Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald
by Bill Simpich
Chapter 4: Mexico City Intrigue – The World of Surveillance
The background of the Oswald impersonation is best understood with an understanding of the history of the wiretap operations in Mexico City. If the reader is not interested in these details, feel free to skip ahead to the next chapter on the drama in Mexico City in late September 1963. On my end, it was all that I could do to stop wiretapping from taking over the entire narrative. A study of wiretapping operations provide many of the questions that we need to ask about the surveillance state of the modern era, and illustrate the need for people like Edward Snowden to stand up and blow the whistle.
Although the CIA’s photo surveillance system was quite elaborate, I find the “intercept data” - Staff D’s wiretapping of Communist embassies and other left-wing forces for the National Security Agency (NSA) - more helpful in getting to the heart of the mysteries of Oswald’s time in Mexico City. Included here are the best efforts of my colleague Larry Hancock and myself to reverse-engineer the American wiretap operations during 1963.
The reader is encouraged to keep in mind that the prime directive of the Mexico City station was to recruit defectors from the ranks of their adversaries. Soviet Third Secretary Nikolai Leonov, a KGB operations officer, wrote that the Soviets’ goal was the same as the Americans. The secondary goal was to prevent foreign spies from obtaining US secrets. The memos involving Oswald in Mexico City often use the indicator LCIMPROVE, which means “counter-espionage involving Soviet intelligence services worldwide”.[ 1 ] Similarly, LCIMPROVE is all over the memos addressing Oswald’s instant visa to enter the USSR.[ 2 ]
John Whitten (aka "Scelso"),
Chief of WH/3 division:
"our political action program...
The first investigator of the JFK assassination for the CIA was C/WH/3 John Whitten, the chief of the Central American desk for the Western Hemisphere division. He testified that "I do not know whether you informed yourself about the magnitude of our political action program at the time - absolutely enormous. We were trying to follow (communist countries)...at the same time the thrust of the Station's effort was to recruit Soviet, Cuban and satellite people."[ 3 ] During 1963, Cuba was considered the #1 priority of the station, and the Soviet Union was considered #2.[ 4 ]
If there was anything more important than a defector, it was a re-defector like Oswald. Jim Angleton himself told the Church Committee that Oswald’s redefection and return to the US should have been “the highest priority for the intelligence community”.[ 5 ] You can see how Oswald and his file were significant assets to the officer who knew how to use them.
LIENVOY and LIFEAT were the two phone tap operations in Mexico City
Mexico City and New York were the centers of intelligence activities in the Western Hemisphere during 1963. These two major cities are where nations across the world meet and engage in both commerce and diplomacy. The focus in New York was primarily to recruit American citizens for overseas work. In Mexico City, the CIA did not have to use cut-outs and could go toe-to-toe with its opponents. For these reasons, observers believed that Mexico City in 1963 was the most important base for Staff D operations and CIA operations in the West. An internal review revealed that the Mexico City base was the best-run in the Western Hemisphere and one of the best in the world.[ 6 ] The base also conducted more productive wiretaps than anywhere else in the world. The station was proud of its reputation.
Win Scott, Mexico City station
chief. The wiretap highlights
were on his desk each morning
Besides the chief Win Scott and the deputy chief Alan White, the station had 11 case officers (including two psychological warfare “KUWOLF” officers), two reports officers, two intelligence analysts, and one photographer. The rest were administrative and clerical staff.
As we will discuss, LIENVOY was linked to the central phone exchange and was aimed more at the embassies, while LIFEAT was a more decentralized system focused more on people’s homes. There was some overlap between these two programs. The tap operations and the related surveillance took up the full time of two case officers at the station.[ 7 ] I believe those two officers were LIFEAT’s Tom Keenan and LIENVOY’s Frank Estancona.
The most important person to watch, however, for our purposes, is case officer Ann Goodpasture. She had a guiding hand in both of these tap operations, the photo operations, and most of the other significant station activities. On two occasions, she was brought in by the Agency to compile a history of the station’s actions during this era. Sometimes described as Win Scott’s principal aide, she is a force majeur in any review of the station’s actions involving Oswald. Goodpasture was good friends with both Bill Harvey and James Angleton. She was ranked as an outstanding officer, yet she committed a series of inexplicable acts in the handling of the Oswald file. As discussed herein, she has tried to dismiss these actions as mistakes. I think her actions were intentional, and not mistaken.
Listening to the other side - referred to as “communications intelligence” - was always a key goal for the station. As one State Department official put it, “although the U.S. can put a man on the moon for a billion dollars, we can’t place an agent in Castro’s office.” Listening to embassies and consulates were of great importance, and took up a great deal of time and resources. The main business of embassies is diplomacy, commercial and cultural activities. Consulates revolve around the applications for visas.
Based on the need to protect the US from infiltration by enemy agents, the view within intelligence was that the Mexico City station was the most important base for counterintelligence. The base collected all sorts of data, even on seeming minutiae such as the visits by US citizens with representatives of the Soviet bloc. Unfortunately, the file on “visits by US citizens” has been purged of all pre-1967 information.
Knowledge of the Mexico City station’s tap operations was closely held within the top echelons of the CIA, FBI, and the State Department. As we will see, this knowledge was not held as closely or securely within the Mexican government. Bill Harvey worked at Staff D under his pseudonym “Daniel Presland” during the time that Oswald was in Mexico City. American security around the wiretap programs was so tight that the Mexican divisions of FBI and INS did not know much about the CIA’s abilities in this field.
The NSA knew all about the wiretaps, because Staff D’s role was to provide them with wiretap data throughout the world. However, the NSA provided very few documents to the National Archives regarding the JFK case. I have found more documents missing in the wiretap area than anywhere else in the JFK case.
A few of these documents may be found at the National Archives or may be located with a Freedom of Information Act request, commonly known as a FOIA request. However, I don’t think the relevant NSA documents will ever be provided without an enormous political battle. Simply put, the NSA has never felt a serious need to comply with American law, or inform the President of their programs, right up to the present day. It’s no accident that NSA chief Keith Alexander and his deputy are leaving office after the Snowden revelations.
An overview of these two wiretap programs
LIFEAT, the initial tap program, was set up shortly after World War II. LIFEAT used a number of “outside” taps, at points adjacent to target locations. During 1963, a varying number, ranging from 16 to 24 lines, were monitored from seven listening posts. These listening posts were set up in homes because it made it easier for the operator to prevent sudden entry by phone company inspectors or repairmen.[ 8 ]
Individual monitoring, taping and some transcription was performed at those sites, with a listening post operator and an assistant at each one. LIFEAT’s focus was mostly on targets’ homes, with a few embassy taps.[ 9 ] The station worked in very close consultation with the Office of Technical Security in a program called AQUATIC, which deployed a variety of intrusive techniques from the photo operations to opening mail to creating horrid smells that David Phillips referred to as “Who, Me?”[ 10 ]
The taps would often be placed in the junction boxes located on the street, where lines were coaxed into the central telephone exchange. LIFEAT was able to access the central telephone exchange for a period of time, but such access was lost before the Oswald events of 1963, when the phone company stepped up its control of personnel movements within the exchange.[ 11 ]
The CIA was assisted in running the intercept station by the Mexican security police known as the DFS
At the beginning of 1959, the more sophisticated and centralized LIENVOY tap operation was brought into play.[ 12 ] Thirty-two phone lines were tapped into LIENVOY by accessing the central phone exchange with the help of the local Mexican security police, known as the “Direccion Federal de Seguridad” or more commonly as the DFS. Mexico City Station relied on the DFS in order to obtain access to the exchange. LIENVOY focused on embassies; LIFEAT focused on homes, with some overlap. LIENVOY could tap any phone desired, while LIFEAT had to take more safety precautions.[ 13 ] These two operations complemented each other and represented two different ways to run a phone tap.
Why two tap operations? LIENVOY and LIFEAT were known within the Agency as ZRJOINT and ZRSOLO. It’s pretty clear why. LIENVOY was a joint operation with the DFS. LIFEAT, on the other hand, was strictly a US affair insulated from DFS scrutiny. Goodpasture described LIENVOY as very insecure because it was a joint operation with DFS.
Founded after World War II, the DFS was originally envisioned as the Mexican national security police. Goodpasture saw DFS as focused on domestic political affairs, describing it as a “hip-pocket group” of the Ministry of the Interior (Gobernacion). “This Ministry was principally occupied with political investigations and control of foreigners. Their agents were cruel and corrupt”.[ 14 ]
The Mexico City station's September 1963 report
described their wiretapping partners - the Mexican
security police known as the DFS - as "poorly
trained, insecure, and unreliable...dishonest,
cruel and abusive".
The LIENVOY report for September 1963 shows just how worried the Mexico City station was about the DFS as their partner: “The principle (sic) functions of this security unit are to: (1) Provide a plain-clothed security detail for the President; (2) maintain an extensive telephone tap activity on both the Rightist and Leftist opposition forces; and (3) perform investigations and arrests of primarily political offenses. The unit’s agents are primarily poorly trained, insecure and unreliable. Their professional characteristics are best described as being dishonest, cruel and abusive. The position, at this moment, of Manuel Rangel Escamilla as Director General of DFS are precarious.”[ 15 ]
I have not been able to determine at this point where the LIENVOY intercept center was physically located in 1963, other than in a neighborhood that was sensitive to foreign visitors. CIA HQ and Mexico City station agreed before the assassination that the intercept center needed to be moved because it was insecure.[ 16 ] Although it wasn’t moved during 1963, security was heightened during that time. Besides the ever-present fear of leaks emanating from the untrustworthy DFS, LIENVOY would have been cancelled on short notice if there had been a change in Mexican government policy. LIFEAT was a good backup precisely because it did not rely on a foreign government. The two tapping efforts, using different technologies, were conducted separately and with independent personnel to protect the integrity of each operation.
Who ran LIENVOY and LIFEAT during 1963?
As the chief of station, Scott was the ultimate boss over the tap operations, but delegated day-to-day responsibility to others. Who ran these tap operations during 1963?
I believe Frank Estancona ran LIENVOY, with Charles Anderson III in the background. There’s not much information available on Estancona, but we have a bit more on Anderson – Anderson was a headquarters man with the pseudonym of “Lewis Shoquist” who frequently flew out to Mexico City.[ 17 ] Anderson’s role is carefully shielded even to this day, but we know he helped originate the wiretap operations in Mexico City.
Anne Goodpasture assisted the case officer Tom Keenan, known by his pseudonym Jeremy Niarcos at LIFEAT. Keenan was adept at several forms of surveillance.[ 18 ] Goodpasture and Keenan found themselves delivering tapes in stealth, assuming "double and triple wingback positions" as they made their way to a secure location.[ 19 ]
It has been said that Goodpasture ran LIFEAT during this period. I don’t think that is quite right. Tom Keenan ran LIFEAT during 1963, with Goodpasture as his factotum. The LIFEAT renewal requests for 1963 are signed by Keenan as the case officer. Keenan’s own bio sheet stated that he has management duties over a GS-13 even though he is only a G-12! That was a big deal to government workers like Keenan.
According to Goodpasture, Anderson ran LIENVOY from 1961-1962 and Frank Estancona ran it from 1962 to 1964.[ 20 ] Bob Shaw, who covered the Cuban targets for the Mexico City station, said that Anderson was stationed at HQ in 1963. Documents indicate that Anderson was monitoring cultural attaché Teresa Proenza as one of his duties on the Cuban beat.
A subtle distinction is found in a memo saying that one of the reports officers who worked on phone tap product was a woman who did it for four and a half years, and the other was a man who had done it for two years. I conclude from this that the LIFEAT reports officer was Goodpasture and the LIENVOY reports officer was Estancona. The memo described the task of the reports officers as to “put together fragmentary conversations into meaningful reports.”
The real secret was that one of LIENVOY’s chief administrators was a Mexican officer, LIENVOY-2. His predecessor had been LIELEGANT, who Goodpasture described as putting the project through a shakedown during its initial four years. “LIELEGANT was inexperienced, old, and greedy. His son…was a masterpiece in deceit and corruption.”[ 21 ] LIELEGANT was eased into the role of nominal chief to make room for LIENVOY-2.
