Sunday, August 28, 2011
Casa de Amigos - Mexico City
Sanbornes Restaurant - Mexico City
Sanbornes Restaurant - near the U.S. Embassy
Philadelphia Quakers - With Oswald in Mexico City
By Bill Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Of the many Philadelphia connections to the assassination of President Kennedy, few stand out as more interesting or suspicious as Lee Harvey Oswald's Quaker connection in Mexico City.
As the story filtered back to the FBI, it was alledged that Oswald was seen at a restaurant in Mexico City with an American who also wanted to go to Cuba. This source further related later that this same American may have given Oswald a ride to the Cuban and Russian embassies on the back of a motorcycle. This American was later identified as a Philadelphia Quaker student, possibly named "Steve Kennan or Keenan."
The first part of this story came to the FBI's attention thru the fiance of Homobono Alcaraz Aragon, a friend of an informant for the FBI's San Francisco office and led back to Mexico City. The trail of information contained in FBI reports is somewhat confusing, so I defer to Professor Jerry Rose, as he published the first part of the story in the Fourth Decade [Volume 5 #4, May, 1998].
Rose wrote about the FBI's investigation of The Casa De Los Amigos, a Quaker camp or hostel in Mexico City whose residents apparantly had knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald's activities. Prof. Rose wrote: "Given the Bureau's propensity to try to associate Oswald with Friends [Quaker] groups like the New Orleans Council for Peaceful Alternatives, this `information' aroused the intense interest of headquarters, which conveyed this information along with directives to interview [Alcaraz] and give the appropriate attention to the matter in view of the fact that, `Mrs. Ruth Paine of Irving Texas, who has befriended Oswald and wife, has been prominently associated with the activities of the Friend's organization.'"
The Mexico City Quaker connection was first developed by the San Francisco Bureau of the FBI, whose undercover informant Judith Gordon, notified them on January 15, 1964 that Barrie Milliman, a female student at the University of Califorinia (Berkeley), learned of some of Oswald's movements and contacts while visiting her fiance Homobono Amo Alcaraz in Mexico City.
Before they got to Alcaraz however, the FBI interviewed the Acting Director of the Casa del Los Amigos, Von Peacock, who speculated that the "unknown American" may have been Robert Kaffke of San Francisco, who had been one of 58 students who made an illegal trip to Cuba in the summer of 1963. While it was determined that Kaffke was not registered at the Casa De Los Amigos until Oct. 25, 1963, weeks after Oswald had left, he was familiar to the FBI since he was also an undercover informant of the San Francisco FBI office. He was not now suspected as being the "unknown American" seen with Oswald in Mexico City.
Kaffke told the FBI that when he stayed at the Casa de Los Amigos in late October 1963 the residents were still talking about Oswald's visit. When Oswald was there he had "a lot of money" and "persons at Casa de Los Amigos are really scared when the name of Oswald is mentioned." [B.K. -- Note that they were scared in October, 1963 -- Before the assassination].
When the FBI caught up with Alcaraz, he verified much of what had been reported by Barrie Milliman, thru her friend Judith Gordon, which was that he had seen Oswald with an unknown American at Sanford's restaurant and that they were "working together to get visas for travel to Cuba and that they planned to go there together."
According to the FBI report, Alcaraz mentioned that Oswald may have been associated with `Steve Kennan', identified as a "pro-communist American," who had been in Mexico in 1962 and 1963, although he "stated emphatically," that he had never seen Oswald with "Kennan".
Then, according to Rose, there is the reference in the FBI reports to an "Arnold," who "begins to assume human shape and identity as `Steve Kennan' moves into limbo."
Arnold Kessler of Detroit had also been at the Casa de Los Amigos (in February), and like Barrie Millman, had attended the University of California at Berkeley. He worked temporarily as a journalist in Mexico City before moving on to Brazil, where the FBI found him. Kessler denied meeting Oswald, but stated that it was Alcaraz who told him that he -- Alcaraz had met Oswald.
As a former student radical who dropped out of college, and was not an FBI informant, Kessler's draft board was subsequently informed of his circumstances so he could be inducted into the military.
The FBI Legal Attache in Mexico then concluded there was "no real basis for inquiry" and "no further investigation is being conducted."
But others did investigate, and found out more about the mysterious American Quaker from Philadelphia, "Steve Kennan".
In Live By The Sword, Gus Russo (Bancroft Press, Baltimore, MD., 1998) gives an historically deceiving perspective of Kennedy's murder that still tries to sell the original cover-story for the operation -- that Fidel Castro was behind the assassination. There is however, an interesting footnote under the allegation that there are no photos of Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City because, as Russo would like us to believe, Oswald was possibly accompanied by Cuban agents. The note (from Chapter 19 - 8, p. 579) reads:
"In 1994, . . . [Anthony and Robbyn] Summers also interviewed Homer Bono, who told them that he met Oswald at Sanborn's Restaurant outside Mexico City in 1963. Oswald left in the company of a Quaker from Philadelphia named Steve Kennan [sic?]. Oswald was a passenger on Kennan's motorbike as the two drove off to the Cuban Embassy to try to secure a visa for Oswald. Kennan has never been found or interviewed."
The idea that Oswald could have been ferried about Mexico City on a motorbike by "a Quaker from Philadelphia" is certainly an interesting possibility, especially since the Warren Report makes note of the fact (p. 735):
"Although the Soviet and Cuban Embassies are within two blocks of each other, they are some distance from Oswald's hotel. He must, therefore, have traversed a substantial portion of the city on more than one occasion." So, "A Quaker from Philadelphia" with a motorbike would have done very nicely, and he could be a valuable witness to Oswald's activities there.
Anthony Summers, in Not In Your Lifetime (Marlowe & Co., N.Y., 1998 p.441), wrote in a footnote:
"In 1994, in Mexico City, the author interviewed Homobono Alcaraz Aragon, a lawyer. His name featured in reports indicating that he claimed he had met Oswald in Mexico City before the assassination. In the 1994 interview, Alcaraz said he had encountered Oswald at Sanborn's restaurant, in the company of two or three other American students -- all Quakers, like Alcaraz himself. The talk centered on efforts to get to Cuba, and Alcaraz said `Oswald' eventually left with one of the Americans -- whom Alcaraz recalls as being named either Steve Kennan (or Keenan) from Philadelphia. As Alcaraz recalled it, Keenan drove Oswald on his motorcycle to go to the Cuban consulate. Alcaraz seemed sincere, and abhorred publicity. He named a friend, Hector Gastelo (now a farmer in Sanoro State) as probably having been present during the encounter with Oswald. (Interview with Alcaraz, 1993; CE 2121; and multiple FBI reports -- available at the Assassinations Archive and Research Center, Washington D.C.; Miraba: HSCA III.177)."
In a footnote to the footnote, Summers also makes note that, "As this book went to press, the author became aware of information that the CIA ran an agent in Mexico, code named LICOZY -- 3, who was a student from Philadelphia (Philip Agee, Inside the Company, Stonehill, 1975, p. 530).
The plot thickens as Agee reported (Inside the Company):
"The [Mexico City] station double-agent cases against the Soviets, LICOZY-1, LICOZY-3 and LICOZY-5, are all being wound up for lack of productivity or problems of control. One of these agents, LICOZY-3, is an American living in Philadelphia who was recruited by the Soviets while a student in Mexico City, but who reported the recruitment and worked for the Mexico City station. He worked for the FBI after returning to the US -- the Soviet case officer was a UN offical at one time -- but recently Soviet interest in him has fallen off and the FBI turned the case back over to the Agency for termination." [Emphasis added -- where?].
Sanborn's Restaurant, where Alcaraz and Kennan reportedly met Oswald, is also mentioned by Richard Case Nagell, who according to Dick Russell (in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Carroll & Graf, 1992, p. 354), wrote a letter to his friend Arthur Greenstein refering to Sandborn's restaurant as a meeting place. While Sandborn's Restaurant is reported in one reference (Russo) to be "just outside" Mexico City, Mary Ferrell's index notes that, (Steve) "Kennan was seen several times in Sanborn's Restaurant next to the American Embassy bldg. in Mexico City."
[B.K. Note: If Sanborns Restaurant is next to the American Embassy, Larry Happanen questions whether Oswald visited the American Embassy as well as the Cuban and Russian Embassies while he was there.]
It seems quite possible, even probable, as Summers' suspects, that "Steve Kennan -- or Keenan" -- a "Quaker from Philadelphia," who gave Oswald a ride around Mexico City on his motorbike, could be LICOZY-3, a "student from Philadelphia who was recruited by the Soviets while a student in Mexico City."
The whole "Quaker" connection to the assassination reaches right to the heart of the matter of who was behind Oswald's movements and how he was being directed in his clandestine operations -- his advocacy of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans, his mission to the Cuban and Russian Embassies in Mexico City, his intention to move to Philadelphia, his relocation back to Dallas and his job at the Texas School Book Depository.
Central to everything is Ruth Avery Hyde Paine.
According to Priscilla Johnson McMillan, in Marina and Lee (Harper and Row, N.Y., 1977, p. 314):
"Ruth Avery Hyde grew up in the Middle West, the daughter of parents who felt strongly about the value of education and good works. When she was only thirteen, Ruth spent a summer on a truck farm in Ohio as her way of contributing to the effort to win World War II. The next summer she was with a traveling Bible school, teaching in Ohio and Indiana. At nineteen, as a student at Antioch College in Ohio, she became a Quaker, a convinced Quaker, often the most dedicated kind. She wanted to be a teacher, and by the time she graduated had an astonishing array of jobs. She had taught in elementary schools in the East and Middle West and had been a recreation leader at Jewish community centers in Ohio and Indiana, at a club for elderly immigrants in Philadelphia, and at a Friends' work camp in South Dakota. Whatever the job, Ruth was liked and respected, and was always asked to come back. . . . She was later a teacher, aged twenty-five, at the Germantown Friends' School in Philadelphia when she met and married Michael Paine . . . They moved to Texas, and in September 1962, they separated . . ."
Not mentioned in this biography is the fact that Ruth Hyde Paine's father and sister both worked in various capacities for federal agencies that have provided cover for the CIA. Another anomoly is Maria Hyde, an elderly American lady whom Oswald met in both Moscow and Minsk, and whose photo of Oswald in Minsk turned up in CIA files, reportedly from the files of the Domestic Contacts Division of the CIA, which routinely debriefs American tourists and business people who travel abroad. [It has never been determined if the Marie Hyde that Oswald met in Russia is in any way related to Ruth Hyde Paine or the international Quaker community. It however, seems to be a question that could be reasonably answered].
Ruth Avery Hyde Paine is a pacifist who harbors Quaker beliefs, studied the Russian language, wrote letters to pen-pals in the Soviet Union, helped arrange east-west exchange students and became Marina Oswald's guardian. She first took Marina into her home as a guest while Oswald went to New Orleans to obtained work and an apartment.
