Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Veciana and the CIA

UPDATED July 11, 2017

Journalist Jefferson Morley, who is the editor at JFK, has recently been using that website to promote the ramblings of former Alpha 66 member Antonio Veciana as related in his book Trained to Kill. [1] Morley, who has several reasonable positions regarding the JFK assassination, first presented himself as a truth-seeking JFK assassination agnostic who was merely interested in obtaining all currently withheld JFK documents. However, in recent years he has possibly flipped to the conspiracy side because the books he is writing about individuals such as Winston Scott and James Angleton are of interest to that audience. Morley, who calls Veciana’s appearance at the 2014 Assassination Archives and Research Center Conference a “once in a lifetime experience,” [2] is either unaware of or has chosen to ignore the numerous problems with Veciana’s story as documented at this blog.

Now Morley has written a piece for Newsweek [3] that again ignores the evidence that Veciana is at the very least exaggerating his place in history. Morley calls Veciana the “CIA’s man in Havana” in the early sixties. But what evidence is there for this claim besides Veciana’s assertions from his book and the 2014 Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) Conference, made when he was in his eighties and which are contradicted by his own earlier accounts? This article will examine the evidence for Veciana acting as either a CIA agent or asset and take a critical look at statements made by Morley at both his blog and in his Newsweek article in support of Veciana.

El Encanto and Pedro Pan

Morley provides several “facts” as proof of Veciana’s veracity both at his blog and in the Newsweek article. A discussion of two of these is sufficient to illustrate the point that short of the release of 2017 documentation that would confirm Veciana’s assertions, these items are conveniently impossible to verify and could easily be a case of Veciana inserting himself into history. Both claims by Veciana discussed in this section are missing from early accounts including Gaeton Fonzi’s book, The Last Investigation, and both involve alleged CIA involvement and could have been chosen to lend apparent credibility to his story.

Veciana now claims, and Morley agrees, that he was the mastermind of the El Encanto department store firebombing which occurred on April 13, 1961 in Havana and resulted in the death of a female employee. As with much of the story surrounding Veciana, the facts about this incident are conveniently ambiguous. The following account comes from the 1999 book Bay of Pigs and the CIA by Juan Carlos Rodriguez. The El Encanto was Cuba’s largest department store and an important cultural landmark for the Cuban people. An investigation culminated with the arrest and execution of Carlos González Vidal, an apparently disgruntled store employee. González confessed to setting two incendiary bombs and named those who helped him, including CIA and Movimiento Revolutionario del Pueblo (MRP) associates. Although Veciana was unsurprisingly not one of those he named, the fact that the CIA and the MRP were allegedly involved lends some level of credibility to Veciana’s story in the mind of Morley and other supporters.

Veciana’s undocumented assertions regarding El Encanto are apparently convincing enough to make Morley change his mind about who was responsible for the incident. In his 2008 book, Our Man in Mexico, Morley says that “They [the DRE, or Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil] used napalm to burn down El Encanto, Havana’s largest department store.” Of course, Veciana has never claimed that he worked with the DRE. In the final analysis, there is a hint of truth in Veciana’s story about the El Encanto fire and that is apparently enough to keep people like Morley onboard. But all the information about the fire from Trained to Kill could have been obtained by Veciana from other sources. The fact that he never mentioned the incident before the account in his book doesn’t seem to bother Morley and other Veciana supporters.

In Newsweek, Morley writes:

Two years later, [Veciana] used his government position to distribute propaganda falsely announcing the government planned to take custody of school-age children. That ruse panicked thousands of Cuban families and drove many of them in 1962 to send their children to South Florida, where the Catholic Church welcomed them. They called it Operation Pedro Pan, and U.S. newspapers depicted it as a selfless effort to rescue the victims of Communist oppression.

