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Larry Hancock

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Everything posted by Larry Hancock

  1. 201 File - Help needed

    As Jim says, a 201 is a basic personality file - created for any individual of interest to the CIA. Here is an example: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/BOJADJIEW, IWAN_0007.pdf
  2. Operation Tumbleweed?

    Sorry, really don't know enough to have an opinion on that question. Personally I would doubt that a person in Kostikov's position would be an active Department 13 member, on the other hand he might very well have served as a cut out to deliver assignments or directions. That is much more SOP for diplomatic staff. The real operators would have been acting as distantly from any known Soviet personnel as possible. And getting assassins into Mexico would have been no special problem. All in all it would seem likely to suspect him of handling espionage targeting the U.S. in particular - which would explain why he would have been under active surveillance in any American contact. But assassinations, another story entirely.
  3. Operation Tumbleweed?

    As Newman writes above, Tumbleweed was a German national, recruited overseas in Germany. He came to CIA attention there and later moved to New York where he was handed off to the FBI as a domestic concern. Later he traveled to Mexico and was last reported in Oklahoma. There were indications he might be involved in locating targets for sabotage....a major target would have been the new Atlas ICBM base in southwestern Oklahoma. Reportedly Tumbleweed went back and forth across the border and how his movements were tracked, what surveillance he was under etc would tell us a lot about FBI monitoring of American's in Mexican travel but as far as I know no FBI file has ever emerged about him in those travels.
  4. Most of the rumors and gossip about another Cuban exile effort into Cuba were developing off the Artime project which he had begun recruiting personnel for already. That did not really jell until the end of 1963 and small boat missions were beginning then but it was 1964 before most of the larger assets were in place - that occurred under AMWORLD. Thanks to Gary Murr I was able to write a lot of that story up in Shadow Warfare. The activities of people like Davis, the abortive New Orleans camps etc were all very minor, limited financing and all targeted by the FBI whenever possible...those folks were the "outsiders" I write about in SWHT as compared to Artime and his folks who were receiving money, boats, planes, weapons etc in far greater amounts than they could even use...actually the one thing they lacked was sufficient people, that is why RFK allowed them to begin recruiting at both Army training bases such as Benning and Air Force bases such as Sheppard AFB in Texas. The Cuban arms going through Mexico were of great concern to the CIA and the Mexican govt, Jeff Morley touch on the activities of the MC station in regard to that in his book. Most of it was done very covertly via cargo shipments into Mexico with weapons being transferred for shipment south by rail or truck. One of the main goals of all the wire taps conducted jointly by the CIA and the Mexican government was to monitor people involved in those activities. There was an active Communist party inside Mexico and of course they aided such Cuban activities whenever possible.
  5. Steve, the only weapons dealing involving MC that I am aware of involved Cuban agents using Mexico as a covert transshipment point for sending Cuban weapons into Latin America. That was a very big deal for the CIA and a lot of intel collection resources were allocated towards exposing that and bringing it to Mexican govt attention...a lot of the wire tap work went into that. On the other hand there were two things involving MC that were priority concerns for both the FBI and the CIA at that point in time. One was the AMSANTA project which put FPCC associated people into Cuba as intel sources and they went via MC. For many reasons that stands out as a very possible use of Oswald and it gets discussed way too little. The second was the tasking to shut down American illegal traveling via Mexico to and from Cuba; the FBI thought there were active Communist subversives involved in that traffic and the CIA assisted efforts to contol it using their surveillance assets in MC. American travel of an sort which could end up going to or from Cuba was a major target. I'll point out that we see virtually nothing related to other of those two joint activities in the materials provided in respect to the assassination investigation.
  6. Heaven only knows, first off I've never been happy with the existence of an absolutely concrete timeline of the Odio incident so I don't know that it was not Oswald and given that his travel there most likely was not per the official story that complicates matters more. I've also become open to the thought that Odio may well have had prior contact with Oswald and that the visitor story is only part of the full picture. Clearly Odio was very emotionally affected after the assassination and a five minute doorway encounter may not fully explain that even if she was stressed by an apparently unwanted pregnancy. . At this point I do think that Oswald himself was known to Odio, whether in that brief time at the door or otherwise, and that Odio was contacted by people trying to leverage that for their own purposes. I also belive that Oswald did spend some time in MC although certainly not as represented in the WC report. What I think I've learned is that all this is far more complex than it appeared at first blush and that while we can pick holes in the official story, reverse engineering what actually did happen "on the ground" in Mexico City is still largely speculative.