Ruth H. Paine then drove Marina from Texas to the Magazine Street apartment in New Orleans and then notified a local Quaker, Mrs. Ruth Kloepfer, of the Oswald's presence in New Orleans. She requested Kloepfer contact and assist the Oswalds, and Mrs. Kloepfer and her two college age daughters, who were also learning the Russian language, then visited Lee and Marina at the apartment.
According to the Warren Report (p. 726):
"Ruth Kloepfer was a clerk of the Quaker Meeting in New Orleans whom Ruth Paine had written in the hope that she might know some Russian-speaking people who could visit Marina. Mrs. Kloepfer herself visited the Oswalds but made no attempt to direct any Russian-speaking people to them." [Other than her daughters, who were never interviewed].
Oswald then embarked upon his trip to Clinton, LA., and pro and anti-Castro Cuban operations in New Orleans, which continued until September 22, 1963, when Ruth H. Paine arrived in New Orleans from Philadelphia. Arriving after a long summer trip that took her to visit relatives in Massachusetts and Philadelphia Ruth Hyde Paine had spent some time with her husband's mother, Ruth Forbes Paine Young and her husband Arthur Young, the inventor of the Bell Helicopter. Both Ruth F. P. Young (Michael Paine's mother) and Arthur Young were pacifists, professed Quaker beliefs and were associated with the Philadelphia Friends community.
Oswald had told a few acquaintences, including Ruth H. Paine, that he intended to relocate to Philadelphia, and in his notebook are five Philadelphia addresses and the notations:
Russ-Amer. citizenship club 2730 Snyder Av.
Russ. Lan. school 1212 Spruce
Russian Daliy (sic) Paper Jefferson Bldg.
Russian Lan. Trn. 216 S. 20 / Russ. _ _ _ _ _ -- Ho_ _ Organ. 1733 Spring Grdn. [WC Exhibit 18].
Philadelphia is the headquarters of the world Quaker community, which maintains close ties to nearby Main Line colleges Swathmore College and Haverford. Michael Paine attended Swathmore after leaving Harvard, and journalist Priscilla Johnson McMillan matriculated at Haverford. Both Priscilla Johnson and Ruth Forbes Paine were active in support of the World Federalists, the organization founded by Cord Meyer, who later became head of the CIA's International Organizaitons and Domestic Contacts Divisions.
Also in downtown Philadelphia is the headquarters of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which operates Casa de los Amigos, the "camp" or youth hostel for America students studying the Spanish language in Mexico City, where the "unknown American," Philadelphia Quaker student "Steve Kennen -- or Keenan" is alledged to have stayed.
Instead of going to Philadelphia however, Oswald went to Mexico City, while Mrs. Ruth H. Paine took Marina, the kids and all of the Oswald's belongings -- including his rifle -- to Texas.
It is possible that "Steve Kennan -- Keenan" and his Quaker friends knew Oswald in Mexico City and were associated with Casa de los Amigos, which is still operational today.
In response to an email querry, Ruth Hyde Paine said that while she received a newsletter from the Casa de los Amigos, the Quaker hostel in Mexico City, she has never been there, and was not familiar with a Philadelphia Quaker student named "Steve Kennan or Keenan."
Identifying and locating a "Philadelphia Quaker student" who was in Mexico City in the summer of 1963 named "Steve Kennan or Keenan," should not be such a difficult task for any good researcher worth his salt, and I put out a challenge to others interested in this subject to help try to find this guy.
Among those who assisted in the search, Stu Wexler, myself and others looked in the extensive Quaker records at all the various Quaker institutions in Philadelphia, but came up empty for any "Steve Kennan," or "Steve Keenan."
Australian researcher Greg Parker however, noticed a smilar name in Priscialla Johnson McMcillan's book Lee & Marina (p. 68), in which she notes, on October 31, 1959, former U.S. Marine Corps defector Lee Harvey Oswald left the Hotel Metropole in Moscow and took a taxi to the American Embassy. There he told a receptionist he wanted to "disolve his citizenship."
In the office of U.S. consul Richard E. Snyder, Oswald "slapped his passport down on Snyder's desk and demanded to take the oath renouncing his American citizenship that very moment. And he handed Snyder a letter formally requesting that his American citizenship be revoked and affirming his allegiance to the U.S.S.R. He added that he had been a radar technician in the Marine Corps and would make available to the Soviet government such knowledge as he had acquired."
According to PJM, "Richard Snyder was in a dilemma, for Lee Oswald appeared to be sane and he was within his own rights . . . glancing at Oswald's passport and noting that he was still a minor, the boy ought to have time to think it over . . . The exchange lasted less than an hour, but it had so nasty a tone that it was remembered long afterward by three Americans, besides Snyder and Oswald, who were present during parts of it -- John McVicker, the vice-consul, Marie Cheatham, the receptionist, and Edward L. Keenan, a graduate exchange student down for the weekend from Leningrad."
Could "Edward L. Keenan," the graduate exchange student in Leningrad and Moscow be the mysterious, "unknown American" Philadelphia Quaker student who also rode Oswald around Mexico City on the back of his motorcycle in the fall of 1963?
Parker took his hunch to the internet and came up with one Edward L. Keenan, professor of linguistics at the Univeristy of the City of Los Angeles (UCLA), whose Curricululm Vitae includes a BA degree in Philosophy and Religion from Swathmore College in Philadelpia in 1959 and the Sorbonne (1962), as well as work as an "Escort Interprter" (French-English) for the U.S. Department of State in 1962-64 (summers).
A Quaker student from Philadelphia named Edward L. Keenan!
Is this the guy? If so, it is even more remarkable that he would meet Oswald at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on the day he defects in 1959 and then hooks up with him again in Mexico City in the fall of 1963, a few months before he is accused of being the assassin of the President of the United States.
[BK Notes: I have initiated an internet email querry with all major Quaker organizations and am getting a good response from librarians who are very helpful.]
It is also possible Oswald learned of this Quaker "camp" before he went to Mexico City from either Ruth H. Paine or Ruth Kloepfer, although both would later deny that they knew of Oswald's intention to visit Mexico.
It has long been speculated that any CIA photographs of Oswald entering or leaving the Cuban or Russian embassies, on any of ten known occassions, were not made public because of other persons who are in the photographs, which would expose on-going covert operations.
In his book Gus Russo speculates that any person photographed with Oswald in Mexico City was possibly Cuban, or at least a Communist agent, but if LICOVEY-3 ferried Oswald around, he was being transported about by a KGB-CIA double agent under the control of the CIA Counter-intelligence unit (James J. Angleton -- Win Scott), the same ones who kept the CIA files on Oswald "very close to their vests." (paraphrase of John Newman -- Oswald & the CIA).
With the Quaker connection, there seems to be an underlying thread of detached financial and administrative assistance from a number of "non-profit" religious oriented charity organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee, the "Red Cross" that subsidized Oswald's soujourn in Minsk, the Russian Orthodox Church in America and the Catholic Cuban Welfare and Refugee Relief organizations.
Some of them were supported financially by the Catherwood Fund, a non-profit foundation established the same month in 1948 as the CIA, and located in Paoli, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia on the Main Line, in the same small town as Michael Paine's mother, Ruth Forbes Young and her husband Arthur Young.
The CIA funding of such organizations has long been established and the roles of CIA officials Tom Braden and Cord Meyer have been widely published, and in light of the Quaker connections, should be reviewed to see if there are any more concrete connections.
Copyright © 2002 William Kelly
The Man on the Motorcycle in Mexico City
George Michael Evica in his A Certain Arrogance (p. 247 in Xlibris; p. 300 in Trineday, 2006) chapter eight episode The “Oswald” in Mexico Quaker Connection writes:
Though it was highly unlikely Lee Harvey Oswald actually visited Mexico City and the Soviet and Cuban embassies there prior to the assassination, someone certainly did show up in Mexico who represented himself as Oswald and who displayed convincing identity documents For the FBI and CIA, this series of events conjured up unpleasant possibilities of a Soviet KGB or communist Cuban involvement with Oswald. Real or fake, an Oswald in Mexico City who had contacted Soviet or Cuban intelligence was ominous.
For the FBI, a Quaker/intelligence connection to Oswald with a Mexico City locale was one more unwanted complication, primarily because of Ruth Paine and her closeness to the Oswald family.
The locus of that Quaker complication was the Friends House, the Casa del Los Amigos, in Mexico City. In September, 1963, Homobono Amo Alcaraz, himself a Quaker, had reportedly met an “Oswald” in the company of several Quakers at Sanborn’s Restaurant located (according to researcher Mary Ferrell) next to the American Embassy in Mexico City. All of the Quakers were either staying at the cas del Los Amigos or were connected to it. Alcaraz asserted that “Oswald,” riding on the back of the motorbike of an unidentified U.S. citizen, had left the restaurant for a trip to the Cuban Embassy, ostensibly in an attempt to get “Oswald” (or both of them) a Cuban visa.
Interviewed by the FBI, Von Peacock, the Acting Director of the Quaker’s Cassa del Los Amigos, suggested the motor biking American could have been Robert Kaffke, a San Francisco Quaker who, along with fifty-seven other students, visited Cuba illegally in the summer of 1963; but the Kaffke story sounded too much like a botched attempt to implicate “Oswald” in a Cuban-sponsored murder of JFK.
This “Oswald” had left the Quaker House before Kaffke registered: Kaffke reported that Casa residents “were still talking about Oswald’s visit.” He also stated that “Oswald” was in possession of a sizeable amount of money and the Casa residents “were really scared when the name Oswald [was] mentioned”, the latter presumably after November 22, 1963.
Beyond the confused calendar, what made the Kaffke revelations suspicious was his intelligence link: he was an undercover informant for the FBI’s San Francisco office. Helpfully, the FBI reported it did not believe Kaffke was the motorbike companion of “Oswald.”
Ms. Barrie Milliman, a Berkeley undergraduate, visited Homobono Amo Alcaraz in Mexico City and heard about Oswald’s alleged Quaker connection there. Milliman then reportedly told another student, Judith Gordon, and on January 15, 1964, Gordon notified the FBI office in San Francisco: like Robert Kaffke of San Francisco, Gordon was also an undercover Bureau informant.
The Quaker Good Samaritan who wanted to go to Cuba with “Oswald” was later reportedly identified as Steve (or Larry) Kennan. Homobono Alcarz, interviewed in 1994 by researcher/writer Tony Summers, stated that the Quaker on a motorbike in Mexico City was from Philadelphia: he was indeed, Steve/Larry Kennan, and Kennan was most probably “LICOZY-3,” a double (if not triple) agent run by the CIA operating in Mexico City. Kennan was a Quaker from Philadelphia “recruited [earlier] by the Soviets while a student in Mexico City….[who then] reported [his] …recruitment [to the CIA] and [afterward] worked for the [Agency’s] Mexico City station.” And when he returned to the United States, double-agent Kennan became, of course, an undercover informant.