Operation Pedro Pan is a historic fact. However, the involvement of the CIA, though suspected by some, [4] is still unproven. In 1999, a ruling by a judge in the US District Court of Northern Illinois stated that the "evacuation of Cuban children turned out not to be a CIA operation at all.” The ruling [5] was based on a review of over 700 pages of documents obtained from the CIA for an earlier lawsuit. And Monsignor Brian Walsh, who is considered the father of the program according to the website, also dismissed the idea of Pedro Pan as a CIA operation in an interview with Barry University in December 1998. [6] However, even if the CIA were involved in Pedro Pan, it would not prove either Veciana’s participation in it or any CIA association on his part.

According to my research, Veciana’s book marks the first telling of his alleged involvement in Pedro Pan. As is the case with several of Veciana’s recent allegations (Pedro Pan, El Encanto, truth serum, lie detectors and so on) why wait so many years to tell the story? Fonzi and the HSCA certainly would have been interested to hear this information which could be used to verify or disprove his allegations. And it should be noted that there is absolutely no confirmation for any of these new claims made by Veciana in his book. Morley and others are relying solely on Veciana in these instances which is never a good thing to do.

Ross Crozier

In the Newsweek piece, Morley provides what he thinks is further proof that Phillips was Bishop:

… two of Phillips’s colleagues at the CIA have said the agency man did in fact use the pseudonym Maurice Bishop.

The HSCA conducted an investigation to see if it could uncover evidence that a Maurice Bishop had worked for the CIA or if David Phillips ever used that name. As Morley says, two CIA employees did indeed say that they thought Phillips used the name Bishop. However, both eventually recanted. In a HSCA deposition, former CIA director John McCone stated that he thought that a Maurice Bishop had worked for the agency. [8] However, just over a month later in a letter from the CIA’s office of Legislative Council, McCone changed his mind. [9]

The second CIA employee mentioned by Morley was Ross Crozier, who was referred to as Ron Cross by the HSCA to protect his identity. According to Fonzi, Crozier, who worked out of the JMWAVE station in Miami, told him that he was “almost positive” that Phillips had used the name Bishop. However, the reason Crozier was certain that Phillips used the name of Bishop was because he recalled sometimes discussing agent problems with Phillips' assistant, Doug Gupton. Crozier went on to say that Gupton, who was later identified as William Kent, often said after these conversations, "Well, I guess Mr. Bishop will have to talk with him." Cross said: "And, of course, I knew he was referring to his boss, David Phillips."

But the HSCA spoke to Kent and although he admitted he may have referred to Phillips as “Mr. Bishop,” he said that he could not remember Phillips or anyone else at JMWAVE using that alias. Kent also said that the sketch of Bishop did not look like anyone he knew. [10] In any case, Crozier recanted his identification of Phillips as Bishop during conversations with author Gus Russo. In an email to researcher Dave Reitzes, Russo stated that Crozier “definitely did not know Phillips by the name of Maurice Bishop.” A third employee, later identified as Barney Hidalgo, thought that a Maurice Bishop worked at the CIA during his time there. But Hidalgo knew Phillips well and told the HSCA that he was not Bishop. Hidalgo also told Russo that he knew a deceased agent who had really used the Bishop cover but didn’t want to name him out of respect for his family. Hidalgo has since passed away. [11]

Although the HSCA found no evidence that a Maurice Bishop had worked for the CIA during the time in question, researcher Carmine Savastano points out that several individuals with the surname Bishop certainly did work for the agency. [12] Perhaps McCone was merely thinking of one of these persons when he originally said that he thought he knew a Maurice Bishop.

Veciana and Oswald

In the Newsweek article, Morley states:

Perhaps the most tantalizing part of Veciana’s tale fleshes out a story he first told to congressional investigators in 1975: that he saw Maurice Bishop with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in September 1963, two months before JFK was killed.

As Veciana tells it, they met in the lobby the Southland Center, the tallest building in Dallas. “Bishop was already there,” he writes. “The lobby was busy, full of people, but I spotted him standing in a corner, talking to a young, pallid, insubstantial man. He didn’t speak when Bishop introduced him to me or at all for the rest of the time we were together…. I don’t remember if Bishop introduced him by name. He might have said, ‘Tony, this is Lee. Lee, Tony.’ But I am absolutely sure ‘Lee’ said nothing.”

