Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Someone Talked - Gene Wheaton Reconsidered


[ Kelly Notes: This is a first draft. My laptop is in the shop and my Pad is on the blink so I'm working off my phone. I appologize for spellings and typos and will correct them ASAP. - I think I got them all.]

It is often said by Warren Commission appologists that if there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, since no one can keep a secret, someone would have talked.

Well someone did talk, but no body paid much attention.

As Larry Hancock clearly points out in his book "Someone Would Have Talked" (JFK Lancer), John Martino talked, John Roselli talked, David Atlee Phillips talked, Antonio Veciana talked, Bradely Ayers talked, and now, most significantly, Gene Wheaton talked.

While each of the others deserve - in James Jesus Angleton's terminology, a serial of their own, I am currently concentrating on what former investigator Gene Wheaton tells us, even though it comes under the category of hearsay. While hearsay may not be admissible in court at a trial, it is admissible in grand jury hearings, and often leads to more substansive evidence, as Wheaton's story does.

In evaluating Wheaton, I use the CIA's case study that evaluates sources and defectors by considering how much new, significant and verifiable information they provide, especially new names, places and events that are not on the record or in the files. In that regard, Wheaton comes up in spades.

Wheaton first came to my attention in Larry Hancock's book  "Someone Would Have Talked,"  which I wrote about in my JFKCountercoup blog at the time. I quoted Wheaton extensively, but I failed to follow up on the many leads he provided, something I am trying to do now.

To establish Wheaton's bonifides right off the bat we will begin with excerpts from his obituary:

Funeral Home Memorial Page for:

Milton Gene Wheaton

May 19, 1935 - December 31, 2015 

Milton gene Wheaton passed away peacefully on Dec. 31, 2015 at the age of 80 at the Desert Reginal Medical Center in Palm Springs after suffering from a traumatic head inury due to a fall at his home in Hemet.

He was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma in a Post Office on an Indian reservation. His parents were Bert and Ruth Wheaton.....

He spent a brilliant career in the military as a criminal investigator, ending his career at the rank of Chief Warrent Officer 3.

An example of his many accomplishments was when he was awareded the U.S. Legion of Merit from President Nixon for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in his performance as the Narcotics and Smuggling advisor of the U.S. Military Mission with the Imperial Iranian Grandarmerie from May 1971 through July 1973.

He retired from the military on June 30, 1975. After that he spent many years as a private investigator consultant. Then retired and spent the remaining years in Winchester and Hemet, California......

END OBIT Excerpts

Wheaton first came into the public arena when he was mentioned in a footnote to a legal civil suit prepared by attorney Dan Sheen for the Christic Institute against those principles involved in what would become known as the Iran-Contra affair.

Wheaton was an early whistle blower who first took his inside knowledge of the affair to then CIA director William Casey, who did nothing because he was behind it.

Wheaton realized Casey was in on it and when asked why he blew the whistle on them, Wheaton said that Casey and those invovled were taking millions of dollars from a foreign terrorist state (Iran) in exchange for US military supplies (missiles) and using the money to finance secret covert operations without the approval of Congress.

While Sheenan's case was dismissed by the judge,  Sheehan was ordered to pay the defendants $900,000, that put the Christic Institute out of business. 

The judge said the charges were based on "frivilous" hearsay, and just how frivilous it was became sensational a few months later when a CIA Contra support plane was shot down and baggage kicker Eugene Hassenfraus was captured alive. Hassenfraus confessed the CIA was behind the operation and had phone numbers on his possession that linked him to ( "Shadow Warrior") Felix Rodriguez, who took pride in tracking down Che Guevera, executing him and taking his Rolex watch.

The Iran-Contra affair then played out on its own in public and behind the scenes, and Wheton went quiet, for years. Then the JFK Act of 1992 was passed by Congress ordering all of the government records on the assassination of President Kennedy be made public in full by October 2017, something that still hasn't happened.

Wheaton wrote a letter to Judge John Tunheim, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB), establishing himself as a responsible person, and saying he knew of people and records that the Review Board would be interested in, and Tunheim reponded favorably.

ARRB staff attorney Ann Buttermer had a telephone conversation with Wheaton, after which she wrote an outside contact report on the details. She then met Wheaton in Washington and got more details, as well as documents and records that Wheaton said supported his story.

According to Buttimer's ARRB outside contact report, Wheaton told her Cuban exiles who were originally trained by the CIA kill Castro, killed Kennedy instead, considering him a traitor for his failure to support them at the Bay of Pigs. 

Wheaton said that "people above the Cubans wanted JFK killed for other reasons," and that "the matter is not complex, but convoluted."

While there is only the outside contact report of Buttermer's phone conversation with Wheaton, her report on their meeting in Washington is missing, and shortly after their meeting Buttermer suddenly resigned from her job with the Review Board and disapeared. Malcolm Blunt notes that unlike every other ARRB staff member, there is no separate file for Buttermer's papers, though some of her records are scattered among the ARRB files.

Wheaton then faxed the review board, but only received a generic form reply thanking him for contacting them.

Then things went quiet again, at least on the public front, for over a decade, except for English professor John Simkin, who started the JFK Assassination Debate on his Education Forum web site, and kept track of all of the important players, including Gene Wheaton.

Also during this time some determined researchers plowed through the millions of pages of documents at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Archives II in College Park, Md., where the JFK Collection is kept. Among the records released under the JFK Act are the records of the ARRB, including Wheaton's letter to Judge Tunheim, Ann Buttermer's outside contact report on their phone coversation, and the items Wheaton gave Buttermer as supporting records to what he had to say.

If how many new, significant and verifiable names are the barrometor for bonifides, then Wheaton comes clean, as there are many, they are significant, and many have been verified.

Top of the list is Carl Jenkins, who Wheaton says was his close friend, housemate and business associate in National Airlines, one of many CIA front companies that I wrote about back in the 1980s.

[See: CIAir at the story of Ralph Cox and United Overseas Airlines].

As Hankock reported in his book, "Research confirms that beyond a doubt, Carl Jenkins was indeed a senior CIA officer who worked on paramilitary activities in support of the Bay of Pigs project and that by 1963-64 he was indeed directly involved with the AM/WORLD project, with Artime (AMBIDDY) and Quintero (AMJAVA4)."

In a September, 1963 memo Jenkins wrote how the anti-Castro Cuban commandos (he was training at JMWAVE) could, "use abductions and assassinations targeted against Cuban G-2 intelligence informants, agents, officer and foreign Communists to raise the morale of people inside Cuba."

Actualy, they were planning, training and preparing to kill Castro, an operation that Wheaton and Jenkins said was redirected to JFK at Dallas.

One of the working hypothesis of this inquiry is that whoever pulled off the Dealey Plaza Operation - they were very good, had done such things before and did it again afterwards, as the careers of Carl Jenkins and the Cubans he trained confirm.

Carl Jenkins was a United States Marine Corps (USMC) Captain in Japan, where he possibly crossed paths with Oswald. Wheaton suspects that is where Wheaton recruited Oswald, as they again crossed paths in the summer of 1963 in New Orleans, where Captain Jenkins established a new USMC Active Reserve unit, and became acquainted with mob boss Carlos Marcello.

