Sunday, July 15, 2012

Are More Records Out there?


Discovering and Recovering Missing JFK Assassination Records

The Great JFK Scavenger Hunt is On!

What gems of the missing and secret Family Jewels are still out there, in a basement file, in a box in a garage or attic or suitcase under a bed or in a closet? Maybe its owner has died and it has been passed on to unknowing relatives who don’t even know its there? Not real gems, but historical documents, records and artifacts related to the assassination of President Kennedy.

It is quite apparent that with the discovery of the previously unknown Clifton copy of the Air Force One transmission tapes and the acknowledgement by former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine that he had copies of the Tampa advance reports that were said to have been destroyed, some historical records have escaped destruction and there are still significant government records related to the assassination of President Kennedy that are still “out there.”

While there are many allegedly destroyed and missing records and artifacts, I would like to concentrate on three specific cases.


It is my contention that there are still official JFK assassination records among the personal files of the first Chief Counsel to the HSCA Richard A. Sprague, the missing office files of Admiral Rufus Taylor can be located and an unedited tape of Air Force Radio communications still exists today but has yet to be located.


When G. Robert Blakey, the second chief counsel to the HSCA contacted me about an official local police arrest report that I had obtained, I told Blakey that I had given a copy to Richard Sprague, the first chief counsel, having hand delivered it to Sprague’s law office in Philadelphia. Blakey claimed that Sprague didn’t turn over all of his assassination files to him when he left and I think that’s true. Getting fired was not a pleasant experience for Sprague, we know he didn’t cooperate with Blakey, his successor, and that he wasn’t in a good mood when he left Washington. I told Blakey I was glad Sprague didn’t turn over all his records because he had them locked away for 50 years.

Nor do I think Sprague turned over his records to NARA or cooperated with the ARRB as I searched and requested an inventory of the records of the first HSCA chief counsel Richard Sprague in the JFK Collection at NARA, but instead was referred to the records of Richard B. Sprague, an independent researcher associated with the New Orleans investigation of Jim Garrison.

I don’t believe that the first chief counsel to the HSCA - Richard A. Sprague, Esq. turned over all of his records to the HSCA or the NARA and some remain in his personal possession, just as Clifton and Blaine kept their own records.


In addition, I refuse to believe that the entire office records of the Director of Naval Intelligence (ONI) for the years 1959-1964 are completely missing and have not been located by either the Navy or the NARA. Admiral Rufus Taylor, the first officer with an intelligence background to be appointed DNI, personally wrote letters and official memos regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, some of which have been found among the records of other agencies, whose records are not missing or weren’t intentionally destroyed.

I think the Navy knows exactly where the office files of Admiral Rufus Taylor are located, and rather than turn them over to the NARA to be included in the JFK Collection, which would be open to the public, they intentionally committed perjury when signing off on the ARRB voucher saying that all the known Navy records on the assassination were transmitted to NARA. They know exactly where they are, other wise they would have conducted a major investigation to make sure those records didn’t fall into the hands of the Russians, the Chinese or Wiki Leaks. But as far as is known, there has not been any such investigation by the Navy or NASA, so one must assume that they are not overly concerned with the records falling into the wrong hands, especially the American public.


Most significant would be the discovery of a complete, unedited tape of the Air Force One radio transmission from November 22, 1963. We know such a tape or tapes once existed because President Kennedy ordered all of the radio transmissions to and from Air Force One to be recorded and the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) complied.

We have two edited versions, the LBJ Library tape and the longer version found among the effects of Gen. Chester Clifton, the President’s Military Aide, both of which are edited and about half of what it is estimated should exist.

Two identical copies of the Clifton tape were discovered together, which means that they both must have been second generation tapes made from another, first generation tape, one that was not edited.

In addition, we know that a number of writers who were promised cooperation in the writing of their books – T. H. White, William Manchester and Pierre Salinger, were given a transcript to read and quote from, but not to keep. That transcript has disappeared, as well as the original, unedited tapes. White and Manchester, while visiting the White House, were shown the transcript, while the WHCA sent Salinger a copy that he said he turned over to the JFK Library, but they claim the transcript is not among Salinger’s papers.

