Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Well, I seem to have solved one puzzle regarding Watergate

So, I heard Jefferson Morley has a new book out.  It's about how Nixon tried to use the CIA to kill the FBI's investigation into Watergate by threatening the CIA.  For many years historians have puzzled over the story H. R. Haldremann recounted in his book that Nixon wanted the CIA's help to stop the FBI's investigation into Watergate.  And Nixon warned that if the investigation continued it could open up "the whole Bay of Pigs" thing.  This has long been thought of as a coded reference to the JFK assassination.  The person who received this threat was Dick Helms.  Morley explores this story in his new book "Scorpion's Dance: The President, The Spymaster and Watergate."

There was an article in "The Daily Beast," entitled "The [Redacted] Truth About The CIA's [Redacted] Role in Watergate."  The article wonders about the still unanswered questions about the burglars.  Morley used a redacted document. The document shows "the agency's first statement about the burglars was false. After the arrest of five burglars in the offices of the Democratic National Convention early in the morning of June 17, 1972 the agency claimed that the men were former employees 'with whom we have had no dealings since their retirement.' But the partially declassified memo shows that the agency's Office of Security approved a request for 'utilization' of Hunt for a project whose name is redacted. The memo was written six months after Hunt's supposed retirement from the Agency and 20 months before the botched break-in."

So, I wondered if this document was from the JFK Records Collection and if so what was the RIF number.  It was. And the RIF # was 104-10119-10320.  So, once I had that I quickly found the unreacted copy.  Here

All I wanted to do was to help Jeff get an unredacted copy.  

Jeff replied on Twitter.

So, it seems I helped rewrite a bit of Watergate history. We can now establish that, yes, E. Howard Hunt was a CIA asset while working in the Nixon administration.  

On October 27, 1970 Victor R White, the Deputy Director of Security, Investigations and Operational Support, gave covert security approval to Mr. Martin Lukoskie to use E. Howard Hunt for utilization under Project QKENCHANT.  This was in response to a request made on June 3, 1970.  

Morley's article then goes on to talk about a redacted memo that The Mullen Company, a Washington, D.C. public relations firm "was utilized by the agency for commercial cover purposes."  Morley was probably using The Security File on Frank Sturgis.  RIF #104-10256-10268 has a lot of the information that is redacted in the Sturgis security file.  

On p. 57 of the Sturgis security file it states, "In July 1971 Hunt informed the agency he had been assigned to the White House staff but continued to devote part of his time to the Mullen company." Then there are about 4 lines redacted.  

RIF #104-10256-10273 has the same paragraph with less redaction.  

Morley writes that the security file on Frank Sturgis explained the CIA connections of Robert Bennett but censored the details.  Yes, on p. 33. But p. 9 of RIF # 104-10256-10268 has the same info on Bennett without the redaction.

Morley moves on to a redacted FBI memo from May 1973.  This is RIF # 124-90028-10019.  Morley notes that this redacted document conceals Hunt's role in the breaking into the offices of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg.  I found two copies of this document.  This one from the FBI's HSCA subject files on E Howard Hunt is 2 pages.  Page 1 is the Record Identification form ( RIF ) page, and page 2 is the actual FBI document.  And as you can see most of the 3rd paragraph is redacted.

There is another that is 4 pages long.  This one has all of the 3rd paragraph on page one redacted.  Now we know this is really a 3 page FBI document and not a 1 page FBI document.  

Now do you see why it's worth checking to see if there are multiple copies of a document? 

Then Morley returns to the Frank Sturgis security file noting "Twelve lines about an undercover operations  officer who knew both McCord and Hunt are still withheld from public view.

Umm, no they're not. RIF #104-10256-10268 p. 5 has this:

There are three versions of RIF #104-10256-10268, unfortunately all are redacted the same as to page we're interested in. 

So, now you know the individual who knew both McCord and Hunt began working for the CIA in mid-1952.  At the time this document was written the individual in question was at the GS-14 level. He was an Operations Officer assigned to the Western Hemisphere division for the Deputy Director for Plans. He developed an acquaintance with McCord in the Fall of 1971 when McCord was teaching an industrial security course.  The individual in question was also interested in a young Chilean protege by the name of Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas.  The individual in question got Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas a job at McCord Associates, and Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas lived at the individual in question's home and drive his vehicle.  Further reading of 104-10256-10268 reveals that the individual in question hired Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas as a covert asset, and continued to use him from June of 1969 to June of 1971. Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas lived at the individual in question's home from 19 Aug 1971 to 21 April 1972.  Our man in question also got Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas a job with Mr. Glen Sedam, head of the D.C. Committee to Re-Elect Richard Nixon. 

So, with these facts you can search for who the individual in question might be.  A quick check on Google reveals that the name the CIA is trying to hide is Donald R. Heath. And when one puts Donald Heath into an advance search on the Mary Ferrel Foundation website one finds:

Okay that's in the FBI documents relating to Watergate - Watergate FBI 139-4089 Section 7 Serials 635 - 676.  