Jenkins was known as a commando infiiltration - exfiltraion specialist, working closely with the anti-Castro Cubans before the Bay of Pigs, and at JMWAVE afterwards. At JMWAVE he trained a team of Cubans who Wheaton named as Ralphel "Chi Chi" Quintero, Nester Sanchez, Nestor Pino, Felix Rodriguez, Ricardo Morales, Tony Izquierdo, and others. While we were acquainted with some of these names, like Rodrriguez, others were new.

English professor John Simkin, who was in contact with a CIA media asset who knew Quintero, asked Quintero if Wheaton was correct in his allegations, and Quintero said Wheaton knew part of the story, and if the whole story got out it would be the biggest scandle ever.

Jenkins - and some of his team of Cubans, went on to work other operations - in 1964 Quintero was sent to Europe to meet Rolando Cubella (AMLASH), a significant player in the lead up to the assassination of the president.

They all worked for a time in the Congo, another key place of interest to those following the Dealey Plaza drama. And then Jenkins was sent to the Dominican Republic where the dictator Trujulio was assassinated. In response the CIA also sent David Atlee Phillips as the emergency Chief of Station while LBJ sent in the Marines, just to show the generals he would give them some action when JFK wouldn't.

Another name Wheaton gave out was I. Irving Davidson, who Wheaton described as a middleman, cut-out and fixer, whose clients included Clint Murcheson of Dallas, Carlos Marcello of New Orleans and Rafael Trujulio, a client he lost. Oh, yea, Davidson's office mate was Jack Anderson, the muckraking Washington columnist who exposed the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, a scoop he got from Roselli, probably becaues of the Davidson connection.

A year before Larry Hancock's book came out, in 2005, Wheaton was located and interviewed on videotape by Hancock and William M. Law, a short but concise tape that was premiered at the 2005 JFK Lancer conference in Dallas. But its significance was not immediately recognized. That tape sat on the shelf for another decade, and only this year (2018) was it posted on line for the world to see.

In it, Wheaton confirms all of the above, explains why he became an Iran-Contra whistle blower - "I'm a cop," and gives us more new names, including that of a Minnessotta documentary film maker Matt Ehling, who recorded "hours and hours" of tapes in which he gives more details.

 Another new name is that of one of those CIA small arms and explosive experts who assisted Jenkins in training the Cuban commandos at JMWAVE.

As I listened to the tape I thought Wheaton says the CIA trainer is "Ira" Harper, and could not find anyone by that name, but after I reposted the Wheaton video interview online, a Facebook friend (Pat Dugan) said the name is "I.W." Harper.

And that hit paydirt as "I.W." Harper was, according to a Soldier of Fortune Magazine article, a CIA explosives expert, small arms specialist who also trained Contras in Nicaragua.

While I.W. Harper is the name of a Kentucky whiskey, it's Jewish founder said he named the brand after a horseman he knew, I. W. Harper. It is likely that "I.W." is a nickname applied to the legendary CIA small arms and explosives expert since its not his real name.

There's a photo of Harper in the SOF article, The Wild Bunch, a mission photo of the armed specialists who were then training Contra commandos to fight the leftist Sandinistas in the struggle for power after the fall of the Somoza regime.

Besides Jenkins, Quintero and the Cubans, Davidson and Harper, Gene Wheaton also coughed up the names of others who were in the loop - Bill Bode, Rob Owen, Vaughn Forest and others we have yet to get to.

In the meantime, we have 
located the Minnessotta film maker who has hours of tapes of Wheton giving more details on these affairs.

More to come in Wheton Part 2.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Five Types of Agents


Those who think they know Lee Harvey Oswald as a deranged leftist killer of the President are also fond of saying that no secret government agency would ever use a person like Oswald, a misfit loner, are in error.

Those who say that Oswald killed President Kennedy on his own, without assistance, also say he was a wife-beating loser rather than the master assassin he had to be if he did what they say he did all by himself.

Those who say that have not read Ian Fleming's attributes of a good intelligence agent, David Atlee Phillip's book "Careers in Intelligence," or Allen Dulles' "Crafts of Intelligence."

Each of these veteran spymasters lays out the personality traits needed to be a good spy or espionage agent, and Oswald fits the bill on all counts, in fact he could be the archtypical prototype - possessing all of the necessary qualities and traits mentioned by Fleming, Phillips and Dulles.

I will provide links to both Fleming's attributes and Phillips' "Careers" ASAP, who dive deeper into the details, but want to focus on Dulles for starters.

At the very first meeting of the Warren Commission Commissioner Allen Dulles brought along a copy of a book "American Assassins" by the author of "PT 109," that portrayed American assassins as deranged loners, unlike their more political European counterparts.

Instead Dulles should have passed around copies of his own book, "The Crafts of Intelligence."

In the very beginning of "Crafts of Intelligence" - that some say was ghost written by E. Howard Hunt, and possibly read by Lee Harvey Oswald, Dulles calls attention to one of the oldest books known to the world - Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," specifically on the chapter on the use of secret agents.

Dulles explained that despite the advances in technology and the use of satellite and electronic surveillance, human intelligence (HUMINTEL) was still necessary to determine motives and intentions.

Sun Tzu said there are five types of agents or spys - and when they are all working together it is a network it is called "The Divine Skein" - a u  being a fisherman's net, and the result appearing to the uninitiated as a divine act of God.

The five types of agents -

1) Local - Native - who are inhabidents of the area or theater of operations, who know the local terrain and language and can move about freely.

2) Inside - the most valued of all agents and hardest to recruit as they are situated inside the opposition government, especially its intelligence and security agencies.

3) Doubled - agents are opposition agents who are turned, or defectors.

4) Living - agents are those who get behind the enemy lines and return with valuable information.

5) Expendable - agents are those who are compromised, lost, captured or killed after completing their mission.

In his short life of twenty-some years, Lee Harvey Oswald actually served as each of those types of agents - He was considered doubled when he defected, he became a local native speaking agent inside Russia for two years, became a living agent when he returned home and reported on the situation there, was an inside agent when he got the job at the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), and was eventually an doomed expendable agent when he was captured and killed while in police custody.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Inside and Outside Men


When General Odom asked former CIA case officer Haveland Smith what makes a good case officer - Smith replied "The Sting!"

Refering to the Hollywood movie staring Robert Redford and Paul Newman that depicted the Big Con confidence games of the early 20th century.

The movie was based on a book The Big Con by Kentucky lingeuist professor David Maurer, whose book was required reading if you took a class in covert operations and psychological warfare taught by Paul Linebarger as described by Joseph Smith in his book. [Portrait of a Cold Warrior].

Maurer learned the secrets of the Big Con from the confidence men themselves while studying their unique slang used to communicate among themselves.

Of the two basic types of Big Con confidence game characters - there are the Outside Men - usually new to the Big Con, Grifters who have graduated through the underworld ranks of what they call Short Con Games - petty thieves, pickpockets, 3 card monti and carnival shell games, who work the streets, markets, bars, restaurants, card parlors and race tracks, looking for easy marks to play against the Big Store in a Big Con game.

Once a good mark is identified he is given the hook and lowdown and taken to the Big Store - which is set up like a betting palor, stock office or boxing ring, depending on the game in play, where he is introduced to the Inside Man, an experienced Big Con confidence man who knows the score.