The Oswald-among-the-Quakers in Mexico City story was obviously rich with CIA/FBI ramifications, not the least of which was the Philadelphia/Quaker identity of the motor biking friend of “Oswald.”
Ruth Paine’s influential in-laws, Ruth Forbes Paine Young and Arthur Young, were powerful Quakers in the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia was the international center of the Quakers; the Americans Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was headquartered in Philadelphia and was responsible for that same Casa De Los Amigos, the Mexico City Friends’ hostel/camp for U.S. students. Like its Unitarian (USC) counterpart, the Quakers’ service operation had cooperated with U.S. intelligence through two wars and after.
Almost all of GME’s footnotes to this section refer to my article http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/28th_Issue/quakers.html
The info on LICOZY-3 comes from Phil Agee.
First off, while he could be Agee’s LICOZY-3 – the double-agent was not recruited by Cubans in Mexico City, as GME says, but rather in New York City at the UN, and he came under FBI jurisdiction first, and then CIA when he went to Mexico City.
I think the late GME would agree with me if I had the opportunity to tell him what I know, but the research into this aspect of the assassination could be a case study in itself, especially how we came to find “Steve Kennan” - the “man on the motorcycle in Mexico City.”
Around the time Greg Parker started this thread – I had posted a challenge to other researchers that locating “Steve Kennan” – the man on the motorcycle, should have been easy for any researcher worth his salt, since we had so much information about him – he was from Philadelphia, he was a Quaker, he was a college student, his name was Steve Kennan and rode a motorcycle.
Greg Parker, Stu Wexler and Larry Hancock all participated in the hunt, and we together and separately scoured the Quaker organizations and colleges in Philadelphia searching for a Steve Kennan, to no avail.
Greg twice thought he came up with a likely suspect – Edward L. Kennan, a linguist who had studied at the University of Penn in Philadelphia, and had been in Mexico, but when I talked with him on the phone he denied being in Mexico City or ever “driving” a motorcycle. Then Greg came upon another Edward L. Kennan, this one who happened to know Oswald from being present in the embassy room where Oswald handed over his passport and announced his defection. Affiliated with Harvard, this ELK was the director of the Harvard Dumbartum Oaks research center in Washington.
Then we got a luckly break when the web master of the site that posted my article on the Quakers in Mexico City contacted me and said a women from Germany wanted to contact me about the man on the motorcycle in Mexico City.
Moni said she believed the man was her father but all she knew about him was what her mother told her – he was a college student from Philadelphia, they had met at the Casa De Amigos Quaker hostel and they went on a motorcycle trip to ancient ruins and celebrated a birthday together. Nine months later she was born, but she never knew her father and was searching for him. So our quest became hers and she provided us with the critical piece of information, the correct spelling of his name – I will refer to him as SK.
She also furnished us a photo that was taken of him and her mother at the Casa De Amigos. [ http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2010/08/steve-monis-mom-in-mc.html ]
Stu Wexler was the first to find him on line and sent off an email asking if he was the guy on the motorcycle in Mexico City, but he didn’t get a response.
With the correct spelling of his name we tried to put together some of his background, and at first thought that his father was a New York music union official, but before long we learned that he was a student at Temple University, but didn’t graduate, the reason we failed to find his name among the alumni.
I obtained newspaper clippings that mentioned him, he had started an early computer dating service and with his twin brother ran a music store and guitar workshop. He also wrote an article for Motorcycle Magazine on touring Mexico by motorbike.
When we realized that this was the guy we were looking for, Greg, Stu, Larry and myself agreed to allow Tony Summers first crack at interviewing him since he was the one who had been to Mexico City and interviewed Homobono Alcaraz in the first place. So I contacted Tony and he agreed, but before we contacted him he wanted to get more background on the guy.
Then Greg Parker discovered an obscure reference to him in the footnote of a book on Sixties radicals, which quoted from an article he had published in the Temple University student newspaper. I drove to North Philly and went to the Temple library where I reviewed the back issues of the student newspaper and found a series of three articles that he wrote detailing his trips to Cuba.
There was also an article about a Temple professor who moved to Havana and took up a teaching position at Havana University in order to study the Cuban revolution first hand.
Quite surprising, there was a photo of him – SK with Castro – arm in arm like bosom buddies.
The photo was quite fantastic because regardless of what was behind it, if Oswald – the accused assassin of the President – had received a ride to the Cuban embassy in Mexico City on the back of a motorcycle driven by Castro’s associate, it would certainly be used to implicate Castro in the assassination.
In consultation with Moni, we allowed her to “go first,” and contact SK because we felt that their personnel interaction took precedence over our curious questions so she wrote him a letter and he wrote back and before long she was on her way to USA to meet him and his family.
I met Moni at the Philadelphia airport and she stayed a few days in Somers Point, and I turned her on to a Philadelphia cheesesteak and gave her a box of local delicacies to give to SK as a gift from home.
SK still rides motorcycles and Moni gave me a photo of the two of them when they went for a ride. [ http://whitedeercafe.blogspot.com/2010/08/steve-moni.html ]
Moni’s mother also gave us the name of an American women who worked at the American embassy in Mexico City at the time, who said that SK also gave her a ride to work on the back of his motorcycle.
When Moni told us that SK, like her, had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe, Tony sent him a copy of his bio of Monroe, and then called him on the phone and they had a long chat. While SK says he doesn’t remember giving Oswald a ride to the Cuban embassy, he also didn’t remember giving Moni’s friend a ride to the American embassy either.
SK believes he returned to the USA shortly after his article was published in Motorcycle Magazine, which was in August, 1963, a few weeks or a month before Oswald’s visit. But he didn’t say what became of his motorcycle, or whether his twin brother was there.
The photo of him with Castro was taken at an airport in Cuba when the two quite coincidently crossed paths.
SK was quite perplexed by the whole thing, was suspicious that he was being set up in some elaborate scheme. Nor did he acknowledge ever being recruited by the Cubans, though he did admit to being in New York at the UN when Castro visited when LICOZY-3 was reportedly recruited.
Tony Summers also managed to get a hold of Phil Agee in Cuba and talked with him a few months before he died. Agee said that he didn’t recall the real name of LICOZY-3 but personally went to Philadelphia in order to inform the double-agent that the CIA was discontinuing the operation.
There are many loose ends to this story, and many aspects of it that I have not mentioned, including the fact that SK has a twin brother, who lives in San Francisco, and may have been on the Quebec to Moscow Peace Walk that traveled through Minsk, and the Quebec to Guantamano Peace Walk that went through Montreal and Philadelphia, where “Oswald” sightings occurred.
Both twin brothers resemble Oswald in some ways, and they may have been mistaken for Oswald in Mexico City or the two sightings in Montreal and Philadelphia. Oswald was said to have been seen giving out FPCC leaflets at a demonstration where SK’s twin brother may have been, while Oswald was seen at a demonstration at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. SK and his twin brother ran a guitar workshop on Sansom Street, around the corner from Rittenhouse Square.
In any case, the Man on the Motorcycle in Mexico City – SK and his twin brother, and the secretary from the US Embassy and some of the participants of the Quebec to Moscow and Quebec to Guantamano Peace Walks are still living, and capable of being properly questioned by Congress or Grand Jury, but time is running out.
And they are only a few of the dozens of witnesses that should be questioned.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Friday, April 15th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Friday show
CHRIS MATTHEWS: “Let Me Finish” tonight with the grassy knoll. That was the place in Dallas—near the Texas Book Depository—that the crazies believe people shot at President Kennedy from.
Well, to the conspiracist mind, it‘s important to always have a grassy knoll. It‘s their grotto of denial, a place to travel mentally and find deliverance from reality. Those who don‘t like reality need a grassy knoll to get through the night.
I do not wish to do injustice to these desperados. I know exactly why people need grassy knolls. They need them because they cannot bear the suffering that truth brings to the heart and to the mind.
How could some loser—some misfit who went to the Soviet Union because he thought he liked communism and believed he could find a happy life there, then came home and fall hard for Fidel Castro on the rebound, how could this squirt kill the regal Jack Kennedy? It doesn‘t balance out, does it? How could a nobody kill such a great somebody?
Well, worst yet, how could a man of a hard left—a communist—kill Jack Kennedy. Why wasn‘t it a right-winger who killed him? Then we could blame it on them?
I‘ve got it. We‘ll come up with a conspiracy theory—don‘t actually have to prove anything, of course, that says—just say it. Just say it. It really was a right winger. It‘s that guy - oh, those guys over in the grassy knoll. Don‘t you get it? It was the right wing that killed our hero.
Well, a half century later, we‘ve got a new grassy knoll, another place for retreat for those who can‘t stand a hard truth. The truth is that Barack Obama is the president of the United States. Got it! President of the United States, duly elected leader of the country living right there in the White House.
And they can‘t stand it. They can‘t stand that it is, in fact, a fact. No way around it. No way.
Just look at the history books. Look at the newspaper. Dang it! This guy is president. He was elected president. A majority of the people wanted him president and went out and voted for him.
How do we change that? How do we change that reality?
I got it, with this—it didn‘t happen. You see, he wasn‘t born here. He‘s not eligible to be president.
I read it somewhere that he‘s from somewhere else. Can‘t put my finger on it but he‘s not really an American, you see? Not natural born anyway. He‘s from out there somewhere.
So, last night, the boobs in the Arizona legislature voted to require the candidates for president henceforth approved other documents besides the official document that the state of Hawaii issues as a birth certificate. They want circumcision, baptismal records. They want something that nobody‘s ever wanted before from any candidate before.
What they really want is the same thing grassy knoll people want even now—deliverance from the truth they cannot handle.
Donald Trump—take a bow for giving new hope to grassy knollers everywhere. Wow!
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
I was not surprised by your arrogant and ignorant denunciation of conspiracy theorists who believe JFK was fired upon from the "Grassy Knoll." Of course the last official investigation of the assassination came to that same conclusion, based in part on scientific acoustics tests that virtually proved it (despite claims to the contrary those tests have never been refuted).
I find myself wondering, however, if you ever read your former boss and mentor's book "Man of the House," in which Tip O’Neillwrites:
I was never one of those people who had doubts or suspicions about the Warren Commission’s report on the President’s death. But five years after Jack died, I was having dinner with Kenny O’Donnell and a few other people at Jimmy’s Harborside Restaurant in Boston, and we got to talking about the assassination. I was surprised to hear O’Donnell say that he was sure he had heard two shots that came from behind the fence. "That’s not what you told the Warren Commission," I said. "You’re right," he replied. "I told the FBI what I had heard but they said it couldn’t have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn’t want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family." "I can’t believe it," I said. "I wouldn’t have done that in a million years. I would have told the truth." "Tip, you have to understand. The family—everybody wanted this thing behind them." Dave Powers was with us at dinner that night, and his recollection of the shots was the same as O’Donnell’s.