I'm not trying to be snarky or pretend I'm better than Jefferson Morley.  But, should he write another book I hope he will ask me to try and find unredacted copies of documents he is interesting in.  I'll sign or obey a NDA.  I only want to help.  It is often the case that there is another copy of a document that is either totally unredacted or it is redacted differently and if you put multiple copies of a document together you can get the whole document.  

Friday, December 17, 2021

God Damn James O'Keefe is a Scumbag

How Ashley Biden’s Diary Made Its Way to Project Veritas

New details shed light on the federal investigation into the conservative group’s acquisition last year of a journal kept by the president’s daughter.

Dec. 16, 2021


James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, in 2020. In its own court filing, Project Veritas has acknowledged acquiring the diary from two people it identified as “A.H.” and “R.K.,” but said it was told they had acquired the diary lawfully.Samuel Corum/Getty Images

In the final two months of the 2020 campaign, President Donald J. Trump, his grip on power slipping because of his handling of the pandemic, desperately tried to change the narrative by attacking the business dealings of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son Hunter, invoking his name publicly over 100 times.

At the same time, another effort was underway in secret to try to expose the contents of a diary kept the previous year by Mr. Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, as she underwent treatment for addiction.

Now, more than a year later, the Justice Department is deep into an investigation of how the diary found its way into the hands of supporters of Mr. Trump at the height of the campaign.

Federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents are investigating whether there was a criminal conspiracy among a handful of individuals to steal and publish the diary. Those being scrutinized include current and former operatives for the conservative group Project Veritas; a donor Mr. Trump appointed to a political position in the final days of his administration; a man who once pleaded guilty in a money laundering scheme; and a financially struggling mother of two, according to people familiar with federal grand jury subpoenas and a search warrant who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Extensive interviews with people involved in or briefed on the investigation and a review of court filings, police records and other material help flesh out elements of a tale that is testing the line between investigative journalism and political dirty tricks.

The investigation has focused new attention on how Mr. Trump or his allies sought to use the troubles of Mr. Biden’s two surviving children to undercut him.

The inquiry has also intensified the scrutiny of Project Veritas. Its founder, James O’Keefe, was pulled from his apartment in his underwear and handcuffed during a dawn raid last month by the F.B.I., two days after a pair of his former employees had their homes raided.

The group — which purchased the diary but ultimately did not publish it and denies any wrongdoing — has assailed the investigation. And it has been making a case in court and to Congress that, despite its use of undercover stings and other deceptive tactics, it is practicing a form of journalism that deserves the same legal and constitutional protections afforded news organizations.

Asked a list of specific questions related to the investigation, a lawyer for Project Veritas, Paul A. Calli, responded with a statement from Mr. O’Keefe criticizing The New York Times.

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Ms. Biden, declined to comment.

The episode has its roots in the spring of 2020, as Ms. Biden’s father was closing in on the Democratic presidential nomination. Ms. Biden, who has kept a low profile throughout her father’s vice presidency and presidency, had left a job the year before working for a criminal justice group in Delaware.

She was living in Delray Beach, Fla., a small city between Miami and West Palm Beach, with a friend who had rented a two-bedroom house lined with palm trees with a large swimming pool and wraparound driveway, according to people familiar with the events. Ms. Biden, who had little public role in her father’s campaign, had earlier been in rehab in Florida in 2019, and the friend’s house provided a haven where she could avoid the media and the glare of the campaign.

But in June, with the campaign ramping up, she headed to the Philadelphia area, planning to return to the Delray home in the fall before the lease expired in November. She decided to leave some of her belongings behind, including a duffel bag and another bag, people familiar with the events said.

Weeks after Ms. Biden headed to the Northeast, the friend who had been hosting Ms. Biden in the house allowed an ex-girlfriend named Aimee Harris and her two children to move in. Ms. Harris was in a contentious custody dispute and was struggling financially, according to Palm Beach County court records. At one point in February 2020, she had faced eviction while living at a rental property in nearby Jupiter.

Shortly after moving into the Delray home, Ms. Harris — whose social media postings and conversations with friends suggested that she was a fan of Mr. Trump — learned that Ms. Biden had stayed there previously and that some of her things were still there, according to two people familiar with the matter.

September 2020: Project Veritas Obtains the Diary

Exactly what happened next remains the subject of the federal investigation. But by September, the diary had been acquired from Ms. Harris and a friend by Project Veritas, whose operations against liberal groups and traditional news organizations had helped make it a favorite of Mr. Trump.

In a court filing, Project Veritas told a federal judge that around Sept. 3, 2020, someone the group described as “a tipster” called Project Veritas and left a voice message. The caller said “a new occupant moved into a place where Ashley Biden had previously been staying and found Ms. Biden’s diary and other personal items.”

The “diary is pretty crazy,” the tipster said on the voice mail, according to a Project Veritas court filing. “I think it’s worth taking a look at.”

In a statement after the investigation became public, Mr. O’Keefe said: “Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner.” The lawyer who took Ms. Biden’s belongings to the police in Florida described them as “crap” and that he was “fine” with officers throwing the bags away. Cooper Neill for The New York Times

In a recent letter to Congress, a lawyer for Project Veritas said it had been told the items had been abandoned in a room where Ms. Biden had stayed.

Sign Up for On Politics  A guide to the political news cycle, cutting through the spin and delivering clarity from the chaos.