After JFK was killed in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Oswald was arrested, and his face was broadcast on TV. “I recognized him immediately,” Veciana writes. “He was, without question the same pallid, pasty-faced man I had seen eleven weeks earlier” with Bishop.

The problem with Veciana’s story as it is being told in his book is that the story has changed considerably and contains elements previously unmentioned.

Veciana is now saying, as Morley points out, that he met LHO in September 1963. But as I show here, Veciana never said he met LHO in September of 1963 in these early Fonzi interviews, he only said “July or August” or “summer” and at times didn’t even seem sure of the year. However, Fonzi believed LHO’s chronology contained a window of time in early September where the meeting between Bishop and LHO was more plausible. And thus, September 1963 has become the time when the alleged meeting occurred even though Veciana originally did not say that. Similarly, in an interview with author Dick Russell in the summer of 1976, Veciana again said the meeting was in August.

In a similar vein, Morley repeats the recent myth that Veciana claims to have met Bishop and LHO at the Southland Center in Dallas. But in the March 2 interview with Fonzi, Veciana said the meeting was in a building with a “big bank or insurance company” but that he didn’t remember “whether it was blue or white.” Veciana’s description apparently made Fonzi think of Southland and during the March 11 interview, he specifically asked Veciana if the meeting took place there. Veciana replied through his interpreter “he doesn’t remember.” In this interview, Veciana went on to describe the building as “… downtown, a blue building, an insurance co. or bank building.” But Veciana never specifically stated that it was the Southland Building in any of the March 1976 interviews. In his HSCA testimony, Veciana again said “I don’t recall the exact place”, although he did say the building’s lobby had “blue marble or blue ornaments.”

Morley also describes in Newsweek how and why Fonzi came to interview Veciana:

A decade later, in 1975, when American authorities reopened the JFK inquiry, Gaeton Fonzi, a congressional investigator in South Florida, learned Veciana had worked for the CIA. He approached him, asking to find out more about how the CIA collaborated with Cuban exiles.

But Morley is using some sleight of hand here to mislead his readers. Fonzi first interviewed Veciana on March 2, 1976 at his Miami home but not because he had learned of any connection between Veciana and the CIA. As Fonzi relates in his book, he wanted to speak to Veciana after reading Paul Hoch and George O’Toole's Saturday Evening Post article which speculated that Veciana may have been one of two Cuban men seen by Sylvia Odio, not about “how the CIA collaborated with Cuban exiles” as Morley claims. [13] Veciana’s revelation of allegedly meeting LHO was a complete surprise to Fonzi.

It should be mentioned that the theory that Bishop worked for the CIA as expressed both by Fonzi in his post HSCA writings and by Veciana in his book was not confirmed by Veciana in the March 2 interview. Veciana said through his interpreter “from his personal point of view” that he believed Bishop “was working for a private organization, not the government …” a belief which he repeated during his HSCA testimony. Morley and others are choosing to ignore these and many other problems with the Veciana story, probably because of their bias toward the CIA-did-it theory of the JFK assassination and the irresistible pull of Veciana’s seeming confirmation of that idea.

The Reston Ambush

In Newsweek, Morley also mentions a meeting between Phillips and Veciana that was arranged by Senator Schweiker’s office at the request of Fonzi. [14] The meeting took place at a conference of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) in Reston, Virginia on September 17, 1976. [15] The idea was to “ambush” the unsuspecting Phillips who was unaware Veciana would be attending. Phillips merely thought he was doing Schweiker a favor by letting three of his staffers attend the conference luncheon. Morley describes the meeting as follows:

Fonzi then brought Veciana to Washington for a meeting with Phillips. Although he had worked with Veciana for a decade, Phillips coolly pretended not to know him, Veciana writes, and to not even recognize his name, which was strange, because the Cuban was very well known to the CIA officers working to overthrow Castro.