So I guess O'Donnell and Powers can be counted among the "crazies," as can Tip O'Neill for passing on what they told him without attempting to refute it."
You are entitled to believe what you want about the Kennedy assassination, but branding people who believe something else based upon eyewitness testimony and scientific evidence as "crazies" says a lot more about you than it says about them.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Waters of Knowledge
versus the Waters of Uncertainty:
Mass Denial in the Assassination of President Kennedy
By E. Martin Schotz
This is part of a speech Martin Schotz gave at the 1998 COPA in Dallas.
For the complete text see John Kelin at:
By cooperating in holding this society together through lies, we have made it that much more possible for our military intelligence apparatus to impose enormous suffering on people throughout the world. And this turmoil and mayhem has by no means been ended.
On April 25th of this year , Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi Conedera was assassinated one day after he stood before an audience in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Guatemala City and gave a speech in which he presented the findings of an in-depth probe into thousands and thousands of murdered and disappeared persons, casualties of a campaign of terror against the people of Guatemala waged by their own government, a right wing militarist government which over the years has enjoyed the consistent training and support of our US military intelligence establishment, the well protected home of the assassins of President Kennedy.
I want to read to you some of the thoughts Bishop Conedera expressed in his April 24th speech. Amongst other things he said,
"The root of humanity's downfall and disgrace comes from the deliberate opposition to truth ... this reality that has been intentionally deformed in our country throughout thirty-six years of war against the people.
"To open ourselves to the truth and to bring ourselves face to face with our personal and collective reality is not an option that can be accepted or rejected. It is an undeniable requirement of all people and all societies that seek to humanize themselves and to be free....
"Truth is the primary word, the serious and mature action that makes it possible for us to break the cycle of death and violence and open ourselves to a future of hope and light for all...
"Discovering the truth is painful, but it is without a doubt a healthy and liberating action."
Juan José Gerardi Conedera was born in Guatemala City on 27th December 1922. He won a scholarship to study theology in the United States and after the Second World War returned to Guatemala where he was ordained as a priest.
In May 1967 Gerardi Conedera was appointed as Bishop of Verapaz. He developed a reputation for being deeply concerned about the indigenous communities in Guatemala. For example, he played an important role in securing authorisation for two radio stations to broadcast in Mayan languages.
In August 1974, Gerardi Conedera was appointed Bishop of Quiché. General Fernando Romeo Lucas García was elected President of Guatemala in 1978. Over the next few years the government resorted to political repression and assassinations of major progressive opposition figures. Conedera led the protests against the military government. While serving as president of the Guatemalan Conference of Bishops, he spoke out openly about the 31st January 1980 Spanish embassy fire in which 39 people lost their lives and in which government instigation was widely suspected. In June 1980 there was an attempt to kill Gerardi Conedera.
Soon afterwards the Bishop Gerardi was called to the Vatican to attend a synod. General Lucas García ordered that he should not be allowed to return to Guatemala. He travelled to neighbouring El Salvador, which refused to grant him right of asylum. Bishop Gerardi eventually settled in Costa Rica.
On 23rd March, 1982, General Fernando Romeo Lucas García was ousted from power by General José Efraín Ríos Montt. Condedera was now allowed to return to Guatemala. However, the new military government continued to persecute the indigenous Mayans, who were suspected of supporting the left-wing guerrilla movement in Guatemala.
In 1988 the Conference of Bishops assigned Juan José Gerardi Conedera to serve on the National Reconciliation Commission. Later he was appointed as Coordinator of the Human Rights Office for the Archdiocese of Guatemala and director of the Interdiocesan Historical Memory Recovery Project (REMHI).
On 24th April, 1988, Bishop Gerardi released a REMHI report entitled "Guatemala: Never Again." According to this report, 150,000 civilians had been killed and another 50,000 "disappeared" during the internal armed conflict. More than 400 villages were erased from the landscape as homes were burned, crops destroyed and the inhabitants cruelly massacred. The victims, for the most part, were Mayan peasant farmers from poor and isolated villages throughout the western highlands. And 90% of the time the perpetrators, REMHI confirmed, were members of the Armed Forces or the army-commissioned Civil Defense Patrols.
Two nights after Bishop Gerardi released his report he was attacked in his garage as he got out of his car. Gerardi was battered him to death with concrete slabs.
The Catholic Church in Guatemala, realizing that it could not rely on the legal system to look into the bishop's murder, took the controversial decision to form an investigative team of young men who called themselves Los Intocables (the Untouchables) to find the killers.
On 8th June 2001 three army officers: Byron Disrael Lima Estrada, Byron Lima Oliva and José Obdulio Villanueva, were convicted of his murder and sentenced to 30-year prison terms. A priest, Mario Orantes, was sentenced to 20 years for the crime.
THE DIVINE SKEIN
By Bill Kelly
The assassination of President Kennedy was a Watershed event in modern American history, the ramifications of which have yet to be fully realized.
The details of the crime, the ballistics, acoustics, autopsy and medical evidence are covered elsewhere. This report concerns the covert intelligence operations that resulted in the death of the President, and the black propaganda operations that continue to this day to manipulate the news and the judicial system to shield those responsible.
The time and the place – 12:30 pm, Houston and Elm streets, Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, Friday, November 22, 1963, are firmly etched in our national subconscious, and the picture of that square acre of time and place are constantly played back in the media and in our minds.
If Dealey Plaza were pictured as a giant mosaic wall mural, broken into pieces like a puzzle, we would have a pretty good idea of what occurred there. Only a few pieces are still missing – the faces in the shadows, the names of which are not even necessary to understand what happened there.
Although there are many theories as to what transpired at Dealey Plaza that day, the events, as they actually occurred, only happened one way, and it is the job of the social scientists, the independent researcher, journalists, teachers and historians to determine that truth as closely as possible.
Some people might consider this crime ancient history even though it is still such a current event that indictments can still be brought down by a grand jury for crimes related to the assassination – destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, perjury, homicide and conspiracy, if not treason.
Besides the issues of justice and historical perspective, it is important to know for oneself as well as for our mutual national security, whether the murder of the president was an unplanned, spontaneous psychological act of a homicidal maniac or a very well planned and executed coup d’etat.
John F. Kennedy was either killed by a deranged lone-nut, as the Warren Report has concluded, or he was the victim of a conspiracy by a clandestine action team of covert agents, as much of the evidence suggests. The truth must either be one way or the other, and cannot be both.
If the assassination of JFK was the work of one deranged, lone-nut, the lessons to be learned from the tragedy are far less significant than what we can learn from it if Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy. If the President was not killed by a lone-nut, the ramifications extend from our own curious need to know into the realms of justice and our national security today.
While the Secret Service and national security apparatus have taken the lone-nut contingency into protective consideration, the covert conspiracy must be unraveled and understood in order to prevent it from happening again.
Those who believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone on his own perverted psycho impulses can close the book on the case and go home, and let the psychologist take over, while those who want to pursue the truth behind the conspiracy that killed the president can continue. While the quest does seem like falling into a rabbit hole and bumping into the wilderness of mirrors, you can find the way with an understanding of the history and techniques of intelligence networks.
Not for the sake of argument, but for the sake of analysis, a competent homicide investigator would proceed first by assuming that JFK was killed as an act of elimination, and it was not only a conspiracy, but a more distinctly defined covert intelligence operation.
Although anyone with the training and knowledge can conduct such clandestine operations, because of the extensive cover-up that occurred after the fact, the plot to murder the President must have had its origin in the very heart of the United States government.
But because a covert operation, by its very name and nature is meant to be concealed, you must look through a special spectrum to see it. This crystal ball, as my associate John Judge describes it, is similar to an onion, with layers of meaning that can be peeled off, and only understood if you are trained and educated in the crafts, techniques, means, methods and history of such special covert intelligence operations.
Allen Dulles, author of “The Craft of Intelligence,” once said that the biographical method of study is a good way to approach any subject, and Lee Harvey Oswald is one of the first individuals you have to come to know to understand the assassination of JFK.
While a homicide investigator on the street may not have the historical background or training, let alone the resources to identify and investigate state supported intelligence operations, basic instincts will tell you something and give you a clue. Every homicide investigation begins with a body, and leads to a suspect, who can usually be identified as one who had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime.
Oswald had the means, the U.S. Marine Corps training, experience and the tools to kill. Having worked in a building at the scene of the crime must make JFK the first assassination victim to ever go to the scene of his murder, rather than be stalked by assassins. [This has become known as "The Chris Matthews" MSNBC Hardball question issued with guests Vincent Bugliosi and David Talbot.] And indeed, the idea the assassin actually worked at the scene of the crime, and the motorcade route was designed to pass his window is certainly suspicious, if not evidence of high-level conspiracy itself.
The problem with Oswald as the assassin is that he had no motive. He actually liked JFK. Not even the Warren Commission would try to apply a motive to Oswald, who they concluded killed JFK alone.
The more you learn about Oswald the more you realize he is not the most important character in the assassination drama, but a pawn in the game of bloodthirsty power politics.
Although Oswald may have been a loner, he was seldom alone and not deranged. He was definitely an agent, but for whom has yet to be determined.
SUN TZU – THE ART OF WAR – THE DEVINE SKEIN
Allen Dulles took a book with him to the first meeting of the Warren Commission, a book about American assassins and how they, historically, all appear to be psychologically deranged lone-nuts, which he recommended the other commissioners read. If he was more interested in determining the truth about the assassination he would have them read his own book, “The Craft of Intelligence,” in which he promotes Sun Tzu’s ancient manual “The Art of War.”
In the chapter “The Employment of Secret Agents,” Sun Tzu says, “Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy wherever they move, and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.”
“What is called foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits, nor from the gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations. It must be obtained from men who know the situation.”
“Now there are five sorts of agents to be employed. These are: native, inside, double, expendable and living.” A native agent is one of the nationality of the enemy. An inside agent is one who lives and works in the enemy’s camp. A double agent is an enemy agent who works for both sides. An expendable agent is one that can be cut loose after achieving his goal, while a living agent is one that can get into the enemy camp and return with information.”
Sun Tzu writes: “When these five types of agents are all working simultaneously and none knows their message of operation, they are called ‘The Devine Skein,” and are the treasure of the sovereign.”
And even today in the world of satellite and communication intelligence, human intelligence is still an indispensable method of determining motives and anticipated action, and the nature of the clandestine network in action is still the most reliable means of learning the intentions of other people and governments.
