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Cryptonym: QKENCHANT

Definition:
QKENCHANT was an indicator used by Central Cover Staff and the Office of Security with a program for clearing businesses and other entities with access to classified material. With a QKENCHANT clearance, an individual or entity could be used as a "cut-out".
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
Project QKENCHANT's participants included such notables as E. Howard Hunt, Peter and Robert Maheu, and figures associated with Clay Shaw. The crypt has been of particular interest to many because of the Clay Shaw connection, written about in Bill Davy's "Let Justice Be Done."

References below document some of the individuals cleared for QKENCHANT with a covert security approval. Note that not all participants were witting. Cleared for QKENCHANT: Robert and Peter Maheu: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=27004#relPageId=2 https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=53706&search=234529_Peter+Maheu#relPageId=4&tab=page Benjamin Sonnenberg: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=8296&search=QKENCHANT#relPageId=3&tab=page Guy P. Johnson: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=4857&relPageId=2 J. Monroe Sullivan: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=14623&search=Monroe_sullivan#relPageId=2&tab=page https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=40191#relPageId=2 E. Howard Hunt: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=103901#relPageId=82 Leo Cherne: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=13730#relPageId=2 Hugh McDonald: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=14936#relPageId=2&tab=page The Christianform form worked with the Central Cover Staff, as mentioned below. Some of their other contacts are set forth here: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP73-00475R000201450001-5.pdf
Sources:

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000904662.pdf

"For the staff's background use only, QKENCHANT was an indicator used by Central Cover Staff and the Office of Security with a program for clearing REDACTED providers (businesses, etc.) with access to classified material." (5/14/96 memo to Barry Harrelson from "Ellie")

104-10336-10005: ARRB REQUEST: CIA-IR-06: QKENCHANT

"QKENCHANT was a project for obtaining clearances, that is, Provisional Covert Security Approvals (PCSA), with the Office of Security in connection with the acquisition of Corporate Cover for Action (CCA). In connection with the acquisition of CCA, Directorate of Operations guidelines require that a PCSA/CSA be obtained in most instances before a corporate entity can be used as a Cover for Action (CFA) sponsor." Regarding Clay Shaw, this document states that "he received a 'five-agency' clearance on 23 March 1949. Our records indicate the QKENCHANT project did not begin until sometime in 1952, therefore, Shaw in all probability was not cleared by the QKENCHANT program." See 2/27/98 memo from Frederick Wickham, Chief, External Support Group/IMS/DO, CIA to Chief, JFK Declassification Project/HRP/OIM/DA.

Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice

"QKENCHANT clearance meant you were a safe contact, and could be utilized as a 'cut out', with the CIA giving you only a certain amount of information. You might be told to contact someone you didn't know. You might not know the planner of an operation, or its ultimate sponsors. You might know something about who is running an operation, but not everything. QKENCHANT, in the CIA's own words, was an 'operational project'."

Other references

Use RIF search page to find there further documents related to individuals and QKENCHANT: 104-10109-10027 (Leo Cherne), 104-10435-10002 (Benjamin Sonnenberg).

104-10418-10424: THE OSWALD CASE - JOHNSON, GUY PERSAC #11483 (C)

This 1967 M.D. Stevens memo misstates Clay Shaw attorney Guy Persac Johnson's number as 11483 rather than 111483, and also misstates that Guy Persac Johnson was possibly a relative of Guy Johnson #95042 who was cleared for QKENCHANT in 1954. See the following file.

1993.07.20.15:17:55:650280: SUMMARY FOLDER OF OS/SAG INVESTIGATIVE FILES

In this "Summary Folder" of Office of Security/Security Analysis Group files, Guy Persac Johnson is listed as both #95042 and #111483.

104-10255-10016: SULLIVAN, MONROE J. (J. MONROE) SUBJECT CLAIMED TO BE WITH CLAY SHAW IN SAN FRANCISCO ALL DAY ON 22 NOVEMBER 1963

This Garrison-era memo comments on J. Monroe Sullivan, Clay Shaw's superior at the International Trade Mart and his "alibi" for 11/22/63: "Subject was granted a Provisional Security Approval for use under Project QKENCHANT on an unwitting basis on 10 December 1962." It elaborates: "At the time of the clearance Subject was Executive Director, World Trade Center Authority, Ferry Bldg., San Francisco, California.....Subject's utilization was primarily and strictly as a source of information to identify individuals and/or firms in the state of California that have the potential to support cover requirements."

104-10195-10007: MEMORANDUM: SUBJECT - CLAY L. SHAW

This document has been cited to show Clay Shaw's approval under QKENCHANT, but it is actually at best ambiguous. It states: "...J. Monroe Sullivan, #280207, was granted a covert security approval on 10 December 1962 so that he could be used in Project QKENCHANT. SHAW has #402897-A." It does not specifically state that Shaw was cleared for QKENCHANT, and the 402897-A number is a general file number for Shaw (search for 402897 on this website to see many references re: Shaw).

104-10121-10355: CENTRAL COVER STAFF REQUESTED AN EXPEDITE QKENCHANT CLEARANCES

This document notes that "5 February 1969 Central Cover Staff has requested an expedite QKENCHANT clearance for Peter Maheu.....son of Robert A. Maheu." The father, Robert, was the initial contact in the so-called CIA-Mafia plots to assassinate Fidel Castro. This document also notes a request for QKENCHANT clearance of another employee of Robert Maheu (name redacted). Robert Maheu himself is not specifically noted one way or the other as having QKENCHANT clearance, though it does state that in 1954 he was similarly cleared for a project named LPHIDDEN.

104-10120-10595: HUGH CHISHOLM MCDONALD'S BOOK " APPOINTMENT IN DALLAS: THE FINAL SOLUTION TO THE ASSASSINATION OF JFK" ALLEGING CIA INVOLVEMENT

The Central Cover Staff in 1969 "evidenced interest in Mr. McDonald under Project QKENCHANT", but "Office of Security files do not reflect the outcome...". Hugh McDonald in 1975 published the book "Appointment in Dallas."

104-10256-10268: ENTRY INTO DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS.

"Robert R. Mullen and Company have been utilized by the Central Cover Staff since 1963, and since then a total of eight people of the Mullen company have been cleared or made witting of Agency ties. Mr. Mullen has provided sensitive cover support overseas for Agency employees and he was instrumental in the formation of the Cuban Freedom Committee...as of 1 May 1970, Mr. Everette Howard Hunt, Jr., who had just retired from the Agency, became a legitimate employee of Mr,. Mullen..." Also see 104-10133-10420, p. 3: "(When Frank O'Malley was with the Central Cover Staff) he first came in contact with the Mullen Company when he was attempting to find an organization to handle the public relations effort of a covert Agency activity known as the Free Cuba Committee. (Note: Also mentioned by Hunt in his book Undercover). Mr. O'Malley related that he had arranged this cover through the Christianform organization...(while working) with the Mullen Company dealing with the Free Cuba Committee, Mullen told (O'Malley) the Howard Hughes Company was a client of the concern."

104-10119-10323: MEMO: HUNT WORKING FOR PUBLISHING COMPANY

Legendary CIA officer and Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt was cleared for QKENCHANT after he left official employment with the Agency in 1970. This document requests QKENCHANT approval as it was necessary for him to become witting of the relationship between CIA and Hunt's new employer, the Robert Mullen publishing company; the CIA FOIA document first referenced states outright: "Hunt was cleared for QKENCHANT."

Contributors:
Carmine Savastano • Jerry Shinley • MFF • Bill Simpich

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