Project Veritas has acknowledged buying the diary, through an unnamed proxy, from two people it identified in court filing as “A.H.” and “R.K.,” but said it was told they had acquired the diary lawfully.

People involved in the case have identified “A.H.” as Ms. Harris and “R.K.” as Robert Kurlander. Mr. Kurlander, a self-described venture capitalist, is a longtime friend and former housemate of Ms. Harris. In October 2020, days before the election, Mr. Kurlander said on Twitter: “Where are Biden’s two kids?” adding, “Ashley and Hunter are disasters. Reflection of the parents.”

In 1994, Mr. Kurlander pleaded guilty in federal court in Florida to a conspiracy count in a drug-related money laundering scheme that also led to a guilty plea from David Witter, the grandson of the founder of the investment firm Dean Witter. Mr. Kurlander was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Ms. Harris “is fully cooperating with the investigation and will remain responsive to the government’s requests for evidence and for her version of events,” her lawyer, Guy Fronstin, said in an email. “When the facts emerge it will be clear that my client has information relative to the investigation but no culpability.”

Outside his house last month near a golf course in Jupiter, Fla., Mr. Kurlander declined to comment, but a woman with him acknowledged they had been dealing with the matter and wanted to avoid public attention. She provided the name of their lawyer, who declined to comment.

A Possible Link to Trump Supporters

Mr. Kurlander also provides a potential link to the possible role of a number of Trump supporters. Among those whose conduct is being scrutinized in the investigation is a woman with ties to Mr. Trump, Elizabeth Fago, a Florida businesswoman and Trump donor who was nominated by Mr. Trump in December 2020 to the National Cancer Advisory Board.

Ms. Fago appears to know Mr. Kurlander. A picture on social media shows them dining together in July 2020. Investigators are also looking at the role of Ms. Fago’s daughter, Stephanie Walczak.

Ms. Fago visited the Trump White House at least twice. Her son, Joey Fago — a real estate agent who this year worked with Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberley Guilfoyle on their purchase of a $9.7 million Florida mansion — posted a video of him and his mother at the White House on election night in 2020 and at a Christmas party the next month, where they can be seen in the West Wing.

Elizabeth Fago in 2018. Ms. Fago, a donor to former President Donald J. Trump who visited the White House at least twice, is among a number of individuals being scrutinized by federal investigators, according to people familiar with the matter. Nick Mele/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

She and her son also met Mr. Trump on the tarmac of the West Palm Beach airport in 2019 and another picture shows the two together. In 2016, she co-hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Trump at his club at Mar-a-Lago.

That year Ms. Fago gave $15,400 to pro-Trump fund-raising committees and an additional $7,600 to the Republican National Committee after Mr. Trump won the party’s nomination. In October 2020, she gave $500 to pro-Trump committees.

It remains unclear how Ms. Harris and Mr. Kurlander made contact with Project Veritas and what role others might have played in facilitating the transaction.

Ms. Fago did not respond to requests for comment. Ms. Walczak declined to comment.

Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and Justice Department declined to comment.

Using the Diary as Leverage

Less than a month before Election Day, in an Oct. 12, 2020, email that Project Veritas included in a court filing, Mr. O’Keefe told his team that he had made the decision not to publish a story about the diary, adding: “We have no doubt the document is real” but that reactions to its publication would be “characterized as a cheap shot.”

But Project Veritas was still trying to use the diary as leverage. On Oct. 16, 2020, Project Veritas wrote to Mr. Biden and his campaign that it had obtained a diary Ms. Biden had “abandoned” and wanted to question Mr. Biden on camera about its contents that referred specifically to him.

“Should we not hear from you by Tuesday, October 20, 2020, we will have no choice but to act unilaterally and reserve the right to disclose that you refused our offer to provide answers to the questions raised by your daughter,” Project Veritas’ chief legal officer, Jered T. Ede, wrote.

In response, Ms. Biden’s lawyers accused Project Veritas of threatening them as part of “extortionate effort to secure an interview” with Mr. Biden in the campaign’s closing days.

Ms. Biden’s lawyers refused to acknowledge whether the diary belonged to Ms. Biden but told Mr. Ede that Project Veritas should treat it as stolen property — the lawyers suggested that “serious crimes” might have been committed — and that any suggestion that the diary was abandoned was “ludicrous.”

Ultimately, one of Ms. Biden’s lawyers, Roberta Kaplan, told Mr. Ede: “This is insane; we should send to SDNY.” Shortly thereafter Ms. Biden’s lawyers alerted prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which is now overseeing the case.

In the midst of this exchange, a conservative website, National File, published excerpts from the diary on Oct. 24, 2020, and the full diary two days later, though it got little attention. The site said it had obtained the diary from someone at another organization that was unwilling to publish it in the campaign’s final days.

Mr. O’Keefe’s lawyers said in a court filing last month that Project Veritas arranged for Ms. Biden’s items to be delivered in early November to the police in Florida, not far from the house where she had left them. As the investigation came to light last month, Mr. O’Keefe said in a statement that “Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner.”

