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Cryptonym: AMBARB-54

Definition:
Jose Maria Lasa Urrutibeascoa
Status:
Probable
Discussion:
The dispatch of late December 1962 states that Richard Helms asked to see AMBARB-54, as well as AMHINT-53 and Jose Lasa in Washington, D. C.. This is surprising, because Helms and Lasa met on November 12, agreed on another meeting, and Lasa called Rocha and only asked Rocha to come up to Washington. The question that arises from the memorandum of November 15 is where has AMBARB-54 gone? Those present are listed as Richard Helms, Luis Fernandez Rocha, Jose Maria Lasa and Nestor Sanchez. The redaction removes Sanchez's alias, and there does not appear to be space for another name. It appears for compartmentalization reasons, the names of AMBARB-54 and Jose Lasa are both included to avoid revealing that AMBARB-54 was actually Lasa's cryptonym.
Sources:

104-10171-10318: MEMORANDUM: JOSE MARIA LASA URRUTIBEASCOA

9/4/62 memo from William Harvey to Deputy Director Plans Richard Helms: "You will recall that we have discussed (Jose Maria Lasa) several times in the past and the possibility of using your contact with a relative of Lasa to help the Cuban exile group, DRE, more responsive to CIA control and discipline. We have again reviewed this possibility in the context of the DRE's unilateral raid on Havana on 24 August. I have concluded that intervention now through Lasa would probably have no effect on the behavior of the DRE, since the mood of frustration and desperation which has pervaded the entire Cuban exile community cannot, in our opinion, be contained or diverted merely by appeals to reason or prudence...We are keeping this matter under review, and if our assessment of the situation changes we may ask you to intercede with Lasa in an effort to influence the behavior of the DRE."

104-10171-10041: DISPATCH: AMSPELL PROGRESS REPORT FOR AUGUST 1962

09/14/62, dispatch from COS, JMWAVE to Chief, Task Force W: Page 3: ..."c. AMSPELL: Harold R. NOEMAYR as 'Roger Fox' meets:....AMBARB-54 occasional legal/international"...Zamka (David Morales) as "Dr. Meza" represented the AMHINTs. This group engaged in paramilitary activity. The Miramar attack of 8/24/62 was an AMHINT raid. Zamka regularly met with AMHINT-2; Bernabe Pena was his alternate; also met occasionally with Jose Maria Lara U, who had a direct liaison with Fletcher Knight (Richard Helms).

1994.05.06.09:39:23:590005: Reel 25, Folder X - DRE [[CRYPT]] OPERATIONS.

10/15/62 Dispatch from Nestor Sanchez for Chief, Task Force W to Chief of Station, JMWAVE, Action: FYI. Operational discussion between Lasa and REDACTED.

1994.05.06.09:39:23:590005: Reel 25, Folder X - DRE [[CRYPT]] OPERATIONS.

10/23/62, cable from JMWAVE to Director: AMHINT-53/Rocha, and his two staff people Lanusa (AMHINT-8) and Lasa speak to press - covered by Miami Herald in 10/22/62 article. Claims that they were misquoted, mad at Al Burt. See the article at p. 134.

104-10170-10034: CASING AND POSSIBLE BREAKING AND ENTERING EXILE'S BUILDING

11/9/62 memo by HFS, Subject: Casing and possibly entering the exiles' building: "The problem in summary: The exile group wants financing from us but wants to control their members and pay their members. WAVE wants us to control the members and pay the members and has joined the issue with the group. WAVE recommended cutting off relations with the group unless they come to heel. However, WAVE fears that the group might retaliate by publishing some docs which the group hints at having and which could embarrass us. The proposal to enter the exile building is suggested in order to get any incriminating or embarrassing docs. officers want to break into DRE building and steal documents. DRE has embarrassing documents.

104-10170-10032: MR. HELMS' CONVERSATION WITH JOSE LASA OF THE DRE

11/12/62: Lasa is on tv re missiles still in cuba - Helms meets with him that day and gives him a "dutch uncle" talk about discussing the missiles on nationwide television or the media without vetting the facts with the CIA first. Lasa asks Rocha to come to Washington with full authority to make decisions in an important discussion with the CIA about the future of the DRE. Lasa does not ask anyone to come other than Rocha (AMHINT-53).

104-10170-10022: MEMO FOR THE RECORD: MR. HELMS' CONVERSATION WITH LUIS FERNANDEZ ROCHA AND JOSE MARIA LASA OF THE DRE REGRADING THEIR ORGANIZATION'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AGENCY.

11/15/62, MFR: "TIME AND PLACE: 1500 hours, 13 November 1962, Mr. Helms' Office. PERSONS PRESENT: Mr. Helms, Luis Fernandez Rocha, Jose Maria Lasa, Nestor Sanchez (alias REDACTION"...(page 4): Angel Losano (also known as Angel Lozano) was the source that the DRE relied on for info on the missiles.

104-10171-10281: DISPATCH: AMSPELL PROGRESS REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 1962

12/27/62, dispatch from COS, JMWAVE to Chief, Task Force W: ..."f. On or about 13 November, AMHINT-53, Jose M. LASA U., and AMBARB-54, traveled to ZRMETAL (Washington D. C.) for conversations with Fletcher V. KNIGHT (Richard Helms), at the latter's request. The results of these conversations had not been received officially at JMWAVE by 16 November when AMHINT-53 reported to the JMWAVE Case Officer 'off the record' that the talks had been 'satisfactory,' and that JMWAVE should receive a communication from Headquarters on the results. Since there was no communication up until the end of November, the subject of the ZRMETAL/AMSPELL meetings became a matter of consultation between the Chief of Station and the Chief, Task Force W"...

104-10170-10121: CABLE: CIA FILE ON DRE AMSPELL OPERATIONS

09/12/Probably 65, cable from JMWAVE: Sluglines TYPIC AMSPELL: "1. Altho AMBARB-54 still connected with AMSPELL, and considered valuable asset within AMSPELL, he plans leave area end of Sept to seek employment in HQs area at higher salary with more career potential with private firm or international agency. Present AMSPELL setup and salary prevent maximum utilization of AMBARB-54 whom WAVE assesses as intelligent capable agent. 2. If AMBARB-54 is not of interest of DYVOUR in some other capacity, WAVE has no objections to KULAMP contact."

104-10170-10121: DISPATCH: AMSPELL PROGRESS REPORT, JULY-OCTOBER 1965

11/30/65, dispatch from COS, JMWAVE to Chief, WH: Page 2: ..."4. Other developments: In September, AMBARB/54 and two other members of AMSPELL resigned to seek other employment. The Station would appreciate current information regarding KULAMP's interest and possible employment of AMBARB/54 (per DIR 40414). He is an intelligent and capable individual and is currently investigating job possibilities in ZRMETAL with several international agencies"...

104-10170-10121: DISPATCH: TYPIC/OPERATIONAL AMBARB-54/AMSPELL

12/14/65, dispatch from Chief, Western Hemisphere Division to COS, JMWAVE: "KULAMP contacted AMBARB-54 and in turn put in contact with Identity, which is a KULAMP operation located in New York. AMBARB-54 has not yet been placed on Identity's payroll but, according to KULAMP, will be employed when he has obtained some travel visas which will be necessary in his job assignment with Identity. His work will involve traveling to Latin America on a survey assignment for Identity. (REDACTION)."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald • Bill Simpich

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