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Uncovering Popov's Mole

Uncovering Popov's Mole: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume IV

by John Newman
Independently published, 2022

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The fourth volume in author John Newman's groundbreaking series on the assassination of President Kennedy is now available. Uncovering Popov's Mole was, according to the author, an unexpected detour into the "wilderness of mirrors" of the CIA's hunt for a KGB mole within its own ranks. Newman delves into important new information on this spy-vs-spy world, and updates our view of Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, who in 1964 was dispatched to the US to deliver the comforting-if-only-it-was-true message that the KBG had no interest in accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald during his time in Minsk.

Ultimately, Newman lays out the evidence for his belief that he has indeed found the long sought-after mole within the CIA. He further ties this analysis into the Agency's handling of Oswald's defection, and includes explosive new allegations about Oswald and the KGB. The book couples these revelations with detailed discussion of nuclear policy at the height of the Cold War -- and puts a frightening tinge on the U.S. military's promotion of a secret plan to launch a nuclear first strike on the USSR, timed for the fall of 1963. "I wonder if the missiles are flying," LBJ is said to have wondered aboard Air Force One on the flight from Dallas back to Washington.

Building on three previous volumes with more to come, Newman is in his element dissecting a broad swath of government documents to shed more light on one of the most perilous times in our history.

Key Documents

Uncovering Popov's Mole makes reference to many documents in the JFK Collection -- here are a few key ones that merit special attention:

Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald: Counterintelligence Information Report. Former KGB officer Viktor Papushin told the CIA in 1990 that Oswald was considered an agent of the KGB while in Minsk. See also this FBI document which describes Papushin's background.

The Examination of the Bona Fides of a KGB Defector. Yuri Nosenko, who defected from the Soviet Union in 1964 bringing the message that the KGB had no interest in Oswald, stirred great conflict in the CIA over his "bona fides." While the Agency took the politically safer route of believing Nosenko, this internal CIA Counterintelligence Staff study begged to differ.

CIA interrogation of Anatoly Golitsyn. The Soviet defector Golitsyn was one of two prominent Soviet defectors who told the CIA that a KGB mole was in their midst (the other was Pyotor Popov). Golitsyn also thought Nosenko was a false defector.

"Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba", aka "Operation Northwoods". The book's thesis is NOT that the KGB was involved in the Kennedy assassination; rather that Soviet fear of being accused of the same drove their reaction, as indeed fear of WWIII drove the formation of the Warren Commission to rubber-stamp the "lone nut" verdict. The book also discusses in some depth the crisis within the Kennedy administration over SIOP - the inherited plan to wipe out Russia and China with nukes in the event of any conflict. Cuba was among the hottest of the Cold War hotspots; Northwoods was the Joint Chiefs' plan to implement false terrorist attacks on U.S. targets which could be blamed on Cuba in order to justify a U.S. invasion of the island. When later in 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis presented an actual justification to invade, military leaders were aghast that Kennedy did not choose that option.

Follow the Footnotes For a Deeper Dive

Uncovering Popov's Mole has abundant references to documents from the JFK Collection. Many of them are presented here as an aid to the interested reader of the book. As you read and come across an interesting footnote and you want to see the document for yourself, just find it in this list and click.


Chapter Two: False Defectors in a False Molehunt - Links to the Death of JFK

Pg 42, fn 82. CIA Operational Files on Tennent "Pete" Begley, pp. 154-159: 104-10222-10038.

Pg 45, fn 87. 4/9/75, Rockefeller Commission interview (by David Belin) of Colonel Sheffield Edwards, p. 2: 178-10002-10317.

Pg 45, fn 90. 12/17/59, M.D. Stevens (RB/SRS/OS) memo to Bruce L. Solie (C/RB/SRS/OS), Subject Victor Kamkin: 104-10021-10048.

Pg 47, fn 94. CIA Response to HSCA Request: 104-10051-10167 (also fn 96).

Pg 48, fn 98. The original CIA document 592-252B, appears to have been changed, with "Mr. Papich" having been whited out and the unfamiliar initials "RBI" placed in the space; see RIF 180-10092-10380. The real document with Papich's name was released in 1993 in the CIA's 201 file on Oswald. That it was Papich who made the "oral" request to CIA's Counterintelligence Liaison element is recorded in the CIA released documents list; see RIF 1993.08.04.08:23:11:180053 [MFF Note: see document 595-252B in 1993.08.09.13:10:00:340064, which does include Papich's name].