In the case of the assassination of President Kennedy, individuals had foreknowledge of the event because of their affiliation with such a network, and such foreknowledge itself is evidence that there was a conspiracy behind the assassination.
In this regard, little has changed. The same type of agents are classified and utilized today as they were in Sun Tsu’s day, as well as at Dealey Plaza. Their method of operation is known as compartmentalization, where each man knows only his job, and may not even know who is paying him to do it.
Thus, if the assassination of JFK was the work of a covert action team, the men who pulled the triggers probably didn’t know who they were working for, and did it because they were well trained, paid professional marksmen and killers.
Those who maintain Oswald was the lone-assassin also portray him as a low life loser, who couldn’t hold a job, beat his wife and hated authority and society, while actually, if he was the lone-gunman, was, if nothing else, and as Sam Giancana more correctly described him, a great marksman and assassin.
Born in New Orleans and raised there in his formative years, Lee Harvey Oswald worked as a messenger on the docks for Leon Trugaque, served in the Civil Air Patrol, enlisted in the US Marine Corps, like his older brother. Oswald served as a radar operator at a U2 base in Japan and at San Diego before being discharged and defecting to the Soviet Union.
Returning a few years later with a Russian wife and daughter, Oswald lived in Texas, supported by a group of White Russians who worked for oil companies and defense contractors. After working at Jaggers-Chiles-Stoval graphics firm, Oswald was implicated in the shooting of Gen. Ed Walker, and relocated back to New Orleans. There he worked for Reilly Coffee and instigated Fair Play for Cuba Committee activities before going to Mexico City in a failed attempt to get a visa to Cuba. Returning to Dallas, Oswald worked at the Texas School Book Depository, and owned the rifle found at the scene of the assassination.
Without knowing anything else about Oswald, every intelligence analyst worth their salt would proceed by assuming that Oswald, the alleged assassin of the President, was a covert operative and part of a foreign or domestic state-supported intelligence network.
Oswald was a covert operative and clandestine agent, trained in what Allen Dulles calls “the crafts of intelligence” – foreign language, electronics, communications, codes, ciphers and tradecraft – avoiding surveillance, microdot photography and the writing of clear, concise reports.
In Sun Tzu’s terms, Oswald served as both an inside and double agent, in Russia and against the Cubans.
But Oswald was not a very good gunman. Rather, as the evidence indicates, Oswald was just what he claimed to be, a patsy, and fall guy – framed for a crime he didn’t commit, and killed as the expendable agent.
It is not the technicians, the gunman or hit men who killed JFK, rather it was the covert operators at the top of the clandestine pyramid who arranged for the assassination of the President. The intelligence officers, the knights, bishops and rooks, to use their own analogy, were the kingpins who pulled the chains of puppets and pawns like Oswald.
Sun Tzu calls the men at the top “the wise general and the sovereign,” and the network of agents “the Devine Skein,” giving it a sort of deity, or god-like connotation, since only the patriarch at the top knows all that is going on during the game. He is like a God, looking down on the mortals below and controlling their destiny at his whim.
But actually, crimes committed by men can be solved by men, and now over 40 years after the fact, ordinary people can look down, peak through the glass onion, and see The Big Picture. It’s a moving picture that leaves Dealey Plaza on the trail of the assassins, and leads to the individuals who changed history by getting away with murder.
The names of the real assassins will never become as famous as Lee Harvey Oswald, but I am convinced that we will come to know them. Will it even matter, especially if they are all dead? Probably not. We look through the glass onion not to name the guilty, but to see today’s circumstances in the proper perspective. If Oswald was just crazy, nothing else would make sense. But when you see the Devine Skein through the glass onion, what happened at Dealey Plaza comes into focus and more clearly seen.
William Manchester, who failed to find a conspiracy in writing “The Death of the President,” wrote, “…if you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of the scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn’t balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the President’s death with meaning, endowing him with martyrdom. He would have died for something. A conspiracy would, of course, do the job nicely. Unfortunately, there is no evidence whatever that there was one.”
But the evidence is there if you know what to look for. It isn’t a conspiracy theory, but rather a covert understanding of events.
We might not have the piece of the puzzle with a “smoking gun,” (though there are many “smoking documents” found at the National Archives), but the overwhelming circumstantial evidence fits very nicely with the covert history of current events.
When Oswald’s criminal personality profile is seen as a covert intelligence operative, part of a network and a player in the Great Game, the psychological makeup of that “wretched waif” is of little consequence, while the Devine Skein quite nicely balances out the scales of history and understanding, if not justice.
And because they set it up so they remain anonymous no-name figures in the shadows doesn’t mean we can’t figure out who put together what happened at Dealey Plaza.
The tools of the social scientist are limited. We can read and interview. In the end we must judge for ourselves what is real and what is not. A homicide detective once emphasized that even if you know who the murder is, you still need to acquire the evidence necessary to convict him in a court of law.
But the journalist, historian and intelligence analysis do not have to meet those same standards to know the truth. The majority of the American people have always known, almost assumed there was a conspiracy, even if they couldn’t see through the glass onion clearly. They know in their hearts that something was wrong with the official version of events, and that there is more to the assassination than one lone-nut, that “wretched waif” Oswald.
At one of the last meetings of the Warren Commission, Allen Dulles argued against the publication of the Commission’s records and documents, preferring them to be kept classified and locked away. Finally he relented, saying, “Okay, go ahead and publish the stuff, the people won’t read it anyway.”
More and more people are now reading those records, and deciding for themselves who killed Kennedy, and someday they may even do something about it.
John Judge says that the people who killed JFK were merely telling us, “We killed the son of a bitch and you can’t do anything about it.”
Philadelphia attorney Vincent Salandria calls it the “Transparent Conspiracy,” where it was prearranged for anyone who took up the trail of the assassins to be led into a labyrinth of never ending trails, dead ends and Machiavellian intrigues.
Even though you may not be able to do something about it, in order to learn the truth you have to jump into the rabbit’s hole, get into the “House of Mirrors” and figure out how the magic trick was done.
You can’t get caught up the details of the ballistics, trajectories, acoustics, autopsies and caskets. Forget the “single-bullet theory,” and quit arguing about the details.
Whatever happened at Dealey Plaza was a conspiracy and coup d’etat, a magic trick that you can’t be told how it is done, you have to figure it out.
In order to see the Transparent Conspiracy through the glass onion, you have to follow the leads out of Dealey Plaza, take up the cold trail and follow the evidence where ever it leads.
Bill Kelly can be reached at Billkelly3@gmail.com
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
"Learn from History", 31st Anniversary of the Assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 339
Posted - March 23, 2011
By: Kate Doyle and Emily Willard
For more information contact:
Kate Doyle - 646/670-8841
Washington, D.C., March 23, 2011 - Thirty one years ago tomorrow, El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was shot and killed by right-wing assassins seeking to silence his message of solidarity with the country’s poor and oppressed. The assassination shocked Salvadorans already reeling in early 1980 from attacks by security forces and government-backed death squads on a growing opposition movement. Romero’s murder further polarized the country and set the stage for the civil war that would rage for the next twelve years.
In commemoration of the anniversary, the National Security Archive is posting a selection from our digital archive of 12 declassified U.S. documents that describe the months before his death, his assassination and funeral, as well as later revelations about those involved in his murder.
The documents are being posted as President Barack Obama leaves El Salvador, his final stop on a five-day trip to Latin America. Obama spent part of his time in the country with a visit to Monsignor Romero’s tomb last night. Although the United States funneled billions of dollars to the tiny country in support of the brutal army and security forces during a counterinsurgency war that left 75,000 civilians dead, the president made no reference to the U.S. role, seeking in his speeches instead to focus on immigration and security concerns. The day before his visit to Romero’s gravesite, Obama had told an audience in Chile that it was important that the United States and Latin America “learn from history, that we understand history, but that we not be trapped by history, because many challenges lie ahead.”
Just weeks before his murder, Archbishop Romero published an open letter to President Jimmy Carter in the Salvadoran press, asking the United States not to intervene in El Salvador’s fate by arming brutal security forces against a popular opposition movement. Romero warned that U.S. support would only “sharpen the injustice and repression against the organizations of the people which repeatedly have been struggling to gain respect for their fundamental human rights.” Despite his plea, President Carter moved to approve $5 million in military aid less than one year after the archbishop’s murder, as Carter was leaving office in January 1981.
Included in the posting are documents reporting on a secret, behind-the-scene effort by the United States to enlist the Vatican in pressuring Romero over his perceived support for the Salvadoran left; an account of the archbishop’s powerful March 23, 1980, homily, given the day before his assassination; a description of the murder by the U.S. defense attaché in El Salvador; and an extraordinary embassy cable describing a meeting organized by rightist leader Roberto D’Aubuisson in which participants draw lots to determine who would be the triggerman to kill Romero.
Although the declassified documents do not reveal the extent of the plot to kill Romero or the names of those who murdered him, details in them support the findings of the 1993 report by the U.N.-mandated Truth Commission for El Salvador. Released shortly after the signing of the peace accords that ended the war in El Salvador, the report identified D’Aubuisson, Captains Alvaro Rafael Saravia and Eduardo Avila, and Fernando (“El Negro”) Sagrera as among those responsible for the assassination. On March 25 of last year, Carlos Dada of El Salvador’s on-line news site El Faro published an extraordinary interview with Alvaro Saravia, one of the masterminds of Romero’s killing. In the interview, Saravia revealed chilling details of the plot to murder Romero; see a transcript of the interview, “How We Killed the Archbishop”,here and here en español.
The documents posted below are from the National Security Archive’s Digital National Security Archive’s two El Salvador collections,El Salvador: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977–1984and El Salvador: War, Peace, and Human Rights, 1980–1994. These two full collections, among others, are available through a subscription with the ProQuest research database.
Read the Documents
October 11, 1979
Confidential, Cable, “The Archbishop and the Military”, 2 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
In his homily, Archbishop Romero decries repression by the Salvadoran military and criticizes the army for abandoning its role as the nation’s defender to become “guardian of the interests of the oligarchy.”
December 17, 1979
Unclassified, Cable, “Archbishop Strongly Urges Agrarian Reform”, 3 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
Archbishop Oscar A. Romero speaks in support of agrarian reform, criticizing the oligarchy for arming those who seek to preserve the status quo and citing the Catholic Church’s Medellin Council recognition of “right of oppressed to exert pressure, but not through armed violence.”
January 31, 1980
Secret, Memorandum, [Draft Letter Attached], “Letter from Dr. Brzezinski to the Pope”, 5 pp.