Despite the complete disappearance of the original, unedited WHCA tapes of the Air Force One radio communications, I believe that the originals, other copies similar to the Clifton tapes or completely unknown tapes made by another party do exist and can be located.

I don’t think the WHCA were the only ones monitoring and taping the Air Force One radio communications that day.

For a fact, I know there was a civilian, amateur HAM radio group based in Colorado who routinely monitored and most likely taped the “Star” network, as it was then called.

It was because these radio transmissions were broadcast over open frequencies, anyone with the proper radio receiver could listen in if they knew what frequency to listen to, or had a scanner that automatically monitored the 150 or so frequencies that were available for the Star Group to use.

We know that Air Force One, the Special Air Mission (SAM) and Strategic Air Command (SAC) networks were all assigned their frequencies by the Liberty Station at the Collins Radio headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It has been suggested that if the WHCA no longer had copies of the Air Force One tapes in its Archives, then the next logical place to look would be the Collins Radio Archives in Cedar Rapids.

Besides the amateur HAMS and Collins Radio, the signal corps of other governments most certainly targeted the Air Force One radio transmissions.

The recently published book on Castro and the CIA (by Latell) reports that Castro himself ordered his specialists to target the President’s radio communications in Texas while he was there.

Dave Emory, a radio buff who wrote a history of the Lourdes facility in Cuba acknowledged the Russians and Cubans probably targeted, listened in and tape recorded the conversations, either from Lourdes or the radio listening post set up in the Soviet Embassy in Washington, but they would never acknowledge it. He also said that other, friendly governments, such as Canada, the British, Australians and Israelis probably targeted those communications, monitored them and taped them, but would never publicly acknowledge that fact.

Emory: “While I know that I unlikely, I’ve considered the possibly that the Cubans/Russians picked it up and may have intercepted the traffic. Whether this was done from Cuba at Lourdes or from the Soviet Embassy in Washington (or both) is less clear. Frankly considering what sometimes was said over Mystic Star in the clear in that era, it seems beyond doubt that the Soviets would have found it worthwhile to assign operators to routinely monitor the traffic and almost certainly record what they intercepted on tape for later translation, playing for leadership and whatever. The recent Mitroysin Archive book specifically mentions Soviet monitoring of VIP communications from aircraft, including such monitoring from the Soviet diplomatic facilities in the DC and NY areas. And whilst the Russians were sometimes slow on the uptake and the Mitrokhin stuff mentions the Kissinger era, I find it rather hard to believe that they didn’t know about and follow Mysitc Star practically from its inception.”

[See: The Sword & the Shield – (Basic Books, 1999 Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin), specifically p. 344-345, 349]

Not only the Cubans and Russians, as well as friendly governments, besides WHCA and Andrews, other US government agencies, such as the NSA, assigned to monitor foreign radio communications abroad, certainly had the ability to monitor the Air Fore One radio communications.

As Emory notes, “I find it rather surprising, even amazing, that the NSA would admit to having ever had a copy of that traffic. I believe they no doubt did, but there is quite a bit of sensitivity to a US government agency intercepting high level US traffic, and it is not clear to me under what operational directive they ran such a Mystic Star monitoring operation.”

“One supposes that once the news of the assassination became known within NSA (ASA/AFSS/NSG etc.) monitoring facilities some of the operators looked for the Mystic Star traffic and listened to it (military discipline aside, I am sure there were people curious enough to break the rules under the circumstances). And given that the intercept positions had tape gear, probably there were tapes made on the QT. But for anyone to admit to their existence is quite another matter.”

Not only could a number of different foreign and domestic government facilities monitor and record the Air Force One radio transmissions, there were dozens if not hundreds of official and military radio bases assigned the designated frequencies and ordered to monitor these communications. It is quite hard for me to believe that with all of these people listening in, and having the capability of recording the transmissions, that the sensational news and historic nature of the assassination didn’t trigger an automatic response to turn on the tape recorder. I’m now quite confident that there were many recordings of these radio transmissions made, and not all of them suffered the same fate as the WHCA version.

