted in the WE and EE areas, but it is anticipated that this will be extended to other division areas. The project will be operated against third-country installations and personnel.

2. Objectives: The objective of this project is the procurement of code and cipher materials and information concerning such materials in accordance with requirements levied on the Clandestine Services, primarily by the National Security Agency. Since these requirements are subject to frequent revisions, no listing of targets would be valid for the duration of the project. Specific operations will be mounted on the basis of need and opportunity. The project will be conducted by Division D with assistance from area divisions and stations as needed. 

3. Background: In response to the increasing requirements for the operational procurement of foreign code and cipher materials, Division D in 1960 began spotting of agent assets as a developmental activity. During the same period requirements from the NSA became more refined and in many respects more sensitive. Because most stations are not equipped to conduct this type of operation and because of the desirability of completely centralized control over this entire effort, it was determined that Division D, which is in closest touch with NSA on procurement requirements, could best conduct this activity. The spotting activity has now advanced far enough to justify removing from the OOA category.

4. Operational Assets: (1) Personnel: QJWIN [Jose Andre Marie Mankel] is underwritten contract as a principal agent, with the primary task of spotting agent candidates. QJWIN was first contacted in 1958 [official edit] by the Chief of Station, Luxembourg, in connection with an illegal narcotics operation into the United States. For a period of a year and a half he was contacted specifically by the COS (Chief of Station) Luxembourg, in behalf of the Bureau of Narcotics. Files of this Bureau reflect an excellent performance by QJWIN. In October 1960 [official edit]

QJWIN annual salary                                                                                      $7,200
Travel + ops expenses for QJWIN + other agents & agent candidates:     2,000
Fees for services by and standby of agents and agent candidates:          2,000
Travel of staff employees engaged in ZRRIFLE activity:                              2,500
Hire of safehouses, automobiles and other other operational expenses: 1,000
                                             Pay for agents on completion of jobs?

1) Legal. ethical, morale, operation problems, political: non attributability.
2) Our own experience (Bangkok) (& effect on DDP) and experience w/ KGB (Crossup, Bandera group, Khokhlov) require most professional, proven operationally competent, ruthless, stable, CE-experienced ops officers (few available), able to conduct patient search & w/guts to pull back if instinct or knowledge tells him he should, & w/ known high regard for operational security. Assessments are all important. 

3) Maximum security:
                      a. Kubark [CIA] only (e.g., what does Sirgusa now know?); no approach to other Govt-agencies.
                      b. Within Kubark, one focal point for control, search, tracing, case officering, to D.D.P authority in this focal
                          point mandatory. DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] officially advised?
                      c. Max. security cable commo for innocuous cables only; no restrictions on travel, possibility of one-man overseas (Europe)                             control base with own (non-Station) commo Word of mouth & no bashfulness re trips.
                      d. No PA's [principal agents] (except for search) or intermediaries; rigid case-officering, from start to finish.
                      e. No approach to officials of foreign govts.  
                      f. No use of any agent who ever worked for a U.S. Govt. Agency. Training by opposition would reveal. 
                      g. Use of already tested assets (e.g. Mankel) in the search.
                      h. Stand-by list of Kubarkers (CIA employees) who can pass as foreigners.
                      i.  Pretext: KUTUBE/ D search; this established (eg. Rome)
                      j. No discussion in stations. 
                      k. No "team" until ready to go, if at all. 
4) Blackmail:
                     a. No American citizens or residents or people who ever obtained U.S. visa.
                     b. No chain of communications, Some by person to person; singleton ops.
                     c. No meeting any candidate in home territory.
                     d. Exclude organization criminals e.g. Sicilians, those w/record of arrests, those w/instability of purpose as                                                          criminals.
                     e. Staffers involved-selection.