Adam Leo Bantner II, a Florida lawyer, delivered bags belonging to Ashley Biden to the police in Delray Beach the day after her father was declared the victor in the 2020 presidential election. Mr. Bantner’s interaction with an officer was recorded on a body camera.Delray Beach Police Department

But a Delray Beach Police Department report and an officer’s body camera video footage tell a somewhat different story. On the morning of Sunday, Nov. 8 — 24 hours after Mr. Biden had been declared the winner of the election — a lawyer named Adam Leo Bantner II arrived at the police station with a blue duffel bag and another bag, according to the police report and the footage. Mr. Bantner declined to reveal the identity of his client to the police.

Project Veritas has said in court filings that it was assured by the people who sold Ms. Biden’s items to the group that they were abandoned rather than stolen. But the police report said that Mr. Bantner’s client had told him that the property was “possibly stolen” and “he got it from an unknown person at a hotel.”

The video footage, which appears to be a partial account of the encounter, records Mr. Bantner describing the bags as “crap.” The officer can be heard telling Mr. Bantner that he is going to throw the bags in the garbage because the officer did not have any “information” or “proof of evidence”

“Like I said, I’m fine with it,” Mr. Bantner replied.

But the police did examine the contents of the bag and quickly determined that they belonged to Ms. Biden. The report said the police contacted both the Secret Service and the F.B.I., which later collected the items.

Patricia Mazzei William K. Rashbaum Kitty Bennett Matthew Cullen and Kirsten Noyes contributed reporting.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Dec 15, 2021 new release of JFK docs


Well, they released about 1500 documents.  And a day later released the Excel database on this release.

Originally, I saw nothing about bulk downloading and there was no Excel database with this release.

Information about bulk downloading the release is at the bottom of the web page when it should be up at the top.

And then on the 16th, they uploaded the Excel database.

More on this release later.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

DC Comics has Superman meeting JFK again. But it's quite different this time.

Take a look at these images from "Superman & The Authority" #1.

What is going on here? JFK was 6 feet, 1 inches tall.  So, how tall is this Superman? He looks to be 8 feet tall by comparison.  Why this grotesque height disparity? 

Decades ago in Action Comics #309 JFK is in disguise as Clark Kent to help Superman keep his secret identity.  Well, that clearly couldn't work this freakishly tall Superman.   

Has JFK's name, his reputation, his legacy, diminished in the years between these two comics? Is JFK supposed to be seen as a small man, a less important president than some other president?  

Someone seems to be implying this. It's certainly odd. 

Why did they do this?  