When U.S. Army Ranger Bradley Ayers was assigned to train anti-Castro Cuban commandos at JMWAVE, he said, "I saw that they had missed no detail in setting up the false front of Zenith Technological Enterprises. There were phoney sales and production charts on the walls and business licenses from the state and federal governments. A notice to salesmen, pinned near the door, advised them of the calling hours for various departments. The crowning touch was a certificate of award from the United Care Givers' Fund to Zenith for outstanding particiipation in its annual fund drive."

There Ayers met the chief of station Ted Shackley and Ayers' immediate boss Gordon Campbell, the head of Maritime Operations, both Inside Men who worked behind a desk inside an office.

As Maurer described them, the Inside Men are "suave, slick, and capable...because of their high intelligence, solid organization, the wide-spread connivance of the law, and the fact that the victim must virtually admit criminal intentions himself if he wishes to relatively few good con men are ever brought to trial."

As Joe Smith quoted Maurer after reading The Big Con, "Big-time confidence games are in reality only carefully rehearsed plays in which every member of the cast EXCEPT THE MARK, knows his part perfectly. The Inside Man is the star of the cast; while the minor participants are competent actors and can learn their lines perfectly, they must look to the Inside Man for their cues; he must not only be a fine actor but a playwright extempore as well. And he must be able to retain the confidence of an intelligent man even after that man has been swindled at his hands."

While the similarities between the Big Store fake gambling palor of The Big Con of the Sting and the false front of the JMWAVE station are readily apparant, the use of the same slang in "Inside Men" and "Outside Men" also holds true.

Ayers himself, without knowledge of Maurer and his study of the language of the con-artists, refers to Gordon Campbell's assistant Karl as his "Outside Man," who delt personally with the Cubans who were also considered "Outside Men."

As Ayers put it: "Outside Agents were American or Cuban CIA employees who were not cleared for entry into the unvercover headquarters. These employees were either too 'hot' because of exposure to exiles or did not have proper clearance. Contact with these persons was always made clandestinely on the outside, using indivually assigned operational cover, in my case, the Paragon Air Service cover."

In some cases - as with Desmond FitzGerald, clearly a swave and sophisticated Inside Man, he rarely  but occassionally met with Outside Men operators in person - but did, as with his meeting with Rolando Cubella (AMLASH). 

And David Atlee Phillips, who went from a very successful Outside Man - case officer and was promoted to an Inside Man - Chief of Cuban Ops. In his book Nightwatch, Phillips recalls the incident when Plan Centaur documents - regarding a plan to kill Castro in Chile, were given to an foreign embassy and the press. The resulting flap, said Phillips, had his superior repremand him, reminding him that he was no longer an "Outside Man" operating on the street, but an "Inside Man," runing operations from behind a desk.

Every agent or operative has a case officer - an Outside Man who works directly with the Cubans, and acts as a "cut out" in intelligence terms, or "buffer" in mob talk, to ensure the Inside Men are not exposed.


Allen Dulles - Director of the CIA

Richard Bissell - Head of CIA Plans/Operations for U2 and Bay of Pigs

Cord Meyer, Jr. - Head of CIA International Organizations Division

Ted Shackley - Chief of JMWAVE

Gordon Campbell - Head of Maritime Operations (until his death in 1962?)

Desmond FitzGerald - Head of CIA Cuban Operations - Chief of Western Hemisphere Division (1964)

David Atlee Phillips - Head of Cuban Operations - later Chief of Westen Hemisphere Division.


Captain Bradely Ayers, USA Ranger

Captain Edward Roderick, USA Ranger - trained Cubans at Point Mary, Key Largo

John "H. I." Harper - CIA explosives expert and small arms trainer of Cubans

William Attwood - JFK's personal representative in the backchannel talks with Cubans at the UN underway at the time of the assassination.

"Karl" (LNU) - Shackley and Gordon Campbell's Outside Man at JMWAVE

Col. Sam Kail - US Military Attache US Embassy Havana.

Dorithie Matlack - ACSI Outside Contacts person, met with deMohrenschildt


For lists of Generals, Colonels, Majors and Captains see Playbook, Program, Players at:

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Tenuous Links

"The records at issue are only tenuously related to the assassination." - Judge McFadden

The tenuous relationship is not so tenuous if you look at these details more closely and recognize the patterns that develop, as well as the repeated references to the Valkyrie plot throughout the JFK assassination narrative.

This tenuous link is the thread that when pulled unravels the strands of an intelligence network - what Sun Tzu called "the Divine Skein," or Godly Net that is only now coming apart at the seams, allowing us to see how it is connected, recognize it for what it is, and study it like the CIA studied the Valkyrie plot.

After establishing the relevance of the failed CIA-Mafia plans to kill Castro to the assassination of President Kennedy, the CIA's 1963 "detailed study" of the Valkyrie operation to use against Castro comes into more clear focus.

Judge McFadden said the assassination of President Kennedy was two assassinations removed from the July 20, 1944 attept to assassinate Hitler, but in fact, he mispoke, as neither Hitler nor Castro were assassinated, only Kennedy was. So the three assassinations blend together as one.

While we still don't have the CIA records of their study, we can and have conducted our own study of the Valkyrie operation to see how it relates to both the failed CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro and the successful assassination of President Kennedy.

In making such a comparative study we can see at least five strategic aspects of the Valkyrie plan that were adopted by the CIA in their contingency planning for operations against Castro, and were an integrel part of the plan to kill President Kennedy, integrel aspects not devised by Lee Harvey Oswald.

They are:

1) The utilization of standard covert operational procedures beginning with the issuing of a code word used to refer to the project. Valkyrie was chosen by Colonel Claus von Staufenberg as the code name for the assassination and coup plan to be used against Hitler, as the Valkyries in Nordic myth are the fairies who fly around the battlefield deciding who lives and who dies. The CIA plots to kill Castro had different names - Project Alfa was one, Pathfinder was another. They also operated on a need to know basis, didn't commit anything to paper so there is no paper trail, and only communicated verbally, as demonstrated in the Higgins Memo.

2) The strategic plan is outlined by the Generals and Colonels, but carried out by "boots on the ground" Home Guard soldiers in Germany, disenchanted Cuban army officers (Lanz, Almedia, Cubella) and the Army National Guard security and intelligence officers in Texas.

3) The operation has two phases, the first phase is actually approved by the intended victim - as the first phase of the Valkyrie plan as approved by Hitler called for the use of the Home Guard troops to seize and protect key buildings and facilities in case of a riot or revolt of the foreign slave laborers in Berlin. The second phase was the assassination of Hitler and putting the Valkyrie plan into action.

In the case of President Kennedy, he was asked to approve the plans to remove Castro from power by any means, including assassination, but some of those specific plans, such as Pathfinder, were "disapproved by higher authority," and then turned on that same higher authority. The "Four Leaves" project involving a secret military communications system, was approved by JFK in a NSAM on October 25, the same day Des Fitzgerald briefed General LeMay and the Joint Chiefs on covert operations against Cuba.

4) Control of communications and news reports is an essential aspect of any coup, as outlined in Edward Lutwak's "Coup d'etat - A Practical Handbook," and as von Staufenberg put it so "only the conspiracy speaks." As for control of the news and communications during the assassination of President Kennedy, the CIA controlled most of the major news organizations under the Mockingbird program, especially the AP and UPI wire services, from which most media organizations, radio and TV received the news reports. The strategic military and Air Force One radio communications were controlled completelly by Collins Radio relay "Liberty" station in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, owned by General LeMay's good friend Arthur Collins.

