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Cryptonym: SECANT

Definition:
SECANT was the pseudonym for Major Enrique Trinidad Oliva. A CIA document in December, 1953, stated that SECANT was a retired Guatemalan Army Major residing in Guatemala City.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
The report also added that SECANT maintained "numerous contacts and informants among his former associates in the armed forces. SECANT also acts as SEQUIN's adviser on all matters pertaining to military intelligence." In addition, a cable on 23 January, 1954, mentioned that the U.S. State Department on 22nd January stated that SECANT was under arrest and SEQUIN's house had been searched by police. A "well informed source in opposition" apparently remarked that the arrest of SECANT was a "severe blow to the anti-government movement, as he was a key figure and could implicate others if forced talk." Another cable on 23 January, 1954, stated that the press had reported the arrest of Major Enrique Oliva, who was described as "(inactive)" of the Guatemalan Army. The cable also stated that Oliva was one of the most important leaders of the Calligeris group, and if he talked it could lead to the arrest of others. Also, a cable on February 13, 1954, mentioned that "Oliva confidentially told Mario Rivas Montes he was given water treatment while in custody authorities." A dispatch on 23 February, 1954, stated that SECANT was still in Guatemala and "reportedly he received the water treatment." Moreover, Matthew Ontrich (Nestor Sanchez) complied an interrogation report on SECANT and SEMANTIC in April of 1954 which stated that the latter "made a very good impression on Ontrich, Cadick (William Robertson) and Lugton with their detailed knowledge of the internal Guatemalan situation and their optimism on being able to carry out the job." Furthermore, a dispatch on 16 May, 1954, mentioned that Clower (Joseph G. Sancho) was the case officer of ESCOBILLA, SEMANTIC and SECANT. Also, cables in June, 1954, stated that SECANT had taken refuge in the El Salvador Embassy in Guatemala City. A cable from William Robertson on 20 June stated that SECANT and/or SEMANTIC would probably accompany Carlos Castillo Armas during his invasion of Guatemala.
Sources:

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923959.pdf

12/15/53: STAGE ONE REPORT: ANNEX B: FRIENDLY ASSETS AND POTENTIAL: Page 18: ..."Net #6 - SECANT, a retired Guatemalan Army Major presently employed as a (REDACTION) in Guatemala City, maintains numerous contacts and informants among his former associates in the armed forces. SECANT also acts as SEQUIN's adviser on all matters pertaining to military intelligence. According to RUFUS (Carlos Castillo Armas), SECANT and SEQUIN exchange military information freely, although it is not know how much SECANT actually knows of SEQUINs operations..." - - - Page 20: DIAGRAM OF RUFUS INTELLIGENCE ASSETS IN GUATEMALA: "RUFUS" at the top of the chart. Then "COURIERS." Then "SEQUIN." Then along the line from left to right and down: "SISTRUM'S SISTER - SACHET - SCARLET-2 -SECANT - SHINGLE'S BROTHER." Line down from SISTRUM'S SISTER: - "SISTRUM-2 - SISTRUM." Line down from SCARLET-2 - "SCARLET." Line straight down from SHINGLE'S BROTHER: - "SHINGLE - CUT OUTS AND LETTERDROPS - SLEEKER." Line from the right and below SHINGLE: - "CUTOUTS - GUARDIA CIVIL." Line to the furthest left and down: "OPR, POL & CIVIL GROUPS." Line to the left and down: "FAR, FPL, PRG, RN."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914076.pdf

01/23/54: Cable from Director to LINCOLN: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: "1. ODACID (U.S. State Department) 22 Jan stated SECANT under arrest and SEQUIN house searched by WSBURNT (Guatemala) police. Report further states 15 others under arrest in effort curb anti-government movement. 2. Well informed source in opposition stated arrest SECANT severe blow anti-government movement as he key figure and could implicate others if forced talk. 3. Above unconfirmed. Your info only."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914070.pdf

01/23/54: Cable from Guatemala to Director: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: "1. Press reports Major Enrique Oliva (inactive) of Guatemala Army arrested by police 21 Jan allegedly in possession revolver and two hand grenades. Chief of Armed Forces Diaz denied receiving reports of plot having been put down but said speculations on news of disruption of public order upsets the economy and hurts poor people. 2. Residence of SEGUIN (also RCVD CEGUIN) searched by police, some carrying machine guns, night 21 Jan. Indications not apprehended at the time...4. Oliva was one of important and informed leaders of Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) group and if he talks it might lead to other arrests and influence others to take asylum. Source: Subject of GUAT 950..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 93. 1/31/54-Telegram From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the Central Intelligence Agency

