Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Pseudonyms / pseudonym: ATTILA_FRANK

Pseudonym: Attila, Frank

Definition:
One of the several aliases of Frank Sturgis, who legally changed his name from Frank Fiorini. Anti-Cuban activist, head of the International Anti-Communist Brigade that merged with Gerry Hemming's INTERPEN group after the Bay of Pigs. Best known as one of the Watergate burglars.
Category:
alias
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
Also used the code name Federini, among others.
Sources:

1993.08.05.14:39:14:810028: SECURITY FILE ON FRANK STURGIS

1942-1955: From Tad Szulc, The Cuban Dilemma, p. 321: "Among the group I had seen in Miami was Frank Fiorini, an American who had smuggled arms to Cuba many times during the revolution and had fought in the mountains with Castro. Frank had been in World War II - thirty-nine battles with Edson's Raiders. He had three years of battle in the Pacific and was given fourteen decorations. Fiorini said that he met Castro in 1955 when he made a speech at the Flagler Theater in Miami."

124-10294-10143: No Title

Re 1942-1962: See 4/12/77 FBI memo re Sturgis' request for a pardon. The following pages chronicle Sturgis' arrests from 1942 to the present. From 1942-1950, arrest reports came from Army, the Marines, and the Coast Guard. In 1958, from the Cuban government and the US Marines, using the variation "Fred Frank Fiorini Attila". 1962: The Miami police department. In the last two instances, prosecution was declined both times.

124-10302-10211: No Title

9/23/58 FBI memo re Frank Anthony Sturgis (True Name) was Frank Fiorini, Fred Frank Fiorini, Fred Frank Attila, Frank Attila, Fred Atilla, Frank Campbell: In July 1958, Subject was arrested in Cuba by Cuban authorities as courier from US to Cuban rebels...Subject returned from Cuba on 7/30/58, and on arrival was arrested by US Customs. Source advised subject was "very active in July 26 underground, and is trying to purchase arms for Cuban rebels."

1993.07.24.08:25:37:310310: SECURITY FILE ON GERALD PATRICK HEMMING

1959-1961: From Alan Weberman and Michael Canfield's "Coup d'Etat in America", pp. 96-97: "When Castro deposed Batista in 1959 Sturgis was made Chief of Security and Intelligence for the Cuban Air Force and Minister of Games of Chance in Havana. During this period he 'recruited a number of people in Havana for intelligence' (actually he constructed and controlled an espionage network in Cuba), and offered his services to the American Embassy in regard to a plot to kill Castro...In early 1960 Sturgis left Cuba. The fact that he had to steal a plane in order to leave indicates that he may have been wanted for anti-Castro activities by the Revolutionary Government. He immediately began to fly leaflet flights over Cuba using a B-25 that was probably supplied by the CIA. Because he had fought as a soldier in a foreign army, his citizenship was revoked by the State Department and the registration of his B-25 was cancelled by the FAA. He went to Washington to protest this and found an ally in Senator Smathers of Florida...by late 1960 Sturgis and Victor Paneque had formed the International Anti-Communist Brigade (IAB) and were flying supply missions to guerrillas in the Escambray mountains in the Las Villas province of Cuba from a secret base in the Bahamas...It was around this time that Jack Anderson conducted numerous interviews with Sturgis, making him famous as a soldier of fortune. In one of these interviews Sturgis complained that Castro executed a friend of his named Angus McNair. Extensive research turned up an Angus McNair who was executed on April 20, 1961 as a suspected CIA agent. Sturgis admitted that McNair was part of the espionage network he had in Cuba, and was apprehended by Castro while trying to create a diversionary action during the Bay of Pigs operation."