5) And finally, a key aspect of the plan designed to protect the actual sponsors was to cast blame for the crime on Communists, always convienient in Germany, as well as Oswald and Castro at Dealey Plaza. Even the single reference to the July 20, 1944 plot found among CIA files - the Propaganda Guide on an anniversary of the attack on Hitler, blames Communists for betraying the plan. Even today the CIA's psychological warfare officers and assets like Brien Letell, Bob Bair and Phil Shenon continue to promote the idea that Castro was behind the Dealey Plaza operation.

So there you have five aspects of the Valkyrie plan to kill Hitler that were adapted for use against Castro but diverted to kill JFK in Dallas.

Not so tenuous after all.

Of the five strategic aspects of the Valkyrie plan that were adapted for use against Castro, and redirected to JFK in Dallas, the only part of the plan that wasn't used was the mechanism of death - a bomb. Instead, they  would use snipers with high powered rifles and scopes.

Both Allen Dulles and Hans B. Gisivious were leary about the use of a bomb and were uncertain it would work against Hitler, and they were right.

As an English reader suggested, if the CIA studied the Valkyrie plot to use against Castro, they would also study other historical models of a similar nature - such as the assassination of Archduke Ferdenand in 1917 that sparked World War I, and other WW II assassinations and plans for assassination. Specifically, the assassination of Heidrich and the British plans for assassinating Hitler - Operation Foxley, which they would have shared with the Americans.

In 1944 British SOE (Special Operations Executive) drew up plans to kill Hitler - Operation Foxley, documents kept secret until 1998.

[ ]

Like the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Hitler that evolved over different phases, Operation Foxley considered using poison in Hitler's coffee or tea before settling on a sniper shooting him from a distance as he walked through a park on the way to a tea house, something he did on a routine, daily basis.

Detailed maps were drawn up of the area, a team of two operatives, dressed in regular German army uniforms, would carry out the mission, with one serving as a decoy and deception while the first class sniper shot and killed Hitler - "One shot, one kill," is the first class sniper's motto.

Operation Foxley was never carried out, as the documents dated 1944 bear out, because strategic planners decided that Hitler was making disasterous decisions and they wanted him to continue doing so.

The British records also note that the assassination of Nazi official Heidrich in Prague by two British SOE trained partisans, was an a military style ambush on a moving motorcade that was set at a tight turn requiring the vehicles to slow down, much like Dealey Plaza. But because the assassination of Heidrich led to the executions of over 5,000 innocent civilians in retaliation, the blowback was too high a price to pay.

A similar number of Germans were executed in the aftermath of the failed Valkyrie attack, including Colonel von Staufenberg, who deposited the bomb, and a number of Generals, including Rommel, who was permitted to kill himself.

No one has been held responsible for the murder of President Kennedy.

Two German generals involved in the conspiracy escaped retaliation, and were in the Pentagon meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Gisivious, with a fake passport sent to him by Allen Dulles and Mary Bancroft, escaped to testify at Nurenberg. When he came to America, as Bancroft translated his manuscript, Gisivioius lived with Tom Braden, then head of the CIA's International Organizations Division. As with other former Nazis who entered the USA under Operation Paperclip, Gisivious moved to Texas to work for a major defense contractor.

On July 20, 1954, Allen Dulles and Gisivioius celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Valkyrie plot over a dinner at a restaurnat in Washington D.C.

It was an anniversary of the Valkyrie plot when the CIA published the Propagandist Guide, that blames Communists for the failure of the plot to kill Hitler, a guide that is redacted in part because they continue to use those techniques today and they must be protected.

While you would think that the CIA would have dozens if not hundreds of records that mention the July 20, 1944 Valkyrie Plot, especially in light of their "detailed study," the total lack of any significant document clearly indicates their files have been purged. 

All matters relted to these issues are missing, records with  only a tenuous link to the assassination of President Kennedy, but it is that tenuous link that is coming unraveled, and books by company assets that blame Castro for killing JFK, and misstaments, wrong rulings and pronouncements by judges in court are not going to stop those disclosures.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Relevancy of the CIA-Mafia Plots to Kill Castro



 By William Kelly (

“…. the connection between these records and President Kennedy’s assassination are tenuous at best, resting on the Plaintiff’s theory that the Kennedy assassination was motivated by U.S. efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, efforts that prompted the CIA to study assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler. So this case is two assassinations removed from the assassination of President Kennedy.” – U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden – July 17, 2018

After reading Judge McFadden’s ruling that the CIA completed a lawful search of its records and could not find any trace or references to the “detailed study” they conducted of the German military plot to kill Hitler, I found it hard to believe. Besides the incredulity of the CIA having lost such a study, I was taken aback by two clearly false statements the Judge makes in his ruling.

I don’t know about any of the legal points the D.C. District Court Judge McFadden made in his July 17, 2018 ruling but he is clearly wrong on two key points. He ruled that the CIA fulfilled its legal obligations in response to the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) request for any CIA records on the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler that the CIA was studying in detail in order to use against Fidel Castro.

In that ruling, Judge McFadden was absolutely wrong when he said the assassination of President Kennedy was “two assassinations removed” from the plot to kill Hitler and the plots to kill Castro since neither Hitler nor Castro were assassinated. Only President Kennedy was killed and the Judge was wrong in his assertion that links between the Hitler plot and the murder of the president “were tenuous, at best.”


Before dealing with the less than tenuous ties between the Valkyrie plot and what happened at Dealey Plaza, it is a certifiable fact that the failed CIA-Mafia plots to kill Fidel Castro are intricately linked directly to the assassination of President Kennedy. 

Only Warren Commissioner and former CIA director Allen Dulles knew of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, but he didn’t share that information with the rest of the Commission and the facts didn’t become public knowledge until the 1970s.


Even Warren Commission staff recognized the serious implications of the CIA-Mafia plots and said so to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), as reported in this memo that reads:

Former Warren Commission counsel Sam Stern was interviewed in his Washington Law office on Auguest 22, 1978. Mr. Stern stated that his duties on the Commission involved handling the investigation into Lee Oswald’s background, specifically, the intelligence agencies awareness of Oswald prior to the assassination. Secondly, Stern stated that he had been in charge of evaluating “the efficacy of Presidential protection,” as well as preparing a history of American political assassinations.

Stern stated that had the Commission learned of the CIA-Mafia conspiracies to assassinate Fidel Castro, “we would have gone much more into Cuba, the CIA, and the Mafia. We would have had a whole host of new avenues calling for investigation. And we would have obviously had to develop some new sources of information – other than the agency.”

"I am less certain now than at the time we wrote the Report. Less certain that Oswald acted alone. Actually, I wasn't all that certain at the time. I thought the best evidence supported the final findings, and I agreed with them, but I wasn't tremendously firm or immovable in that, in my own mind. I just thought there were a lot of straws left.....I have become more skeptical about the Warren Commission findings and everything else that is a part of official life, I suppose. Everything has become discredited over the years since 1963. You don’t really believe in things the way you did back then.

Mr. Stern stated that “at the outset we realized that there was no possible way to penetrate any official involvement in a cover-up or conspiracy if there was such complicity.” Stern stated that he and several of his Commission colleagues discussed what they regarded as “the fact that the agencies – the FBI and CIA – could formulate and maintain a cover-up which no one would ever penetrate. We of course did not believe that was so. And I still don’t. But we realized what we were dealing with, in the power of these agencies. Fortunately, we believed they were on our side.”