So far I have identified 35 known radios that were officially looped into the S-Star Network on 11/22/63, including eight motorcade cars, ten airplanes, and nearly thirty base stations, each with the capability of recording the radio transmissions.

Dave Emory, the author of the Lourdes report and a military radio communications specialist, said that technicians and personnel at all of the base stations who were listening in had the potential of recording the Star radio transmissions, and once they learned of the assassination, and recognized the historical importance of the occasion, probably turned on their tape recorders.
Emory: “I do know that continuous Crown patches on the AF-1 primary and secondary hi frequencies were almost certainly recorded by WHCA at the White House com center and probably also at Andrews com center Mystic Star operators. It seems inconceivable that these tapes weren’t carefully saved and probably played over by insiders many times. Of course considering the various conspiracy theories (and the remotely possible presence of a real conspiracy) it follows that these tapes may have been edited or deliberately destroyed, or locked up under seal for another 50 years or whatever. I have almost total certainty that WHCA and or the (7)89th SAM com operators had such tapes from the actual radios used to communicate with the plane – I would not consider it even remotely conceivable they weren’t routinely taping the lines.”

What became of these tapes is not known, but even though they came under the jurisdiction of the SAM-SAC-WHCA nexus, some of them could still exist, possibly in private hands, just as the Clifton tape survived.

Toward that end - discovering a possible, previously unknown tape recording or copy of the original unedited WHCA tapes, I have compiled a list of all known Star Group Network base and mobile stations that we know were officially connected to the network.


The MYST1C STAR System is officially described as: “a worldwide communications system, operated and maintained by elements of the United States Army, United States Navy, and United States Air Force under the control of the DISA Operations Center. Its network provides worldwide communications by directly controlling radio equipment located at Global HF system stations. It consists of ultra high frequency satellite and HF networks supporting Presidential, special air, commanders-in-chief, Joint Staff, very important persons, and command airborne missions.”

Star Group Network – (Later Mystic Star) was the Special Air Mission Communications (SAMCOM) radio network, which operated for many years, and at the time of the assassination under the command of Col. George McNally (aka “Star”) – Commander – Star Group 1941 – 1965.

Col. George J. McNally was the first commanding officer of the White House Army Signal Agency, and its successor, the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) from 1941 until his retirement in 1965, who wrote an autobiography about his experiences, “A Million Miles of Presidents"  (1600 Communications Assoc. 1982).

[See: Profile of Col. George J. McNally ]

The U.S. Air Force 789th Communications Squadron is based at Andrews AFB,
(789 CS/SCP), 1558 Alabama Ave, Suite 67, Andrews AFB MD 20762-6116, while the  Headquarters for WHCA is at Anacostia Navy Yard, with a USMC Security Force from Marine Corps Barracks, 8th & I Sts. The 789th  Communications Squadron, Andrews AFB, Camp Springs, Maryland, also manages the GLOBAL radio network, which transmits Emergency Action Messages (EAM) from the National Command Authority (NCA)

McNally was at Love Field at the time of the assassination, possibly eating lunch at an airport restaurant, and should have returned to DC aboard Air Force One.

We know from the report of Secret Service Agent Art Godfrey, who returned to DC from Bergstrom AFB in a SAC KC135 and was in the air at the same time as Air Force One, that “the military had all their units on radio silence because of a Strategic Air Command order,” so the Air Force One radio transmission were certainly easy to find as practically the only chatter going on over the designated frequencies.

“The Mystic Star HF Network consists of a single master net control station (MNCS) located at Andrews AFB MD, interstation and intersite circuits, relay and auxiliary communications systems, and operates from the 789th Communications Squadron (789 CS/SCP), 1558 Alabama Ave, Suite 67, Andrews AFB MD 20762-6116.