LIENVOY-2 was described as a "Mexican supervisor field agent", a Mexican officer, roughly #4 in the command flowchart, right under intercept center chief Charles Flick, using the pseudonym of Arnold Arehart. I believe LIENVOY-2 was with DFS. A flowchart indicates he was Mexico's supervisor of LIENVOY, while the Mexico City station treated Flick as the American supervisor. LIENVOY-2 ran a group of informants as part of his work at the intercept center.[ 22 ]
Philip Agee - a former CIA officer who left the US in protest of its policies - thought that LIENVOY-2 was the President of Mexico, and he almost had it right.[ 23 ] This document may prove who LIENVOY-2 was - a Mexican presidential aide, name unknown, who came up with a September 28 transcript of Oswald and Duran calling the Soviet embassy. The question of the reliability of that phone call is the subject of the next chapter.
On November 23, the president of Mexico himself, Adolfo Lopez Mateos using the cryptonym of LITENSOR, called Win Scott. President Lopez told Scott that LIENVOY-2 had just come up with the September 28 transcript![ 24 ]
The CIA considered LIENVOY-2’s focus on the September 28 transcript to be of immediate operational importance. The CIA had known about the September 28 call for two months - but now the Mexicans were looking at it. Given the sensitivity of that call, the officers in the know could not have been pleased about it. Did the Mexicans come up with a tape as well?
A short story shows the delicacy of LIENVOY-2’s type of work. Shortly after LIENVOY-2 began working for the station in 1962, one of his henchmen questioned one of the two surveillance men at the intercept center. This surveillance man had a license in the name of Mariano Vera Gonzalez. LIENVOY-2 ran a make on it and found that the man’s license was in the name of another man.
The traffic department was staked out by the DFS to see if there were any inquiries about the cars at the intercept center. Apparently the stake-out man was stationed at the front desk of the file room at the traffic department. A good move, because the very next day an agent from the secret service of police headquarters went to the traffic department and asked who owned the plates on LIENVOY-2's car. The stake-out man learned in conversation that the secret service man was working for an investigative group headed by a Mexican digging up political information for Mexican politicians. The two men looked at the traffic department files, and saw that the files did not reveal who owned LIENVOY-2's car.[ 25 ]
Mariano Vera Gonzalez was not who he said he was. LIENVOY-2’s car was not in his own name. I imagine that the Mexican police and the DFS agreed to quietly watch each other. It’s another pointed story about how insecure LIENVOY really was. As I said, the station wanted to move the intercept center during 1963, but it never happened.
The intercept center has been a mystery for all these years since the assassination. Despite much effort, I have been unable to determine where the intercept center was located, other than that it was in a residential neighborhood and not attached to the CIA station or the American embassy. The transcription room was staffed by Mexican Army officers.[ 26 ] Operations chief Charles Flick was the sole American case officer for the LIENVOY intercept center. Supervising over thirty employees, he held the fort full-time from early in the morning until late at night.[ 27 ] The production of the intercept center was described by his superior as being of “vital national importance in explaining the relations of Lee Harvey Oswald with the Cuban and Soviet consulates of Mexico City”.
Even in 1995, the CIA did not want the LIENVOY program revealed by the Assassinations Records Review Board. Many will suggest that LIENVOY may provide the secrets of the assassination. Maybe, maybe not, but when you get right down to it, the CIA’s exposure for civil liability is higher than people realize. Quite apart from the secrets of the assassination, the CIA’s lawyers do not want to see its officers sued in court, where unpredictable things can happen. Those who have their privacy violated by a wiretap have the right to sue within a short period of time after they know or should have known that they were victimized in this manner. The publication of this book could easily be construed by a judge to “trigger” the running of the statute of limitations for the people addressed later in this chapter.
Since the statute of limitations for many acts do not begin to run until the victims learn or should have learned about what happened to them, the best solution for agencies like the CIA is to string things along until all the parties are dead. I am convinced that fear of liability is right up there with “national security” as among the main reasons that the CIA has been so dogged in not releasing information about the wiretaps.
There is yet another reason – as Edward Snowden will tell you, information about wiretaps is one of the most closely held secrets held by governments. There is no power as great as knowing what your adversary is saying about you.
The history of the phone taps
Diagram showing generally where taps may be placed.
It looks like the first taps were LIFEAT, set up right in the heart of the telephone company, by arrangement of the local government officials with a company executive. “These officials, however, did not want to work through their own security service; on the contrary, they distrusted the service and acted without its knowledge; and, in fact, one of the target lines from the very beginning has been the chief of service.”
The “company central” was linked with the intercept center by an underground cable. The native staff of the intercept center consisted of one civilian in charge, a janitor, and eight junior army officers who did the monitoring and installing. A station staff agent dealt with the civilian in charge as the CIA representative.[ 28 ]
The station’s position was always that it was clear from the beginning that it was important to create tapes, as "in the hands of an inefficient and corrupt (transcriber) there was every chance that the substance of conversations was colored and distorted, unintentionally or by design.” DFS officials who had dealt with this problem in the past asked station chief Win Scott to help them set up this intercept center.[ 29 ]
LIFEAT was initiated by Charles Anderson, who later moved over to LIENVOY. Begun in 1947, LIFEAT began as a single tap against the Soviet embassy; by 1962, it was up to 30 target lines. The taps were placed by a local phone company employee who was handled by a station case officer. A principal outside case officer had a shop at home where he would repair and tune up the equipment. He trained most of the listening post operators on how to make minor repairs. Like LIENVOY, the monitors and transcribers at the LIFEAT listening posts were generally Mexican or Mexican-American. These twenty-one field agents would work for an average of seven years.
LIFEAT was originally part of a bigger project known as LIPSTICK. In 1958, it was broken up. In 1958, LIFEAT became its own project, and the remaining LIPSTICK portions were re-named as LIEMPTY.[ 30 ] LIEMPTY was designed to exploit leads from the Soviet compound. Besides the LIFEAT project, LIEMPTY included three photographic sites, a mobile surveillance team and a mail intercept. Goodpasture’s duties included the handling and dissemination of the take from the three photo surveillance sites known as LIMITED, LILYRIC, and LICALLA, all providing different camera angles of the Soviet embassy compound.[ 31 ] She also would analyze the finished photographic take from all the basehouses.
There has been great confusion about missing photos and tapes, exacerbated by the refusal to provide the necessary documents for review since 1963. Now that we can finally review these documents, let’s summarize what we know and don’t know.
Three big questions regarding missing photos and tape transcripts
1. If the photo negatives taken at the Soviet consulate still exist, as documented by the LILYRIC operation, why haven’t they been produced?
Goodpasture’s principal agent for the three photographic sites at the Soviet consulate was known as Raymond Gerende, the pseudonym for Ramon Joseph Alvarez Durant. Alvarez was a Mexican agent who also served as a LIFEAT transcriber and performed various other duties. His family helped recruit several other agents. Alvarez would do almost anything he was asked to do, and put an emphasis on photographic work.[ 32 ]
The three Soviet photographic sites were LIMITED, LILYRIC, and LICALLA. The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in the seventies to try to solve the mysteries not addressed by the Warren Commission. The HSCA was only able to review the photos and logs from LIMITED; it was given virtually nothing on LILYRIC or LICALLA.
LIMITED was the best of the three sites focused on the Soviet compound, as it was fixed on both the vehicle entrance and the pedestrian entrance. Run by an older man known as LIEMPTY-6 who lived in the basehouse with his family, the LIMITED take yielded no pictures of Oswald.[ 33 ]
LILYRIC was run by a meticulous woman known as LIEMPTY-14. Goodpasture wrote that LIEMPTY-14’s “daily logs and reports were detailed and complete”.[ 34 ] I have seen no record of these logs and reports. LILYRIC provided the best vantage point for photos of visitors, as it was aimed at the Soviet embassy front gate. We have no access to virtually any of these photos – as we will see, the negatives may still exist.
LICALLA, the third site, focused on the back garden within the compound and away from the entrances to the Soviet compound. It was unlikely that any Oswald photos would have been obtained from LICALLA.[ 35 ]
The station claimed that LILYRIC was generally in operation between 0900 and 1500, and LIMITED between 1200 and 1800. The station gave itself wiggle room by saying that these hours could change.[ 36 ]
In fact, the available chart for LIMITED shows that during September 1963, it generally began at 0900 and ended in the early afternoon. On the date of the visits by the man called Oswald, the last photo was taken at 1146, before any of his alleged visits to the Soviet compound.[ 37 ] It seems unlikely that any Oswald photos were obtained from LIMITED.
Oswald allegedly visited the Soviet embassy only once on Friday, between about 12:30-1:30 pm.[ 38 ] It was too late in the day for LIMITED to have picked that visit up, but LILYRIC might have captured photos of Oswald as it generally stayed open till 2 pm. LIMITED and LILYRIC were supposed to be operating on Saturdays as well, but the LIMITED log shows that Saturday coverage was rare in practice. We have no LILYRIC logs to look at, and no one has yet identified LIEMPTY-14 or other members of the LILYRIC staff.
Ed Lopez, co-author with Dan
Hardway of a ground-breaking
1970s report for Congress on
"Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City."
The CIA’s failure to ever provide LILYRIC photos remains a sore point. HSCA counsel Ed Lopez, his colleague Dan Hardway, and other stalwarts wrote a 300-page report that concluded not only that there was a good chance that Oswald was impersonated in Mexico City, but that photographs of Oswald and/or the man calling himself Oswald had probably been taken and not provided to the HSCA. If true, the LILYRIC photos would bring this primary evidence to the surface.
Goodpasture testified to the HSCA that LILYRIC photographs were destroyed for space considerations, but she believed that the negatives were still in existence.[ 39 ] A review of the Mexico City records indicates that the June-Dec 1963 LILYRIC photos were destroyed in 1967.[ 40 ] A couple of LILYRIC photos from October 2, 1963 did survive due, apparently due to FOIA requests made promptly after the Act went into effect in 1967.[ 41 ]
It looks like Goodpasture is correct - although the logs and contact prints from LILYRIC are “missing”, the negatives of the LILYRIC photos appear to be on file with the CIA.[ 42 ] The HSCA believed that a CIA memo provided additional evidence that Headquarters had custody of the LILYRIC negatives.[ 43 ] Records of these negatives, as well as other photos, tapes, and transcripts, can be found in this CIA chronology.[ 44 ]
Despite numerous HSCA requests, the LILYRIC negatives were never produced – it appears that this kind of ambiguity makes certain people very happy. Lopez’s team was frustrated by the realization that this missing evidence made it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of the Soviet photographic overage. You can see the handwritten comment “so don’t try”. The negatives should be immediately subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee, which is responsible under the JFK Records Act for tracking continuing compliance by the agencies to produce all assassination-related documents right up to the present day.
2. Where are the photos of the Cuban consulate for October 1963?
The Cuban embassy and the Cuban consulate had two separate entrances. The outside door to the Cuban consulate had just reopened – after two years of closure caused by a CIA stink-bomb - during the week before September 27.[ 45 ] Thus, a new camera for the Cuban consulate door was being set up and tested on the very day of Oswald’s visit.[ 46 ] The records do not reflect any photos of the consulate for that day.