As Sam Stern has said, if the Warren Commission knew about the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, “…we would have gone much more into Cuba, the CIA, and the Mafia. We would have had a whole host of new avenues calling for investigation. And we would have obviously had to develop some new sources of information – other than the agency.”

Even Warren Commission apologist Vincent Bugliosi, in his book “Reclaiming History,” leaves himself some wiggle room for conspiracy in saying that if there was one, it involved the Cubans.

The first conspiracy theory advanced by the anti-Castro Cuban DRE – Student Directorate – claimed that Fidel Castro was behind Oswald and the “international communist conspiracy,” which was the original Phase One cover-story designed to protect the operation’s actual sponsors.

When LBJ ordered that Oswald not be charged with being part of a conspiracy, the Phase Two – deranged lone nut scenario was adopted as the official version of events. But the Phase One Castro Cuban Commie story was revived when the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro became public knowledge.

The revival of the Phase One cover story centered on the idea that Castro knew of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill him, as he certainly did, and retaliated, killing JFK before JFK and the CIA could kill him. 

While that motive seems plausible, it is only promoted by assets of CIA officer David Atlee Phillips. More recently the same debunked theory has been revised by former CIA intelligence officers Brian Lettel and Bob Baer, and their media assets like Gus Russo (Brothers in Arms) and most recently by Phil Shenon (A Cruel and Horrible Act).

But that Castro, Oswald and Cuban intelligence were behind the Dealey Plaza operation has been shown to be false, in fact it can be clearly demonstrated that it is a pre-designed and highly orchestrated black propaganda psychological warfare disinformation campaign.

That is not the way the Dealey Plaza operation went down.

The way it really happened, as former FBI agent William Turner, CIA Cuban commando case officer Carl Jenkins and CIA intelligence officer David Atlee Phillips all explained, President Kennedy was killed by a team of anti-Castro Cubans who were paid and trained by the CIA to kill Castro, but changed their target to JFK at Dealey Plaza.

As former intelligence analyst and security specialist Gene Wheaton put it, “it was convoluted but not complicated.”

In a videotaped interview Wheaton said: “The straight story is that there was a CIA fronted program to assassinate Castro, and Carl (Jenkin's) was in charge of training the Cubans in Miami to assassinate Castro and it was paid for by the CIA. They would go fromTexas down to Mexico  to shoot at convertables, set up watermelons up in the back seat – they called it - triangulation shooting team –  in their own words.”

“According to them (Jenkins and Cubans). They were the ones that diverted the Castro funds and training for their own agenda to snuff Kennedy. It was a paid element – and they were CIA people, but they were training to assassinate Castro, but if you are trained to assassinate one man you can assassinate anybody with that same training..  They were using the paid training program – to divert to get Castro – because of his – Cubans, because of imprisonment of those guys, and the failed Bay of Pigs things, and JFK backing off at the last moment on supporting the Bay of Pigs invasion, they were furious, and still are today – those who are still alive.”

In his unpublished novel The AMLASH Legacy, David Atlee Phillips wrote: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the president's assassination, but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt."

According to Larry Hancock, the author of Someone Would Have Talked, just before his death Phillips told Kevin Walsh, an investigator with the House Select Committee on Assassinations: "My final take on the assassination is there was a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers."

So it has been firmly established that the failed CIA-Mafia plots to kill Hitler are intimately entwined with the successful assassination of President Kennedy.

And the murder of the President isn’t “two assassinations removed” from the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler, because neither Hitler nor Castro were assassinated, and all three plots actually merge into one, the one that succeeded at Dealey Plaza.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

CIA Loses Detailed Study of Hitler Plot

CIA Loses Its “Detailed Study “ of Hitler Plots

July 20, 1944 

"I regard this as the best lead we have ever had as to who may have been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy." - Jim Lesar 

Washington D.C., July 20, 2018. Almost seventy-five years to the day after the July 20, 1944 German military plot to kill Adolph Hitler failed, a Washington D.C. District Court judge ruled the CIA fulfilled its legal obligations in failing to find any record whatsoever of their “detailed study” of the plot to use against Fidel Castro.

On July 17, U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden ruled in favor of the CIA in its failed search for the records pertaining to the 1963 study, deciding they had conducted an adequate search for records requested by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) attorney Jim Lesar and the Assassinations Archives and Research Center (AARC).

Lesar's request is primarily based on a clear reference to “the plot to kill Hitler….being studied in detail” as an “historical parallel to the CIA’s then ongoing efforts to overthrow Fidel Castro,” contained in a September 25, 1963 memorandum by Colonel Walter Higgins, adjunct to General Victor Krulak, of the meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Maxwell Taylor was on a special mission to Vietnam, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis LeMay chaired the meeting that included a briefing by the CIA’s Desmond FitzGerald on CIA covert operations against Cuba, for the purpose of coordinating military support for those actions.

When the Higgins Memo was released under the JFK Act of 1992 and placed in the JFK Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), it was scanned and posted at the web site among the assassination records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When it came to the attention of FOIA attorney Jim Leasar, director of the AARC, he filed a FOIA request in 2012.

After two official letters from the CIA denying they held any records related to the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler, code named Valkyrie, they relented and claimed those denials were sent accidently, and they did have one document, an anti-communist Propaganda Guide, that refers to the celebrated anniversary of the plot, that it claimed was betrayed by German Communists.

The CIA claimed it searched all of its relevant files without locating a single document or reference, except for the one Propaganda Guide, that they released with redactions even though it was over a half-century old.

The CIA said it even searched their “Operational Files” that are not subject to FOIA inquiry, and questioned their official historian – David Robarge, who noted that the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) files of that July 1944 period were turned over to the NARA. But Lesar requested the CIA records on the “detailed study” of the Hitler assassination plots from September 1963, that should be in the CIA files.

Robarge wrote the official biography of John McCone, who was CIA director at the time of the assassination, a book that is still highly censored and redacted.

The judge ruled that, “Assassination Archives alleges that Exemption 6 (personnel and medical files) does not apply because disclosure of CIA personnel names and telephone numbers are important for sniffing out why administration errors occurred in this case,…” especially since the CIA admits two, not one but two denials of any records were sent out in error by accident.

The judge also took issue with the AARC’s contention that the release of the requested information would “…vindicate the public interest in the John F. Kennedy assassination.”

Judge McFadden, a Trump appointee, discounts this notion saying, “But the connection between these records and President Kennedy’s assassination are tenuous at best, resting on the Plaintiff’s theory that the Kennedy assassination was motivate by U.S. efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, efforts that prompted the CIA to study assassination attempts on Adolph Hitler. So this case is two assassinations removed from the assassination of President Kennedy.”

Wait a minute, neither Hitler nor Castro were assassinated, so it isn't "two assassinations removed," it is two failed assassinations plots that are directly connected to the assassination of the president, so the judge misspoke.

“And even if I accepted the Plaintiff’s proposition that public interest in the Kennedy assassination is relevant to this case, and relevant to the CIA’s diligence during these search efforts, that interest does not outweigh the privacy interests of CIA personnel in their names and phone numbers. The public’s interest in figuring out why two ‘no-records’ emails were mistakenly sent is miniscule at best….”