United States. Department of State, Office of the Secretary
Presents draft of letter to Pope John Paul II outlining areas of concern in Central America and requesting assistance in persuading Archbishop Romero not to "abandon" Revolutionary Governing Junta in favor of more radical leftists in El Salvador.
February 19, 1980
Unclassified, Cable, “Text of Archbishop's Letter to President Carter“, 1 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
Archbishop Romero addresses President Jimmy Carter, imploring him not to provide military aid or any other form of assistance that could exacerbate state violence targeting Salvadoran citizens. “I am very worried by the news that the government of the United States is studying a form of abetting the arming of El Salvador,” Romero writes. “The contribution of your government instead of promoting greater justice and peace in El Salvador will without doubt sharpen the injustice and repression against the organizations of the people which repeatedly have been struggling to gain respect for their fundamental human rights.”
March 1, 1980
Confidential, Cable, “Reply to Archbishop's Letter to President Carter“,1 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance responds to Archbishop Romero’s letter regarding criticisms of U.S. security assistance to El Salvador, assuring him that President Carter shares his concerns about the human rights of Salvadoran citizens. “Any equipment and training which we might provide would be designed to overcome the most serious deficiencies of the Armed Forces, enhancing their professionalism so that they can fulfill their essential role of maintaining order with a minimum of lethal force.”
March 23, 1980
Confidential, Cable “Archbishop's Homily, March 23”, 4 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
This cable reports on Archbishop Romero’s homily, the day before he was assassinated. He speaks of the increasing tension with Salvadoran security forces and condemns rampant killings: “In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression!”
March 25, 1980
Confidential, Cable, “Archbishop Romero Assassinated”, 2 pp.
United States Defense Intelligence Agency. Office of the Defense Attaché, El Salvador
This document reports the assassination of Archbishop Romero and includes brief description of events.
March 26, 1980
Confidential, Cable, “Archbishop's Assassination: Peaceful Procession”, 2 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
This cable reports on the procession of thousands of people accompanying Archbishop Romero’s coffin from the basilica to the National Cathedral.
March 26, 1980,
Unclassified, Cable, “White House Statement on Archbishop Romero's Assassination”, 2 pp.
United States. Department of State
The United States government issues statement condemning the assassination of Archbishop Romero.
November 19, 1980,
Secret, Cable “Conversation with National Guard Officer”, 3 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
A source from the National Guard tells a U.S. embassy political officer that National Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacional—ARENA) founder Roberto D'Aubuisson organized a meeting a day or two before the assassination of Archbishop Romero in which “participants drew lots for the task of killing the archbishop.”
February 25, 1981
Unclassified, Cable, “El Salvador: Army Officers Implicated in Romero Killing”, 1 pp.
United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Panama
Radio Venceremosclandestinely broadcasts an interview with “disillusioned army officer” Lt. Col. Ricardo Bruno Navarrete implicating Roberto D'Aubuisson, and members of the Salvadoran armed forces in the assassination of Archbishop Romero.
December 21, 1981
Secret, Cable, “Assassination of Archbishop Romero”, 2 pp.
United States Embassy. El Salvador
This document is a follow-up to the November 19 embassy cable concerning a meeting to plan the assassination of Archbishop Romero. In it, a U.S. political officer reports additional information from the same National Guard source indicating that Romero’s killer was Walter “Musa” Antonio Alvarez. [The UN Truth Commission Report on El Salvador would later identify Alvarez as involved in conveying money supplied by Roberto D’Aubuisson as payment to Romero’s assassin, see pp. 130-1.]
by Jeffrey T. Richelson
September 27, 2000
More declassified documents and
Archive publications on U.S. intelligence:
U.S. Intelligence Policy
For more information:
Jeffrey Richelson 202/994-7000
Michael Evans 202/994-7029
In September 1992 the Department of Defense acknowledged the existence of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an agency established in 1961 to manage the development and operation of the nation's reconnaissance satellite systems. The creation of the NRO was the result of a number of factors.
On May 1, 1960 Francis Gary Powers took off from Peshawar, Pakistan on the U-2 mission designated Operation GRAND SLAM. The flight was planned to take him over the heart of the Soviet Union and terminate at Bodo, Norway. The main target was Plesetsk, which communications intercepts had indicated might be the site of an ICBM facility.1 When the Soviet Union shot down his plane and captured him alive, they also forced President Dwight Eisenhower to halt aerial overflights of Soviet territory.
At that time the U.S. had two ongoing programs to produce satellite vehicles that could photograph Soviet territory. Such vehicles would allow far more frequent coverage than possible with manned aircraft. In addition, they would avoid placing the lives of pilots at risk and eliminate the risks of international incidents resulting from overflights.
The Air Force program, designated SAMOS, sought to develop a number of different satellite systems--including one that would radio its imagery back to earth and another that would return film capsules. The CIA program, CORONA, focused solely on developing a film return satellite.
However, both the CIA and Air Force programs were in trouble. Launch after launch in the CORONA program, eleven in all by May 1, 1960, eight of which carried cameras, had resulted in failure--the only variation was in the cause. Meanwhile, the SAMOS program was also experiencing difficulties, both with regard to hardware and program definition.2
Concerns over SAMOS led President Eisenhower to direct two groups to study both the technical aspects of the program as well as how the resulting system would be employed.
The ultimate result was a joint report presented to the President and NSC on August 25, 1960.3
As a result of that meeting Eisenhower approved a first SAMOS launch in September, as well as reorientation of the program, with the development of high-resolution film-return systems being assigned highest priority while the electronic readout system would be pursued as a research project. With regard to SAMOS management, he ordered that the Air Force institute special management arrangements, which would involve a direct line of authority between the SAMOS project office and the Office of the Air Force Secretary, bypassing the Air Staff and any other intermediate layers of bureaucracy.4
Secretary of the Air Force Dudley C. Sharp wasted little time creating the recommended new structure and procedures. On August 31st Sharp signed Secretary of the Air Force Order 115.1, establishing the Office of Missile and Satellite Systems within his own office to help him manage the SAMOS project. With Order 116.1, Sharp created a SAMOS project office at the Los Angeles headquarters of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division (AFBMD) as a field extension of the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force to carry out development of the satellite.5
The impact of the orders, in practice, was that the director of the SAMOS project would report directly to Under Secretary of the Air Force Joseph V. Charyk, who would manage it in the Secretary's name. In turn, Charyk would report directly to the Secretary of Defense.6
The changes would not stop there. The urgency attached to developing a successful reconnaissance satellite led, ultimately, to the creation of a top secret program and organization to coordinate the entire national reconnaissance effort.
Several of the documents listed below also appear in either of two National Security Archive microfiche collections on U.S. intelligence. The U.S. Intelligence Community: Organization, Operations and Management: 1947-1989 (1990) and U.S. Espionage and Intelligence: Organization, Operations, and Management, 1947-1996 (1997) publish together for the first time recently declassified documents pertaining to the organizational structure, operations and management of the U.S. Intelligence Community over the last fifty years, cross-indexed for maximum accessibility. Together, these two sets reproduce on microfiche over 2,000 organizational histories, memoranda, manuals, regulations, directives, reports, and studies, totaling more than 50,000 pages of documents from the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, military service intelligence organizations, National Security Council, and other official government agencies and organizations.
Joseph Charyk, Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense
Management of the National Reconnaissance Program
24 July 1961
The organizational changes resulting from the decisions of August 25, 1960 and their implementation left some unsatisfied. In particular, James Killian and Edwin Land, influential members of the President's intelligence advisory board pushed for permanent and institutionalized collaboration between the CIA and Air Force. After the Kennedy administration took office the push to establish a permanent reconnaissance organization took on additional life. There was a strong feeling in the new administration, particularly by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and his deputy, Roswell Gilpatric, that a better, more formalized relationship was required.7
On July 24, 1961, Air Force Undersecretary Joseph Charyk sent a memorandum to McNamara attaching two possible memoranda of agreement for creation of a National Reconnaissance Program, along with some additional material.
Memorandum of Understanding
Management of the National Reconnaissance Program (Draft)
20 July 1961
This memo specified establishment of a National Reconnaissance Program (NRP) consisting of "all satellite and overflight reconnaissance projects whether overt or covert," and including "all photographic projects for intelligence, geodesy and mapping purposes, and electronic signal collection projects for electronic signal intelligence and communications intelligence."
To manage the NRP, a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) would be established on a covert basis. The NRO director (DNRO) would be the Deputy Director for Plans, CIA (at the time, Richard Bissell) while the Under Secretary of the Air Force would serve as Deputy Director (DDNRO). The DNRO would be responsible for the management of CIA activities, the DDNRO and the Air Force for Defense Department activities. The DoD, specifically the Air Force acting as executive agent, would be primarily responsible for technical program management, scheduling, vehicle operations, financial management and overt contract administration, while the CIA would be primarily responsible for targeting each satellite. The office would operate under streamlined management procedures similar to those established in August 1960 for SAMOS.
Memorandum of Understanding
Management of the National Reconnaissance Program (Draft)
21 July 1961
This secondary memorandum was prepared at the suggestion of Defense Department General Counsel Cyrus Vance. It offered a quite different solution to the problem. As with the primary memo, it established a NRP covering both satellite and aerial reconnaissance operations. But rather than a jointly run program, it placed responsibility for management solely in the hands of a covertly appointed Special Assistant for Reconnaissance, to be selected by the Secretary of Defense. The office of the Special Assistant would handle the responsibilities assigned to the NRO in the other MOU. The CIA would "assist the Department of Defense by providing support as required in areas of program security, communications, and covert contract administration."
Pros and Cons of Each Solution
The assessment of pros and cons favored the July 20 memorandum, listing five pros for the first solution and only two for the second. The first solution would consolidate responsibilities into a single program with relatively little disruption of established management, represented a proven solution, would require no overt organizational changes, would allow both agencies to retain authoritative voices in their areas of expertise, and provided a simplified management structure. The two cons noted were the division of program responsibility between two people, and that "successful program management depends upon mutual understanding and trust of the two people in charge of the NRO." It would not be too long before that later observation would take on great significance.
In contrast, there were more cons than pros specified for the second solution. The only two points in its favor were the consolidation of reconnaissance activities into a single program managed by a single individual and the assignment of complete responsibility to the agency (DoD) with the most resources. Foremost of the six cons was the need for DoD to control and conduct large-scale covert operations, in as much as it was an entity "whose normal methods are completely foreign to this task."
Roswell Gilpatric, Letter to Allen Dulles
Management of the National Reconnaissance Program
6 September 1961
On July 28, 1961, four days after receiving Charyk's memorandum and draft memoranda of understanding, McNamara instructed Air Force Undersecretary Joseph Charyk to continue discussions with the key officials and advisers in order to resolve any organizational difficulties that threatened to impede the satellite reconnaissance effort. The ultimate result was this letter from Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric to Dulles, which confirmed "our agreement with respect to the setting up of the National Reconnaissance Program."