Veciana went along with Phillips’s ruse, he says, out of fear of CIA retaliation. He told Fonzi that Phillips was not the man he knew as Maurice Bishop. “I felt bad for lying to a friend,” he writes, “but he could only guess at the stakes involved when it came to breaking my vow of silence.”

But Morley’s brief account of the incident doesn’t tell the full story. According to Fonzi’s account, they were escorted to Phillips’ table, and Fonzi introduced Veciana to Phillips by name and waited for his reaction: [16]

I had thought I would be able to tell, keen observer that I deemed myself, if Phillips had exhibited even the slightest hint of having recognized Veciana. Not only did Phillips not display that hint, but his eyes had moved on and off of Veciana so quickly-in the flash of a brief handshake-that it was almost as if Veciana was a nonentity.

During the conference luncheon, Veciana folded his arms across his chest and studied Philips intently, staring at the former agent to the point of making him nervous. Over the years, Fonzi and Veciana have repeatedly cited Phillips’ alleged nervousness as proof he was hiding something. However, Fonzi himself offered the obvious explanation for this unease in an HSCA memo. “But maybe I would have gotten nervous also if some guy was just sitting there with his arms folded staring at me like Veciana was doing with Phillips.” [17]

At one point during the keynote speech, Fonzi asked Veciana if Phillips was Bishop and he unambiguously stated, “No. It is not him.” [18] When the conference ended, Fonzi and Veciana approached Phillips in the hallway. Fonzi asked Phillips if he would answer some questions. When Phillips asked what the questions were about and Fonzi replied the JFK assassination, Phillips stated he would be “glad to talk with any Congressman or representative of Congress … in Congress.” Veciana then asked Phillips a few questions including if he knew Julio Lobo or Rufo Lopez-Fresquet. Phillips said that he knew those men but did not remember Veciana himself. After the conference as Fonzi and Veciana left the building, Fonzi again asked Veciana if Phillips was Bishop. “No, he’s not him” Veciana replied. He then mysteriously added “but he knows.” [19]

Phillips’ version of the meeting with Fonzi and Veciana is comparable but has important differences. Phillips told the HSCA that he received a call from Schweiker’s office asking if three “representatives” from that office could join him at the AFIO conference and he agreed. Phillips said that the three were Fonzi, a woman whose name he could not recall (staffer Sarah Lewis) and a man introduced to him only as “the driver.”

After lunch, Fonzi asked Phillips if he would answer some questions about the JFK case. Phillips asked how long it would take and Fonzi replied “a couple hours.” Phillips said that it was inconvenient for him to do so at the time but he did “step into the hall” where he spoke to “the driver” in Spanish. After the trio left, Phillips called Schweiker’s office and asked if the man he had spoken to was a staff member and they said he was. Of course, Veciana was not a member of the staff but rather a witness. Phillips subsequently determined Veciana’s identity from media reports. [20]

A key difference between the stories is the characterization of Veciana as “the driver” per Phillips. It should be noted that Fonzi said Phillips behaved as if Veciana were a “nonentity.” But this would not be unusual at all if Veciana was, in fact, introduced as “the driver” as Phillips maintains. It should also be mentioned that since Fonzi didn’t speak Spanish, his account of the conversation between Veciana and Phillips was provided by Veciana. After the confrontation, Fonzi’s belief in the “Phillips as Bishop” scenario was shaken, at least for a time. In an HSCA memo he said “… for the first time, I have some doubts about Veciana’s credibility when it comes to Phillips.” [21]

Fonzi would have us believe that although Phillips was “nervous” he was still able to show absolutely no discernable reaction upon seeing the man that he allegedly managed on behalf of the CIA for over a decade and plotted with to assassinate Castro. Phillips also had the presence of mind to call Schweiker’s office and ask about Veciana’s identity even though he allegedly knew him well indeed.