Thursday, July 15, 2021

More on Priscilla from John Newman


Courtesy of Dr. John Newman, on the recent passing of Priscilla Johnson McMillan (1928-2021):
After being lied to repeatedly during my interviews with her many years ago, when the documents came out I outed her every move with the CIA in my Volume II--Countdown to Darkness (pp. 323-325), published in 2017. I thought the following might come in handy for anyone who might be interested in the true documentary record of Priscilla's perfidy.
Priscilla Johnson and the CIA
The head of Security of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russell Langelle, had been expelled from the USSR two weeks before Oswald’s defection due to his exposure as the CIA’s Moscow cutout for Pyotr Popov (see Chapter One). (1) Langelle was one of half a dozen CIA officers working under “deep cover” inside the Moscow Embassy. (2) That many boots on the ground in Moscow would have been very helpful to Angleton’s ability to understand how Oswald had handled the defection and something about the initial Soviet reaction.
Journalists were also helpful, and the work of one reporter in particular, Priscilla Johnson, allowed Angleton to understand early on that the defection had gone well. As I have documented at length in this chapter, her handy work was inextricably intertwined with all of Oswald’s early files at the CIA. Johnson swore that she only worked for the U.S. government for six months in 1956, and that she never worked with the CIA. (3) That is what she told me when I interviewed her in July 1994. She said that I was “going to be her savior” because I believed her. CIA records demonstrate a long history of on-again off-again CIA interest in using her operationally. In the end, the CIA Security Office did approve a Covert Security Approval (CSA) for the Soviet Russia Division (SRD) to use her covertly in the liberal Congress of Cultural Freedom (CCF) and to debrief her about her contacts in the USSR—including Oswald.
As early as 1952, the SRD wanted to hire Johnson as an intelligence officer in the division’s Office of Reports and Requirements (ORR), where she would have needed a Special Intelligence (NSA) clearance. (4) The CIA Security Division’s (SD) Personnel Security Branch (PSB) indicated interest in placing her, and asked the SD Project and Liaison Section (PLS) to review Johnson from a counterespionage (CE) angle. In May 1953, Bruce L. Solie, working in PLS at that time, recommended that she be “security disapproved.” (5) According to a later CIA document, her application was rejected because some of her associates and memberships “would have required more investigation than thought worthwhile.” (6)
In 1956, SRD again requested clearance to use Johnson, this time as a legal traveler—a “spotter”—in the USSR. However, the request was disapproved, this time by Counterintelligence Operational Approvals (CI/OA). Yet, that did not end the Johnson CIA saga. The SRD would keep asking OS for clearance to use her and would inevitably succeed in doing so.
In April 1958, Pyotr Popov had warned his Soviet Russia Division (SRD) case officer, George Kisevalter, about a Soviet mole who had betrayed the technical details of the CIA U-2 plane (see Chapter One). As fate would have it, Priscilla Johnson just happened to be leaving for an assignment in Moscow at that very moment. On 28 April, SRD, once again, submitted a request to CI/OA to obtain operational approval for SR/2 to use her as a legal traveler. (7) On 5 May, the SR/2 Chief followed up the request with this additional information:
Subject [Johnson] has applied for a visa to study or work in the USSR. The visa has been granted and subject intends to depart for Moscow within the next two weeks. We wish to recruit subject before her departure and brief her on positive and operational intelligence requirements. Priority clearance is requested because of the time element involved. ( 8 ) [Emphasis added]
CI/OA immediately alerted CI/Liaison, Jane Roman, to expedite an FBI check on Johnson. (9)
1. Tennent H. Bagley, Spy Wars—Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 73-75.
2. 5/4/78, HSCA, Genzman notes on interview with Russell August Langelle; RIF 180-10143-10233.
3. 00/00, HSCA Report on “Oswald, Lee, Russian Period; RIF 180-10141-10489.
4. CIA MFR, Subject Johnson, Priscilla Mary Post, #71589; RIF 104-10119-10261.
5. 3/5/53, Bruce Solie memorandum for the Deputy Chief, Security Division; RIF 104-10119-10260.
6. 5/9/62, DIR 03113 to Paris Station; RIF 104-10119-10285.
7. 4/28/58, Request for Investigation and Approval, Priscilla Johnson, RIF 104-10173-10220; see also RIF 104-10119-10286.
8. 5/5/58, Memo from Chief, SR/2 to CI/OA, Subject: Priscilla Johnson; RIF 10410173-10239.
9. 5/6/58, Memo from CI/OA to Jane Roman, CI/Liaison; RIF 104-10173-10237.
From the fragmentary documentary record, it is not clear whether the Security Office denied the request or SRD cancelled their own request. Apparently, it was a tough decision as the request was left hanging fire for forty-five days. SR/2/FI (Foreign Intelligence) notified the CIA station where Johnson was located—London—about the cancellation with this explanation:
“Subject’s past activity in USSR, insistence to return and indefinite plans inside [USSR], likely to draw Soviet suspicions. Do not wish to use subject. Regret delay. Appreciate station efforts.” (10)
This time the decision not to use Priscilla Johnson was different than the occasions in 1953 and 1956. Those previous occasions did not trigger the opening of a 201 file on her. The day before the above cable was sent (18 June 1958) to the London Station, SR/10, the branch that handled legal travelers to the USSR, requested RID to open a 201 file on Johnson. (11) More than two months went by before SR/10 requested CI/OA to cancel the request for Johnson’s operational approval. (12)
Johnson did go to Moscow. An index control card about Johnson and her residence at the Hotel Metropole in Moscow makes reference to a memo about her for the CI Staff on 30 October 1958. (13) Even though Johnson had (apparently) not been given an operational approval (OA) for contact and use in Moscow by the time Oswald showed up there. An OA was not necessary. The embassy was crawling with CIA officers working under cover. There were also several American journalists whose mailboxes were located in the foyer just outside of the embassy’s consular office. And there was a consular officer working there, John McVickar, who was only too happy to dispatch Johnson on her way to contact Oswald and, at the same time, to suggest the she remember she was an American—inferring that this brought with it certain responsibilities. Her 26 November 1959 news article was published around the world, and was the trigger for the soft files opened on Oswald in both SR/6 and CI/SIG.