Back in 1979, the Lopez Report mentioned the possibility that the missing LILYRIC and consulate photos may be related to the impersonation of Oswald. Three CIA employees said after the assassination that they saw photos of Oswald in Mexico City. Joseph Burkholder Smith said that he had heard about it second-hand and that LBJ was so pleased that it made Win Scott his “number one boy”. Joe Piccolo claimed first-hand knowledge and believed that it was taken outside the Cuban compound. Win Scott’s ex-deputy chief Daniel Stanley Watson said that he also saw the photo in Oswald's personality file, but also believed that Scott was “capable of phonying a photo if asked to produce one. I never believed Win Scott the first time he told me something.” After all these years, the existence or non-existence of these photos should be put to rest.[ 48 ]
3. Where is the LIFEAT file for 1963?
From August to October 1963, LIFEAT used a number of “outside” taps, at points adjacent to target locations, monitoring 24 lines from seven separate intercept points known as “listening posts” or “LPs”. These listening posts were the site for individual monitoring, taping, and some transcription. The station could run about three lines from each listening post, depending on whether the targets were close enough together to avoid the wires being clearly visible. During this period, LIFEAT’s focus appeared to be sites of particularly strong counterintelligence interest.[ 49 ]
Was Sylvia Duran’s phone tapped by LIFEAT? All the transcripts indicate that LIENVOY picked up Duran – and her impersonator – only on taps placed on the Soviet compound. However, both Goodpasture and Cuban case officer Bob Shaw remembered that LIFEAT tapped into certain lines within the Cuban compound during 1963.[ 50 ]
Goodpasture claimed that every Cuban embassy phone or official residence had either a LIENVOY or a LIFEAT line. She then dropped a second possible clue by stating that LIENVOY tapped every phone in the Cuban Embassy, "but not the consulate, not during O's presence in Mexico City". It’s confusing. Is it possible that Duran's phone line at the consulate had a LIFEAT tap, handled by Goodpasture? The transcripts show many LIENVOY calls and virtually no LIFEAT calls during late 1963. Where are the records of the LIFEAT calls?
In fact, why is the station’s LIFEAT file for the first eleven months of 1963 missing? A CIA officer wrote about these missing records: “What is going on?”[ 51 ] An all-out search should be done to find these records.
We do have a few reports that were sent to CIA Headquarters. One is a fascinating LIFEAT report for August-October 1963. It mentions that the home phone of a Cuban official was tapped to support the AMROD operation that was designed to exacerbate tensions between the pro-Moscow hard-liners and Castro’s more mainstream colleagues. The tap was almost certainly on commercial attache Luisa Calderon, as another report shows that her home phone was tapped during November, 1963.
A few LIFEAT lines were set up at embassies, but most were at homes or other targets and picked up by recorders in street distribution boxes. Three of the LIFEAT listening posts that year were in the homes of well-to-do professional people, with small children running around. The perennial concern was to watch out for linemen, who might see wires where they should not be. Those at a LIFEAT listening post did not generally know anything about the other listening posts, unless they had helped each other with translation in the past.
Now that these three questions about missing documents have been addressed, it seems like time for a discussion about the LIENVOY wiretap system that is at the center of this drama in Mexico City.
A circa-1959 Revere T-204 tape recorder.
The LIENVOY wiretap system was set up in early 1959.[ 53 ] LIENVOY attached 32 taps to target telephone lines at the telephone company central office serving the embassies and other targets. Those 32 wires were bundled into a cable which fed to the intercept center. The intercept center was operated by ten monitors who prepared daily transcripts and a summary for the lines that weren't fully transcribed from the tapes. Originally, 32 Revere tape recorders were used to pick up the voices, while 32 dial recorders were used to pick up the dial tones of the outgoing calls. By 1963, Ampex tape recorders replaced the Revere tape recorders. The intercept center could conduct thirty wiretaps at the same time, with two systems set aside as spares in case of breakdown.[ 54 ]
Since LIENVOY used both dial recorders and audio recorders, it had the ability to capture the dialed digits from any telephone call on the line in question. Thus any line would be recording dialed digits and audio for outgoing calls and just audio for incoming calls.
Thus, if Duran had an LIENVOY line at the consulate, the monitors could have quickly pulled the dialed digit tape and known just who she had called. Of course, if the Oswald/Duran calls were not made from the Consulate that would expose it. There is no indication that a LIENVOY tap was set up at the Cuban Consulate during 1963. There may have been a LIFEAT tap, but we don’t know because – as discussed earlier – the station’s LIFEAT transcripts for the first eleven months of 1963 are missing.
Former CIA agent Philip Agee described LIENVOY as a joint operation “between Mexico City station and (a) Mexican security service…the station provides the equipment, technical assistance, couriers and transcribers, while the Mexicans make the connections in the exchanges and maintain the listening posts".[ 55 ] The Mexican monitors in the intercept center also prepared the daily summaries.[ 56 ]
Both the DFS and the high echelons of the FBI had access to LIENVOY.[ 57 ] Thus, the CIA did not have full control of what happened at the intercept site. It was a necessary trade-off done in order to have access to the telephone exchange.
In Levister’s review of LIENVOY, he noted that the monitors did a good job with transcription, but that “the native staff has been unable so far, with sporadic exceptions, to accompany those results with the all-important analysis for intelligence information, collation for compilation of meaningful comprehensive reports, and keener reporting”.
The four monitors, LIENVOY-4, 5, 11, and 12, were highly motivated.[ 58 ] They would cross-file excerpts of the take by the name of target persons, by the names of their principal contacts, and by the target persons’ telephone numbers, as well as by the chronological file for each target line. This allowed them to judge the probable value of conversations in the light of past conversations between correspondents.
One monitor in particular was very good in isolating intelligence. He became the head monitor and office manager, answering directly to the civilian in charge. His command of English also made him very helpful.[ 59 ] This may have been the monitor who made the short summaries of interesting conversations for the resuma, described below.
Journalist Ron Kessler wrote that two of the Mexican monitors who handled the Oswald calls to the Soviet consulate commented to intercept center chief Flick that the caller had a hard time making himself understood in either English or Russian.[ 60 ] When the “Oswald caller” was addressed by the Soviet officer in English, the caller responded “please speak Russian”.
Even Goodpasture referred to him many years later as “the man who called himself Oswald”. It is a fair bet that some of the monitors are still alive today – and that they either heard the Oswald call or heard about the Oswald caller. Their names exist, but are redacted on the documents available at the Mary Ferrell site. We should see if the National Archives have released these names, or petition for their release.
We do have a complete, unredacted listing of the LIENVOY taps during June 1963.[ 61 ] Of particular importance is that two DFS lines were being tapped – in a system that DFS officers had access to! It would appear that not much had changed since the tap program began.
14-42-37: Ambassador’s private telephone used on occasion by Teresa Proenza (cultural attaché)
14-92-14: Teresa Proenza’s line (cultural attaché); this may have been her living quarters.[ 63 ] Disconnected on 9/23/63.
25-07-95: Chancery line used by Ramon Sinobas (first secretary) Disconnected on 9/23/63.
25-09-14: Commercial office used by Luisa Calderon (commercial attaché)[ 64 ]
14-13-26: Chancery line used by Teresa Proenza (cultural attaché)[ 65 ]
At the Cuban embassy, the LIENVOY lines were cut from five to three on September 23, just days before the arrival of the man called Oswald. Scott’s report said that 25-07-95 had been disconnected because the first secretary Ramon Sinobas had left for Cuba, and that Proenza’s line at 14-92-14 needed repair.
The chancery and consulate lines were the ones for foreigners to call. Of those lines, only Proenza’s line - 14-13-26 - had a LIENVOY tap during the Oswald visit to Mexico City.[ 66 ] The only other operative LIENVOY taps during the Oswald visit were on the ambassador’s private line – 14-42-37, and the Commercial Office - 25-09-14, used by Luisa Calderon. For whatever reason, Calderon’s line was not listed on many of the monthly reports.[ 67 ] Thus, the operative taps during the Oswald visit would ordinarily pick up only Proenza, Calderon, and the Ambassador.
I see no signs of a LIENVOY tap on Sylvia Duran's line, 11-28-47.
A CIA officer testified that AMOTs were brought into listening posts in the Western Hemisphere to work as monitors.[ 68 ] It is imperative to find out the names of LIENVOY-4, 5, 11 and 12, and interview them before they are all dead. The likelihood of the individuals in this tight-knit group knowing the truth about these phone calls is very high. The procedure throughout the JFK case has been to release the names of key witnesses after they have died, and this procedure is continuing now.
15-60-55 (Soviet chancery – this was a consulate line used by known or suspect KGB officers, and called by foreigners trying to make contact with the Soviets)
15-61-55 (Soviet chancery – also a consulate line, used primarily by the ambassador, more for learning about protocol than intelligence interest)
15-69-87 (Soviet military attaché – the Soviet GRU military intelligence officers on this line generally refused to pick up; nonetheless, foreign AWOL soldiers often try this line)
15-61-07 (Soviet commercial office - this line was used by known or suspect GRU officers)
15-12-64 (Soviet film representative – residence and home of suspect GRU officer Vladimir Obrubov, who distributes Soviet commercial films in Mexico)[ 70 ]
The first two lines were used by Duran and the Soviets to call one another on Sept. 27. The military attache’s line was used to initiate contact by “Lee Oswald” on October 1. The handler of the double agents LINEB-1 and LAROB was military attaché Valentin Bakulin, discussed elsewhere in this narrative. Bakulin generally worked with the Film Office to get his most effective propaganda work done.
The cross-filing system used by the LIENVOY monitors
The monitors worked in overlapping shifts from 8 am to 4 pm and 3 pm to 11 pm – the monitoring of the lines would end at 10 pm, and they would spend the last hour of the day wrapping up their translations and transcriptions.
As earlier stated, the monitors maintained a simple but effective cross-filing system of the take, chronicling the names of target persons, the names of their principal contacts, and the telephone numbers called by the target persons. The monitors knew the voices of the targets and their correspondents.[ 71 ]
Ampex 601 tape recorder.
Each unit that listened to the take on each wire was composed of a "held dial" recorder and an Ampex 601 tape recorder. The 32 units were mounted, two units side by side, on 16 racks 84 inches high and ten inches wide. Intercept Center head Charles Flick cleaned and maintained these on a regular basis, and also kept the technical equipment in repair.[ 72 ]
Flick used the cover of a technical adviser in electrification, and was the only American officer who was inside the intercept center on a regular basis. Only Win Scott would drop by for a discreet glance. Levister wrote: “The station has not used the center as a showpiece for visiting firemen. The station’s prudent attitude seems to have influenced the native people at the intercept center to keep their knowledge to themselves.”
We know what was done with the highlights report of the wiretaps in 1963, but not why only fragments remain at the Archives today
At 7:30 am, Charles Flick aka Arnold Arehart, the sole American at the LIENVOY intercept center, would pick up the previous day's highlights report from all of the LIENVOY lines (called the resumen or resuma), summaries from the lines that were not fully transcribed, transcripts, and translations. Flick would then provide the new reels for translation to the translators. Using clandestine means, he would then exchange the “take” for new blank reels to Goodpasture in a “car pickup” by 8 am.
A live monitor would prepare a resuma of highlights every day. Cuban case officer Bob Shaw said that if you read two pages of resuma you would have the gist of many pages of tap.[ 74 ] The resuma were maintained in a chronological file at the listening post. Only fragments of the resuma can be found in the National Archives. A 9/5/78 memo said that the resumen for 9/15/63 to 10/15/63 was available for review – nonetheless, I still have not found those documents.
Win Scott himself directly oversaw the audio surveillance of the Soviets, while the Soviet case officer Herb Manell and the Cuban case officers David Phillips and Robert Shaw would review the transcripts and other materials regarding the surveillance. Manell estimated that 30% of the take was retained and kept in case files, while the remainder was thrown away.[ 75 ] Each year, the station would prepare 150 memoranda for the State Department and 75 for the FBI, based on information obtained from the phone taps.[ 76 ]
When a reel was fully recorded, it would be transcribed and passed to the station in the same fashion with a lag time of one or two days.
The Russian tapes were transcribed by other contract agents not directly affiliated with the LIENVOY site.[ 77 ] Boris Tarasoff, one of the transcribers of the Oswald tapes, was one of these contract agents.
There was a special protocol for the take if a US citizen or an English speaking person calls any of the target installations such as the Soviet consulate or the Cuban consulate. In such an instance, Charles Flick was supposed to leave the tap center, go to an outside line, call Goodpasture from a pay phone, meet her in fifteen minutes for “coffee” or “lunch”, and give her a tape reel with an extract of the taped conversation. The reel then would go to the station and be given to the case officer in charge of the target installation. “Headquarters is notified by cable of the action taken. Only in rare instances is information on a US citizen passed without prior Headquarters approval.”