One last point about Phillips. His critics are quick to make the following accusation: [22]

Phillips’s inconsistent, inaccurate, and evasive answers to questions about Oswald, prompted HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi to allege in his book The Last Investigation that Phillips was guilty of perjury in the case of the murdered president.

But these same critics have no problem with the fact that if we are to believe Veciana’s story today we must believe that he committed perjury before Congress and lied to interviewers for more than 30 years about Phillips being Bishop.

Update: Documents Show Veciana’s True CIA Relationship

Morley says in Newsweek that “CIA documents show that AMSHALE-1 was a trusted militant in a network run by Phillips in the early 1960s.”

In addition to the documents mentioned by Morley, I have been made aware of several other documents by researchers including Bill Simpich, Jerry Shinley, Alan Rogers and Larry Haapanen. Simpich has written an article titled “The Hidden Castro Assassination Plots” that contains links to the documents used in my research as well as many others that may be of interest to researchers:

These documents show the true nature of Veciana’s relationship with the CIA. It turns out that Morley is both right and wrong.

This document, which summarizes Veciana’s 201 file, states he was approved by the CIA for “sabotage” operations with the MRP, an anti-Castro group.

Another document, titled “Request for Approval or Investigative Action” confirms this:

This document also reveals that Veciana’s case officer was not David Phillips, as Veciana now maintains, but Cal Hicks and other documents support the Hicks-Veciana connection. Here is the security file for Hicks:

Hicks, a Senior Operations Officer, worked for the CIA from 1950 through 1974 in the far east, middle east and western hemisphere. One document in his file reveals that the CIA was concerned his cover might have been blown when Hicks was imprisoned in China. Much of the file is mundane such as Hicks requesting permission to travel to Canada during a vacation with his wife and six children.

The “Request for Approval” also identifies the project Veciana was working on for Hicks as JMATE which is the Bay of Pigs. But even Veciana does not claim he was involved with that infamous mission as this quote from his book confirms:

I was as surprised as anyone when the brigade of CIA-trained Cuban exiles came crashing ashore at the Bay of Pigs. The CIA had kept all of its operatives and counterrevolutionary contacts as much in the dark as everyone else.

The “Request for Approval” also says that Veciana was unaware of the CIA’s interest in him, which goes against Morley’s belief that Veciana was a full-fledged CIA employee per Trained to Kill. Whatever the CIA’s plans for Veciana, there is no evidence that he was ever used by the agency as a “sabotage man” in the Bay of Pigs or elsewhere. As shown in the following document, A POA (preliminary operational approval) for Veciana was granted in January 1962 and expired in November of that year and “was never used.”

Another document provides more detail on Veciana’s activities:

This document indicates that while Hicks handled him through most of 1962, he was “being used by [the] Army” by November of that year after his CIA POA had expired. The fact that Veciana worked with Army Intelligence has been known to researchers for some time. Researcher Malcolm Blunt questioned Veciana about this at the 2014 AARC conference and Veciana tried to minimize his involvement. But as far back as 1979, a letter to HSCA Chief Counsel Robert Blakey, from the CIA’s Scott Breckinridge states that Veciana was “an asset of another US Government agency, and not of CIA.” Breckinridge goes on to say that Blakey has “every reason to know that [Bishop] was not of, from, or with CIA” which implies that Blakey knew who Bishop really was:

It appears that there was indeed a “Bishop” that traveled in Veciana’s universe, but it wasn’t “Maurice Bishop.” This document states that Veciana associate Jose Pujols was being handled by “Harold Bishop.”