One month before Lee and Marina Oswald arrived in the U.S. (13 June 1962), the eminent professor of Russian studies at Harvard, Richard Pipes, recommended Priscilla Johnson for a position in a CIA “Soviet Survey.” Johnson was living in Paris at the time, and Cord Meyer, Chief of the CIA’s International Organizations Division (IOD), informed the Paris Station that an appropriate clearance request would be initiated on her and that a decision would be deferred until the Security Office (OS) concluded the investigation. (14) The survey position was part of the CIA’s QKOPERA program, operated by IOD. QKOPERA was a project to counter Soviet activities in international organizations. More specifically, it was designed to unite and promote anti-communist intellectuals in organizations such as the Congress of Cultural Freedom (CCF). (15) The CCF was an international organization sponsoring Western intellectuals, artists and musicians.
On 25 May 1962, the chief of the CIA’s Covert Action (CA) Staff sent a request to the CI/OA Support Division for a proprietary operational approval to use Johnson as news editor and writer for a publication under QKOPERA. (16) On 24 July and again on 18 October, the OS Investigations and Operation Support (IOS) Division requested the CA Staff Chief to provide the OS with up-to-date information on Johnson. (17) Apparently, the CA Chief did not respond and dropped the matter. But that did not stop Johnson from traveling to London, Moscow, and Leningrad, to collect information for future use on the project. At least some of the information gathered on her trip made its way into two CIA intelligence Information Reports on 19 and 24 October 1962. (18) The first IR revealed that a Soviet journalist and friend of Johnson had reported an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Khrushchev. In the second IR, Johnson reported information she had collected in the USSR on intellectual and artistic affairs.
10. 6/19/58, DIR 27892; RIF 104-10119-10287.
11. 6/18/58, Personality (201) File Request, from SR/10 to RI/Analysis Section; RIF 104-10173-10223. NB: The RIF sheet has the wrong date—9/18/59. There was no event on or near that date to trigger a 201 opening, and a close examination of the opening sheet reveals that the date is in fact 6/19/58.
12. 8/28/58, SR/10 to Chief, CI/OA, Request for Cancellation of Approval; RIF 104-104-10120-10444.
13. 10/30/58, Index card on Johnson, Hotel Metropole, Moscow, and memo for CI Staff; RIF 104-10119-10241.
14. 4/9/62, DIR 03113 to PARI; RIF 104-10119-10285.
15. 5/14/96, Memo for ARRB from CIA Information Management Staff, External Support Group; RIF 104-10336-10005.
16. 5/25/62, CA Security to CI/OA, Re Priscilla Johnson; RIF 104-10173-10218.
17. 7/24/62 and 10/18/62, DDS/IOS memoranda on Priscilla Johnson; RIF 10410119-10284 and 104-10119-10281. NB: These two versions are very heavily redacted; the 7/4/62 IR is in the clear at RIF 1993.07.29.17:50:13:710039; the 10/18/62 IR is in the clear at RFI 1993.07.29.17:49:01:430039.
18. 10/19/62, Reported Attempt on Khrushchev’s Life, RIF104-10173-10217; 10/24/62, Changes in Cultural Affairs/Party Officials Patronize Writers, RIF 104-10173-10216.
Finally, on 17 December 1962, Donald Jameson, Chief of Soviet Russia Covert Action (C/SRD/CA), sent CI/OA and OS/Security Support Division (SSD) up-to-date information on Johnson in a new request for a provisional covert security approval (PCSA) for use in the AE/DINOSAUR Project. (19) AE/DINOSAUR was a project under which SR would be able to debrief Johnson concerning her contacts in the USSR. (20) However, before she was eventually cleared for use on 3 May 1963, (21) someone else (possibly in IOD) submitted a contact report about a meeting with Johnson because she had been “selected as a likely candidate to write an article on Yevtushenko (a popular Russian poet) in a major U.S. magazine for our campaign.” (22)
After the Covert Security Approval (CSA) was approved in May 1963, Priscilla Johnson became “a casual contact, cleared, and used by SR/Covert Action.” So much for Johnson’s claim never to have worked with the CIA. On a 3 March 1964 Routing Slip by CI/SIG Chief Birch O’Neal, this comment was typed by Paul Hartman:
I spoke with the case officer, Gary Coit, and asked him whether Priscilla Johnson had ever mentioned the meeting with Oswald. He said she had made casual mention of it so I asked him to set that down on paper as best he could. A copy of his memorandum is attached. (23)
Gary Coit worked in SR/CA. His 3 March memorandum about his conversation with Johnson contained this passage:
During the conversation, Priscilla Johnson mentioned in passing her having interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow. She said she had had a long talk with him during which it became evident that he had very confused ideas, of economics in particular. … She didn’t realize at the time that he was nuts enough to kill the president, though obviously he was strange. (24)
Johnson’s work with CIA continued at least through the end of 1965. (25) A CIA review of her 201 file indicated that she had been a “witting collaborator” for the CIA. (26) A 26 April 1978 CIA Office of Legal Counsel memorandum on upcoming HSCA interviews stated, “Priscilla Johnson McMillan may be called to discuss her contacts with Oswald in Moscow at which time her ‘witting source’ affiliation may be exposed.” (27) HSCA Staff notes indicate that it was exposed, along with her contacts with Gary Coit. (28)
19. 12/17/62, Donald Jameson, C/SR/CA Request to CI/OA re Johnson POA for AE/DINASAUR; RIF 104-10120-10441, and RIF 104-10173-10214.
20. 12/18/63, M. D. Stevens MFR; RIF 10410119-10254.
21. 4/25/67, M. D. Stevens memo to Chief OS/SRS; RIF 104-10119-10244.
22. 12/11/62, Contact Report: Meeting with Priscilla Johnson; RIF 104-10173-10215. A 30 January 1931 OS office memo had this handwriting: “No document needed for PCSA (Provisional Covert Security Approval debriefing); RIF 104-10119-10277.
23. 3/4/64, O’Neal Routing Slip with Hartman comment on reverse; RIF 10410173-10226.
24. 3/3/64, Coit MFR—Partial Contact Report on Meeting with Priscilla Johnson.
25. 12/9/65, Instruction sheet, 201-102798; C-70300—Johnson’s CIA file numbers; RIF 104-10173-10224.
26. 1/3/75, Review of 201 File on U.S. Citizen, Johnson; RIF 104-10173-10360 and RIF 104-10135-10331.
27. 4/26/78, Roger Gabrielson, OLC, MFR, HSCA—Projection; 104-10146-10340.
28. 3/9/78 and 4/7/78 HSCA Staff notes by R. Genzman; RIF 180-10143-10243. I got my copy of Genzman’s 4/7/78 staff notes on Johnson from Malcolm Blunt without a RIF sheet; they were released to Blunt on 4/5/10 at NARA II. They might not be in the collection any more. I have not been able to retrieve them by the date or name (Genzman).