Although it might not have been in service in 1963, a more primitive version of the system most certainly was, and functioned as described: “Control of the entire Mystic Star network is the function of the Net Control Station (NCS) at Andrews. This includes all HF radio and UHF SATCOM equipment and the associated voice and data circuits. The Mystic Star Communications Management System is a computer controlled electronic switching system. The MSCMS is comprised of 13 computer equipped consoles. Two computer data base/data communication (DB/DC) modules, primary and backup, are available to each operator. Two color graphics processors provide color graphics support. Two digital switching systems provide interconnectivity within the system. Communications Security (COMSEC) equipment, voice and data modems, and data terminals are available for providing secure communications support. A voice recorder/reproducer allows for the recording of all voice transmissions. A frequency management system, time generating and synchronizing unit, and a maintenance patching facility are the final subsystems that make up the MSCMS.”


The Mystic Star system consists of eight primary and nine secondary HF radio stations located throughout the world. Each primary station provides four radio levels dedicated for Mystic Star use. Secondary stations provide at least one radio level dedicated for use by Mystic Star. A radio level consists of a transmitter, a receiver, and the associated equipment. A typical primary station consists of a Communications Relay Center (CRC), a transmitter site, and a receiver site. These are connected by transmission lines (buried cable) or microwave transmissions. The CRC consists of consoles, switches, and associated common control equipment.

The eight primary Mystic Star HF stations
The nine secondary Mystic Star HF stations and the number of dedicated radio levels each provides are:
Andersen 1
Lajes 1
Albrook 0
Loring 1
Ascension 1
MacDill 1
Elmendorf 1
Thule 0
Incirlik 2

All stations except for Andrews, MacDill, Loring, Salinas, and Scott are GCCS stations. GCCS stations have additional radio levels and operators available if required.

I. Known Base Stations - 25

1)      White House Situation Room (WHSR) – White House Basement
2)      Hotel Texas – Ft. Worth  (Temporary – Nov. 21)
3)      Dallas Sheraton  - (Riverside 1-3421/3422/3423) (Temp, Nov. 22)
4)      Dallas Trade Mart Command Post. Secret Service  (Temp, Nov. 22)
5)      26000 (Air Force One – on the ground) Col. George McNally senior officer.  
6)      Liberty Station, Collins Radio HQ, Cedar Rapids Iowa. (Frequency set & relay)  
7)      Collins Radio Hanger – Redbird Airport, Dallas (Possible)
8)      Collins Radio Hanger Cedar Rapids Airport, Iowa (Possible)
9)      SAM Command Post, Andrews AFB, Md.
10)  SAC Command Post, Offut AFB, Nebraska
11)  SAC Cheyenne Mountain Complex Command Post, Colorado Springs
12)  Dallas Civil Defense Bunker - Health & Science  Museum Fair Park
13)  State Department – Washington D.C. Bromley Smith (possibly Temp)
14)  Secret Service HQ – Ex Office Building (EOB) – Gerald Behn’s office (Temp)
15)  VP Suite EOB – LBJ’s office. ? (Temp)
16)  The Elms – VP’s Residence, (aka Valley – Temp)
17)  All SAC AF Bases, Carswell AFB, Ft. Worth;
18)  Parkland Hospital (Temp. Nov. 22) Established by Bales at 12:40PM CST
19)  Bethesda Naval Hosptial (Radio Room) 
20)  Doomsday Bunkers 1-8

Doomsday Bunkers - 8

a)      Brandywine, MD Receiver Site Brandywine. Carl Mather, J.D. Tippit’s friend worked at Collins Radio, personally installed communications equipment on the SAM VP plane (AF2) at “Brandywine,” near Andrews AFB in Maryland.
b)      Camp David (“Shangri-La”)
c)      Mount Weather EOC, Bluemont, VA,
d)      Fort Ritchie (aka Site E)
e)      Blue Ridge Summit, PA (aka Site R, The Rock) Alternative National Military Command Center (ANMCC) Raven Rock Mountain near the PA-MD border, east of Waynesboro, Pa, the Raven Rock Military Complex is aka Site R and designated the Alternate Joint Communications Center (AJCC) for senior military officials in a nuclear attack.
f)        Greenbrier Hotel, White Sulpher Springs, WV. (Congress)
g)      Alternative Joint Communications Center II (AJCC) Tysons Corner VA.
21)  Camp XCanada ? This was a communications base in 1963 that also housed a Soviet defector.