Maurice Bishop, if he existed, could have been Harold Bishop, Hicks, or someone like Jordan Pfuntner, an anti-Castro activist with ties to Alpha 66. The reader will recall that Veciana was a co-founder of that group which had ties to Military Intelligence. This document discusses Pfuntner:

While on the subject of documents, it seems that Reinol Gonzales, a co-founder of the MRP, had a different view of the October 1961 assassination attempt against Castro than Veciana did. In Trained to Kill, Veciana claims:

I knew that sooner or later, Cuban security forces would trace the attack back to the eighth floor apartment across the street. It would be impossible for my mother-in-law to escape interrogation, or worse. The apartment was undeniably in her name. What she knew, or didn’t, could be painfully costly for her. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to her. The men, I expected, would be OK. They had no link to the apartment, except for me. Inside it, they had all the tools they needed to escape … So, the night before the planned assassination, assassination, after dropping off the bazooka, I had taken my mother-in-law to the coast to meet a waiting boat that would whisk us to safety, and exile, in the United States. Bishop had urged me to leave. He said things were getting hot. He said he had learned that Castro’s intelligence agents suspected me of subversive activity. That coincided with information I had gotten shortly before.

But according to one document, Gonzales, who was later captured, said Veciana got “cold feet and took off for the states …”

In another document, Gonzales says that the attack’s “principal organizer” (Veciana) “took a boat and went to the US so the attack failed …”

To sum up, Morley is correct that Veciana was approved by the CIA for sabotage operations. However, the evidence shows he was never used in this capacity and shortly after he was working with Army Intelligence. Veciana’s connections to Army Intelligence were known as far back as the HSCA investigation and should have been explored more fully. It is possible that Fonzi’s focus on the CIA, based on his own assassination theories, diverted attention away from this aspect of Veciana’s biography. In any case, the real story of Veciana’s anti-Castro career bears little resemblance to the one that is told in Trained to Kill.

Veciana’s Known CIA Contact versus Trained to Kill

The true nature of Veciana’s CIA contacts is known and documented. An analysis of these contacts compared to the story now being peddled by Veciana is needed.

A May 1977 document states that Veciana “never had a contractual relationship” with the CIA, although other documents make it clear that the agency considered using him as an asset. Veciana contacted the agency on three occasions. The theme of these contacts was similar-Veciana asked for assistance, mostly in the form of money, from the agency.

In December 1960, Veciana contacted the CIA regarding an alleged plot to assassinate Castro and his “top associates.” Veciana asked for 10 visas for the family members of the men who would carry out the plot as well as weapons. The CIA representative gave Veciana no encouragement and noted he seemed “sincere but a little wild.”

According to page 4 of the same document, in July 1962 Veciana met with Harry Real of the New York office of the CIA’s Domestic Contact Division. Veciana asked Real to arrange a meeting with senior CIA officers to discuss plans to assassinate Castro and ask for agency assistance. There is no indication that the request was acted on by the agency.

But according to Veciana’s current account, Phillips directed him to form Alpha 66 in 1962 and a plan of action was formulated. That group would receive no CIA funding and would rely on private money to maintain plausible deniability. By July 1962, Veciana, working with Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo who represented the military arm of the group, had raised $64,000 with “more coming in.” In September, Alpha 66 launched their first attack against ships in the Cuban port of Caibarien.

All of this begs the question, if Veciana and Phillips had a plan in place why was Veciana in New York asking an agent of the Domestic Contact Division for a meeting with a senior CIA man if he was already working with one? And according to his book, Veciana had been warned by Phillips that the money had to come from outside sources and not the CIA. Was Veciana going behind Phillips’ back? And why no account of this meeting with Domestic Contact in his book?

The most detailed account of the CIA’s contact with Veciana was provided in a memorandum by an agent of the agency. [23] The meeting came about when James “Jack” Cogswell, who was a CIA informant and anti-Castro activist as well as the nephew of a former agency employee, telephoned and requested an interview regarding information he had about Cuba. The agent met Cogswell at the exclusive New York Racquet Club on Park Avenue in April of 1966. Cogswell was accompanied by Veciana who immediately “launched into a discussion of the Cuban political situation and noted his strong feeling that the only solution was the assassination of Castro.” After listening to Veciana for 15 minutes, the agent was finally “able to get hold of the conversation” and told Veciana that he was “in no position to provide him assistance or encouragement regarding an assassination attempt.” The agent also told Veciana that he thought the purpose of the meeting was to gather information and asked him if he had such information to convey to the US government.