“Put simply, President Trump ordered that President Kennedy’s assassination records be released swiftly, ‘with redactions only in the rarest circumstances….As explained above, the records at issue in this case are only tenuously related to President Kennedy’s assassination….”

While I can’t address any of the legal issues, it is apparent that the Judge has but did not read my declaration to the court that outlined in detail the associations between the Valkyrie Plot to kill Hitler and the assassination of President Kennedy, that are not tenuous. 

 JFKcountercoup: Kelly Declaration AARC v. CIA Re: Detailed Study of Hitler Plot

After the ruling Jim Lesar said, “America lost over a million killed and wounded fighting World War II, but the CIA can only find one document related to plots to kill Hitler, even though it was conducting a detailed study of such plots in September 1963 as part of plans to overthrow Castro.  How was such "detailed" study conducted if the CIA had only one document to work with?  Maybe the Tooth Fairy knows.  The CIA appears to have no clue."

Attorney Dan Alcorn, who also worked on the case, said, "It remains a mystery as to what has happened to CIA records documenting its detailed study of the plot to assassinate Hitler in the fall of 1963 to develop a plan to overthrow Fidel Castro."


HIGGINS MEMO AT JFKCOUNTERCOUP2 - JFKCountercoup2: The Higgins Memo of JCS Meeting of Sept. 25, 1963

JIM LESAR AT NPC - JFKCountercoup2: Jim Lesar - AARC - Panel I & II Presentations


VALKYRIE AT DEALEY PLAZA - JFKcountercoup: Valkyrie At Dealey Plaza - Updated

VALKYRIE AT DP - "The Conspiracy Alone Must Speak" - JFKcountercoup: Valkyrie at Dealey Plaza - "The Conspiracy Alone Must Speak"

AARC v. CIA Re: CIA Detailed Study of Hitler Plot



Case No. 1:17-cv-00160 (TNM)

Filed 07/17/18


The Assassination Archives and Research Center challenges the Central Intelligence Agency’s response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all records related to the CIA’s research into assassination attempts against Adolf Hitler, plus any records related to the resulting search itself. After a search effort, the CIA found only one non-search-related document, and concluded that any other pertinent documents had likely been given to the National Archives. I conclude that the CIA has met its burden of showing that the search was adequate and that its redactions were proper under FOIA. Accordingly, the CIA’s Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted and Assassination Archives’ Motion for Summary Judgment will be denied. I.


 Invoking FOIA and the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Records Act), 44 U.S.C. § 2107 note (1992), Assassination Archives seeks records pertaining to the CIA’s research into plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Compl. ¶ 16. As part of its original FOIA request, the Assassination Archives attached a 1963 memorandum summarizing a Joint Chiefs of Staff briefing, which mentioned that “the plot to kill Hitler” was Case 1:17-cv-00160-TNM Document 28 Filed 07/17/18 Page 1 of 13 2 “being studied in detail,” as a historical parallel to the CIA’s then-ongoing efforts to overthrow Fidel Castro. ECF 1-1 at 7. The first request, sent in August 2012, asked for: (1) “all records on or pertaining to the CIA’s 1963 study of plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler,” and (2) “all records on or pertaining to communications by Allen Dulles regarding plots to assassinate Adol[f] Hitler” during Dulles’s relevant periods of service in the Office of Strategic Services (a precursor to the CIA), or the CIA itself. Compl. Ex. 1, ECF No. 1-1. After the CIA said that no responsive records could be found, Assassination Archives sent an amended request in October 2012. Compl. ¶ 16.

That request sought:

(1) All records on or pertaining to any plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, including, but not limited to, all records in any way reflecting or referencing the CIA’s study in 1963 of plots to assassinate Hitler. . . .
(2) All records on or pertaining to communications by or with Allen Dulles regarding plots to assassinate Adol[f] Hitler during Dulles’s service in the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

(3) All index entries or other records reflecting the search for records responsive to this request in its original or amended form, including search times used with each of the components searched.
Compl. Ex. 2. Assassination Archives again told the CIA, on June 5, 2015, that a search had revealed no responsive records. Compl. ¶ 18. But in November 2015, Assassination Archives received a third response from the CIA stating that the letter was “sent . . . in error” and that the FOIA request was still under review. Id.

After consulting with historical staff about where potentially responsive records might be found, the CIA’s search eventually led to one responsive record: a 69-page Propagandist’s Guide to Communist Dissensions from 1964 (Propagandist’s Guide). Pl.’s Mem. In Support of Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. (Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J.) 8. The CIA produced a redacted version of the Case 1:17-cv-00160-TNM Document 28 Filed 07/17/18 Page 2 of 13 3 Propogandist’s Guide, and redacted versions of five internal communications related to the FOIA searchvitself. Id.

Both parties now seeks summary judgment, urging opposite conclusions as to the adequacy of the CIA’s search, and the legality of its redactions.


To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). FOIA requires federal agencies to “disclose information to the public upon reasonable request unless the records at issue fall within specifically delineated exemptions.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. FBI, 522 F.3d 364, 365-66 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Thus, a FOIA defendant is entitled to summary judgment if it shows that there is no genuine dispute about whether “each document that falls within the class requested either has been produced, is unidentifiable or is wholly exempt from the Act’s inspection requirements.” See Weisberg v. Dep’t of Justice, 627 F.2d 365, 368 (D.C. Cir. 1980). Courts decide the “vast majority” of FOIA cases on motions for summary judgment. See Brayton v. Office of United States Trade Rep., 641 F.3d 521, 527 (D.C. Cir. 2011).

To show that any unproduced documents are unidentifiable, a defendant must show “a good faith effort to [] search for the requested records, using methods which can be reasonably expected to produce the information requested.” Oglesby v. Dep’t of the Army, 920 F.2d 57, 68 (D.C. Cir. 1990). In other words, the defendant must “demonstrate beyond material doubt that its search was reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.” Nation Magazine v. Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 890 (D.C. Cir. 1995). The touchstone of the analysis is the reasonableness of the search, not the records produced. Mobley v. CIA, 806 F.3d 568, 583 (D.C. Cir. 2015). An agency may exercise discretion in crafting its search to meet this standard, and Case 1:17-cv-00160-TNM Document 28 Filed 07/17/18 Page 3 of 13 4 does not have to search every system if additional searches are unlikely to produce any marginal return. See Campbell v. Dep’t of Justice, 164 F.3d 20, 28 (D.C. Cir. 1998). 

Searching for records requires “both systemic and case-specific exercises of discretion and administrative judgment and expertise,” and is “hardly an area in which the courts should attempt to micromanage the executive branch.” Schrecker v. Dep’t of Justice, 349 F.3d 657, 662 (D.C. Cir. 2003). To prove the reasonableness of its search, an agency can submit a “reasonably detailed affidavit, setting forth the search terms and the type of search performed, and averring that all files likely to contain responsive materials (if such records exist) were searched.” Oglesby, 920 F.2d at 68. Agency declarations enjoy “a presumption of good faith, which cannot be rebutted by purely speculative claims about the existence and discoverability of other documents.” SafeCard Servs. Inc. v. SEC, 926 F.2d 1197, (D.C. Cir. 1991).