Pg 48, fn 99. 11/2/59 and 11/4/59, SRS notes on Papich's call and the SRS response; RIF 1993.07.16.18:27:58:960310. Malcolm Blunt observes, "NB: Solie's name is not on this document but it is clearly his handwriting."

Pg 49, fn 101. 11/2/59, CI/LSN Note stating that SRS/OS replied that they had no record of Oswald's defection: 104-10051-10167 (also pg 51, fn 105).

Pg 52, fn 108. Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, p. 701.

Pg 52, fn 109. WC, CE 932 (also pg 53, fn 112).

Pg 52, fn 110. WC, CE 931.

Pg 52, fn 111. WC, CE 933.

Pg 53, fn 113. 1/25/64, Draft Chronology of Oswald in the USSR: October 1959-June 1962; NARA, JFK Files, CIA DDO201 File on Oswald, boxes 1 and 2; CIA document XAAZ-222409.

Pg 53, fn 114. WC, CE 950, "Report of the Department of State: Lee Harvey Oswald."

Pg 54, fn 115. WC, Vol. XXII, pp. 772-775.


Chapter Three: The Discovery of Oswald's Secret Episode in Minsk

Pg 59, fn 118. 00/00, HSCA Report on "Oswald, Lee, Russian Period"; RIF 180-10141-10489 (also pg 61, fn 123).

Pg 60, fn 122. 7/25/64, WC Hearings, Vol. XI, Testimony of Priscilla Mary Post Johnson, p. 451.

Pg 62, fn 125. 12/1/89, FLASH RUN, FBI HQ File 105-377908.

Pg 63, fn 128. 11/29/1990, CIA SECRET NOFORN NOCONTRACT ORCON Counterintelligence Information Report; Source: A former KGB officer (Papushin); DOI: 1981-1989; Subject Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald; Country: USSR; RIF 104-10014-10056. NB: The Date of Information (DOI) reveals that Papushin defected to CIA in 1981 and retired in 1989.

Pg 64, fn 131. 12/15/91, CIA nemo from Acting Chief, Soviet/European to CIA Deputy Director for Operations, Subject: Soviet Volunteer Allegations Re Oswald Involvement in the Kennedy Assassination; RIF 104-10151-10206. NOTE: This memo is an attachment to 4/28/92, CIA Routing and Transmittal Slip from CIA OSG/CFG TO MPG/ALB, ATTN: John G.; RIF 104-10151-10206.

Pg 65, fn 133. 9/12/98, ARRB CIA memo from Michelle Combs, Associate Director for Research and Review, to Laura Denk, ARRB Executive Director, CC Bob Sqwirot, ARRB CIA Team Leader, Subject: CIA-IR-35 Source Identified in RIF 104-10151-10206; RIF 104-10336-10034. NB: This memo was an attachment to 9/17/98, ARRB memo from J. Barry Harrelson, JFK Project Officer, HRP/OIM, to Laura Denk, ARRB Executive Director, Subject: CIA-IR-35, Source Identified in RIF number 104-10151-10206 (also pg 67 fn 137, 138).

Pg 66, fn 134. 8/6/98 Chief of CIA Information Review Group Lee S. Strickland, Memo to Executive Director, ARRB (Denk); attachment to RIF 104-10336-10034.

Pg 66, fn 136. 8/6/98 CIA Talking Points re Protection of "IJDECANTER" Cryptonym Before the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

Pg 68 fn 141. 1/23/90, FLASH RUN Debriefing Reports, from D.G. Major to D.E. Stuckey II; Title: CR 104-379908-75,76, released on 14 November 2017; RIF 124-10193-10031 (also pg 70 fn 144, pg 72 fn 148).

Pg 72 fn 149. 11/29/90, CIA Counterintelligence Information Report: Country: USSR; Subject: Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald; Date of Information: 1981-1989; Source: A former KGB officer; RIF 104-10014-10056 (also pg 73 fn 151, pg 75 fn 160).

Pg 73 fn 150. 3/4/64, FBI Letterhead Memorandum, Lee Harvey Oswald; second document in RIF 104-10429-10132, DBA 62724.