The letter specified the creation of a NRP. It also established the NRO, a uniform security control system, and specified that the NRO would be directly responsive to the intelligence requirements and priorities specified by the United States Intelligence Board. It specified implementation of NRP programs assigned to the CIA through the Deputy Director for Plans. It designated the Undersecretary of the Air Force as the Defense Secretary's Special Assistant for Reconnaissance, with full authority in DoD reconnaissance matters.
The letter contained no specific assignment of responsibilities to either the CIA or Defense Department, stating only that "The Directors of the National Reconnaissance Office will ... insure that the particular talents, experience and capabilities within the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency are fully and most effectively utilized in this program."
The letter provided for the NRO to be managed jointly by the Under Secretary of the Air Force and the CIA Deputy Director for Plans (at the time, still Richard Bissell). A May 1962 agreement between the CIA and Defense Department established a single NRO director. Joseph Charyk was named to the directorship shortly afterward.
Memorandum for NRO Program Directors/Director, NRO Staff
Organization and Functions of the NRO
23 July 1962
This memorandum represents the fundamental directive on the organization and functions of the NRO. In addition to the Director (there was no provision for a deputy director), there were four major elements to the NRO--the NRO staff and three program elements, designated A, B, and C. The staff's functions included assisting the director in dealing with the USIB and the principal consumers of the intelligence collected.
The Air Force Office of Special Projects (the successor to the SAMOS project office) became NRO's Program A. The CIA reconnaissance effort was designated Program B, while the Navy's space reconnaissance effort, at the time consisting of the Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) satellite, whose radar ferret mission involved the collection of Soviet radar signals, became Program C. Although the GRAB effort was carried out by the Naval Research Laboratory, the director of the Office of Naval Intelligence would serve as Program C director until 1971.8
Agreement between the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence on Management of the National Reconnaissance Program
13 March 1963
In December 1962, Joseph Charyk decided to leave government to become president of the COMSAT Corporation. By that time a number of disputes between the CIA and NRO had contributed to Charyk's view that the position of the NRO and its director should be strengthened. During the last week of February 1963, his last week in office, he completed a revision of a CIA draft of a new reconnaissance agreement to replace the May 1962 agreement (which had replaced the September 6, 1961 agreement). Charyk took the revision to Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric. It appears that some CIA-suggested changes were incorporated sometime after Charyk left office. On March 13, Gilpatric signed the slightly modified version on behalf of DoD. It was sent to the CIA that day and immediately approved by DCI John McCone, who had replaced Allen Dulles in November 1961.9
The new agreement, while it did not include all the elements Charyk considered important, did substantially strengthen the authority of the NRO and its director. It named the Secretary of Defense as the Executive Agent for the NRP. The program would be "developed, managed, and conducted in accordance with policies and guidance jointly agreed to by the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence."
The NRO would manage the NRP "under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense." The NRO's director would be selected by the Defense Secretary with the concurrence of the DCI, and report to the Defense Secretary. The NRO director was charged with presenting to the Secretary of Defense "all projects" for intelligence collection and mapping and geodetic information via overflights and the associated budgets, scheduling all overflight missions in the NRP, as well as engineering analysis to correct problems with collection systems. With regard to technical management, the DNRO was to "assign all project tasks such as technical management, contracting etc., to appropriate elements of the DoD and CIA, changing such assignments, and taking any such steps he may determine necessary to the efficient management of the NRP."
Department of Defense Directive Number TS 5105.23
Subject: National Reconnaissance Office
27 March 1964
This directive replaced the original June 1962 DoD Directive on the NRO, and remains in force today. The directive specifies the role of the Director of the NRO, the relationships between the NRO and other organizations, the director's authorities, and security. It specified that documents or other material concerning National Reconnaissance Program matters would be handled within a special security system (known as the BYEMAN Control System).
President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
Memorandum for the President
Subject: National Reconnaissance Program
2 May 1964
The 1963 CIA-DoD agreement on the NRP did not end the battles between the CIA and NRO--as some key CIA officials, including ultimately DCI John McCone, sought to reestablish a major role for the CIA in the satellite reconnaissance effort. The continuing conflict was examined by the PFIAB.
The board concluded that "the National Reconnaissance Program despite its achievements, has not yet reached its full potential." The fundamental cause for the NRP's shortcomings was "inadequacies in organizational structure." In addition, there was no clear division of responsibilities and roles between the Defense Department, CIA, and the DCI.
The recommendations of the board represented a clear victory for the NRO and its director. The DCI should have a "large and important role" in establishing intelligence collection requirements and in ensuring that the data collected was effectively exploited, according to the board. In addition, his leadership would be a key factor in the work of the United States Intelligence Board relating to the scheduling of space and airborne reconnaissance missions.
But the board also recommended that President Johnson sign a directive which would assign to NRO’s Air Force component (the Air Force Office of Special Projects) systems engineering, procurement, and operation of all satellite reconnaissance systems.
Agreement for Reorganization of the National Reconnaissance Program
13 August 1965
Despite the recommendations of the May 2, 1964 PFIAB report, which were challenged by DCI John McCone, no action was taken to solidify the position of the NRO and its director. Instead prolonged discussions over a new agreement continued into the summer of 1965. During this period the CIA continued work on what would become two key satellite programs--the HEXAGON/KH-9 imaging and RHYOLITE signals intelligence satellites.
In early August, Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance and CIA official John Bross reached an understanding on a new agreement, and it was signed by Vice Adm. William F. Raborn (McCone's successor) and Vance on August 13, 1965. It represented a significant victory for the CIA, assigning key decision-making authority to an executive committee, authority that was previously the prerogative of the NRO director as the agent of the Secretary of Defense.
The Secretary of Defense was to have "the ultimate responsibility for the management and operation of the NRO and the NRP," and have the final power to approve the NRP budget. The Secretary also was empowered to make decisions when the executive committee could not reach agreement.
The DCI was to establish collection priorities and requirements for targeting NRP operations, as well as establish frequency of coverage, review the results obtained by the NRP and recommend steps for improving its results if necessary, serve on the executive committee, review and approve the NRP budget, and provide security policy guidance.
The NRP Executive Committee established by the agreement would consist of the DCI, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. The committee was to recommend to the Secretary of Defense the "appropriate level of effort for the NRP," approve or modify the consolidated NRP and its budget, approve the allocation of responsibility and the corresponding funds for research and exploratory development for new systems. It was instructed to insure that funds would be adequate to pursue a vigorous research and development program, involving both CIA and DoD. The executive committee was to assign development of sensors to the agency best equipped to handle the task.
The Director of the NRO would manage the NRO and execute the NRP "subject to the direction and control of the Secretary of Defense and the guidance of the Executive Committee." His authority to initiate, improve, modify, redirect or terminate all research and development programs in the NRP, would be subject to review by the executive committee. He could demand that all agencies keep him informed about all programs undertaken as part of the NRP.
Analysis of "A $1.5 Billion Secret in Sky" Washington Post, December 9, 1973
Throughout the 1960s, the United States operation of reconnaissance satellites was officially classified, but well known among specialists and the press. However, it was not until January 1971 that the NRO's existence was first disclosed by the media, when it was briefly mentioned in a New York Times article on intelligence and foreign policy.
A much more extensive discussion of the NRO appeared in the December 9, 1973 Washington Post as a result of the inadvertent mention of the reconnaissance office in a Congressional report. The NRO prepared this set of classified responses to the article, clearly intended for those in Congress who might be concerned about the article's purported revelations about the NRO's cost overruns and avoidance of Congressional oversight.
E.C. Aldridge, Jr. (Director, NRO)
Letter to David L. Boren, Chairman,
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
21 November 1988
The late 1980s saw the beginning of what eventually would be a wide-ranging restructuring of the NRO. In November 1988 NRO director Edward "Pete" Aldridge wrote to Senator David Boren, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, concerning the findings of an extensive study (the NRO Restructure Study) of the organizational structure of the NRO.
Aldridge proceeded to report that, after having discussed the study's recommendations with Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci and Director of Central Intelligence William Webster, he was directing the development of plans to implement the recommendations. Specific changes would include the creation of a centralized systems analysis function "to conduct cross-system trades and simulations within the NRO," creation of a "User Support" function to improve NRO support to intelligence community users as well as to the growing number of operational military users, and the dispersal of the NRO Staff to the new units, with the staff being replaced by a group of policy advisers. In addition, Aldridge foresaw the establishment of an interim facility "to house the buildup of the new functions and senior management." The ultimate goal, projected for the 1991-92 period, would be the "collocation of all NRO elements [including the Los Angeles-based Air Force Office of Special Projects] . . . in the Washington, D.C. area."
Memorandum of Agreement
Subject: Organizational Restructure of the National Reconnaissance Office
15 December 1988
This memorandum of agreement, signed by the Director of the NRO and the directors of the NRO's three programs commits them to the restructuring discussed in Edward Aldridge's November 21 letter to Senator Boren.
Many changes recommended by Aldridge, who left office at the end of 1988, were considered by a 1989 NRO-sponsored review group and subsequently adopted.
Report to the Director of Central Intelligence
DCI Task Force on The National Reconnaissance Office, Final Report
This report was produced by a panel chaired by former Lockheed Corporation CEO Robert Fuhrman, whose members included both former and serving intelligence officials. It focused on a variety of issues other than current and possible future NRO reconnaissance systems. Among the issues it examined were mission, organizational structure, security and classification.
One of its most significant conclusions was that the Program A,B,C structure that had been instituted in 1962 (see Document 6) "does not enhance mission effectiveness" but "leads to counterproductive competition and makes it more difficult to foster loyalty and to maintain focus on the NRO mission." As a result, the panel recommended that the NRO be restructured along functional lines with imagery and SIGINT directorates. This change was made even before the final version of the report was issued.
The report also noted that while the NRO's existence was officially classified it was an "open secret" and that seeking to attempt to maintain such "open secrets ... weakens the case for preserving 'real' secrets." In addition, such secrecy limited the NRO's ability to interact with customers and users. The group recommended declassifying the "fact of" the NRO, as well as providing information about the NRO's mission, the identities of senior officials, headquarters locations, and the NRO as a joint Intelligence Community-Defense Department activity.
National Security Directive 67
Subject: Intelligence Capabilities: 1992-2005
30 March 1992
NSD 67 directed a number of changes in U.S. intelligence organization and operations. Among those was implementation of the plan to restructure the NRO along functional lines--eliminating the decades old Program A (Air Force), B (CIA), and C (Navy) structure and replacing it with directorates for imaging, signals intelligence, and communication systems acquisition and operations--as recommended by the Fuhrman panel. As a result, Air Force, CIA, and Navy personnel involved in such activities would now work together rather than as part of distinct NRO components.