1993.07.24.08:25:37:310310: SECURITY FILE ON GERALD PATRICK HEMMING

1959-1962: From Alan Weberman and Michael Canfield's "Coup d'Etat in America", pp. 97-98: "Frank Sturgis arranged for AMOT-5/Pedro Diaz Lanz's escape to the United States in a stolen B-26...Lanz, who was head of the Cuban Air Force under Castro, was Sturgis' co-pilot during his leaflet runs over Havana. (Howard Hunt) admits knowing Lanz and also says Lanz knew Sturgis during this period, yet denies knowing Sturgis himself...In between anti-Castro missions, Sturgis trained pilots at the base in Guatemala in preparation for the Bay of Pigs and was probably working on a plan to assassinate Castro...He was also part of Operation 40's Assassination Section (see page 80). His friend Max Gonzales reported, "Two attempts against Castro's life were made in the early part of 1959. Both failed. The assassins then waited for a green light from Frank Fiorini Sturgis. A third attempt was made in 1960...After the (Bay of Pigs) invasion Sturgis' IAB merged with a group known as the International Penetration Force (Interpen), composed of Cuban and American anti-Castroite soldiers. Jerry Patrick Hemming was the leader of Interpen...another member of Interpen-IAB was Howard Kenneth Davis." Hans Tanner, author of Counterrevolutionary Agent, wrote: "...Hemming's men formed the parachute battalion of Sturgis' brigade and included Americans, Cubans and men from several Central and South American countries. US citizens are forbidden to be combatants in foreign military operations which could prove awkward. The brigade was probably financed by dispossessed hotel and gambling room owners who operated under Batista."

104-10167-10159: CABLE RE ZAMKA TRAVEL.

7/19/59 cable from Havana to Director: "Contact made by Zamka with REDACTED and REDACTED. ..either AMCONCERT (Pancho Varona) or AMCLATTER (Bernard Barker) take delivery of body without knowledge of true identity and transport body to ship. HQS take whatever action necessary prevent subsequent publicity in (US) as this would seriously prejudice US government interests (in) this area. HQS provide pseudonym for body use. Fiorini not be made witting under any circumstances as station considers him untrustworthy." John Newman writes in "Where Angels Walk Lightly" that this operation involved David Morales smuggling Pedro Diaz Lanz out of Cuba. Also see 157-10005-10125, pp. 72-86: Sturgis was involved in two attempts to kill Castro, one of which did not occur because Nichols told him to "stall". In the second event, Sturgis states that he was put up to it by Camilo Cienfuegos. At p. 72: "Another person who was in touch with the Embassy was Sergio Sanjenis who was the top high ranking G-2 official under Fidel. When the time came for me to leave Cuba he actually saved my life, because he was in G-2, and told me that I had better leave because the G-2 was hot on my trail to capture me, and most likely if I was caught I would be executed."

104-10300-10208: MFR - STURGIS, FRANK, AND HUNT, HOWARD

...From circa May 1960 to at least January 1961, Sturgis was living in the Miami area training a group of Cuban and American volunteers for a military invasion of Cuba. By October 1960, the FBI had determined that Sturgis' only activities in anti-Castro matters were in conjunction with the activities of Pedro Diaz Lanz (note: also known as QDBIAS and AMOT-5), who was one of the leaders of the anti-Castro group 'Liberation Alliance'. Reportedly, by January 1961 Sturgis' group was calling itself 'Brigada Internacionale', with variations of 'International Anti-Communist Brigade' and 'Anti-Communist International Brigade.'" One of the subunits of the Brigade called itself INTERPEN, headed by Gerry Hemming. The person in INTERPEN that was of most interest to Garrison was Lorenzo Pascillo, also known as Loran Hall. See 104-10406-10063, page 3: Note that the information in this memo about Pedro Diaz Lanz's relationship with Sturgis was systematically redacted for many years until 2018.

124-10298-10142: No Title

Re 1961: An FBI interview with Jerry Buchanan in 1968 - "(Jerry Buchanan) has been associated with Frank Fiorini in anti-Castro activities since 1959. In about 1961, he, his brother James Buchanan, Geraldine Shamma, and Frank Fiorini formed the International Anti-Communist Brigade (IACB), also known as the Secret Army Organization (SAO)." Also see 157-10005-10125, pp. 72, where Sturgis testified that he recruited Geraldine Suarez Shamma for the American Embassy, and that she reported to Major Van Horn. He reported to Major Nichols.