 5) Cover: Planning should include provision for blaming the Sovs [Soviets] or Czechs in case of blow [blowback].
 6) Testing of nominees essential: re following directions, security, blackmail.
 7) Former resistance personnel a possibility.
 8) Use nobody who has never dealt w/ criminals; otherwise will not be aware of pitfalls or consider factors such as freedom to travel,           wanted lists, etc. 
 9. Should have phony 201 in RI to backstop this, all documents therein forged & backdated. Should look like a CE file. 
10. Possible use of staffers for the actions. 
11. Silverthorne                                            

Keeping of files.  
Freedom to travel                                     
Legal, operational, & ethical problems.  Khokhlov case.               

 1) Maximum Security (Sig Cer not secure enough) & within Kubark only (e.g., how much does Siragusa now know?) Limitation on number code clerks for enciphering & deciphering. Guise of  Lo[illegible] objective.    
 2) One focal point for search, control, tracing, case officer & PA selection. Complete DDP authority in this focal point mandatory.
 3) Every operation to be rigidly case-officered, no silk-shirt PA's.
 4) Non-attributability: No American citizens or American residents for direct actions; who tainted by use by with American agency. Use      of case officers who can pass as foreigners-and limited official reference.
 5) No chain if connections permitting  blackmail.
 6) Don't meet any selectee in home territory.
 7) Avoid discussion w/ foreign officials until all possibility of search through private citizens (e.g. QJWIN) has been examined.
 8) Planning should include provision for blaming Soviets (or Czechs) in case of blow[back] 4 above essential. 
 9) Exclude organization criminals, those with record of arrests, those who have engaged in several types of crime. 
10) Corsicans recommended. Sicilians could lead to Mafia.
11) Former resistance personnel offer possibilities. (OSS archives.)
12) Period of testing, surveillance, etc. for each selected.
13) All Kubark personnel included should have some CE experience. 
14) Silverthorne and stable in Paris
15) What are limits on team or individuals selected? No "team" until ready to go.
16) Danger of standbys.

Section G - 25/1 - Exec Action [Executive Action]
"The Magic button"
Narcotics Buro (Narcotics Bureau)
"for a living" --RIS 201 cover
"Caution - Bankruptcy - No Star eyes - Jim A. Contradestruct from U-2
Not a TDS problem
Apply brakes
Last resort beyond last resort & confession of weakness
-El Benefactor- assumptions Example on 3 "wrong"
Framework or Sid's job. 
Elint R&D- Memo
"Translating machines"  basic sounds project [illegible]
Comment- Gear
26/1 - AS- Fanforri OCI Matter
[illegible] never mention the word assassination
1. Select proper officer to run -
2. Place & cover Max 2/3
3. Security Rules B-WKH-AS
4. Guide lives  Sid- Reserv.
5. Last Resort-Brakes-Substitute- What next
6. No other agencies
7. No projects or papers except for cover.
8. Principal agent- (Mankel)? AF- Project draft LCH tested 1500- from N.B. Mark spot rqm. stall AF project
9. Disposal
10. Targets who & where - must know before we can spot-
11. Case officering
12. Cover file- create from RIS or [illegible] - Non Sov
13.  Note dangers of RIS counter actions & monitor if they are blamed -
IdJ list- Remember

Project ZRRIFLE reauthorization: The later reauthorization of Project ZRRIFLE by Deputy Director of Plans (DDP) Richard Helms in 1963.    

CIA Paper on the ZRRIFLE files: A paper that offers a few internal details of the ZRRIFLE program and its operational asset OJWIN.  

Related Documents:
QJWIN Operational Summary: 
A summary of the CIA relationship with QJWIN (Jose Marie Andre Mankel) a recruiter for potential assassins to use against targeted world leaders.

CIA Plans to Assassinate Foreign Leaders: A section of the President"s (Rockefeller) Commission regarding official assassination ideas  targeting Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba.

Related Articles:
A Brief History of Executive Action 
Political Assassination and the Unsigned Murder Guide
Who was WIROGUE-1
Who was QJWIN?