Pg 73 fn 152. 2/15/90 IJDECANTER Raw Report No. 17, DOI 1989; RIF 104-10014-10059.

Pg 73 fn 153. 1/00/90, 29-page annex to FBI debrief files on FLASH RUN; RIFs 124-10193-10031 and 124-10093-10032. NB researchers: You will need to use document identification number 32989481 in the 2017 JFK files release to access this annex (also pg 74 fn 156, 157).

Pg 74 fn 155. 2/7/90, IJDECANTER debriefing, Subject: KGB Higher School in Minsk--Part II; RIF 104-10014-10058 (also pg 75 fn 158).

Pg 74 fn 159. 2/15/90 IJDECANTER Raw Report No. 21, DOI 1989; RIF 104-10014-10060.

Pg 78 fn 165. 2/27/90 CIA Transcript of IJDECANTER Debrief; RIF 104-10014-10061.


Chapter Five: Eisenhower's Increasing Dependence on Nuclear Bombs

Pg 112 fn 241, 242. 7/9/60, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-60 volume VI, Cuba, Document 549, Editorial Note.

Pg 112, fn 243. 7/15/60, Address of Senator John F. Kennedy Accepting the Democratic Party Nomination for the Presidency of the United States, Los Angles, California, jfklibrary.org.


Chapter Six: Constraints on Nuclear Policy in the Kennedy Administration

Pg 119 fn 256. 11/3/60, Bay of Pigs Official History, Vol III, "Minutes of Special Group Meeting"; RIF 104-10301-10004.

Pg 148 fn 347. 7/25/61, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis, https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/berlin-crisis-19610725 (also pg 152 fn 364).


Chapter Seven: The Murders of JFK and Oswald and Yuri Nosenko's 1964 Defection to America

Pg 160 fn 372, 2-00-1968, CIA CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 303; 104-10150-10136. Hereafter referred to as CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides.

Pg 163 fn 378, 2-00-1968, CIA CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 304; 104-10150-10136.

Pg 164 fn 383. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn, 7-8.

Pg 166 fn 385. 3-4-64, FBI LHM, Lee Harvey Oswald, DBA-62724, p. 7; RIF 104-10429-10132. [MFF Note: the particular quote referenced in the book comes from a 3/6/64 FBI LHM in this same document] (also pg 167 fn 387, 388).

Pg 167 fn 389. 11/29/90, CIA Counterintelligence Information Report: Country: USSR; Subject: Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald; Date of Information: 1981-1989; Source: A former KGB officer; RIF 104-10014-10056

Pg 168 fn 392. 4/28/66, FBI NY SAC Airtel to Dir; KGB Employees at N.Y. Rezidency On "Lookout" For Yuri Nosenko at Performances of the Bolshoi Ballet in NYC; 124-90153-10052 (also pg 181 fn 414, 416 and pg 182 fn 417).

Pg 169 fn 393, 2-00-1968, CIA CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 5; 104-10150-10136.

Pg 171 fn 398. 3/4/64, FBI Memorandum to Director CIA, Subject: Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko--Espionage--Russia; RIF 104-10429-10132. Note: Hoover's cover memo was accompanied by two Letterhead Memoranda (LHM), one dated 2/23/64 and the other dated 3/4/64. The above inset is from the 2/23/63 LHM, p. 4.

Pg 171 fn 399. 12/1/66. FBI memorandum, Hoover to Special Assistant to the President, Marvin Watson, with enclosures, p. 1; RIF 178-10003-10131 (also pg 172 fn 401).

Pg 174 fn 403, 2-00-1968, CIA CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, pp. 205-225; 104-10150-10136. I located pieces of these sections that are less redacted or without redactions, retyped them in Microsoft Word, and rearranged the order.

Pg 179 fn 405-409. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, Annex A; p. 387, RIF 104-10210-10021.

Pg 182 fn 418. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, Annex A; p. 391, RIF 104-10210-10021.


Chapter Eight: The Most Important Ghost of the Spy Wars and the Kitty Hawk Venus Fly Trap

Pg 189 fn 429. 12/00/65, "Leonard McCoy's Review of Nosenko's Case"; RIF 104-10095-10151, Part A.

Pg 193 fn 442. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 46; 104-10150-10136.

Pg 200 fn 460. Those facts had surfaced during the 29 June 1964 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn, and were shared with the FBI on 16 July 1964; RIF 124-10333-10009.