Veciana said that he had spoken to Cogswell about his roommate Felix Zabala, who he felt had developed contacts in Havana that could be of use to the agency. While the agent admitted that Zabala presented “some operational possibilities and appreciate interest was shown” he also said “Veciana was attempting to use Zabala’s potential to get agency financial support for his organization.” In that regard, Veciana told the agent that he would need $50,000 to “get his activities off the ground.” It appears that despite the grandiose claims in Veciana’s book that the CIA was more interested in his roommate than it was in him, a fact that is reinforced by the agency's cancelation of his POA after less than a year.

Veciana’s documented actions raise several questions. Veciana claims he was an important CIA operative whose handler was David Phillips, one of the agency’s most talented and respected agents who eventually became Chief of the Western Hemisphere. But documents show his handler was Cal Hicks-not Phillips and that he worked with Army Intelligence-not the CIA. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that Phillips was running a rogue operation. Why would Veciana, who was allegedly instructed by Phillips to raise private money to maintain plausible deniability, continually try and get financial help from the agency? Why would Veciana resort to asking the Domestic Contact Division, whose purpose was to interview Americans returning from overseas, if they could get him an interview with a senior CIA man if he was already working with Phillips? Why would he arrange a meeting with a CIA agent and then make a 15-minute speech that culminated with a pitch for money against Phillips’ orders? And why tell the same agent that the assassination of Castro was needed when he was allegedly in the middle of a 12-year relationship with Phillips and such plans were already in the works? Due to their evolutionary nature and the extensive documentary evidence against them, Antonio Veciana’s claims should be treated skeptically until some form of confirmation becomes available.

[1] Veciana, Antonio and Harrison, Carlos. Trained to Kill: The Inside Story of CIA Plots Against Castro, Kennedy and Che. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017. Kindle Edition.

[2] Morley Podcast


[4] See, for example, Maret, Susan and Lea Aschkenas. “Operation Pedro Pan: The Hidden History of 14,000 Cuban Children.” Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Volume 19, pp. 171-84.




[8] HSCA volume X, p. 50.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 47-48.



[13] Fonzi, Gaeton. The Last Investigation: What Insiders Know About the Assassination of JFK. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013. Kindle Edition p. 118.;

[14] Fonzi, 164.

[15] Memo from Fonzi to Troy Gustavson, September 20, 1976, RIF 180-10103-10396.

[16] Fonzi, 166.

[17] Memo from Fonzi to Gustavson, op. cit.

[18] Fonzi, 167.

[19] Ibid. 167-169.

[20] HSCA Testimony of David Atlee Phillips, April 25, 1978, p. 86-88.

[21] Memo from Fonzi to Gustavson, op. cit.


[23] In some versions of the document, the agent’s name is given as Byron R. Waidly. It is unclear if this was his real name or a pseudonym.


  1. Parnell: 'As Morley says, two CIA employees did indeed say that they thought Phillips used the name Bishop. However, both later recanted. In a HSCA deposition, former CIA director John McCone stated that he thought that a Maurice Bishop had worked for the agency. [8] However, just over a month later in a letter from the CIA’s office of Legislative Council, McCone recanted.'[9] So where should we put the weight, on the original statement or the recantation? Just because somebody recants does not mean the original assertion was untrue. After all, 30 years after the assassination, in Posner's book, some of the Parkland doctors disavowed their November 22, 1963 assertions regarding the JFK head wound. And we all know what nonsense that was. As a matter of fact, original statements are usually given freely, and we may surmise that a later about-face could very well be the result of intimidation or coercion.

    1. Does your rule apply to Veciana's statements as well?

      As in: Veciana's original statement - one he made under oath and repeated for 35 years - was that Phillips was NOT Bishop. He said this to Congressional investigators, under oath, to reporters and AFTER Phillips had died. It's only since about 2013 that he's "recanted" his claims.

      Is he being intimidated or coerced?

    2. The reader can decide where to "put the weight." I am merely pointing out alternative explanations.


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