Out of the Woodwork - Veciana Identifies Phillips as the Man who Ran Oswald
There was the predictable media frenzy on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, much of which drowned out some of the real , recent revelations that have filled in some of the missing pieces to the Dealey Plaza puzzle and answered some of the outstanding questions about that still unresolved cold case homicide.With the deadline rush to get major scholarly and academic works on the assassination completed – such as new or substantially revised books by Bill Turner, Bob Groden, Bill Simpich, John Newman, Max Holland, Tony Summers and many others , new witnesses, some we had never heard of before, have come out of the woodwork, while others have reluctantly come forward to fill in their small pieces to the few remaining blank holes in the puzzle.
From an article in Esquire (“Flight from Dallas”) we finally learn what became of President Kennedy’s new and unopened Catholic Missile prayer book, which was taken from bedside aboard Air Force One to serve as a makeshift bible the new President could use to be sworn in.LBJ’s first order was to take off, so some of those aboard – Judge Hughes, photographer Cecil Staughton, a Press pool reporter, Chief Curry and a couple of Texas Congressman, deplaned, and JFK’s catholic missile disappeared. It was a mystery for years, decades, but now it is revealed that Lady Bird, LBJ’s wife, kept it as a souvenier, and it is now historically enshrined at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas.
Among those participants and witnesses to significant events who were located and interviewed or came forward over the 50th anniversary were Maj. Harold Patterson, aka “Stranger,” who was in the White House Situation Room at the time of the assassination, Mrs. Dorman, widow of Col. George Dorman, General LeMay’s aide, who was also working at the White House when they learned the president was shot.
Navy Commander Steel, who led ONI investigations of Oswald after his defection and the assassination, was interviewed on the record shortly before he died this year, and former US Army Interagency Communications Agency (USAICA) Lieutenant Norman Katz was officially relieved of his secrecy oath to reveal details of his job as part of the “Continuity of Government Project” at the White House that day.
In addition, new information about the “Man on the Motorcycle in Mexico City” was published by Tony Summers, and American film actor Ricahard Beymer was questioned about the rumor he attended a party with Oswald in Mexico City.The most important piece to the Dealey Plaza Puzzle was finally revealed by Marie Fonzi, the widow of investigative reporter and Congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi, who passed away about a year ago.
Marie Fonzi has taken up her late husband’s banner – and attended the Wecht Conference in Pittsburgh in October, mingling with some of those researchers and writers who worked with Gaeton Fonzi over the years.Besides working as a respected and renown investigative reporter in Philadelphia for many years, Fonzi was recruited to be an investigator for the Schweiker-Hart Subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee, also known as the Church Committee. Republican Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania and Colorado Democrat Gary Hart were assigned by the Committee to look into specific allegations that certain CIA officers were either at Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination or were somehow involved in the assassination.
In the course of his investigation Fonzi met Antonio Veciana, an anti-Castro Cuban who led the Alpha 66 commandos who told Fonzi how he was recruited as a CIA agent when he worked at a bank in Havana, before Castro took power. The man who recruited him said his name was “Maurice Bishop,” and they worked together on many operations over the years, including plots to kill Castro.Trained by the CIA in intelligence operational procedures, the tradecraft of espionage and psychological warfare, Veciana told Fonzi that one day in September, 1963, it had been arranged for him to meet his case officer “Maurice Bishop,” in the lobby of the Southland Center in Dallas. When he arrived, Veciana said he saw “Bishop” talking with another man, who he assumed had a similar relationship with “Bishop” as his own. Two months later, Veciana identified the man he saw talking with “Bishop” as Lee Harvey Oswald, the ostensible assassin of President Kennedy.
Questioned thoroughly by Fonzi and other Congressional investigators, Veciana detailed the background of “Maurice Bishop” and they had a sketch artist draw a picture of his face, which Sen. Schweiker identified as a CIA officer who had recently testified before his committee – David Atlee Phillips.When the background details of “Bishop” as provided by Veciana were compared with the background of David Atlee Phillips from his autobiography “Nightwatch-20 Years of Peculiar Service,” over two dozen points matched, but when Veciana was introduced to David Atlee Phillips at a conference dinner of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), Veciana told Fonzi he wasn’t sure. Close but no cigar was not good enough for Fonzi.
Fonzi suspected that Veciana lied about his failure to identify Phillips as “Bishop” because he wanted to get back with his former intelligence case officer to resume his anti-Castro activities.
After serving time in federal prison on drug charges and avoiding a number of assassination attempts against him, Veciana is still alive, and has outlived Fonzi, though he apparently still thinks of him, as he recently – on the 50th anniversary of the assassination, sent a note to Fonzi’s widow Marie.November 22, 2013
Dear Marie Fonzi,
You may publish the following statement from me:
“Maurice Bishop, my CIA contact agent was David Atlee Phillips. Phillips or Bishop was the man I saw with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas on September 1963.”