Pg 213 fn 497. 10/25/66, Murphy Memorandum for the DCI, Subject: Yuri I. Nosenko; RIF 104-10534-10120.

Pg 214 fn 498. 12/00/65, Leonard McCoy, DC/SB/RR, "The Clandestine Effort Against the USSR"; RIF 104-10095-10151, Part B.

Pg 214 fn 499. 4/27/67, McCoy MFR, "Resolution of the Nosenko Problem"; RIF 104-10095-10151, Part C.

Pg 214 fn 500. 4/28/67, McCoy MFR, "Meeting with the Chief/Soviet Bloc, [Murphy] on the Nosenko paper; 104-10095-10151, Part D.


Chapter Nine: Revising Nosenko's Script for the Geneva Provocation

Pg 225 fn 511. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 278; 104-10150-10136.

Pg 226 fn 515. 7/16/64, FBI Cover Memorandum for 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 2-7; RIF 124-10333-10009; hereafter referred to as 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn (also pg 227 fn 516, 517).

Pg 229 fn 520. CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 160-220; 104-10150-10136.

Pg 231 fn 523. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; pp 4-12 and 4-13; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 235 fn 531, 532 and pg 236 fn 533-534).

Pg 236 fn 535. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 6-11; RIF 124-10333-10009.

Pg 236 fn 536. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; pp. 7-6, 7-7; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 237 fn 537 and pg 238 fn 242).

Pg 237 fn 537, 538, 541. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 2-4; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 238 fn 543,544 and pg 239 fn 545-547 and pg 240 fn 548).

Pg 240 fn 549. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 5-13 and 14; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 244 fn 562, 563).

Pg 240 fn 550. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 6-3; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 241 fn 552 anad pg 249 fn 575-577).

Pg 242 fn 553. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 3-3; RIF 124-10333-10009 [MFF Note: a 2017 version has only selected pages but provides a less redacted copy of this passage] (also pg 242 fn 553 and pg 245 fn 564-566 and pg 246 fn 568, 569 and pg 247 fn 570).

Pg 248 fn 574. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, pp. 105, and 282-286.

Pg 250 fn 578-581. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 281.

Pg 251 fn 582-573. Ibid., p. 318.


Chapter Ten: Kondrashev and Agayants--and Gribanov's 1962 Deception Plan for Geneva, Switzerland

Pg 258 fn 597. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 2-10; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 261 fn 605, 606).

Pg 258 fn 598. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 7-8; RIF 124-10333-10009.

Pg 258 fn 600. 4/28/66, FBI NY SAC Airtel to Dir; KGB Employees at N.Y. Rezidency On "Lookout" For Yuri Nosenko at Performances of the Bolshoi Ballet in NYC; 124-90153-10052. The KGB sent some of the "IDOL's" (Nosenko's codename) "girlfriends" with the Bolshoi Ballet to draw out Nosenko to capture and possibly kill him. According to the informant, Nosenko used to introduce some of his "girlfriends" to Gribanov and Tarabian--a HQS officer and close associate of Gribanov. The KGB planned to "kidnap Nosenko and bring him to the Soviet Mission building in NYC or to the Soviet estate at Oyster Bay." "If that was not possible, KGB personnel present would be obliged to take every possible step to 'kill' Nosenko."

Pg 262 fn 607. 10/24/66, Attachment to 10/25/66, Memorandum to Director of Central Intelligence from David E. Murphy, Chief, Soviet Bloc Division, Subject: Yuri I. Nosenko; RIF 104-10534-10120 (also pg 268 fn 618, 619).

Pg 262 fn 608. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 286-87 (also pg 263 fn 609).

Pg 267 fn 617. CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 160-220; 104-10150-10136.

Pg 269 fn 620, 621. 4/28/66, FBI NY SAC Airtel to Dir; KGB Employees at N.Y. Rezidency On "Lookout" For Yuri Nosenko at Performances of the Bolshoi Ballet in NYC; 124-90153-10052.

Pg 269 fn 622. 2/00/66, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, Annex A; p. 391, RIF 104-10210-10021.


Chapter Eleven: Edward Ellis Smith, Anatoly Golitsyn and the KGB Mole in the CIA

Pg 276 fn 635. See Chapter Nine. With respect to that important detail, Golitsyn told Murphy, "I don't have information." 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; pp 4-12 and 4-13.