II - Known Mobil Units – 8

Dallas Motorcade
1)      Motorcade Pilot Car – Lumpkin, Whitmeyer, Peuterbaugh,
2)      Motorcade Lead Car – Chief Curry, Sheriff Decker, SS Agents Sorrels, Lawson
3)      Presidential Limo
4)      SS – Queen Mary
5)      VP Car (Youngblood)
6)      Communications Car (Cliff Carter)
7)      Press Car – Meriman Smith, UPI, AP.
8)      WHCA Car –Art Bales (aka “Sturdy”) SW Bell official.
S-Man –Warren Officer Ira D. Gearhart (“Shadow”) Last Car in Motorcade

III – Airborne – Network - 10

1)      SAM – 26000 - Air Force One – Dallas, Departs Love Field 3:47 PMEST
2)      SAM - VP Plane – Dallas, Love Field, Arrives Andrews 6:30 PMEST
3)      Press Plane (Dallas) [May not have been in the Star Loop.]
4)      SAM - 86972 (Cabinet Plane, over Pacific) Arrives Andrews 12:37 AMEST
5)      C-130 Cargo Plane for autos.
6)      KC135 – SAC – Departed Bergstrom AFB, Tx 3 PM to Andrews
7)      C-140 (LeMay) SAM xx497 PU LeMay at Wiarton, Canada 4:25 PMEST
8)      EC-135 - Silver Dollar (Command & Control) “Looking Glass” NEACP
9)      EC-135 Speckled Trout (LeMay’s usual C&C Plane)
10)  Other?

IV - Other Mobil Unites – 2

a)      Presidential Yacht Sequoia. Communications for the Presidential Yacht - Several AT&T Long Lines facilities housed equipment providing radio communications to the Presidential yacht Sequoia, as it cruised the waterways of the Washington, DC area.

b)      Presidential Train W3WTE (unused?) “The Meyer” WHCA Train Car (Ft. Holabird). Along with voice comms, the Myer could also handle code traffic, had a separate room for decoding and encoding with a Model 39 in it, with a code safe. The door to the crypto room was 4" thick and sound deadened, had a triple combination lock….

“The Sword & The Shield” (Basic Books, 1999, Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin)

Chapter Twenty-One – SIGNET in the Cold War (p. 337)

One of the largest caps in histories of Cold War intelligence operations and international relations in both East and West concerns the role of signals intelligence (SIGNIT). The role of ULTRA intelligence generated by British and American code breakers in hastening victory over Germany and Japan during World War II is now well known. Research on post-war SIGNIT, by contrast, has barely begun….

The KGB’s SIGNIT operations against the Main Adversary were greatly assisted by a series of agents and defectors – all of them walk-ins – with access to highly classified intelligence on American cryptanalysis and/or cipher systems. In 1960 two NSA (National Security Agency) employees, Bernon F. Mitchell and William H. Martin, who had made contact with the KGB a year earlier in Mexico City, were exfiltrated by the FCD to Moscow, where they continued being debriefed for several years. 37 In 1963 Staff Sergeant Jack E. Dunlap committed suicide after several years spent smuggling top secret documents out of NSA heaquarters at Fort Meade for the GRU. Shortly before Dunlap’s sucicide, another NSA defector, Victor Norris Hamilton, arrived in Moscow. In 1965 Robert Lipka, a young army clerk at NSA responsible for shredding of highly classified documents, began handing many of them over to the KGB. Lipka is the last KGB agent inside the nSA identified in the files seen by Mitrokhin. (A retired NSA employee, Ronald Pelton, was, however, to provide valuable intelligence to the Wshington residency in the early 1980s.) Shortly after Lipka left NSA in 1967, Chief Warrant Officer John Walker, a communications watch officer on the staff of the commander of submarine forces in the Atlantic (COMSUBLANT), began an eighteen-year career as a KGB agent, supplying detailed information on US naval ciphers. 38