All signs are that this protocol was violated when the man called Oswald came to Mexico City. There was never any cable of the Oswald call to the Soviet consulate on September 28.
On the same token, it is fair to assume that Goodpasture had in her hands the extracts of the Oswald calls: One call was made on September 28, and two more calls were made on October 1. We know that the Soviet desk officer was notified about the October 1 calls. It is fair to assume that Goodpasture sent copies of these calls to the chief of Cuban operations, David Phillips, on October 1, who had flown to Langley the previous day.
The monitors were listening to various left-wing forces
Incredibly, a study was being conducted by Paul Levister at Staff D during the very week that the man named Oswald visited Mexico City. Levister was studying the lines of LIENVOY and LIFEAT, and he collected statistics on their use.
During the time period coinciding with the visit by the man called Oswald, LIENVOY’s most prolific line was focused on Vicente Lombardo Toledano, the head of the Popular Socialist Party with a background as a leader of the Mexican contingent of the World Federation of Trade Unions. As a domestic political rival of the Mexican president, Lombardo’s line accounted for 20% of all LIENVOY production.
The most prolific location was LIENVOY’s lines at the Cuban Embassy, which provided 25% of all the usable material. The Prensa Latina – the Cuban press service which would have included Carlos Rafael Rodriguez’ paper Hoy - was a minor producer from its two lines.
Levister also described one line in a pro-Cuban anti-US organization popular in political and intellectual circles. This organization was doubtlessly the Movimiento Liberacion Nacional (MLN). Two lines were in the home of its "guiding spirit", which was the former Mexican president from 1934 to 1940, the progressive Lazaro Cardenas.[ 78 ] Leon Trotsky, who received asylum from Cardenas, said that Cardenas ran the only honest government in the world. His son, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, is well known for his narrow and controversial loss in the 1988 Mexican presidential election. Since Elena Vasquez worked for Lazaro Cardenas and had a romantic relationship with Teresa Proenza, she also got LIENVOY coverage.[ 79 ]
Levister also mentioned one line in the home of the titular head of the MLN organization – that person was Alonso Aguilar Monteverde. Finally, one line in the home of a prominent intellectual (probably Professor Jorge L. Tamayo) who was active in the MLN's affairs. These five lines were 35% of the LIENVOY production during this period. When adding in two other lines of MLN members and the two Cuban lines, altogether these nine target lines made up 80% of the LIENVOY production.[ 80 ] During this era, it’s clear that LIENVOY was designed to go after the organizations on the left side of the political spectrum.
Juan Jose Arevalo, former president of
Guatemala (top, middle). The Mexico City
station sent death threats to his family as he
was running for re-election while in exile
Like LIENVOY, LIFEAT snooped mostly on people on the left. The phone calls made by the FDR-style former president of Guatemala, Juan Jose Arevalo – referred to as the "Latin American exile" – accounted for 60% of the LIFEAT production.[ 81 ] Scott’s agents made threats that terrorized Arevalo’s family. During 1963, on orders from headquarters, station chief Win Scott conducted a self-described harassment campaign against Arevalo. This harassment included agent “Oliver Scantling” aka Juan Nepomuseno Frias Ramirez mailing "poisoned" candy to Arevalo's family (which included five children) as he campaigned for a second chance to serve as president while in exile in Mexico City.[ 82 ]
These documents also reveal that the CIA staged a scenario designed to make Arevalo believe that the Cubans at the embassy were planning to bomb him. The Cuban government was allied with the Guatemalan dissidents, and this was an effort to split Arevalo from other dissidents. There was even a faked "montage" photo of Arevalo standing with a Soviet military attache that was released to the Guatemalan newspapers during this shortened campaign, which ended abruptly with a military coup before the election.
This military coup of March 1963 plunged Guatemala deeper into more than thirty years of terrible civil war that claimed 200,000 lives. In the wake of the Guatemalan coup, Arevalo left Mexico for good the day after the Kennedy assassination, with the station monitoring his movements very closely during those final two months.
It is difficult to find a better tool of repression than a sustained wiretapping campaign. When you know the weaknesses of your adversaries, you know how to exploit these weaknesses to bring them down. When LIFEAT wasn’t going after left-wingers, the Mexico City station reported that it was often used to monitor double agents.
Some of the more intriguing LIENVOY and LIFEAT projects
One key project was focused on the corporation Transcontinental S.A. in Mexico City, engaged in bringing black market vehicles from the United States into Cuba. The ability to track Transcontinental S.A., and its change of name, location and phone number was considered during 1963 as a "most noteworthy LIFEAT contribution” to station efforts on Cuba. It was considered a good way to learn about the Cuban Embassy’s contacts and commercial products sought by the Cuban government.[ 83 ]
The head of Transcontinental S.A. was Dallas import-export agent Ramon Cortez, also known as Ramon Cortes and Raymond Cortez. Cortez had a history of working both sides of the street with the Capri casino in Havana and as a friend of Che Guevara and a celebrant at May Day celebrations. A Dallas jury convicted Cortez for impersonating a Guatemalan diplomat, but Cortez never went to jail. His variety of names served him well.
During 1962, Cortez worked alongside Dimas Figueredo (AMSUPER-1).[ 84 ] Figueredo was looking for Castro’s spies as a member of the GYROSE Debriefing Unit, while the two men ran a shoe factory together. An interview with Tony Sforza indicates that he also worked with a debriefing unit – Sforza’s unit was a counterintelligence unit within the AMOTS. It’s possible that Sforza worked with a different debriefing unit than Figueredo, but it seems more likely that Task Force W would want to have its best people in the same debriefing unit.
The head of the debriefing unit was Carlos Fernandez (AMSAIL-1), who conducted the impersonation of a Cuban embassy official discussed in the previous chapter. Cortez would physically assist Cuban exiles while Figueredo was debriefing them. After Havana figured out that Cortez had “beat the Castro government out of more than $80,000”, Figueredo hired a bodyguard for Cortez.
In the days after 11/22/63, Cortez would be touted by Angleton’s office and others as a prime suspect in the death of JFK. Granted, the impecunious Oswald did show his barber a pair of fine-looking yellow leather house shoes that he had bought for only $1.50 down in “Old Mexico”, and offered to get him a pair. We don’t know if Oswald was friends with Cortez or Figueredo, or whether he bought his shoes from their business. But we do know that Cortez was a notorious double agent acting on behalf of US interests, and it’s hard to believe that Angleton’s office didn’t know that.
Oswald’s file also has a Transcontinental S.A. file in it from 1961, for no apparent reason. Oswald’s passport identified him as an shipping export agent. In Casino Royale, James Bond himself had a cover as an import-export agent for Universal Export. It was alleged by reputable parties to the Church Committee that Oswald was a source for U.S. Customs.
Oswald’s brother Robert recounted how much Lee enjoyed working as an import-export agent in New Orleans in the mid-fifties. “It was a big adventure to him – as if all the company’s ships were his and he could go to any of the places named on the order blanks he carried from one desk to another. It made him feel important, just to be on the fringes of something as exciting as foreign trade.”[ 85 ] Did Oswald have a relationship with Cortez through their mutual interest? Or was someone seeding the file to link the two men together?
Another key project was "American Communists in Mexico". This group included many left luminaries such as Hollywood 10 members Dalton Trumbo and Albert Maltz, who had come to Mexico during the height of the McCarthy era in the fifties.[ 86 ] The wiretap operations provided data on the "overt and covert activities of the Hollywood Ten to regain their former status in the US film industry”.[ 87 ]
ZRKNICK was a program where the FBI in Miami was wiretapping Cuban espionage agents, and then sharing the results with CIA. It’s fair to assume that the ZRKNICK take in Mexico City was shared with the FBI.
It should be noted that the personality files created by the Mexico City station on Luisa Calderon, Eusebio Azcue, and June Cobb were all destroyed before the HSCA could review them. Many documents are missing from Calderon’s 201 file, which is a headquarters file and separate from the Mexico City station's personality files.
Oswald’s links with Cuba and his call of September 28 were suppressed
Many people have noticed and commented on how the Oswald call of September 28 was suppressed, as well as how all of Oswald’s links with Cuba were hidden until after the assassination. Peter Dale Scott has written, “This suppression (of the call to the Cuban consulate by the man calling himself Lee Oswald) was entirely consistent with intelligence priorities of the period. This important clue had been planted in the midst of one of the most sensitive CIA operations in the 1960s: its largest intercept operation against the telephones of an important Soviet base. One can assume that this clue was planted by conspirators who knew that the CIA response would be to suppress the truth."[ 89 ]
The calls the CIA claims to have received came in on Sept 27 (the day of Oswald’s visits to the Soviet and Cuba consulates requesting visas), Sept. 28 (the first Oswald call from the Cuban consulate to the Soviet consulate speaking “broken Russian”) and October 1 (subsequent Oswald phone calls speaking broken Russian). The available documents and witnesses tell us that all these calls were picked up on LIENVOY.[ 90 ] Both the Mexican and American governments obtained copies of the take for those days, but only portions remain intact in the files.
The tap operations were a great way to frame Oswald and blackmail the Agency
We have now reviewed a setting where the telephone tap system was insecure and in the hands of individuals described by Goodpasture as “cruel and corrupt”. Goodpasture described a “man calling himself Oswald” who had arrived in Mexico City trying to get visas to visit Cuba and the USSR. He introduced himself as a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and the US Communist Party.
Author Peter Dale Scott points out that the above-described situation provides a “strong clue that conspirators to frame Oswald…existed within the (telephone) intercept process, either in the CIA or (as I will suggest) within the DFS (the Mexican federal police)." Scott points out that the reason why LIENVOY was considered so incredibly sensitive may have been because it was insecure. Furthermore, Scott points out reasons why the September 28 phone call by Oswald was actually a fake – reasons we will explore in the next chapter:
1) Both the Cuban Consulate and the Soviet Consulate were closed on September 28.
2) Silvia Durán was adamant that on September 28 Oswald was not in the Cuban Consulate, where their voices are alleged to have been overheard.
3) Oleg Nechiporenko of the Soviet Embassy is the chief source supporting the claim that Oswald was in the Soviet Embassy on September 28. Yet he has stated, on video, that the telephone switchboard was closed on September 28, and that there could have been no phone conversations on that day.
After review of the transcripts, I do find callers, but they all appear to be “insiders” of the station. “Duran” was the only non-insider to call that day; that would indicate that whoever impersonated “Duran” knew the inside line to call.
4) According to Alan Belmont, the number three man at the FBI, the voice said to be Oswald's was reportedly not that of the Dallas Lee Harvey Oswald, as his voice is different, and he spoke in broken English."
It’s fair to assume that Mexico City station officers only discussed LIENVOY products on a need-to-know basis. We assume that Goodpasture tipped off CIA Headquarters about the Oswald impersonation, based on the contents and style of the twin October 10 memos. But did she tell her boss Win Scott, or Staff D?
On the home front, Goodpasture had two masters. Win Scott was both her boss at the Mexico City station and a member of Staff D, like all the lead officers in Mexico City. Alex MacMillan was her new boss at Staff D. What were the lines of command regarding internal Staff D matters? How did the Mexico City station communicate with Staff D headquarters?
As we will see, most of the communications between the Mexico City station and Staff D HQ are missing. I assume Scott used some kind of codes to communicate with Staff D headquarters. Scott used codes when he communicated with the National Security Agency. To my knowledge, we have no copies of any communications from the Mexico City station to the NSA.
To the ARRB, Goodpasture downplayed her involvement in Staff D, claiming that she was simply involved in duplicating and distributing materials and that her only duty was to the Mexico City station. Angleton testified to the HSCA that Goodpasture was "very close" to Bill Harvey.[ 92 ]
Staff D was the CIA division for wiretapping and all communications intelligence. Did Goodpasture tell either Scott or her friends at Staff D that Oswald was impersonated over the LIENVOY lines? I think she had to tell someone in Staff D, as a matter of the chain of command. This chart shows that Goodpasture (using her pseudonym as Robert B. Riggs) answered to Scott in the LIENVOY operation.[ 93 ]
I believe that Goodpasture told Scott. One reason is because it would make no sense to compromise the firm chain of command. The other reason, as set forth below, is that US citizens visiting Soviet bloc representatives was an issue that needed to be reported to Headquarters whenever it occurred. The Oswald visits of September 27 and September 28 were never reported in the LIENVOY reports. The only thing that can explain this failure to report was an agreement not to do so, because the September 28 visit was mentioned to the FBI three weeks later pursuant to a similar agreement to report any such visits to the FBI.
