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Pseudonym: Seekford, Jacob

Definition:
Unknown identity. A memo in October of 1953 stated that Jacob R. Seekford was a GS-12 officer, who was on operational TDY in the United States at that time, and was expected to return to Honduras shortly. Prominent in the Guatemala project to overthrow Arbenz.
Category:
pseudonym
Status:
Unknown
Discussion:
As well as the information on Seekford below, the officer was also mentioned in Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1952-1954: Guatemala on pages 46, 55, 156, 162, 167, 171, 179-180, 183, 185-186, 195-196, 198 and 458. In addition, more documents mentioning Jacob R. Seekford can be found here: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/search/site/seekford Furthermore, Larry Hancock, in Nexus: the CIA and Political Assassination (2011), thought that Seekford may have been a pseudo for Tracy Barnes, or the likes of Albert Haney, Henry Hecksher, Howard Hunt.
Sources:

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: Persons and Pseudonyms

Page XX: "Persons and Pseudonyms...Seekford, Jacob R. (pseudonym, identity not released).."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 18. 9/18/52-Memorandum From Jacob R. Seekford to the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, Central Intelligence Agency (King)

09/18/52: Memorandum from Jacob R. Seekford to Chief, WHD: Subject: Liaison Between Calligeris and General Trujillo of Santo Domingo: "1. On 12 September 1952 an agent from General Trujillo, one Félix W. Bernardino, arrived in Honduras for a conference with Calligeris.(2) 2. Bernardino stated that General Trujillo desired and was prepared to aid Calligeris with arms, aircraft, men, and money. 3. In return for this help General Trujillo asked that four (4) Santo Dominicanos, at present residing in Guatemala, be killed a few days prior to D-Day. (Names of the four men are not at present available.) 4. Calligeris stated that he would be glad to carry out the executive action, but that it could not be done prior to D-Day for security reasons. He pointed out that his own plans included similar action and that special squads were being designated. Bernardino was assured that the action could and would be carried out on D-Day. 5. Calligeris is confident that this matter can be resolved between him and General Trujillo. 6. Further conferences are scheduled..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 61. 10/29/53-Memorandum for the Record

10/29/53: Memorandum for the Record (from Washington): Subject: Status of PBSUCCESS: "1. The present status of PBSUCCESS is as noted below: a. Personnel...Operations officer PP [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]—Jacob R. Seekford GS–12...Seekford is on operational TDY in the United States now but is expected to return to Honduras shortly..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 91. 1/30/54-Telegram From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the Central Intelligence Agency

01/30/54: Telegram from Operation PBSUCCESS in Florida: "1. Following views are presented for HQS consideration: A. White Paper (2) has effectively exposed certain aspects of PBSUCCESS, probably more to come. Stage One report clearly recognized this possibility (cover page and page 2). Stage Two was implemented to explore and probe potential assets, testing while developing. (3) 2. Aside from KUHOOK camps and limited KUFIRE progress, other operations not even implemented to date. Assessment thus far has been favorable to good. (4) Losses sustained by arrests and exposé not believed irreparable providing no lessening in determination develops. C. Believe remaining assets will deteriorate rapidly if any doubts or evidence of abandonment permitted, thus effectively destroying what appears to be only known substance to resistance. (5) Our pressure, once applied, should not be released but intensified. Nothing is more demoralizing than on–again, off–again. 2. Current situation however requires careful consideration. The enemy has played a strong card which we must be prepared to counter and exploit or withdraw...6. Advise soonest. Meanwhile Calligeris and Seekford being kept separated and in safe lodging for cooling off period or re–direction..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 108. 3/2/54-Memorandum for the Record

03/02/54: Memorandum for the record from J. C. King, Chief, WHD: Subject: Meeting with Seekford: 1. At 1910 on 28 February, I picked Seekford up in my car at the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin. We drove for about an hour out River Road and I am certain were not observed. 2. Seekford expressed his regrets for the compromise of the five paraphrased cables, and in a manner which appeared to be entirely sincere. I asked him how it was possible, with all of the security indoctrination which he had had, plus the great emphasis on secrecy based on all phases of PBSUCCESS, to have done such an unpardonable thing as to leave sensitive papers in a hotel room. He replied that he had no explanation, that it was a stupid, unpardonable thing to do, but that it was an act of thoughtlessness and carelessness. He expressed himself as most concerned over the effects on the operation and the OAS Conference.(2) 3. I told Seekford that while it was impossible to undo the past, it was his obligation and duty to remain under [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for a long while to come. He said that he realized how important this was during the OAS Conference. I told him it was equally important for a much longer period, because the enemy might time their disclosures to coincide with expected paramilitary action on our part, and that this might be many months in the future. To this he agreed. 4. It was agreed that for the next month Seekford will remain in Chicago. We discussed two general areas where he could bury himself after that date—Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. While he is willing to go to Alaska, he prefers the Northwest [2 lines of source text not declassified]. He has never been in the Northwest...5. It is my impression that Seekford will be amenable and cooperative to any reasonable request on our part..."

Larry Hancock, Nexus: The CIA and Political Assassination (2011)

Pages 19-20: ..."In April of 1952, during a visit to Washington, he proposed that if provided with arms and support, he and Guatemalan exile Carlos Castillo Armas could overthrow the Arbenz government. President Truman reportedly asked CIA Director Smith to investigate that option and he dispatched a high level officer to explore the possibility. Available documents identify the officer only as 'Jacob R. Seekford; however, it seems likely that Seekford may have actually been either Tracy Barnes, the officer eventually designated with oversight for the Guatemala project or one of its senior field officers, Albert Haney, Henry Hecksher or Howard Hunt. (14) 'Seekford' was sent to contact Guatemalan dissidents about armed action against the Arbenz regime. Based on his report, the Chief of Operations proposed to CIA Deputy Director Allen Dulles that the CIA supply Armas with arms and $225,000 in funding...At the same time, CIA officer Seekford also reported to headquarters that as of September 1952, General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republican had agreed to aid Castillo Armas in return for the murder of four Santo Dominicans residing in Guatemala...In late November 1952, it was reported that in conversation with an Arbenz opposition leader, that individual had confirmed that Castillo Armas had special 'K' groups whose mission was to kill all leading political and military leaders, and that the hit list with the location of the homes and offices of all targets had already been drawn up. In December, Seekford related that Castillo Armas planned to make maximum use of the 'K' groups. Another CIA source provided the information that Nicaraguans, Honduran, and Salvadoran soldiers (operating in civilian dress) were designated to infiltrate Guatemala and assassinate unnamed Communist leaders...(18)"

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald • Larry Hancock

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