1993.08.05.10:15:50:750052: VARIOUS MATERIALS ON FRANK STURGIS AKA FRANK FIORINI - - 10 JANUARY 19

Re 1961-1970: In 1976, Sturgis wrote a "Chronology of Residences and Employments". For the period of 1961-1970 he wrote: "Bay of Pigs. CIA control officer Sam Jenis." Sam Jenis is an alias for AMOT-2/Joaquin Sanjenis, chief of the AMOTs. Also see 11/19/63, 104-10221-10112, p. 2, a note from DDP Richard Helms to FBI liaison Sam Papich, recounting that Frank lost his suitcase and a person of unknown reliability returned the briefcase and its contents to the CIA. Included therein was Sturgis' address book, maps, documents, and a list of weapons from Minuteman activist Rich Lauchli and his company LOXCO, as well as Lauchli's business card (see p. 17). He names his code names as "Federini, Barbarosa, Samson", as well as a number of his aliases - curiously he does not mention Frank Attila or Fred Attila.

104-10048-10432 STURGIS, FRANK AKA FRANK FIORINI - BIO INFO

1958-1964: Index cards show that Sturgis used a variety of aliases, including Frank Attila and Fred Attila, back in 1958. By 1964, he was listed as a suspected Cuban Intelligence Services agent. Numerous references of raids with Alex Rorke and others. Page 7 - Also listed that year as a contact of 201-746416 - Al Burt, the Miami Herald reporter known as AMCARBON-1. Page 8 - listed as a contact of 201-42669 - Rolando Masferrer/AMBLYGON and also of 201-259716 - Marcos Diaz Lanz/QDCHAR. Page 9 - As of May 1964, described as leader of the Secret Army Organization. Page 12 - 7/31/63 report states he was involved in planned air raid and leaflet drop squelched by ODENVY/FBI. Also see 104-10073-10006, p. 4 - West Point cadet Douglas Gentzkow was the boyfriend of one of the daughters of Sherman Billingsley, owner of the Stork Club. Another of Billingsley's daughters was married to Alex Rorke. Page 2 - Gentzkow claimed to have access to documents stored in NY banks showing that Cuban spies had infiltrated the anti-Castro prisoners "to commit sabotage and espionage in the US". Page 5 - Rorke papers mention Marine Lt. Col. Fiorini "with whom Rorke had been planning sabotage activities against Castro". Handwritten notes on all this in page 8. Also see 104-10138-10218, Mayo Stuntz tells EXO/SAS Sam Halpern: "Sam, we sat on this as it came in as we did not know how it would develop. It did not develop. We wondered why a West Point cadet would risk his career on such a deal. Halpern's handwritten response on 2/13/64: "...SAS wants no part of this and is out except to turn papers over to OS (Office of Security). Also told him my strong belief that Agency should turn info over at least to Army Security and secondly to FBI, the latter re Rorke."

1993.08.05.14:42:12:750028 SECURITY FILE ON FRANK STURGIS

6/20/1972 memo under the heading "Facts": "We have acknowledged to the press that both Messrs. (James) McCord and (Howard) Hunt are former Agency employees with whom we have had no dealings since they retired in August and April 1970 respectively. Mr. Sturgis was an Agency contact in 1961. Mr. (Bernard) Barker was hired by the Agency in April 1960 and terminated in July 1966. Mr. (Eugenio) Martinez has been a part-time informant to the Agency on Cuban exile community matters since 1961. We have no information on Mr. (Virgilio) Gonzales...A conscious decision has been made not to comment on Messrs. Barker, Sturgis, Martinez and Gonzales, since all our information on them has been provided to the FBI..."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich

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