If Scott didn’t know about Oswald prior to November 22, he was a pretty good actor. Scott wrote a note regarding Oswald’s September 27 visits, asking, “Is it possible to identify?” There’s no indication in the file that he got verification of the identity of the September 27 visitor until after the assassination.
However, we know from our review that Scott reviewed the transcripts every day, and that he generally received them the morning after the tap was picked up. Shaw said Scott “tended to review almost all of the paper that came in and out of the station.” We also know that the Mexico City station kept track of all Americans that visited representatives of the Soviet bloc. Similarly, the Soviet embassy was described by the CIA Inspector General as a “magnet for disaffected Americans”. When you put those three factors together, it means that by Monday, September 30 - at the very latest - Scott would have read the transcripts describing Oswald’s visits to the Soviet and Cuban consulates on the 27th, and the transcript describing the phone call from Oswald and Duran to the Soviet consulate on the 28th.
It also means that the Mexican monitor comparing Spanish-speakers could not have helped but notice that Duran’s voice on the 28th did not match her voice on the 27th. The Mexico City station had been taking photos of Duran during her frequent visits over the past year, and should have been listening to Duran’s voice on a constant basis since she started working at the consulate early in the summer. Did the monitor tell Scott or Goodpasture? If the monitor was corrupt, maybe not.
However, whether or not the monitor told Scott or Goodpasture, there was a third factor to consider. At least one of the case officers at Mexico City’s Cuban desk had a duty to listen to the Duran tapes of the 27th and 28th. The rule was that whenever a US citizen contacted the Soviet compound, the procedure was to get a copy of the tape into Goodpasture’s hands within fifteen minutes. “The reel is then taken to the station and given to the case officer responsible for the target the person was trying to contact”.
Who was responsible for Duran – was it Phillips, his deputy Shaw, or someone else? Bob Shaw testified that “Sylvia Duran was the person being a Mexican citizen inside the Cuban embassy who I dealt with”, and that no one had notified him about Oswald or that Duran had an American visitor prior to the assassination. His name is on some of the transcripts, but there is no date and his name is not crossed out, hence it could have been provided to him after the assassination as well. Shaw was working under State Department cover, and described himself as a “Kennedy man”. Additionally, Shaw knew nothing about the attempts to recruit Duran’s boss Azcue. This is further evidence that Phillips took the Duran file out of Shaw’s hands regarding the Oswald events.
CI/SIG head Birch O’Neal, who spoke softly and with a distinct accent revealing his origin from the state of Georgia, tended to keep to himself. Nonetheless, O'Neal let it be known within a day of the assassination that Oswald might have been picked up by the Mexico City wiretapping operations as early as September 27, even though none of the September 27 visits had been reported by Mexico City to CIA HQ. The only way O’Neal could know is if he was told by someone at the Mexico City station. Someone had figured it out, and it wasn’t all that hard, given the small number of Americans that visited either the Soviet or Cuban compounds.
Win Scott’s manuscript is probably a red herring
On the other hand, Scott wrote a manuscript shortly before his death eight years later saying that his cameras picked up Oswald coming in and coming out during every one of his many visits to the consulates. It’s hard to imagine just how his colleagues reacted to his proposal to tell this wholly undocumented story to the American people. Even the incomplete records indicate that Oswald was not picked up during at least some of his visits. When Scott met with the Warren Commission staffers months after the assassination, he carefully explained to them that the cameras had been completely unsuccessful in capturing any photos of Oswald. I think Scott hated the notion that his station was less than competent in any way, and was willing to play with the historical record if necessary.
Whether or not Scott knew about the Oswald impersonation before the assassination, it is clear that he was inclined to tell some tall tales, and that his word cannot be trusted about the events involving Oswald. His own colleagues say the same thing about him. Goodpasture told some whoppers as well. The difference between the two of them is that she is still alive, became the CIA’s historian on Mexico City’s role in the JFK assassination, and was forced to change her story as more evidence came in. Nor, in my opinion, did she tell her whoppers to enhance her reputation. I believe her mis-statements were based on doing her duty to the Mexico City station, as she saw it.
Despite his denials, Bill Harvey was still involved with Cuban affairs after he left for Rome
Meanwhile, Bill Harvey was still enmeshed in Cuban intrigue. When he was the head of Task Force W, Staff D, and ZR/RIFLE, Harvey knew more than probably anyone about Cuban intelligence. Harvey testified that he had nothing more to do with Cuba after he left the USA to become Chief of Station in Rome in June 1963. A figure as prominent as Harvey could not have washed his hands of Cuba, even if that was his desire. He was too valuable to the Agency. He knew too much.
The following memos indicate that Harvey was lying:
1. During August 1963, Harvey was being copied on memos regarding the recent FPCC chief Richard Gibson, who had been pressured into fleeing to Switzerland in late 1962 and knew a little bit about Oswald’s interest in the FPCC.
2. During September 1963, Harvey was in contact with potential Castro assassin AMLASH/Rolando Cubela’s close friend AMWHIP/Carlos Tepedino. During the previous year, Harvey had received approval from Potocki’s CI/OPS office to work with Tepedino.
Bill Harvey hosted a meeting between
Cubela/AMLASH and Tepedino/AMWHIP
at the Rome station during October
1963, and tracked Tepedino right
4. Wittingly or unwittingly, Tepedino’s information was going straight to Castro. SAS counterintelligence chief Hal Swenson figured it out by 1965, when he put Tepedino on a lie detector machine and got him to admit that Cubela was cooperating with Cuban intelligence.
In its own words, the CIA was forced to assume that all Cubela and AMTRUNK activities were being monitored or controlled by Cuban intelligence. Only then were all ties with Rolando Cubela cut by the CIA, as Agency officer Brian Latell describes at great length in his recent book Castro’s Secrets. Only then did Castro arrest Cubela, have him tried on disloyalty charges unrelated to his CIA activities, and give him a jail sentence that was combined with big freedoms.
I believe Bill Harvey was using Tepedino as a telephone to Castro’s ear, and that Castro knew all about the CIA’s plans to use Cubela to assassinate him, up to and including the Agency’s delivery of poison and injection equipment to Cubela on November 22, 1963. We could mull over why Harvey was using Tepedino in this way, but it doesn’t really matter in this analysis. The important thing is that Harvey was doing it, and lied about it right up to his death.
Bill Harvey and Staff D, Mexican intelligence, and the FBI all had access to LIENVOY’s information during the autumn of 1963
It is well-documented that both Mexican intelligence and the top echelon of the FBI in Washington had access to LIENVOY. Although we don't know the mode of FBI access, I would assume that somebody in the FBI had a Mexican connection.. It should be highlighted that LIENVOY’s material went to Staff D – so Harvey and his people would have a long look at every bit of it. From there, Staff D would pass the material on to the NSA, where no one would ever see it again. Good luck to anyone submitting a FOIA to the NSA. That’s an agency that makes the CIA look like the ACLU.
Curiously, Ambassador Thomas Mann, the titular State Department chief in Mexico, was said to be the only non-CIA US personnel in Mexico who knew about LIENVOY.[ 94 ] This means that even the FBI officers in Mexico did not know about this operation.
The September LIENVOY report, written by Scott in early October, mentions that there were "two leads from LIENVOY of operational interest in September 1963". Neither of these calls were the September 28 call from "Duran and Oswald" to the Soviet consulate. That critical call is not mentioned, even though it was referred to in the October 1 call three days later and before the report went out.
CIA Headquarters went to great lengths to ensure that Duran was never interviewed or confronted by any American during the post-assassination investigation. If she had been, the falsity of the September 28 call would have been exposed. HSCA forced the issue and interviewed Duran in 1978. The problems with Duran’s interviews with the Mexican DFS will be explored a little later on.The October LIENVOY report does mention that "MEXI-6453 reported a (October 1) contact by an English-speaking man with the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. This was forwarded to Headquarters for further dissemination".[ 95 ] This, of course, was the phone call where a man identified himself as "Lee Oswald", speaking in broken Russian before resorting to English. Why does the October LIENVOY report ignore the September 28 Duran-Oswald call? Again, I believe it was because the September 28 call was mistrusted from the day it was made, and was held very closely as a secret.
The September 28 call was revealed to the FBI by Win Scott on October 16. Why? It took me a long time to figure out why the FBI was the only one to receive a written memo before the assassination about this Oswald call. One reason was because the CIA had a pre-existing agreement for “special dissemination” to the FBI of American citizens who contacted the Cuban embassy, the Soviet embassy, or American Communists in Mexico.[ 96 ] During 1963, the FBI processed the take on American Communists in Mexico.[ 97 ] In other words, the CIA had a duty to tell the FBI about the call.
There may have been a second reason, which was because the CIA knew that the FBI may have had access to the call through its own LIENVOY sources. Rather than pretend that the September 28 call didn’t happen, the CIA de-emphasized its importance by writing the memo to expose the date of the call but to omit any reference to the Cuban consulate!
The October 1 call, however, was trumpeted far and wide throughout the Agency and to other governmental agencies. This disparity in reporting occurred even though transcriber Boris Tarasoff identified the September 28 caller and the October 1 caller as the same person.
As of October 8, Scott did not consider these Sept 28 and Oct. 1 LIENVOY calls as "operational". He only considered the October 1 call as operational, and only after he had received a October 10 memo from Headquarters addressing the Oswald visit at some length. I believe that Scott was feigning ignorance, and waiting to hear the signals received from Headquarters that will become the focus of discussion.
There is also a note from author Ron Kessler stating that: “…both the Mexican monitors (according to Arehart, outside staff agent) said caller (who called himself Oswald) had difficulty making himself understood (as I recall) in both English and Russian".
This was affirmed in a memo written by the FBI’s Dallas chief Gordon Shanklin, who spoke with counterintelligence specialist Alan Belmont during the morning of November 23: “…the Agents who have talked to Oswald have listened to the tape provided by the CIA of the call allegedly made by Oswald to the Soviet Embassy, and they do not think that the individual was Oswald, as his voice is different and he spoke in broken English.”[ 98 ]
In other words, the man called Oswald had a hard time speaking English as well as Russian! Given that the Oswald impersonator was not a native English speaker or Russian speaker, he may have been a Spanish speaker. Although I have explored the possibility that Shanklin confused "broken English", for "broken Russian", Kessler relied on "the monitors" for the statement that "Oswald" spoke both broken Russian and broken English. Also, the transcript reveals that the Oswald character asked the Soviet character "please speak Russian" after the Soviet started speaking English. As the Tarasoffs did not address the "broken English" aspect in their depositions, the area remains a little gray, but I still come down on the side of the argument that "Oswald" on the tapes of September 28 and October 1 was not a native English speaker.
As mentioned earlier, CIA translator Boris Tarasoff listened to both tapes and concluded that the same person made both the September 28 call and the October 1 call. The problem then and now is that we don’t know who that person was, but there’s many good reasons to conclude that it wasn’t Oswald. In the words of Jack Whitten, the CIA’s first JFK assassination investigator: "No source then at our disposal had ever actually seen Lee Oswald while he was in Mexico."[ 99 ] As seen after the assassination, Whitten’s candor is why he got taken off this case early on.
The Levister story
As Mexico City was the wiretap capital of the Western Hemisphere, it meant that Bill Harvey was still in the game in his last days at Staff D. Anita Potocki continued to reign as the queen of the Staff D files. Years later, after inquiries about a Staff D/NSA file on Oswald had been made and a Staff D Oswald biographic file had been spotted, she reported that Staff D had no file on Oswald. Staff D’s material went directly to the National Security Agency.