To show that any unproduced documents are exempt from FOIA, an agency may file “affidavits describing the material withheld and the manner in which it falls within the exemption claimed.” King v. Dep’t of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 217 (D.C. Cir. 1987). Courts review the applicability of FOIA exemptions de novo but give “substantial weight to detailed agency explanations” of national security concerns related to FOIA disclosures. Id. III.


The CIA Conducted an Adequate and Reasonable Search

The CIA relies on declarations by Antoinette B. Shiner to establish the adequacy of its search. See Third Supp. Decl. of Antoinette B. Shiner at 2-4, ECF No. 25-1 (3d Supp. Shiner Decl.); Second Supp. Decl. of Antoinette B. Shiner (2d Supp. Shiner Decl.), ECF No. 19-2. Ms. Shiner describes the CIA’s exhaustive search in this manner:

[I]nformation management professionals (“IMS”) conducted searches of the Directorate of Analysis (“DA“); Directorate of 5 Operations (“DO“), including its operational files; the Office of the Director, the Director's Action Center, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Congressional Affairs, the Center for the Study of Intelligence (which is part of the CIA's Talent Center) and the CIA’s history staff office. These directorates and offices were selected on the basis that they would potentially contain the historical studies and the documentary materials sought by Plaintiffs. For each of these offices, IMS personnel identified the specific database and files that would potentially contain the types of records responsive to Plaintiffs’ request—i.e., the searches included all relevant office databases, Agency share drives, and archival records-for memoranda, correspondence and any other records responsive to the request at issue. Keyword searches . . . were targeted to retrieve records from each database and set of files that contained those terms. In cases where records provided references to additional responsive documents, IMS professionals followed up on those leads and conducted additional searches based on those terms or references. No other offices were deemed likely to maintain responsive documents.

. . . Moreover, Agency personnel consulted with the CIA’s history staff, who are very knowledgeable about the Agency’s holdings with respect to the request’s subject matter. In fact, the Agency’s Chief Historian was personally consulted. He advised on Agency-wide searches and personally conducted searches of history staff files for any reference to studies of anti-Hitler plots dating from the 1963 time frame, as referenced very briefly in the “JCS Memo” or “Higgins Memorandum,” attached to Plaintiffs’ complaint and opposition. The Chief Historian did not locate any additional responsive records (apart from the one document that had already been released to Plaintiffs) and opined that, due to the age of the subject matter and narrow scope of Plaintiffs’ request focusing on anti-Hitler plots, there would not be many responsive documents and anything related to assassination studies would likely be found at the National Archives. Indeed, IMS professionals noted that these types of records have likely been accessioned to the National Archives and Records Administration.
3d Supp. Shiner Decl. at 2-4.

Assassination Archives argues that the CIA did not conduct an adequate search because the CIA should have found records that are connected to “known operations, events and activities.” AARC’s Cross-Mot. 18. Since no records of a Hitler study have been found, Assassination Archives contends that the CIA’s search efforts must have been inadequate. But “the adequacy of a FOIA search is generally determined not by the fruits of the search, but by the appropriateness of the methods used to carry out the search.” Iturralde v. Comptroller of Currency, 315 F.3d 311, 315 (D.C. Cir. 2003). And mere speculation that efforts are insufficient—without any meaningful indication of what else the CIA should have done1—fails to rebut the presumption of good faith accorded to agency declarations. SafeCard Servs. Inc., 926 F.2d at 1201. This is especially so when the documents sought are likely quite old and the CIA’s Chief Historian indicates they would have been handed over to the National Archives. 3d Supp. Shiner Decl. at 4. This explanation is entirely plausible on its face.

 Next, Assassination Archives alleges that the CIA’s no-records letters qualify as “troubling questions as to the conduct of the search.” Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 19-20. But the CIA admitted that the two letters were sent by administrative error, CIA Reply 12, and the Plaintiff argues that the errors raise “troubling questions” without even mentioning what those questions might be. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 20. The Plaintiff also contends that the CIA’s Chief Historian should have himself submitted an affidavit, an “omission” that warrants a deposition by the Assassination Archives. Pl.’s Reply 4. But it is not the duty of this Court to “micro-manage” ……

1 Assassination Archives suggested additional search terms in its opening brief, and was not satisfied when the agency gave detailed examples of the search terms it had used. 3d. Supp. Shiner Decl. at 4-5; Pl.’s Reply 7-8. But the CIA’s search terms are quite exhaustive, including searches of many significant phrases (including “Hitler Assassination,” “1963 assassination study,” and “Dulles files”), as well as those same words individually searched without quotes (plot, Hitler, assassination, Dulles), a method calculated to “ensur[e] the broadest array of responsive hits.” 3d. Supp. Shiner Decl. at 4-5. The Plaintiff’s suggestion that the CIA was delinquent in failing to search phrases like “July 20 plot” and “plot to kill Hitler” ignores the fact that those phrases would duplicate searches the CIA had already performed for “plot” and “Hitler.” See Pl.’s Reply 7-8. And the remaining suggestions—such as “Joint Chiefs meeting September 25, 1963,” and “Castro overthrow,” Pl.’s Reply 7—stray far afield, and into micromanagement of agency efforts.

 … efforts (or litigation strategy), particularly when an agency has met its burden of demonstrating a systematic good faith search effort. Schrecker, 349 F.3d at 662. No statutory provision or court precedent requires affidavits from all government employees involved in the search or dictates who among them should be the affiant. I conclude that the presumption of agency good faith stands unrebutted, see SafeCard Servs. Inc., 926 F.2d at 1201, and that the CIA has established the adequacy of its search beyond any genuine dispute.

The CIA Properly Applied FOIA Exemption 1

Exemption 1 applies when criteria laid out in an Executive order authorizes information to be kept secret in the interest of national security, and the information is in fact properly classified pursuant to such order. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1); Military Audit Project v. Casey, 656 F.2d 724, 737 (D.C. Cir. 1981). The CIA utilized Exemption 1 to redact parts of the Propagandist’s Guide containing information related to intelligence methods still in use, pursuant to Section 1.4(c) of Executive Order 13526. 2d Supp. Shiner Decl. at ¶¶ 9-11. Executive Order 13526 authorizes original classification authorities to classify information that “could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security.” 75 Fed. Reg. 707, 709 (Dec. 29, 2009). Moreover, the classified information must “pertain[] to” one or more items on an enumerated list, including “intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology.” Id. at 709.

Assassination Archives contends that because the Propagandist’s Guide is more than 50 years old, the redacted information has been automatically declassified under Executive Order 13526. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 26-27. But the Order’s 50-year declassification provision only provides for automatic declassification “not later than 3 years from the effective date” of December 29, 2009, if the relevant agency head has not, “[i]n extraordinary cases . . . within 5 years of the onset of automatic declassification, propose[d] to exempt additional specific information from declassification.” See Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3(h)(2). Here, that exact procedure has occurred. The CIA issued a CIA Declassification Guide on September 26, 2012 (less than three years after the relevant Executive Order), with an exemption for “sensitive information that could reveal an intelligence method in active use.” 2d Supp. Shiner Decl. at 5- 6. This Guide was issued under the authority of Director of the CIA, and approved by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, as required by Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3(j). Id. at 6 n. 1. Assassination Archives also alleges that the information should not be classified because the title “Propagandist’s Guide” gives away the details of the redacted information. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 25, 31. But a mere title does not provide any insight into the CIA’s specific methods. On this record, I find that the information that the CIA redacted from the Guide—namely, information that might reveal an intelligence method still in active use— remains properly classified under Exemption 1, and beyond the reach of FOIA.