27 July 1992
In addition to the internal restructuring of the NRO, 1992 saw the declassification of the organization, as recommended by the Fuhrman report (Document 14), for a number of reasons--to facilitate interaction with other parts of the government, to make it easier for the NRO to support military operations, and in response to Congressional pressure to acknowledge the obvious. As part of the process of considering declassification NRO consulted Richard Curl, head of the Office of Intelligence Resources of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research--the office which provides INR with expertise and support concerning technical collection systems.
Memorandum for Secretary of Defense, Director of Central Intelligence
Subject: Changing the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to an Overt Organization
30 July 1992
Document 17a: Mission of the NRO, 1 p.
Document 17b: Implications of Proposed Changes, 4 pp. (Two versions)
These memos, from Director of the NRO Martin Faga, represent key documents in the declassification of the NRO. The memo noted Congressional pressure for declassification and that Presidential certification that declassification would result in "grave damage to the nation ... would be difficult in this case."
Faga reported that as a result of an NRO review he recommended declassifying the fact of NRO's existence, issuing a brief mission statement, acknowledging the NRO as a joint DCI-Secretary of Defense endeavor, and identifying top level NRO officials. He also noted that his recommendations attempted to balance concerns about classifying information that realistically could not be protected, while maintaining an ability to protect matters believed to require continued protection.
Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, DCI Robert Gates, and President Bush approved the recommendations in September and a three-paragraph memorandum to correspondents acknowledging the NRO and NRP was issued on September 18, 1992.
Document 17b comes in two versions, representing different security reviews. Material redacted from the first version includes provisions of National Security Directive 30 on space policy, expression of concern over "derived disclosures," and the assessment that the "high degree of foreign acceptance of satellite reconnaissance, and the fact that we are not disclosing significant new data," would not lead to any significant foreign reaction. Another redacted statement stated that "legislation . . . exempting all NRO operational files from [Freedom of Information Act] searches" was required.
Final Report: National Reconnaissance Program Task Force for the Director of Central Intelligence
The end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union required the U.S. intelligence community and NRO to reconsider how U.S. overhead reconnaissance systems were employed and what capabilities future systems should possess. To consider these questions DCI Robert Gates appointed a task force, chaired by his eventual successor, R. James Woolsey.
The final report considers future needs and collection methods, industrial base considerations, procurement policy considerations, international industrial issues, and transition considerations. Its recommendations included elimination of both some collection tasks as well as some entire types of present and planned collection systems.
NRO Protection Review, "What is [BYEMAN]?"
6 November 1992
Traditionally, the designations of Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) compartments--such as UMBRA to indicate particularly sensitive communications intelligence and RUFF to intelligence based on satellite imagery--have themselves been classified. In recent years, however, the NSA and CIA have declassified a number of such terms and their meaning. One exception has been the term "BYEMAN"-- the BYEMAN Control System being the security system used to protect information related to NRO collection systems (in contrast to their products) and other aspects of NRO activities, including budget and structure. Thus, the term BYEMAN has been deleted in the title of the document and throughout the study--although the term and its meaning has become known by specialists and conveys no information beyond the text of any particular document.
This study addresses the use of the BYEMAN classification within the NRO, its impact on contractors and other government personnel, and the consequences of the current application of the BYEMAN system. The study concludes that placing information in the highly restrictive BYEMAN channels (in contrast to classifying the information at a lower level) may unduly restrict its dissemination to individuals who have a legitimate need to know.
NRO Strategic Plan
18 January 1993
A study headed by James Woolsey (Document 18), President Clinton's first DCI, heavily influenced the contents of this early 1993 document. The plan's introduction notes that while some collection tasks will no longer be handled by overhead reconnaissance the "uncertain nature of the world that is emerging from the end of the 'cold war' places a heavy premium on overhead reconnaissance." At the same time, "this overhead reconnaissance challenge must be met in an era of a likely reduced national security budget."
The strategic plan is described in the introduction, as "the 'game plan' to transition current overhead collection architectures into a more integrated, end-to-end architecture for improved global access and tasking flexibility."
The document goes on to examine the strategic context for future NRO operations, NRO strategy, strategic objectives, and approaches to implementation. Strategic objectives include improving the responsiveness of NRO systems by developing an architecture that spans the entire collection and dissemination process, from the identification of requirements to dissemination of the data collected.
National Reconnaissance Office: Collocation Construction Project, Joint DOD and CIA Review Report
In an August 8, 1994 press conference, Senators Dennis DeConcini (D-Az.) and John Warner (R-Va.), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence accused the NRO of concealing from Congress the cost involved in building a new headquarters to house government and contractor employees. Previously NRO activities in the Washington area were conducted from the Pentagon and rented space in the Washington metropolitan area. The collocation and restructuring decisions of the late 1980s and early 1990s had resulted in a requirement for a new headquarters facility.10
The accusations were followed by hearings before both the Senate and House intelligence oversight committees--with House committee members defending the NRO and criticizing their Senate colleagues. While they noted that some of the documents presented by the NRO covering total costs were not presented with desirable clarity, the House members were more critical of the Senate committee for inattention to their committee work.11
This joint DoD and CIA review of the project, found "no intent to mislead Congress" but that "the NRO failed to follow Intelligence Community budgeting guidelines, applicable to all the intelligence agencies," that would have caused the project to be presented as a "New Initiative," and that the cost data provided by the NRO "were not presented in a consistent fashion and did not include a level of detail comparable to submissions for . . . intelligence community construction."
Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence
Subject: Small Satellite Review Panel
The concept of employing significantly smaller satellites for imagery collection was strongly advocated by Rep. Larry Combest during his tenure (1995-97) as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. As a result the DCI was instructed to appoint a panel of experts to review the issue.12
Panel members included former NRO directors Robert Hermann and Martin Faga; former NRO official and NSA director Lew Allen; scientist Sidney Drell and four others. The panel's report supported a radical reduction in the size of most U.S. imagery satellites. The panel concluded that "now is an appropriate time to make a qualitative change in the systems architecture of the nation's reconnaissance assets," in part because "the technology and industrial capabilities of the country permit the creation of effective space systems that are substantially smaller and less costly than current systems." Thus, the panel saw "the opportunity to move towards an operational capability for . . . imagery systems, that consists of an array of smaller, cheaper spacecraft in larger number with a total capacity which is at least as useful as those currently planned and to transport them to space with substantially smaller and less costly launch vehicles."13
The extent to which those recommendations have influenced NRO's Future Imagery Architecture plan is uncertain--although plans for large constellations of small satellites have not usually survived the budgetary process.
Defining the Future of the NRO for the 21st Century, Final Report, Executive Summary
August 26, 1996
This report was apparently the first major outside review of the NRO conducted during the Clinton administration, and the first conducted after the NRO's transformation to an overt institution and its restructuring were firmly in place.
Among those conducting the review were former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. David E. Jeremiah, former NRO director Martin Faga, and former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John McMahon. Issues studied by the panel included, inter alia, the existence of a possible alternative to the NRO, NRO's mission in the 21st Century, support to military operations, security, internal organization, and the relationship with NRO's customers.
After reviewing a number of alternatives, the panel concluded that no other arrangement was superior for carrying out the NRO mission. It did, however, recommend, changes with regards to NRO's mission and internal organization. The panel concluded that where the NRO's current mission is "worldwide intelligence," its future mission should be "global information superiority," which "demands intelligence capabilities unimaginable just a few years ago." The panel also recommended creation of a fourth NRO directorate, which was subsequently established, to focus solely on the development of advanced systems, in order to "increase the visibility and stature of technology innovation in the NRO."
1. Michael R. Beschloss, Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair (New York: Harper & Row, 1986), pp.241-42; John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA, From Wild Bill Donovan to William Casey (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986), p. 319; Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974 (Washington, D.C.: CIA, 1992), pp. 170-93.
2. Kenneth Greer, "Corona," Studies in Intelligence, Supplement 17, Spring 1973 in Kevin C. Ruffner (Ed.), CORONA: America's First Satellite Program (Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1995), pp. 3-40; Gen. Thomas D. White, Air Force Chief of Staff to General Thomas S. Power, Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command, June 29, 1960, Thomas D. White Papers, Library of Congress, Box 34, Folder "2-15 SAC."
3. "Special Meeting of the National Security Council to be held in the Conference Room of the White House from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Thursday, August 25, 1960, undated, National Security Council Staff Papers, 1948-61, Executive Secretary's Subject File Series, Box 15, Reconnaissance Satellites , DDEL.
4. "Reconnaissance Satellite Program," Action No.1-b at Special NSC Meeting on August 25, 1960, transmitted to the Secretary of Defense by Memo of September 1, 1960; G.B. Kistiakowsky to Allen Dulles, August 25, 1960, Special Assistant for Science and Technology, Box No. 15, Space [July-Dec 1960], DDEL.
5. Carl Berger, The Air Force in Space Fiscal Year 1961, (Washington, D.C.: Air Force Historical Liaison Office, 1966), pp.41-42; Secretary of the Air Force Order 115.1, "Organization and Functions of the Office of Missile and Satellite Systems," August 31, 1960; Robert Perry, A History of Satellite Reconnaissance, Volume 5: Management of the National Reconnaissance Program, 1960-1965, (Washington, D.C., NRO, 1969), p. 20; Secretary of the Air Force Order 116.1, "The Director of the SAMOS Project," August 31, 1960.
6. Perry, A History of Satellite Reconnaissance, Volume 5, p. 20.
7. Jeffrey T. Richelson, "Undercover in Outer Space: The Creation and Evolution of the NRO," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 13, 3 (Fall 2000): 301-344.
8. Ibid.; GRAB: Galactic Radiation and Background (Washington, D.C.: NRL, 1997); Dwayne A. Day, "Listening from Above: The First Signals Intelligence Satellite," Spaceflight, August 1999, pp. 339-347; NRO, Program Directors of the NRO: ABC&D, 1999.
9. Perry, A History of Satellite Reconnaissance, Volume 5, pp. 93, 96-97.
10. Pierre Thomas, "Spy Unit's Spending Stuns Hill," Washington Post, August 9, 1994, pp. A1, A6.
11. Walter Pincus, "Spy Agency Defended by House Panel," Washington Post, August 12, 1994, p. A21; U.S. Congress, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, NRO Headquarters Project (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), pp. 3-4.
12. Walter Pincus, "Congress Debates Adding Smaller Spy Satellites to NRO's Menu," Washington Post, October 5, 1995, p. A14; Joseph C. Anselmo, "House, Senate at Odds Over Intel Small Sats," Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 1, 1996, p. 19.
13. Small Satellite Review Panel, Memorandum for: Director of Central Intelligence, Subject: Small Satellite Review Panel, July 1996.