What was the role of Staff D at the Mexico City station? I think that they were one and the same. Goodpasture was a Staff D officer. This memo indicates Chief Win Scott was also Staff D. Available personnel fitness reports indicate that all the main officers stationed in Mexico City may have been working with Staff D. LIFEAT chief Tom Keenan was Staff D. So was David Phillips, head of the Western Hemisphere covert action and the Cuba section, as well as his deputy Robert Shaw. Also intercept station chief Charles Flick. Also the station photographer Robert Zambernardi. Charlotte Bustos, WH/3/Mexico, stationed at Headquarters, also answered to Staff D.
Some of the story recounted here is based on a report done by Paul Levister, a Staff D officer who was a wiretap expert. After his visit between September 22 and October 1, he wrote up a fifty page report on LIENVOY and LIFEAT.[ 100 ]
Levister’s boss was a Headquarters officer whose pseudonym was Thomas Urquhart, described as the “principal end user” of LIENVOY.[ 101 ] Urquhart was a Staff D officer, and was probably Staff D chief Alex MacMillan, who had served as Harvey’s deputy chief of Staff D before Harvey’s dethroning by the Kennedys. MacMillan was close to Harvey and one of the two CIA men who attended his funeral.[ 102 ] On at least one occasion, Urquhart came to the LIENVOY intercept center and monitored Cuban calls himself.
In late July, the word was that SAS wanted verbatim transcripts from the LIENVOY monitors handling the Cuban take, and that this request was simply too difficult for the monitors. On August 15, there was a report that Scott was working on a sensitive Cuban case that was still pending as of September 13 – the dates indicate that this was probably the attempt to recruit Azcue.
On September 20, right after the Azcue recruitment failed, the Mexico City station got a heads-up from Headquarters saying that Levister from FI/OPS would be visiting during the week of September 22 with the intent to study the “uniquely productive” LIENVOY and LIFEAT. The memo indicates hope of resolving unstated security problems that are arising with LIFEAT.[ 103 ]
A mundane but real problem was that there was no way to keep the tap routing line hidden when it was run from the terminal of the telephone cable to the basehouse itself, and telephone security people had removed all the excess telephone lines from the terminal.
Another security problem that cropped up stemmed from the retirement of LIFEUD-1 and how although he remained a part-time investigator, his new situation reduced his access to LIFEUD-16, an invaluable resource for the tapping of new target lines. Other problems included ongoing problems with telephone linemen and new construction in the area.
Levister wrote a first impressions memo to the chief of foreign intelligence upon his return on October 2, discussing how well the Mexico City station handled the take of LIENVOY and LIFEAT.[ 104 ] Did Levister have no idea of the concern emanating from the Mexico City station in the wake of the Oswald visits and calls?
The Staff D memos to the National Security Agency have disappeared from the record
The Mexico City station sent memos with coded
materials to the National Security Agency
during the time of the Oswald visit, but none
of these memos can be currently located.
A Warren Commission staffer suggested to Win Scott that the National Security Agency (NSA) might be able to break the codes of the cable traffic from the Soviet and Cuban Embassies “for the times when Oswald was in Mexico City, using as a key the fact that Oswald’s attempt to obtain a visa was probably communicated to Washington on Friday or Saturday, September 27 or 28. I assume the Warren Commission staffer was referring to Soviet, Cuban, and/or American codes. Scott replied that "all his office did with coded materials was to send them back to the National Security Agency in Washington in the form in which it obtained them. They felt that the code-breaking might be possible, however, and should be tried."
I understand Scott’s reply as an acknowledgement that memos that included coded materials were commonly sent from Mexico City to the NSA. Any such memos would have been sent by Staff D, which was the liaison to the NSA. I have seen no such memos to either Staff D or the NSA in the files.
I also understand from the above discussion that Scott was acknowledging that a memo to Washington about Oswald’s attempts to obtain a visa on September 27 and 28 was probably sent – and in a contemporaneous fashion. We have no record of any such memo being sent by Mexico City to anyone before the assassination. Nor do we have any record of any Staff D or NSA intercepts of Cuban or Soviet traffic between Mexico City and their respective capitals.
Most importantly, Scott seems to be admitting that there was a message to the NSA about Oswald on September 27 and/or September 28, while no such cable was sent to CIA headquarters!
I did a search for the documents sent by Mexico City to Staff D in the autumn of 1963. There are about eighteen of these dispatches. The HSCA realized that these dispatches were missing from the files. A hunt was conducted. Their present location is unknown.[ 105 ]
A 7/6/78 memo requested these missing Staff D dispatches as well as many others. The dispatch requests were included within #13 on the list. An internal memo asks “is IMS going to do this?” regarding item #13. (IMS was an analyst group.)
On 9/12/78, the CIA said that item #13 was available for review. But the eighteen documents directed to Staff D remained unretrievable, because no “file number” was assigned to them. The logical conclusion is that these dispatches received no “file number” precisely because they involve Staff D.
Finally, despite the specific requests of the Assassination Records Review Board, very few documents about the assassination have been provided by the NSA. The bulk of them were from their counsel’s office. While the CIA turned over hundreds of thousands of documents, the NSA flatly asserted that none of their intelligence documents contained anything of investigatory significance to the JFK assassination. Although the ARRB did a good job leaning on a variety of agencies, in this instance the Board protected NSA intercept data from disclosure.
In closing, we can see that Staff D’s work at the Mexico City station was one of the main pipelines for intelligence to the NSA in the Western Hemisphere. This was of critical importance to the intelligence community. If anyone had tried to reveal these operations in the wake of the assassination, there would have been a battle royal. I believe that the intelligence insiders who were part of the plan to kill Kennedy knew this, and counted on it.
This is best illustrated by the investigation conducted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Its chief counsel, Robert Blakey, was misled by the CIA so badly that he wrote years later: “Many have told me that the culture of the Agency is one of prevarication and dissimulation and that you cannot trust it or its people. Period. End of story. I am now in that camp.”
Because Blakey trusted the CIA, he spent most of his time doing some good work on the organized crime’s probable role in the assassination, but not enough time educating himself on the parallel role of certain intelligence officers. A letter written at the end of this two year investigation reveals that Mr. Blakey knew very little about Staff D – and when it came to CI/SIG, he didn’t even know its name.
1 The memos involving Oswald in Mexico City often use the indicator LCIMPROVE, which means “counter-espionage involving Soviet intelligence services worldwide”: The request for the definition of LCIMPROVE by government staffers to the CIA: “List of Names re Kennedy Assassination”, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 9/NARA Record Number: 104-10061-10115. The CIA’s response: Id., HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 9/NARA Record Number: 104-10061-10115.
2 LCIMPROVE is all over the memos addressing Oswald’s instant visa to enter the USSR: See Dispatch – REDCAP/LCIMPROVE – Procuring of Female Companionship for Gregoriy T. Golub, Memo from Chief of Station REDACTED to William Costille, 8/28/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10294.
Also see memo by William Costille, REDWOOD/REDSKIN/REDCAP/LCIMPROVE re Gregory Golub, containing two dates of 10/22/59 and 11/27/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/ NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10291.
It should be noted that in terms of sensitivity, KAPOK seems to be the highest level, then RYBAT, then EYES ONLY. Memorandum re Reclassification of Document, 9/12/62, NARA Record Number: 1994.05.19.09:45:56:280005.
One CIA officer claims that both KAPOK and RYBAT mean proscribed and limited in dissemination, with KAPOK simply being an older term. HSCA Interview of William F. Larson, 6/27/78, p. 65.
5 Jim Angleton himself told the Church Committee that Oswald’s redefection and return to the US should have been “the highest priority for the intelligence community”: Paul Wallach, Memorandum for the Record, re meeting with James Angleton on 10/3/75. Church Committee Boxed Files/NARA Record Number: 157-10014-10120.
7 The tap operations and the related surveillance took up the full time of two case officers at the station: Levister memo, page 52 of 55, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10276.
8 These listening posts were set up in homes because it made it easier for the operator to prevent sudden entry by phone company inspectors or repairmen: “Debriefing of David M. Wilsted”, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10053.
9 LIFEAT’s focus was mostly on targets’ homes, with a few embassy taps: One of these listening posts was set up at the home of Office of Technical Security technician Harvey Mulford. “MKC Base (NOC Harvey Mulford’s residence)”, date uncertain, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10025.
10 AQUATIC deployed a variety of intrusive techniques from the photo operations to opening mail to creating horrid smells that David Phillips referred to as “Who, Me?”: Operational Monthly Report, November 1963, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38/NARA Record Number: 104-10106-10222. Also see David Phillips, The Night Watch.
11 LIFEAT was able to access central telephone exchanges until 1963, when the company stepped up its control of personnel movements between and among these exchanges: Project LIFEAT Renewal, 1964-1965, p. 2, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10054.
12 During 1958, the more sophisticated and centralized LIENVOY tap operation was brought into play: “Intelligence Sources on Oswald’s Visit to Mexico City During 1963”, probable author Anne Goodpasture, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 36/NARA Record Number: 104-10103-10360.
This item provides the original location of the LIENVOY material; much of it may still be there.
14 Goodpasture opined that the DFS focused its attention on domestic political affairs: Anne Goodpasture, Mexico City Station History, p. 374. NARA Record Number: 104-10414-10124. (“national security” vis-à-vis “domestic political affairs”) “Intelligence to Sources on Oswald’s Visit to Mexico City in 1963”, p. 3. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 36/NARA Record Number: 104-10103-10359. (“hip-pocket”; “cruel and corrupt”)
15 The LIENVOY report for September 1963 shows just how worried the Mexico City station was about the DFS as their partner: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection/HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10083.
16 CIA HQ and Mexico City station agreed before the assassination that the LIENVOY intercept center needed to be moved because it was insecure: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10049.
As the above document shows, it’s hard to believe, but in the early 1970s the CIA referred to itself as “JKLANCE”, as a tip of the hat to John F. Kennedy and his Secret Service code name “Lancer”. I believe that the CIA adopted the name JKLANCE as a means of fending off the accusations that some of its officers were involved in the JFK assassinations, which began to heat up during the late sixties.
18 Goodpasture was assisted at LIFEAT by Tom Keenan, who was adept at several forms of surveillance: Tom Keenan, aka Jeremy Niarcos, was chief of LIEMPTY (visual and photosurveillance of Soviet embassy at three basehouses, access to the multi-line taps on LIFEAT, physical surveillance and mail surveillance of various targets throughout Mexico City). See LIEMPTY Progress Report, August-October 1964, NARA Record Number: 104-10414-10390; Crypts, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10029. Renewal of Project LIEMPTY for 1960, NARA Record Number: 104-10118-10334. Goodpasture, Mexico City Station History, p. 269, NARA Record Number: 104-10414-10124.
For more on Keenan, see Field Reassignment Questionnaire, 3/12/64, NARA Record Number: 104-10222-10009.
The outside case officer for LIFEAT was David M. Wilsted, known to indigenous agents as "Ingenerio Stanley". Wayne Draband was his assistant, with Liembrace-8 as the backup technician. Carol K. Zinsmeister was the backup processor/translator and former basehouse keeper, Olga Parkinik was the backup processor/translator. The program had approximately 22 field agents, including LIFEUD-22 and LIFEUD-23 who filmed the Cuban Embassy. LIFEUD-22 and LIFEUD-23 were also known as LIONION-1 and LIONION-2.
19 Goodpasture and Keenan found themselves delivering tapes in stealth, assuming "double and triple wingback positions" as they made their way to a secure location: Cover letter is written by J.C. King, C/WH to Mexico City chief Win Scott, 12/30/63, attached to a 12/30/63 Levister memorandum, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.
20 According to Goodpasture, LIENVOY was run by Charles Anderson from 1961 to 1962 and by Frank Estancona from 1962 to 1964: Goodpasture, “Background on Mexico City Station Assets”, February 1977, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10427-10044.
21 LIENVOY-2’s predecessor had been LIELEGANT, who Goodpasture described as putting the project through a shakedown during its initial four years: Copy 7 of a duplicate file entitled, “Goodpasture”: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 26/NARA Record Number: 104-10086-10399.
