Monday, December 4, 2017

Robarge vs. Morley - The CIA vs. The Truth

David Robarge v. Jefferson Morley

By William Kelly

In my recent essay in Lobster on the Twist Party in Mexico City, I gave a short list of the responsible journalists who have tried to seriously cover the still developing story on the assassination of President Kennedy, and neglected to mention Jefferson Morley.

Jeff is truly a remarkable and persistent reporter who utilizes journalistic standards, something Tony Summers said was essentially lacking in most media coverage of the assassinatoin story..

In his books "Our Man in Mexico" and "Ghost," a biography of the CIA's chief of Counter-Intelligence James Jesus Angleton, and his web site, Jeff has coinually cut the wheat from the chaff.

In reading his book on Angleton, I found it particularly interesting that Angleton's training in the covert "crafts of intelligence," as Allen Dulles puts it, occured in England at Bletchley Park, and his chief mentor was none other than Kim Philby, the most notorious double agent of all time.

After the war, when Angleton was named head of the new CIA CI desk and Philby was assigned to Washington as the MI6 British Intelligence liason to the CIA, the mentor and protege became frequent drinking companinons over three martini lunches.

Some of the knowledge Philby learned and passed on to his Soviet masters is contained in the secret assassination records that are still being withheld from the public, although the Ruskies knew it all from the beginning.

One such item, as related in Philby's autobiography "My Silent War," is how Frank Wisner designed and implimented the scheme whereby CIA covert operations were secretly funded through ostensible charities and philantropic foundation conduits,  like the Catherwood Fund, as it was exposed by David Wise and Thomas Ross in their book "The Invisible Government."

Joe Smith later acknowledged using the Catherood Fund cover in the Phillipines, and I read Philadelphia Inquirer and Bulletin news reports and feature articles on the Catherwood Fund activities, and took particular interest in the Cuban Aid Relief (CAR) and the co-sponsoring of the Columbia-Catherwood award for journalists.

While the Soviets knew about this relationship from its inception, thanks to Philby, the American public didn't learn about it until the article in Ramparts Magazine exposed it, beginning with the CIA's domestic covert financing of the National Student Association (NSA).

In the same light, the Russians knew all along that what happened at Dealey Plaza was the result of actions by the American security agencies, and not that of a deranged lone nut case, as exhibited in the newly released records by Soviet Premier Kruschev's social diner conversation with American investigative journalist Drew Pierson.

So the records they continue insisting on withholding from the American public are not secrets that they are trying to keep from the Ruskies, but rather, national security secrets they are keeping from the citizens - especially "means and methods" they use to conduct their operatiions.

These may be esoteric items for ordinary people to understand, but Jeff Morley's book is written for regular people to digest, unlike David Robarge's biograhpy of former CIA Director John McCone.

David Robarge is a former CIA intelligence officer and now an official CIA Historian who wrote a particulary scathing attack on Morley in a review of "Ghost" posted in Max Holland's blog, as well as a second shotgun barrell blow out after Morley wrote a rebuttle. As Robarge's hatchet job came out even before the book was published, it reminded me of the media attacks on Oliver Stone before his movie "JFK" was released.

It also reminded me of the late, great Mae Brussell, who once said on her radio program that the Warren Report was written by Pentagon hisorians, something I doubted at the time but have since determined to be true. It turns out that Chief Justice Earl Warren wanted his report to be readable to the general public and requested some official military historians write the narrative of the report, including Air Force historian Alfred Goldberg, who also wrote a history of the Pentagon building and the 9/11 attack. I interviewed Goldberg over the phone on the week he retired.

Robarge's attacks on Morley and his book also called my attention to Robarge, and his articles published in the official CIA publications and his biography of former CIA Director John McCone, on whose watch the assassination occured.

If you get pass all of the white outs, redactions and totally blank pages, there's some really intesting chapters on McCone and the Secret Wars, Espionage and Covert Actions, Counter-intelligence and Security and the Death of the President.

McCone, Robarge explains, was part of the "Special Group" of the National Security Council that evaluated and approved covert operations, especially those against Cuba.

"In effect the President and his advisors abandoned the Kennedy objective of ousting Castro," Robarge writes,  "and instead sought to harass and contain him. This was a return to the approach used in the phase one of Operation MONGOOSE two years before: espioinage, economic warfare and independet sabotage operations by exile groups. The Special Affiars Staff, under Desmond FitzGerald, drew up a comprehensive collection program using expatriate sources, infiltration agents, liason contacts, legal travelers, reguges, and port watchers.....[REDACTED - 2-3 paragraphs]."

"Training exiles for sabotage missions continued as well," notes Robarge, "although the likelihood that the administration would approve any such raids steadily diminished."

Early on Robarge gives some deep background on the early history of NPIC - the National Photo Interpetation Center, and its role in the analysis of the Zapruder Film, but Robarge gets it wrong on this count.