01/31/54: Telegram from Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "1. KUFIRE (Intelligence) estimates compromise from Delgado’s intercepts while acting as courier may be considerable judging from foll items which appeared in White Paper...D. Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) military plan known by Delgado, Sierra, SECANT: Plan same as 1949, 1951 plan. Seekford claims this is not Calligeris’ plan but is plan belonging to Ydigoras Fuentes. This plan probably given to WSBURNT (Guatemala) police by SECANT as cover story per previous agreement with Calligeris...I. SEQUIN known by Delgado, SECANT, most of group in WSBURNT. Calligeris knows nothing of $2,000 paid Ticas by Rubion...3. Other info that may be in hands Arbenz forces but has not yet appeared in press:...B. With SECANT’s capture it very possible that through torture WSBURNT possesses info on military net directly under SECANT..." - - - 02/10/54: Telegram from Guatemala Station to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "1. Major Enrique Trinidad Oliva released 6 Feb due lack of evidence supporting charge (illegible) 9 Feb). Lic Manuel Oreliano Cardona expressed belief Oliva may have been forced to reveal details local opposition movement (source: JMBLUG-7). Station has no evidence supporting this belief." https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=145047&search=#relPageId=218 - - - O2/10/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: BRIEF LUGTON: "1. Info received LINC states SECANT released 6 Feb. 2. Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) has been briefed to mount operation to ascertain extent of compromise and get SECANT out of WSBURNT (Guatemala) for full debriefing." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913502.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913268.pdf

02/13/54: Cable from Guatemala to LINCOLN (Info: Director): Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: "1. Oliva confidentially told Mario Rivas Montes he was given water treatment while in custody authorities. Said treatment consisted submerging him tank water immediately in order get confession from him. Whether or not confession obtained and any info pertaining thereto unknown to sources. 2. Oliva claims has not made public statement re his treatment at hands authorities for fear reprisals against wife and family. Source: ESCHEL. Eval: B-3. Bannister." - - - 02/23/54: Air dispatch from LINCOLN to all PBSUCCESS Stations: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - LINCOLN SITREP, 15-21 February 1954: ..."2...e) SECANT is still in Guatemala; reportedly he received the 'water' treatment..." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000913268.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916170.pdf

04/25/54: Debriefing by Ontrich of SEMANTIC and SECANT: "The debriefing of SEMANTIC and SECANT was very revealing and satisfactory especially after both cleared the LCFLUTTER (Note: Polygraph - "lie detector" - testing). The first basic issue which had to be clarified was the degree of compromise caused by the January torture and interrogation of SECANT. The interrogation by Ontrich (Nestor Sanchez) and a check on the LCFLUTTER revealed no compromise of any assets. The main topic the Guatemalan Police hampered on throughout the interrogation was of a plot against the government by SECANT and ESODIC-1. No mention was even made in the interrogation about Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas). Since there was absolutely no truth in this story SECANT was on solid ground throughout the torture and interrogation. After this point was clarified and Calligeris, SECANT and SEMANTIC cleared the LCFLUTTER a detailed debriefing commenced on the internal assets of the Calligeris organization. SECANT and SEMANTIC provided facts, figures and names of leaders, potential leaders and followers in the 9 important areas... Although these people have not received any formal training in clandestine tradecraft it is remarkable what they know and how fast they pick up new ideas. The military angle of the operation was discussed in detail with SECANT and Calligeris. The internal Guatemala PM assets look fairly good...SEMANTIC and SECANT made a very good impression on Ontrich, Cadick (William Robertson) and Lugton with their detailed knowledge of the internal Guatemalan situation and their optimism on being able to carry out the job." - - - SECANT's interrogation by Ontrich is contained in this document, pages 4-8: https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000916781.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915230.pdf

05/16/54: Air dispatch from LINCOLN to COS, Guatemala: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - Notes for Graham L. Page: ..."3. For the information of Guatemala Station and Page (probably Henry Hecksher), Headquarters was informed by cable on 14 May of the agreements reached on the K-Program at the 11 May meeting between Bannister, Clower (Joseph G. Sancho), Page and Nutting. It was pointed out in the cable that the K-Program originally comprised intelligence, defection, 'priming' and labor defection, but that it would now, for purposes of security and concentration on key issues, be restricted to intelligence and military defection. Page's assumption of control over ESQUIRE and his high regard for ESQUIRE's ability were noted...A separate cable was sent on the use of Clower as the case officer on ESCOBILLA, SEMANTIC and SECANT..." - - - 05/30/54: Dispatch from LINCOLN to COS, Guatemala: Subject: General - Operational: Specific - Calligeris Organization Assets: REF: HUL-A-953: "1. At the time this dispatch is being written, the effect of the events reported in GUAT 701 cannot be estimated. It had been LINCOLN's intention to have Clower (Joseph G. Sancho) discuss the substance of this dispatch with ESCOBILLA, SEMANTIC and SECANT. Whether this will be possible depends on events and on your discretion...2. The Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) assets in ADAM (Guatemala City) are headed by SEMANTIC, who has both the overall responsibility and direct responsibility for the civilian organization. SECANT, under SEMANTIC, directs the effort within the garrisons. Under SEMANTIC and SECANT, there operate ADAM X, ADAM Y and ADAM Z. Again, under them are the four ADAM 1's (A, B. C, D) with their staffs. The ADAM 3's (A, B, C, D) operate directly under SEMANTIC...If possible and secure, of course, a review of the assets with SEMANTIC and SECANT would be the most profitable..." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000923012.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000922603.pdf