23 Philip Agee - a former CIA officer left the US in protest of its policies - thought that LIENVOY-2 was the President of Mexico, and he almost had it right: Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (Stonehill: New York, 1975), p. 613.
24 President Lopez told Scott that LIENVOY-2 - the DFS' field agent who answered to Flick - had just come up with the September 28 transcript: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection/HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47/NARA Record Number: 104-10132-10224. (LIENVOY-2 is explicitly cited). See also: Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10422-10149. (LITENSOR is explicitly cited – but magnification reveals that the “2” in LIENVOY-2 was blacked out.)
Was the "2" in LIENVOY a typo, caused by redacting and then unredacting sensitive words? Here's other versions referring to "LIENVOY 2", here, here, here. After review, I think I am reading it correctly.
HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10044. (4/4/63 memo - contact LIENVOY/2 in an emergency)
An example of LIENVOY work load for 1966 – can be extrapolated for 1963.
27 Technician Charles Flick aka Arnold Arehart was the sole American case officer for the LIENVOY intercept center. Supervising over thirty employees, he held the fort full-time from early in the morning until late at night: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (staff notes)/NARA Record Number: 180-10141-10217. Also “Request for Renewal for Project LIENVOY”, 1/16/63, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10045.
For the background showing that Arnold Arehart is the pseudonym for Charles Flick, see the index cards with numbers - the subject card file. These cards' numbers match the black notebook provided by the CIA. Arehart is #73 (Flick).
28 The first taps were done within the center of the telephone company…: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.
29 It was important to create tapes, as there was every chance that "in the hands of an inefficient and corrupt (transcriber) there was every chance that the substance of conversations was colored and distorted, unintentionally or by design.”: Levister memo, 16 of 56 pages. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.
30 In 1958, LIFEAT became its own project, and the remaining LIPSTICK portions were re-named as LIEMPTY: LIEMPTY was a new cryptonym for the LIPSTICK project. Goodpasture, Mexico City Station History, pp. 269-270.
31 Goodpasture’s duties included the handling and dissemination of the take from the three photo surveillance sites: LIFEAT tap and Soviet photographic take was obtained by Goodpasture, Deposition by Herbert Manell, 4/28/78, p. 4.
A memo in September 1964 says that Goodpasture would continue to analyze the finished take from the photo surveillance sites. Soviet data was provided to Frank Estancona and Tom Keenan. Cuban data went to John Brady.
32 Alvarez would do almost anything he was asked to do, and put an emphasis on photographic work: Anne Goodpasture, Mexico City Station History, p. 21. To understand the Alvarez/Gerende relationship, see the cards with numbers - subject card file. These cards' numbers match the black notebook provided by the CIA.
35 LICALLA, the third site, focused on the back garden within the compound and away from the entrances to the Soviet compound: NARA Record Number: 104-10103-10360. For an overview of LICALLA, see the map of the three photo bases trained on the Soviet compound.
36 The station claimed that LILYRIC was generally in operation between 0900 and 1500, and LIMITED between 1200 and 1800. The station gave itself wiggle room by saying that these hours could change: Summary of File Review, 10/31/78.
37 On the date of the visits by the man called Oswald, the last photo was taken at 1146, before any of his alleged visits to the Soviet compound: Soviet Photo Coverage from LIMITED Base, September-October 1963. NARA Record Number: 180-10143-10144. This matches the log and film records for September 27.
38 Oswald allegedly visited the Soviet embassy only once on Friday, between about 12:30-1:30 pm: Newman, p. 356, relying on Nechiporenko’s recollections.
39 Goodpasture testified to the HSCA that LILYRIC photographs was destroyed for space considerations, but she believed that the negatives were still in existence: Deposition of Anne Goodpasture, 11/20/78, p. 51.
40 A review of the Mexico City records indicates that the June-Dec 1963 LILYRIC photos were destroyed in 1967: Review of Mexico City Station Files at Records Center, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 26/NARA Record Number: 104-10086-10010.
41 A couple of LILYRIC photos from October 2, 1963 did survive, apparently due to FOIA requests made promptly after the Act went into effect in 1967.: “Chronology of documents released under FOIA”. Surviving documents were 935 927F and 935 927G. Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10414-10077.
42 Although the logs and contact prints from LILYRIC are missing, the negatives of the LILYRIC photos appear to be on file with the CIA: Goodpasture testimony, 4/13/78, pp. 47-51; Goodpasture Deposition, 11/20/78, pp. 50-51.
43 The HSCA believed that a CIA memo provided additional evidence that Headquarters had custody of the LILYRIC negatives: “Summary of File Review Conducted at CIA Headquarters on 10/31/78”, p. 1, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (staff notes)/NARA Record Number: 180-10143-10144.
Documents indicate that the file number for LILYRIC appears to be 050-006-074/06, with the title “()FACTOR/()ABSINTH formerly LIEMPTY/LILYRIC”. See memo by Anne Goodpasture, LA/M&CAM to Mexico City, 4/21/77, NARA Record Number: 104-10307-10037. Also see Records re Mexico City Photo Operations, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10023.
44 Records of these negatives, as well as other photos, tapes, and transcripts, can be found in this CIA chronology: CIA Documents re Transcripts/Tapes/Photos, 1963-1967, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10021.
45 The Cuban consulate had just reopened after a year of closure during the week before September 27: AQUATIC Photographic operation, Operational monthly report, September 1-30, 1963: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 38/NARA Record Number: 104-10107-10187 (unredacted version); 1994.08.10.16:49:04:850028 (redacted, within chronological file).
Here’s a summary of what appears to be AQUATIC reports.
46 A new camera for the Cuban consulate door was being set up and tested on the very day of Oswald’s visit: See above. Also see attached chronology: Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10027.
49 During this period, LIFEAT’s focus appeared to be sites of particularly strong counterintelligence interest: Memo re LIFEAT in the early sixties, CIA author unknown, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10050. Note that the LIENVOY intercept center was also referred to as an LP (listening post). Anne Goodpasture on one occasion refers to the LIENVOY intercept center as the basehouse listening post.
50 Both Goodpasture and Cuban case officer Bob Shaw remembered that LIFEAT tapped into certain lines within the Cuban compound during 1963: Deposition of Robert Shaw, 5/16/78, p. 20. NARA Record Number: 180-10110-10017. Shaw’s testimony was that “a mix” of the two tap operations was used at the Cuban compound.
51 Why are all the records of LIFEAT for the first eleven months of 1963 missing? A CIA officer wrote about these missing records: “What is going on?: “Photographic requisition/handwritten notes”, produced by Latin American Division Chris Hopkins, 2/25/77, LA Division Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10307-10055. The missing LIFEAT records are from December 1962 to 12/3/63, within file 50-6-32/7. Supposedly, the entire LIFEAT file can be found here, at HSCA Reel #24, #30165. The LIFEAT file itself should be at the National Archives.
53 The LIENVOY wiretap system was set up in early 1959: Mexico City Station History, p. 34. This is affirmed by Levister’s memo of 12/30/63, which states that LIENVOY had been in operation for about five years.
55 …The Mexicans make the connections in the exchanges and maintain the listening posts: Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, pp. 532, 613. Richard Helms also testified about a tap-sharing arrangement between the CIA and the Mexican government.
56 The Mexican monitors in the intercept center prepared the daily summaries: “Request for Renewal of LIENVOY Project”, 1/31/64, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10049.
57 Both the DFS and the high echelons of the FBI had access to LIENVOY: Rex Bradford, More Mexico Mysteries, Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Volume 7, Issue 4. This article refers to the following two documents: A telephone conversation between DCI John McCone and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 11/26/63, 11:20 am, and portions of the Ray Rocca deposition, 7/17/78, particularly pp. 277-278.
59 One monitor in particular was very good in isolating intelligence. He became the head monitor and office manager, answering directly to the civilian in charge. His command of English also made him very helpful: Levister memo, 12/30/63, page 23 of 55. NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10276.
60 Journalist Ron Kessler wrote that two of the Mexican monitors who handled the Oswald calls to the Soviet consulate commented to Flick that the caller had a hard time making himself understood in either English or Russian: Handwritten note re Kessler interview with Charles Flick, 11/30/76, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 35/NARA Record Number: 104-10095-10001. I suspect that these “monitors” may have actually been the CIA translator team of Boris and Anna Tarasoff, discussed in the next chapter.
61 We do have a complete, unredacted listing of the LIENVOY taps during June 1963: Memo from Mexico City Station chief Win Scott to Chief, Western Hemisphere J.C. King, “Monthly Operational Report for Project LIENVOY”, June 1963. Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10072.
The DFS lines that were tapped were 46-11-30 and 46-09-50. It appears that these taps were shut off on 9-18-63, and maybe in anticipation of Levister’s visit. Is it possible that any Cuban taps were removed on or about Sept 23 for the same reason? Levister arrived on September 22.
63 14-92-14 - Teresa Proenza’s line (cultural attaché) - this may have been her living quarters: Re April 16 1963 (tap on Judith Ferretto's phone re ZRKNICK): “TP’s phone is 14-92-14”. NARA Record Number: 104-10073-10342.
64 25-09-14 - Commercial office used by Luisa Calderon (commercial attaché): 25-09-14 M24, L24 Polished English (1317-1344) Transcripts from Cuban Embassy and Cubana Airlines, 11/22/63, NARA Record Number: 104-10404-10426.
25-09-14 M24 L24 Spanish (1556-1638) Nico, et al. are here. Telephone Transcripts, 11/22/63, NARA Record Number: 104-10015-10193.
25-09-14 C.M24 Spanish (1730) Calderon knew almost before Kennedy...
25-09-14 C.M24 Spanish,(1730) Another version of C. knew almost before Kennedy...
25-09-14 M24 L24, Spanish, (1556-1638)
no phone C.M24 Spanish (1810) reference to Concepcion, not in English.
65 14-13-26 - Chancery line used by Teresa Proenza (cultural attaché): Transcript of phone call from Soviet consulate to Cuban consulate about Oswald, 9/27/63: Duran told Soviet officer on September 27 that Proenza's phone is 14-13-26. NARA Record Number: 104-10086-10013.
66 The chancery and consulate lines were the ones for foreigners to call. Of those lines, only Proenza’s line - 14-13-26 - had a LIENVOY tap during the Oswald visit to Mexico City: Win Scott, Chief, Mexico City to J.C. King, C/WH, Monthly Operational Report, 10/8/63, NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10083.
67 The only other operative LIENVOY taps during the Oswald visit were on the ambassador’s private line – 14-42-37, and the Commercial Office - 25-09-14, used by Luisa Calderon: Lopez Report, p. 57. For whatever reason, Calderon’s line was not listed on many of the monthly reports. I did see Calderon’s line listed on the August 1963 LIENVOY report.
68 A CIA officer testified that AMOTs were brought into listening posts in the Western Hemisphere to work as monitors: Deposition of William Sturbitts, 4/16/75, p. 71, NARA Record Number: 157-10011-10083. I am convinced from the context, the number of letters, and the fact that the AMOTs were being dissolved at the time of the deposition that “AMOTs” is the phrase used by Sturbitts in this deposition.
69 Here are the tapped lines at the Soviet compound during September 1963: Monthly Operational Report, September 1963, Project LIENVOY, p. 2, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10083.
70 15-12-64 (Soviet film representative – residence and home of suspect GRU officer Vladimir Obrubov, who distributed Soviet commercial films in Mexico): Request for LIENVOY Project Renewal, 1/11/65, p. 6, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10208.
71 …The monitors knew the voices of the targets and their correspondents: Levister memo, 12/30/63, page 26 of 56, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.
72 Each unit that listened to the take on each wire was composed of a "held dial" recorder and an Ampex 601 tape recorder…: Report of Paul Levister, 12/30/63, page 29 of 56, NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447. (cleaning and maintenance)
HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10049. (technical equipment in repair)
73 Goodpasture would process the take between 8-9 am, and have any items of unusual significance on Scott’s desk by nine: Levister Report, page 38 of 56, 12/30/63, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.
Id., p. 39. (“highlights report, transcripts, and translations”),
Fitness Report for Ann L. Goodpasture, reporting period January-December 1963, NARA Record Number: 104-10118-10428. (“processes take”)
74 Bob Shaw said that if you read two pages of resuma you would have the gist of many pages of tap: Deposition of Robert Shaw, pp. 20-21, 5/16/78. HSCA Security Classified Testimony/NARA Record Number: 180-10110-10017.
76 Each year, the station would prepare 150 memoranda for the State Department and 75 for the FBI, based on information obtained from the phone taps: Levister memo, 12/30/63, p. 49 of 55. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10276.
77 The Russian tapes were transcribed by other contract agents not directly affiliated with the LIENVOY site: Anne Goodpasture, Mexico City Station History, p. 413. NARA Record Number: 104-10414-10124.
78 Two lines were in the home of its "guiding spirit", which was the former Mexican president, the pro-Communist Lazaro Cardenas: Monthly Operational Report, Project LIENVOY, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6/NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10083. (“spiritual leader”)
79 As Elena Vasquez worked for Cardenas and had a romantic relationship with Teresa Proenza, she also got LIENVOY coverage: Dispatch, Win Scott to Chief, WH Branch, 8/31/62, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10051. The phone number for Vasquez was 25-07-77.
80 When adding in two other lines of MLN members and the two Cuban lines, altogether these nine target lines made up 80% of the LIENVOY production: Levister report, 12/30/63, page 43 of 56, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447.
81 Like LIENVOY, LIFEAT snooped mostly on people on the left. The phone calls made by FDR-style former president of Guatemala, Juan Jose Arevalo – referred to as the "Latin American exile" – accounted for 60% of the LIFEAT production: Levister report, 12/30/63, page 44 of 56, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10447. Also see Report re LIFEAT, author unknown, 7/8/63, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10034.
82 This harassment included agent “Oliver Scantling” aka Juan Nepomuseno Frias Ramirez mailing "poisoned" candy to Arevalo's family (which included five children) as he campaigned for a second chance to serve as president while in exile in Mexico City: Memo from Win Scott to Chief of Operations, DDP, Renewal request for Project LIEMPTY, 1/8/60, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 28/NARA Record Number: 104-10088-10328.
Oliver Scantling’s real name is Juan Nepomuseno Frias Ramirez: List of Names re Kennedy Assassination Investigation, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 9/NARA Record Number: 104-10061-10115. Note the “t” (true) name alongside the “p” (pseudo) name. It’s not impossible, however, that “Nepomuseno” was simply another alias.
83 One key project was focused on the corporation Transcontinental S.A. in Mexico City, engaged in bringing black market vehicles from the United States into Cuba…: Project LIFEAT, Project Review (Parts 1 and 2), 6/1/63, pp. 2 and 5, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10052.
84 During 1962, Cortez had worked alongside Dimas Figueredo (pseudonym AMSUPER-1): GYROSE was a routing indicator for Task Force W. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 40/NARA Record Number: 104-10110-10739.
85 It made Oswald feel important, just to be on the fringes of something as exciting as foreign trade: Robert Oswald, A Portrait of Lee (Coward-McCann, 1967) p. 74.
86 This group included many left luminaries such as Hollywood 10 members Dalton Trumbo and Albert Maltz, who had come to Mexico during the height of the McCarthy era in the fifties: Project Review and Project Outline (Parts 1 and 2) re LIFEAT, p. 3, 6/1/63, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10052.
88 The world of counterintelligence is revealed in LIFEAT’s monitoring of subjects of ZRKNICK interest, which included a tap on the home of Cuban commercial attaché Luisa Calderon: LIFEAT Progress Report, July 1963, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10294; also see LIFEA Progress Report, August-October 1963, NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10293.
Also see that on 11/9/63, a specific type of wiretap surveillance was conducted on the home phone of the Cuban commercial attache (HMMW-22536). This is almost certainly Luisa Calderon, whose office line was covered by LIENVOY. See reference to this in the Lopez Report, footnote 188, page 14 of footnotes.
HMMW-22536 mentions that "the product...is of interest to Special Affairs Staff and JMWAVE" and that coverage of a home phone of a Cuban official was done to support the sensitive AMROD operation. A more redacted version is part of a file of Mexico City dispatches. For more on AMROD, see this memo referring to “the Proenza case”.
89 … One can assume that this clue was planted by conspirators who knew that the CIA response would be to suppress the truth: Peter Dale Scott, “Overview: The CIA, Drug Traffic and Oswald in Mexico", Dec. 2000.
90 Although the originating tap system for these calls are redacted, the “redaction number” indicates that they all came from the same source. LA Division Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10307-10046.
91 According to Alan Belmont, the number three man at the FBI, the voice said to be Oswald's was reportedly not that of the Dallas Lee Harvey Oswald. Belmont’s source was Gordon Shanklin, the chief of the Dallas FBI office, who was relying on the reports of his own agents who had spoken with Oswald in the past: See the Lopez Report summary on Belmont’s discussion with the Dallas FBI office, amendment to footnote 614 to the Lopez Report.
To read the entire letter from Alan Belmont to Clyde Tolson, 9:15 am, 11/23/63, go to the John Armstrong site at the Poage Library, and look up pages 38-39.
The key language is this: "Shanklin said that from an initial examination of the photograph of the individual who visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City on October [sic] 1963, this individual does not appear to be Oswald, as he looks to be older, heavier, and with more hair. Also the Agents who have talked to Oswald have listened to the tape provided by CIA of the call allegedly made by Oswald to the Soviet Embassy, and they do not think the individual is Oswald, as his voice is different, and he spoke in broken English."
94 Curiously, Ambassador Thomas Mann, the titular State Department chief in Mexico, was said to be the only non-CIA US personnel in Mexico who knew about LIENVOY: LIENVOY Project Renewal, 4/4/63. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10044.
95 The October LIENVOY report does mention that "MEXI-6453 reported a (October 1) contact by an English-speaking man with the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. This was forwarded to Headquarters for further dissemination”: “Monthly Operational Report for Project LIENVOY”, 11/7/63, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 32/NARA Record Number: 104-10098-10230.
96 The CIA had a pre-existing agreement for “special dissemination” to the FBI of American citizens who contacted the Cuban embassy, the Soviet embassy, or American Communists in Mexico: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10049.
97 During 1963, the FBI processed the take on American Communists in Mexico: LIFEAT Progress Report, April-June 1963. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10040.
98 …the Agents who have talked to Oswald have listened to the tape provided by the CIA of the call allegedly made by Oswald to the Soviet Embassy, and they do not think that the individual was Oswald, as his voice is different and he spoke in broken English: Memo from Alan Belmont to Clyde Tolson, 11/23/63; go to the John Armstrong site at the Poage Library, and look up pages 38-39. See endnote 85, above.
99 In the words of Jack Whitten, the CIA’s first JFK assassination investigator: "No source then at our disposal had ever actually seen Lee Oswald while he was in Mexico.": John Whitten, “First Draft of Initial Report on GPFLOOR Case”, circa 12/20/63, NARA Record Number: 104-10019-10021.
100 Some of the story recounted here is based on a report done by Paul Levister, a Staff D officer who was a wiretap expert. After his visit between September 22 and October 1, he wrote up a fifty page report on LIENVOY and LIFEAT: Monthly Operational Report, Project LIENVOY, September 1963, p. 4, NARA Record Number: 104-10052-10083. (visit between Sept 22 and Oct 1); Paul Levister, Report by KUTUBE/Ops, 12/30/63, NARA No. 104-10188-10447.
Although I am uncertain, I believe Levister (who was described as a Headquarters technician) may have been an analyst named Walter Jessel.
Goodpasture wrote that deputy chief FI Ronald “Alex” MacMillan asked Jessel to come to Mexico City to observe what Macmillan considered to be the finest technical surveillance operations in the agency. As stated earlier, I believe that Alex MacMillan was Thomas Urquhart. Alex MacMillan was one of the only two CIA men to attend Bill Harvey’s funeral.
In 1963, Macmillan moved up from deputy chief of FI/D to chief after Harvey stepped down. I am not certain whether Goodpasture is referring to Levister’s September 1963 visit or an earlier visit.
Jessell was described as an officer in OPC's Eastern European division, who studied the operations of a number of early fabricators and wrote a paper describing their methods, after which most egregious errors of naivete were avoided. He organized a file retrieval system to make sense of chaos. After Jessell left for IBM during the 1960s, a system called WALNUT was created which was allegedly very effective. See Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets, p. 42; also see Richard Helms, A Look Over My Shoulder, p. 97-99 (re the Austria-Hungary chief of station).
102 Urquhart was a Staff D officer, and was probably Staff D chief Alex MacMillan, who had served as Harvey’s deputy chief of Staff D before Harvey’s dethroning by the Kennedys. MacMillan was close to Harvey and one of the two CIA men who attended his funeral: Bayard Stockton, Flawed Patriot, p. 302.
103 Levister wrote a first impressions memo to the chief of foreign intelligence upon his return on October 2, discussing how well the Mexico City station handled the take of LIENVOY and LIFEAT: Memo from Chief, WH Division to Chief, Mexico City, re LIFEAT, 9/20/63, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 23: LIENVOY, LIFEAT, LIONION)/NARA Record Number: 104-10188-10038. On LIFEAT security problems, also see HMMW-11843 and HMMA-22115.
104 Levister wrote a first impressions memo to the chief of foreign intelligence upon his return on October 2, discussing how well the Mexico City station handled the take of LIENVOY and LIFEAT: Memorandum for Chief, Foreign Intelligence from Paul Levister, 10/2/63, Russ Holmes Work File/NARA Record Number: 104-10413-10035. Note that Levister’s initials on this memo were "gc”.
105 Most of the missing dispatches from Mexico City to Staff D in fall of 63 were apparently located by the CIA, but it is hard to determine where these documents are now. About 18 dispatches or their attachments were missing:
Here's a typed up list by CIA or HSCA noting the files "sent to FI-D" missing from HMMA series.
22305, 22338, 22339, 22344, 22350, 22351, 22363, 22394, 22413, 24424, 22443, 22461, 22466, 22491, 22494, 22501, 22525, 22526.
Here’s a dispatch list from 10/31 to 11/26 showing what documents are missing… most of these are FI-D docs.
10/17/63 HMMA-22305. This dispatch to Staff D survived, don't know where the attachments are. HMMA-22305 was CIRCLED as missing along with HMMA-22293, which actually is there, but HMMA-22394 about 201-178122 is not – 201-178122 is Manuel Calvillo. HMMA-22293 is apparently a CIRCLING error.
10/29/63 HMMA 22338, 22339 – dispatches to STAFF D - CIRCLED as missing - both these files are reported missing by the HSCA. A review of the Mexico dispatch files affirms that HMMA 22338-22339 are missing:
Compare HMMA 22337 (page 75 of dispatches) and HMMA 22340 (page 76 of dispatches)
A review of the Mexico dispatch files affirms that these four files are missing. Compare HMMA 22349 (page 88 of dispatches), HMMA 22352 (page 89 of dispatches), and gap of missing numbers to HMMA 22372 (page 90 of dispatches)
These listings include correspondence venues referred to as HMYA and HMMS, as well as the Mexico City correspondence with HQ known as HMMW and HMMA.
11/7/63 Staff D - mexico city memos missing from files HMMA-22418 AND hmma-22424, both CIRCLED as missing, both Staff D documents.
A review of the Mexico dispatch files affirms that these two files are missing.
Reported missing on list: HMMA-22418 AND HMMA-22424.
HMMA 22442, HMMA 22443, HMMA 22444 - first memo is Mexico City’s LIEMBRACE operation, other two memos are Staff D - all CIRCLED as missing.
A review of the Mexico City files affirms that the following files are missing:
Compare HMMA 22524 (page 181 of dispatches) and HMMA 22527 (page 182 of dispatches). HMMA 22525 and HMMA 22526 are missing, both are transmissions to Staff D, sent on November 22, 1963. Note that the list of documents “sent to FI/D” and created by the CIA is in error, dating the above documents as December 2, 1963, not November 22, 1963.
11/8/63-11/11/63 HMMA 22461, HMM1 22466, HMM1 22469.