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021

More info on Priscilla from Bill Simpich

[ Click on the post title "More info on Priscilla from Bill Simpich" to see the page properly. ] 

Here is an excerpt from my book - The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend - Part 1 - where I offer evidence that Priscilla was not only used by the CIA as a "spotter", but that they confused the records on her for purposes of cover. The book has more. Now that she is deceased, more records will emerge. We should stay tuned.
Three Priscillas? Or Five Priscillas?
Marina Oswald and Priscilla Johnson McMillan, circa 1978
Marina Oswald and Priscilla
Johnson McMillan, circa 1978
Priscilla Mary Post Johnson was identified with a CI/OA (counter-intelligence/operational approval) number in a 1956 CIA application (C-52373) four years after her initial 1952 application.
The response from the Office of Security in 1956 was odd, because it stated that C-52373 was "Priscilla Livingston Johnson", not "Priscilla R", and that "she was apparently born 23 September 1922 in Stockholm, Sweden, rather than 19 July 1928 at Glen Cove, New York."
During the formation of the HSCA, Johnson wanted to review what was in the records. "Priscilla Johnson McMillan aka Priscilla Mary Post Johnson" submitted a sworn FOIA request to the FBI asking for all records "indicating my employment in your agency". This statement revealed not only her previously unknown relationship with the Bureau, but also that the 1928/Glen Cove data is her authentic birthdate and birthplace. Now we have some reliable data on Johnson that should offer light when studying her path.
When Johnson's 1956 application was withdrawn in 1957, the memo from SR/10 contradicted the 1956 application with the claim that the birthdate for C-52373 was 19 July 1928. A game is being played with Johnson's identity and birthdates, a game that continues to this day. It's probably a holding action to protect Johnson's reputation, because her book Marina and Lee is now a central pillar in the continuing political battle about what happened in Dallas that day. (I would agree with Thomas Powers' assessment in the New York Times Book Review that Marina and Lee is a "miraculous book".)
What we do know is that on April 10, 1958, Cord Meyer sent a cable to Western Europe expressing interest in Johnson, right after Johnson applied for a Soviet visa in Paris. A couple weeks later, a request went out seeking approval for Johnson to become a "REDSKIN traveler and informant", and that "SR/2 (Soviet Russia Division #2) will have primary responsibility of handling agent."
Johnson was supposedly rejected in June 1958 because her "past activity in USS4, insistence return and indefinite plans inside likely draw Sov suspicions". Nonetheless, she decided to return to Moscow and study Soviet law under a fellowship grant from either Columbia or Harvard universities. By 1962, she was being vetted by the notorious anti-communist professor Richard Pipes and the CIA's Office of Security for a position in a "Soviet survey".
Other memos, one sent by "SR/RED/O'Connell", illustrate that three Priscillas have now emerged: Besides the original Priscilla Mary Post Johnson, we now also see the names "Priscilla McClure Johnson, Priscilla McCoy" that are not identical with the original. To top it off, if you add in the references to "Priscilla Livingston Johnson" and "Priscilla R. Johnson", there are now five Priscillas competing for space in the same case file.
These five Priscillas are corroborated by the four CI/OA numbers for Priscilla Johnson seen on her "approval work record" form.

1975 CIA record identifying Priscilla Johnson as a"witting collaborator"
After all this smoke and fog, the American public has no reason to assume that the US government has done anything but confuse everyone about the role of Johnson.
I did find what is described as a "true name dossier" in the Office of Security files that lists Priscilla Johnson with the biographical file number 201-102798. Furthermore, the Office of Legal Counsel made it plain that it had reviewed "documents from Priscilla Johnson McMillan's 201 file (201-102798)." By the 1970s, Priscilla Johnson McMillan was her married name. We can see with our own eyes that a close-out document for the CIA's 201-102798 file describes "Johnson" as a "witting collaborator" in 1975.
Is it any surprise that Johnson responded in an interview with Anthony Summers and his wife Robbyn that "the Johnson in the 1975 document is someone other than herself?"
Under her married name of Priscilla Johnson McMillan, she muddied the waters further by releasing her book Marina and Lee - after fourteen years of writing and re-writing - in the midst of the reopened investigation of the JFK case by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.
This exercise in game-playing will probably continue with the CIA refusing to reveal Johnson's files until after her death. Johnson could easily resolve these questions by releasing her own copies of the files to the public - and by squarely addressing further questions while she is still alive.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Priscilla Johnson MacMillan has died.