06/09/54: Cable from Guatemala to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: RE: GUAT 771 (IN 15343): "1. SECANT took asylum DTFROGS (El Salvador) Embassy on 7 June. Was provided with funds by (REDACTION) should receive safe conduct without much delay. 2. Mrs SECANT visited husband at embassy and gave following information to (REDACTION). A. SECANT substitute is IDEN A who currently assigned to IDEN B. B. (REDACTION) boys should enter into contact with IDEN C but without explanations as to purpose this contact. C. IDEN C house among those first searched. D. Mrs SECANT to speak to IDEN D but without indication purpose. 3. Since info received incomplete, (REDACTION) has requested Mrs SECANT obtain detailed info from SECANT. Station should receive night 9 June (handwritten note)..." - - - 06/12/54: Cable from Guatemala City to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: "1. SWALLOW advised JMBLUG (John S. Peurifoy) SECANT would depart 12 June probably accompanied by following additional persons at DTFROGS (El Salvador) Embassy: Colonel Miguel Mendoza, Captain Rodolfo Rodas, Captain Augustin Castro Monzon, Jose Morales Torres, Ernesto Gomez (also RCVD Gamez) Saavedra (also RCVD Saamedra), Flavio Segura Ruiz, Adan Manrique Rios (also RCVD Riis) Carlos Alberto Recinos, Juan Fermin Valladares Aycinena, Rodolfo Castillo Armas..." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000922437.pdf

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 183. 6/14/54-Telegram From [place not declassified] to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida

06/14/54: Telegram from Withheld to Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida: "583. 1. SECANT and all others adamant that 1 bomb, placed on presidential palace would be convincer to army on-the-fencers and cause mass hiding of key opposition. 2. Pilots convinced palace can be hit on 1 shot. SECANT convinced people would understand 1 bomb only not meant for them and would be convinced we holding back on bombing to prevent harming them. Field convinced. 3. Request SOMERSET be advised in accord with LINCOLN decision. If used, should be timed hours after clandestine broadcast announces go."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000921532.pdf

06/20/54: Cable from Withheld to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: FROM CADICK: "1. Length time transmission field-base-FCP-base-SOMERSET makes field situation obsolete by time we able support. May move FCP less one American and one R.O. to (REDACTION) soon as Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) launched. SECANT and/or SEMANTIC probably accompany. SALAL will need signal plan to prevent break in commo. 2. Situation: BOND (Puerto Barrios) to contact. HANK (Zacapa - Guatemalan base) CHALON below Gualan 1800 June 19. Needs ammo resupply attempt being made. JOHNNY apparently moving through Jocotan with ACP at 0700 June 20. FRANK (Jutiapa) troops expelled DTFROGS (El Salvador) to N Ocotepeque joined DANNY. Will break away at CF 5101 for FRANK unless FRANK inner org and reported FRANK defection possibility settles that situation. No report on planned drop DANNY reported in position attack Esquipulas June 19. No report to day. 3. Active air attack would be a clincher to army right now. 4. Calligeris making aerial recon via Contrerras. No further in than Esquipulas. Air cover requested. (REDACTION) flying 2 men to Copan Ruinas. Then (REDACTION) carrying situation briefing to (REDACTION). *Cable Secretariat Comment: A copy of this message delivered to Mr. Wisner's office at 2015 20 June 54."

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000921365.pdf

06/23/54: Cable from Withheld to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: "1. Calligeris (Carlos Castillo Armas) at Esquipulas. SECANT at FCP. 2. Wish point out only way properly coordinate air-ground is join nerve centers. At present FCP knows ground sit, (REDACTION) in dark. FCP able maintain better control if able service requests for support. Present system crippling efficiency FCP, denying adequate support to troops. 3. Pulling Calligeris to TEGU result LINC 4217 (IN 21096)..." - - - This cable on 06/25/54 from SHERWOOD to Director stated that: ..."SECANT ETA Esquipula 1400 carrying instructions allowing air lead forces into Zacapa June 26 AM..." https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000921192.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000920186.pdf

08/03/54: Cable from Guatemala to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: RE: GUAT 116 (IN 33082): "1. SECANT told Clower (Joseph G. Sancho) morning 3 August that although no proof exists he suspects (REDACTION) behind attack against liberation army. Is considering replacing (REDACTION) with Jose Luis Cruz as latter now commands more respect from army. (REDACTION) would be named to foreign diplomatic post..." - - - 05/12/75: CIA memorandum: Subject: CIA's Role in the Overthrow of Arbenz: Page 2-3: ... "Negotiations took place between Castillo and Monzon, President of the Junta, who agreed to accept Castillo as a member. In early July (1954) Castillo became President of the Junta with Major Enrique Oliva and Monzon as the other two members..." https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=145047#relPageId=476&search=oliva

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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