Pg 279 fn 647. CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 33.

Pg 280 fn 651. 6-26-56, travel clearance for James McCord, for 27 July-14 August; RIF 104-10124-10047; see also the Travel Order, RIF 104-10124-10048.

Pg 281 fn 653. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 2-6; RIF 124-10333-10009 (also pg 282 fn 654).

Pg 281 fn 654. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 4-3 (also pg 287 fn 667).

Pg 281 fn 655. Ibid., pp. 3-13 and 3-14 (also pg 283 fn 657, 658).

Pg 286 fn 664. 10/25/66, Memo with attachment for DCI from David E. Murphy, Chief, Soviet Bloc Division, pp. 2-4 to 2-10; RIF 104-10534-10120.

Pg 293 fn 678. CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 30-31.


Chapter Twelve: The French Connection and Bruce Solie's Two Trips to Paris and Geneva in 1962

Pg 301 fn 692. 3/13/62, "Northwoods" documents; RIF 202-10002-10104. NB: On 18 November 1997, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released an unredacted version of these documents. See also 3/14/62, "Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba"; RIF 202-10002-10104.

Pg 302 fn 694. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 2-12 to 2-13 (also pg 303 fn 696).

Pg 302 fn 695. Ibid;, p. 4-17.

Pg 303 fn 697. CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 278.

Pg 304 fn 701. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 6-2 (also pg 305 fn 703, 705).

Pg 306 fn 706, 707. 2/00/68, CI/Staff Study, Nosenko's Bona Fides, p. 281.


Chapter Fourteen: The Battle Between Angleton and Golitsyn Over Working With Bruce Solie

Pg 343 fn 769. 6/29/64, CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; RIF 124-10333-10009. Hereafter referred to as 6/29/64 CIA's interrogation of Golitsyn; pp. 3-13 to 3-14 (also pg 351 fn 781, 782 and pg 354 fn 786, 787 and pg 360 fn 799, 800 and pg 361 fn 801, 802, 804 and pg 361 fn 805-807 and pg 362 fn 808).

Pg 348, fn 778. CIA Response to HSCA Request; RIF 104-10051-10167.

Pg 349 fn 779. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 4-3 (also pg 356 fn 789, 791 and pg 357 fn 357-359 and pg 358 fn 795, 796).

Pg 350 fn 780. 7/16/64, FBI Cover Memorandum for 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; p. 2-7; RIF 124-10033-10009.

Pg 352 fn 783. Ibid., pp. 4-6 to 4-7 (also pg 359 fn 798).

Pg 353 fn 785. 6/29/64 CIA interrogation of Golitsyn; pp. 4-12 to 4-13.

Pg 359 fn 797. Ibid., pp. 3-18 to 3-19.

Pg 361 fn 803. 2/00/68, CIA CI/Staff Report on the Bona Fides of KGB Defector Nosenko; pp. 282-286 ("Supervising Case Officer for KGB-Controlled CIA Sgent Belitskiy"); RIF 104-10150-10136.


Chapter Fifteen: Uncovering Popov's Mole in the CIA

Pg 374 fn 822. 11/2/59 and 11/4/59, SRS notes on Papich's call and the SRS response; RIF 1993.07.06.18:27:58:960310. Malcolm Blunt observes, "NB: Solie's name is not on this document but it is clearly his handwriting."

Pg 374 fn 823. 11/2/59, CI/LSN Note stating that SRC/OS (Solie's office) replied that they had no record of Oswald's defection; RIF 104-10051-10167.


About John Newman

John Newman is a former Army intelligence officer who has written extensively on the Kennedy assassination and its larger political context. His first book, JFK and Vietnam, rewrote the history of JFK's Vietnam policy. His second, Oswald and the CIA, opened up a previously secret world of CIA interest in Lee Harvey Oswald before the events of Dallas. Uncovering Popov's Mole is his fourth volume in an ongoing series.
 

Other Volumes in the Series

    Where Angels Tread Lightly
Volume I
2015
 
    Countdown to Darkness
Volume II
2017
 
    Into the Storm
Volume III
2019

Other Books by John Newman

    JFK and Vietnam
Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power
Warner Books, 1992
 
    Oswald and the CIA
The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK
Skyhorse, 1995, 2008

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