The CIA Properly Applied FOIA Exemption 3

Exemption 3 applies to matters that are “specifically exempted from disclosure by [another] statute” if that statute “requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue” or “establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3). Section 6 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act (CIA Act) requires that the CIA protect from disclosure “the . . . names, official titles . . . or numbers of personnel employed by the [CIA.]” 50 U.S.C. § 3507. The National Security Act requires the Director of National Intelligence to “protect intelligence Case 1:17-cv-00160-TNM Document 28 Filed 07/17/18 Page 8 of 13 9 sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure.” 50 U.S.C. § 3024(i)(1).2 The CIA invoked the National Security Act as independent authority for redacting intelligence methods from the Propagandist’s Guide, and invoked the CIA Act to withhold the names and phone numbers of the CIA employees that conducted the search. 2d Supp. Shiner Decl. at 7-8.

Assassination Archives argues that the CIA should not have withheld employee names, because the need to get to the bottom of the mistakes made during the FOIA search outweigh any relevant privacy interests. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 29. But Exemption 3 is not a balancing test. Instead, “the sole issue for decision is the existence of a relevant statute and the inclusion of withheld material within the statute’s coverage.” Morley, 508 F.3d at 1126. As mandated by statute, the CIA properly used Exemption 3 to withhold the names and phone numbers of the CIA employees who conducted the requested search. 2d Supp. Shiner Decl. 8; 50 U.S.C. § 3507.

Moreover, Assassination Archives challenges application of Exemption 3 to the Propagandist’s Guide, because large portions of the guide are public and it is over 50 years old. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 28-29. But again, this claim is irrelevant to the legal issue. Even though large portions of the guide are public, the CIA withheld specific information in order to “protect intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure.” 50 U.S.C. § 3024(i)(1). Nothing the Plaintiffs have argued undermines this material fact. Thus, the CIA properly applied Exemption 3.

2 Agencies other than the National Security Agency may invoke this provision as grounds for withholding information under Exemption 3. See Larson v. Dep’t of State, 565 F.3d 857, 865 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (accepting CIA invocation).

D. The CIA Properly Applied FOIA Exemption 5

The CIA also redacted parts of internal communications regarding the FOIA search pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5 and the deliberative process privilege. Exemption 5 protects from disclosure “inter-agency and intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law.” U.S.C. § 552(b)(5). In other words, it covers records that would “normally [be] privileged in the civil discovery context,” NLRB v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 421 U.S. 132, 149 (1975), including the Executive Branch’s deliberative process privilege. Coastal States Gas Corp. v. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, 617 F.2d 854, 862 (D.C. Cir. 1980). This privilege applies when the relevant document is predecisional and deliberative, Access Reports v. Dep’t of Justice, 926 F.2d 1192, 1194 (D.C. Cir. 1991), because otherwise disclosure would undermine performance by discouraging candid discussion. See Dudman Commc’ns Corp. v. Dep’t of Air Force, 815 F.2d 1565, 1568 (D.C. Cir. 1987). The privilege also applies when material is “inextricably intertwined” with deliberative material. See FPL Group, Inc. v. IRS, 698 F.2d 66, 81 (D.D.C. 2010).

The CIA contends that it properly withheld communications between CIA staff that would reveal how internal search methods were decided upon and conducted, as well as materials inextricably intertwined with these communications. 2d. Supp. Shiner Decl. 8-9. Assassination Archives makes the bald assertion, without a citation to the record, that the CIA’s redactions “do not reflect a policy deliberation . . . rather they are factually based records as to what was found or not found.” Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 31. This unsupported claim fails to rebut the presumption of good faith that I must give to agency affidavits. SafeCard Servs. Inc., 926 F.2d at 1201. I conclude that the CIA properly applied Exemption 5.

E. The CIA Properly Applied FOIA Exemption 6 An agency may use Exemption 6 to protect “personnel and medical files” and files that would constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6). If a privacy interest exists, the third party’s privacy interest is weighed against the public interest in disclosure. See ACLU v. Dep’t of Justice, 655 F.3d 1, 6 (D.C. Cir. 2011). The CIA invokes this exemption as an independent basis for withholding the names and phone numbers of agency personnel. 3d Supp. Shiner Decl. at 8-9.

Assassination Archives alleges that Exemption 6 does not apply because disclosure of CIA personnel names and telephone numbers are important for sniffing out why administrative errors occurred in this case, and to vindicate the public interest in the John F. Kennedy assassination. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 31-33. But the connection between these records and President Kennedy’s assassination are tenuous at best, resting on the Plaintiff’s theory that the Kennedy assassination was motivated by U.S. efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, efforts that prompted the CIA to study assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler.

So this case is two assassinations removed from the assassination of President Kennedy. And even if I accepted the Plaintiff’s proposition that public interest in the Kennedy assassination is relevant to this case, and relevant to the CIA’s diligence during these search efforts, that interest does not outweigh the privacy interests of CIA personnel in their names and phone numbers. The public’s interest in figuring out why two “no-records” emails were mistakenly sent is miniscule at best. And the fact that Congress has seen fit make the personal information of CIA staff members statutorily inaccessible also demonstrates the public’s interest in CIA personnel avoiding personal scrutiny for their public service. See 50 U.S.C. § 3507. Accordingly, I conclude that the CIA properly applied Exemption 6.

President Trump’s Order Requires Nothing Further

Assassination Archives also claims that the CIA’s search efforts and redactions are inconsistent with President Trump’s order regarding President Kennedy’s assassination records, as recorded in a White House statement. That statement reads as follows:


Today, President Donald J. Trump took action to ensure release of the remaining President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records. Accordingly, the National Archives and Records Administration will make approximately 2,800 records available in full for public access today. The remaining records will be released with agency proposed redactions on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. The President has demanded unprecedented transparency from the agencies and directed them to minimize redactions without delay. The National Archives will therefore release more records, with redactions only in the rarest of circumstances, by the deadline of April 26, 2018.

2017 WL 4857002 (White House). The Plaintiff argues that this statement gives added “weight to the public interests at issue in this case,” and contends that the CIA has failed to comply with President Trump’s orders. Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. 23, 27-28, 30, 33. But this argument fails to comprehend the limited scope of President Trump’s order, and the CIA’s support for its redactions in this case.

Put simply, President Trump ordered that President Kennedy’s assassination records be released swiftly, “with redactions only in the rarest of circumstances.” 2017 WL 4857002. As explained above, the records at issue in this case are only tenuously related to President Kennedy’s assassination. Supra n. 11. President Kennedy’s assassination records are held by National Archives, not by the CIA, and so the President’s order does not even apply to this case. See 44
U.S.C. / 2017 note at Section 4(a)(1) (directing “the National Archives and Records Administration” to establish “a collection of records to be known as the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection”). Even on the generous assumption that CIA studies of Hitler assassination attempts are part of “the remaining President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records” referenced by the White House statement, the order only requires agencies to “minimize redactions without delay.” 2017 WI. 4857002. For all of these reasons given above, I conclude that the CIA conducted a legally adequate search, and has minimized redactions under applicable law.


For the forgoing reasons, the CIA’s Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted and the Plantiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment will be denied. A separate order will issue.

Date: July 17, 2018


United States District Judge