Shortly after the assassination McCone went directly to RFK's nearby home Hickory Hill, where he was with the Attorney General in his second floor library when the call from J. E. Hoover came in confirming that the President was dead.

Robarge: "...McCone directed that a specail cable channel be established so that all trafic related to Lee Harvey Oswald - arrested in Dallas soon after the shooting - went to a central repository, and he sent a [One line redacted] to Parkland Hospital, where John Kennedy had been taken for emergency treatment, to coordinate activities with the Secret Service and the FBI. After the Secret Service obtained a graphic film of the assassnation taken by an amateur photograher named Abraham Zapruder, McCone had NPIC officers analyze the footage (particularly the time between shots) and prepare briefing boards for the service."

As related by Robarge, on the morning of November 23, 1963, as the dawn of another day rose, McCone went to the White House to brief the President and found him in McGeorge Bundy's office next to the Situation Room. McCone began to brief the President but LBJ just turned his back and walked away. He had no intention of being briefed by the head of the CIA, and that was just the beginning of their relationship.

The only thing LBJ was interested in was McCone's insider reports on the intentions of RFK.

But what is missing from Robarge's account, though maybe its among the redacted pages, is what the NPIC briefers told McCone on November 23, 1963. As an established fact, there were two sets of breifing boards made up at NPIC over the assassination weekend, one the day after for NPIC director Paul Linebarger to brief McCone. There are no written records of this briefing, but then Linebarger returned to the NPIC offices he thanked those technicians who had worked all night, and said the briefing went well.

Shortly there after, Presidential advisor Arthur Schlesinger wrote in his daily journal that he had met with Robert Kennedy and asked him about the assassination, and RFK told Schlesigner the CIA thought there were two gunman, an analysis that must have come from the NPIC breifing of McCone, and one that McCone did not share with anyone except RFK, since LBJ wasn't interested.

As Robarge reports: "The DCI was complicit in keeping incendiary and diversionary issues off the commission's agenda and focusing it on what the Agency believed at the time was the 'best truth': that Lee Harvey Oswald, for as yet undetermined motives, had acted alone in killing John Kennedy. Max Holland, one of the most firminded scholars of these events, has concluded that 'if the word 'conspiracy' must be uttered in the same breath as 'the Kennedy assassination,' the only one that existed was the conspiracy to kill Castro and then keep that effort sescret after November 22.' In that sense - and that sense alone - McCOne may be regarded as a  'co-conspiractor' in the JFK assassination cover-up."

McCone, says Robarge, believed that aerial recon and photo anaysis were the most reliable sources of intelligence at that time, and NPIC did have a special and significnt role during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President Kennedy.

To cut to the heart of the conspiracy that CIA Director McCone was party to, - the conspiracy to cover-up the plots to kill Castro, there were a lot of them, over 600 documented cases, but from among them it is only necessary to focus on one - the Pathfinder plan.

We only know about the Pathfinder plan because four - that's four not one - four NPIC technicians told the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) about it. These four NPIC technicians had all been stationed at JMWAVE, the CIA base in Miami, and they reported that the Pathfinder files were kept in their section of the headquarters, rather than in the regular file room, indicating its special signifance.

Pathfinder was a CIA plan to kill Castro with a high powered rifle as he rode in an open jeep, as he often did when he visited Xandau, the DuPont estate on the north shore. According to the official reports, Pathfinder was "disaproved" by "higher authority," which means it was probably run past the Special Group of the National Security Council and rejected by RFK and maybe even JFK himself.

The NPCI technicians had made detailed maps of the area, blueprints of the inside of all relevant buildings including Xandau and the nearby home of Rolando Cubella (AMLASH), who was meeeting with CIA case officers at the time of the assassination, including Desmond FitzGerald himself.  Cubela was promised a cache of weapons would be delivered to a beach in Cuba, including a high powered rifle with a scope.

What became of the Pathfinder and NPIC assassination records? When the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) looked for them, a former NPIC secretary told them the NPIC assassination records were boxed and ordered - by RFK, to be taken to the Smithsonian Institute, rather than the National Archives, the normal depository of government records, again an indication of their signifiance.

As Robarge and official historians write their distorted history based on extant records, the Deep political history is best understood by the missing records, that if located, can fill in the missing pieces to the Dealey Plaza puzzle, that Jeff Morley and a few dedicated reporters and a researches are trying to put together.

1 comment:

refyjef said...

great post glad I found it. looking forward to the next one.

Mr. Robarge's 2013 article, "Death of a President: DCI John McCone and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy", for the CSI journal, Studies in Intelligence, was declassified in September, 2014, and is available online courtesy of the National Security Archive:

in which McCone acknowledges a "benign cover-up"


"John McCone as Director of Central Intelligence, 1961-65", a monograph produced by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI), and written by David Robarge in 2005. The document was declassified in April of 2015, and released to the public on the CIA's web site here along with various memoranda: