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Cryptonym: ZRRIFLE

Definition:
Program to recruit foreign criminal assets for various illegal activities including burglary, wire taps, strong arm work and thefts in support of ZR code breaking work. Later used by William Harvey as a cover for an Executive Action assassinations program.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
ZRRIFLE provided a cover for recruiting individuals who could be used to provide the CIA with a highly targeted "executive action" (assassinations) capability. Along with other CIA assassination activities, it was investigated by the Church Committee in the 1970s. That investigation was the first to document and publicized American efforts to eliminate Fidel Castro, Patrice Lumumba, and other foreign leaders.
Sources:

Flawed Patriot, by Bayard Stockton, Chapter 8

Chapter 8 of this book is devoted to Project ZR/RIFLE. From page 152: "The ZRRIFLE project name first appears, as far as is known, in May 1961, six months before Harvey was given the Castro assignment..."

The Road to Dallas, by David Kaiser, p. 77

from the book: Within the CIA, the new assassination program, code-named ZRRIFLE, was officially listed as an FI/D operation...

Church Committee Interim Report, p.182: Church Committee: Interim Report - Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders

The Church Committee's Interim Report on CIA assassination plots delves into ZR/RIFLE at some length, and is an invaluable resource for understanding the "executive action" program.

104-10103-10318: HANDWRITTEN PAPER CONCERNING PROJECT ZRRIFLE

William Harvey's handwritten notes on project ZR/RIFLE is among the few documents about the project which were committed to paper. Ironically, it contains the admonitions "No projects on paper except for cover" and "never mention word assassination." It also contemplates the need for false documentation within CIA files to protect the operation from exposure: "Cover: planning should include provision for blaming Czechs or Sovs in case of blow" and "Should have phony 201 in RI to backstop this, documentation therein forged and backdated. Should look like a CE [CounterEspionage] file." Investigators of CIA records beware.

Paper on the ZRRIFLE files: PAPER ON THE ZRRIFLE FILES

This one-page excerpt has some interesting historical information about the project.

157-10004-10068: SUMMARY CHRONOLOGY OF ZRRIFLE/QJWIN ACTIVITIES

ZRRIFLE was run out of the cryptological counterintelligence shop (Staff D) in the Bureau of Foreign Intelligence. Here can be found summaries of many of the key ZRRIFLE documents.

104-10425-10009: MEMO FOR: AUTHORIZATION OF ZRRIFLE AGENT ACTIVITIES

2/19/62 memo from Richard Helms to William Harvey provided specific authorization to hire QJWIN and others for project ZRRIFLE. It requests that "this activity be handled on an EYES ONLY basis."

104-10185-10016: NO CONTACT DURING ROZENEY ABSENCE CONTEMPLATED AT PRESENT

6/21/62 cable from REDACTED, FI/D to Luxembourg, slugline RYBAT ZRRIFLE: "...Request you arrange prior (to) your departure that station secretary can pass on simple message to QJWIN if necessary. Understand Rozeney ETA HQS 16 July. Since Fagg will be absent please contact Presland (note: William Harvey) directly on arrival re QJWIN." Marginalia says "PSM - WKH". According to Harvey's biographer Bayard Stockton, "PSM" means "Please See Me". WKH are Harvey's initials.

157-10004-10068: SUMMARY CHRONOLOGY OF ZRRIFLE/QJWIN ACTIVITIES

1976 summary: "ZRRIFLE is ostensibly a program to recruit criminals for teams which could break into foreign embassies to steal codes. However, there is evidence in the files that this purpose, though useful to the Agency, was in reality a cover for another operation. From other sources, it appears the real purpose was at least kidnaping and possibly murder. ZRRIFLE was run out of the cryptologic counterintelligence shop (Division D) in the Bureau of Foreign Intelligence. It began sometime in late 1960/early 1961, and lasted until at least mid-1963, although payments to its principal agent QJWIN were continued into mid-1964."

See Also:
Contributors:
MFF • Bill Simpich

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