Let The Joyous News Be Spread, The Wicked Witch At Last Is Dead!
Priscilla Johnson MacMilland has died.
Mrs. McMillan, who was then known as Priscilla Johnson, later went into journalism and moved to Moscow, where she drew on her fluency in Russian to file stories for the North American Newspaper Alliance. In November 1959, a friend at the U.S. Embassy mentioned that “a boy named Oswald” was in town trying to defect. He was staying at her hotel, the Metropol, where she spent five hours interviewing him over tea. The young man seemed excited, nervous, a little frightened. He was 20, a former Marine with a light Southern accent, and wanted to talk about Marxist economics and complain about the U.S. Embassy, which he said had tried to dissuade him from renouncing his citizenship. “I want to give people in the United States something to think about,” he said. Four years later, on Nov. 22, 1963, Mrs. McMillan was suddenly jolted back to their conversation, not long after learning that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. Walking through Harvard Square, near the university where she was a visiting scholar, a friend told her that authorities had arrested the shooter. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald. “My God,” Mrs. McMillan recalled saying. “I know that boy.” Indeed, she was one of the only people who knew both Kennedy and his killer, who died two days later after being shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas police headquarters. Their deaths launched her on a 14-year odyssey, as she tried to find out why the quiet young man she met in Moscow had decided to shoot the president. Mrs. McMillan persuaded Oswald’s Soviet-born widow, Marina, to sit for an exclusive book interview in exchange for a share of the royalties. They wound up speaking for nearly seven months, providing Mrs. McMillan with the core of “Marina and Lee” (1977), a critically acclaimed account of the Kennedy assassination, told through the lens of Oswald and his wife. In a review for the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Powers wrote that Mrs. McMillan’s book “achieves with art what the Warren Commission failed to do with its report,” offering a persuasive case that Oswald acted alone as the assassin. “It is far better than any book about Kennedy,” he added, “with the unsettling result that the assassination is experienced from the wrong end. . . . If you can find the heart to read it, you may finally begin to forget the phantom gunmen on the grassy knoll.” Mrs. McMillan, who went on to an accomplished career as a historian of the Cold War and U.S. nuclear weapons policy, was 92 when she died July 7 at her home in Cambridge, Mass. Her health had declined after a fall about eight weeks ago, said her niece and biographer, Holly-Katharine Johnson. While writing her Oswald book, Mrs. McMillan translated “Twenty Letters to a Friend,” a 1967 memoir by Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, who had defected to the United States earlier that year. She later spent more than two decades researching and writing “The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer” (2005), about the father of the atomic bomb, whose career unraveled after he was accused of being a Soviet spy during the McCarthy era. But she remained best known for her book on Oswald. His widow, who remarried and went by Marina Oswald Porter, described him as a fame-obsessed liar with a short temper and violent mood swings. “He was a lonely person,” she told Mrs. McMillan. “He trusted no one. He was too sick. It was the fantasy of a sick person, to get attention only for himself.” [In ‘Marina and Lee,’ the assassin’s widow remembers] By the time Mrs. McMillan published her book, conspiracy theories had proliferated about the killing. There seemed to be little appetite for her relatively straightforward account of a wayward, self-described Marxist; sales were modest, although “Marina and Lee” was reissued in 2013. “The argument over Kennedy was a kind of national madness for decades — but that is largely over now, and I would argue that Priscilla’s book stands firm as balanced and persuasive,” Powers wrote in an email. Mrs. McMillan’s interviews with Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald, he added, formed a key part of the historical record. “Imagine that some Roman had done the same with Brutus before the assassination of Julius Caesar, and then followed it with a similar history of the countdown to the killing — if you wanted to understand the politics and the life of Rome in those years, that is where you would start.” Priscilla Mary Post Johnson was born in Glen Cove, N.Y., on July 19, 1928, and raised in nearby Locust Valley, on the North Shore of Long Island. Her father was a financier who inherited a textile company, and her mother was a homemaker. After graduating from the private Brearley School in Manhattan, she studied Russian at Bryn Mawr College, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1950. Three years later, she earned a master’s in Russian studies from Radcliffe College, now part of Harvard. Mrs. McMillan translated Russian newspaper articles before traveling to the Soviet Union for the first time, in 1955, paying her way by working as a translator for the New York Times. In Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, she palled around with newspaper columnist Leonard Lyons and novelist Truman Capote, who recounted some of their experiences in a 1956 nonfiction book, “The Muses Are Heard.” In 1966, she married George McMillan, an author and journalism instructor. They later divorced. She had no immediate survivors but had a vast “chosen family,” often letting near-strangers and mutual friends stay at her home in Cambridge, where she was an associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. “More than anyone I’ve ever met, she created something like a 19th-century European salon at her home,” said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Government Secrecy Project at the Federation of American Scientists. “You’d never know who you’d meet — government officials, academics, writers, artists. It was a kind of intellectual chemistry experiment.” In recent years, Marina Oswald insisted that her husband was actually innocent, and blamed the Mafia and CIA for Kennedy’s killing. Mrs. McMillan remained convinced that Oswald acted alone, telling the Atlantic that “Marina’s change of views may stem from her daughters’ reluctance to accept their father as the assassin.” She had long believed that the assassination would prompt conspiracy theories, in part for psychological reasons. “The killing of a President, or a king or father, is the hardest of all crimes for men to deal with,” she wrote in a 1975 Washington Post essay. “As Freud pointed out, it is this crime that stirs the deepest guilt and anxiety. . . . No matter what steps are taken, what investigation may be authorized or what autopsy material made public, I suspect that the doubts about President Kennedy’s murder are going to be with us forever.”