(p. 349):
…The most important of the KGB’s foreign intercept posts targeted on the United States from outside, however, was located not in a residency but in the large SIGNET base set up by the GRU at Lourdes in Cuba in the mid-1960s to monitor US navy communications and other high-frequency transmissions. 64

…President Reagan declared in 1983: The Soviet intelligence collection facility less than 100 miles from our coast is the largest of its kind in the world. The acres and acres of antennae fields and intelligence monitors are targeted on key US military installations and sensitive activities. The installation, in Lourdes, Cuba, is manned by 1,500 Soviet technicians, and the satellite ground station allows instant communications with Moscow. This 28-square-mile facility has grown by more than 60 percent in size during the past decade. 

Robert Lipka (codenamed DAN), a leading Cold War Soviet agent in the United States arrested after Mitrokhin supplied the FBI with extracts from his KGB file. On being sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in 1997, almost 30 years after his work as an agent ended, Lipka ruefully commented, ‘I feel like Rip Van Spy’. Lipka’s arrest, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, 21/11/96.

(p. 205):
Thanks chiefly to two walk-insw, Line PR in Washington performed rather better than New York during the mid- and late 1960s. In September 1965 Robert Lipka, a twenty-year-old army clerk in NSA, caused great excitement in the Washington residency by presenting himself at the Soviet embassy on Sixteenth Street, a few blocks from the White House, and announced that he was responsible for shredding highly classified documents. Lipka (code-named DAN) was probably the youngest Soviet agent recruited in the United States with access to high-grade intelligence since the nineteen-year-old Ted Hall had offered his services to the New York residency while working on the MANHATTAN project in Los Alamos in 1944. Lipka’s file notes that he quickly mastered the intelligence tradecraft taught him by Line PR. Over the next two years he made contact with the residency about fifty times via dead letter boxes, brush contacts and meetings with a case officer.

The youthful head of Line PR, Oleg Danilovich Kalugin spent “countless hours” in his cramped office in the Washington residency sifting through the mass of material provided by Lipka and choosing the most important documents for cabling to Moscow. 12 Lipka’s motives were purely mercenary. During the two years after he walked into the Washington embassy, he received a total of 27,000 dollars, but regularly complained that he was not paid enough and threatened to break contact unless his remuneration was increased. Lipka eventually did break contact in August 1967, when he left NSA at the end of his military service to study at Millersville College in Pennsylvania and probably concluded that his loss of intelligence access made him no longer worth his while in maintaining contact with the Washington residency. To discourage the KGB from trying to renew contact, Lipka sent a final message claiming that he had been a double agent controlled by US intelligence. In view of the importance of the classified documents he had provided, however, the KGB had no doubt that he was lying. Attempts by both the residency and illegals to renew contact with LIpka continued intermittently, without success, for at least another eleven years. 13

BK NOTES: After Mitrokhin informed the FBI about Lipka’s work for the KGB in the 1990s, Lipka was arrested. A reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper was in the court room when Lipka was arranged and charged, during which Lipka mentioned the sensitivity of the NSA records he was ordered to destroy but instead turned over the Soviets, among them, Lipka said, was the identity of the real assassin of President Kennedy. After the formal proceedings, while Lipka was being led away, the Inquirer reporter asked Lipka the name on the NSA documents identifying the real assassin of the President. Lipka replied: “Luis Angel Castillo.” 

For more on Luis Angel Castillo see: JFKcountercoup: Luis Angel Castillo

How come these NSA JFK assassination records that Lipka says he was ordered to shred, but instead turned over to the Soviets - how come the NSA has not acknowledged them and turned them over to the NARA, as they should according to the JFK Act?  

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