  7. Tommy, I'll answer those questions later this year with a book scheduled for Fall release - the working title is Creating Chaos; American and Russian political warfare into the 21st Century. It will be as balanced as possible and equally hard on both America and Russia (old and new) . And that's all I'm going to say about that for the next few months...grin.
  8. Sorry Tommy, now that I look more closely at the quotes and excerpts I find that I was agreeing with David...my apologies. As to your last question: "But you DON'T think KGB/GRU had the expertise or the wherewithal (enough penetration agents and moles in the right places) to be able to highjack or piggyback a CIA operation like that? Only if JJA, himself, was a mole?" My answer is that I see no signs of that happening, as with any speculation I can't say its impossible but I also fail to understand the motive - and I don't think JJA was a mole, I think he ultimately became clinically paranoid.
  9. Tommy, it would be the post on this thread immediately above my reply. Do I think the KGB was clever enough to conduct assassinations and try to place the blame on someone else, yes I think so. On the other hand I absolutely know that Harvey was not only clever enough to do that but described exactly that practice in his strategy notes about ZR RIFLE.
  10. Tommy, I pretty much agree with everything in your post. I don't think much of the official story or evidence regarding his trip hangs together other than to contain a larger story that probably is related to the trip - or at least the agencies knowledge of it. We always have to remember that the CIA in particular was and is always dedicated to making sure as few of their overall operations are exposed - including sources and methods. Its way to tempting to think that everything they do is to cover up some type of conspiracy when in reality its just SOP. The same is true for the FBI, even more so in MC where their foreign charter was longer than the CIA's and their operations in Mexico extensive in regard to targeting Americans in Mexico, especially those suspected of being Communists or having Communist connections. They closely monitored American ex-pats - and we have the memos showing how dedicated they were to helping the CIA protect camera and other surveillance activities. As with the tactical aspects of the attack in Dallas, we always try to reverse engineer these things - but with no idea of all that may have been in play. As to your question, no I don't think the Russians were trying to frame Castro, and for that matter we don't really have a detailed record of all the local photo shops the FBI checked after the fact and the fact that some Mexican citizen might not want to have admitted that he took the photos - bringing the DFS down on his head for extreme interrogation as with Duran - is always a possibility .
  11. Possibly some good leads, some of its is familiar but perhaps the most striking thing to me is that there were clearly a number of rather routine administrative documents and a number of people who were aware of a project ZR RIFLE which we once thought was something totally esoteric and perhaps known only to Harvey and Helms...in a way it reinforces the point that even for certain of its highest risk activities, at heart the CIA was still an administrative bureaucracy with records, accounting and standard operating practices. It sort of reminds me of the Roselli Castro assassination project which nobody was supposed to know about until somebody had to authorize money for it and refused to sign blank checks for it...then a number of folks got read in. .
  12. Got it, thanks for your patience, I will share this with Bill and I wonder if we would have any luck searching for that Project Job Number... So I'll stand by my original comments and unanswered questions ....its actually rather surprising that that this was shared given the TS classification. Great find, I will let Bill and Malcolm both know..
  13. David, I see nothing even remotely like that on page 103/104, not even in that same format? And Tommy, certainly I will take your word on that although certainly the FBI should have known anyone in Kostikov's slot at the Cuban embassy was KGB, if not Dept 13. Other than the Ambassador, a couple of assistants and a few clerks, virtually all personnel were KGB . For those reading this who may not familiar with Dept 13 the following CIA documents is really pretty good background. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol19no3/html/v19i3a01p_0001.htm As far as developing an asset who would tell you exactly what Dept a particular embassy officer was actually working in, unless the asset was operationally involved with a specific sort of task I certainly would not have believed him. Given the amount of surveillance on Kostikov in Mexico (not that you made me reboot my memory), the CIA would have had a pretty good idea what his tasking actually was and from what I remember of those reports they had a solid list of his travels, meetings, etc.
  14. Thanks David, I'll take a look, that should really help....Tommy, sorry but if I ever knew that I don't recall...its been a really long time since I refreshed myself on the whole Kostikov affair.
  15. David, I went though that whole thing and didn't find anything similar to what you had excerpted? Lots of familiar but useless stuff; they could not even be bothered to put it in chronological order, no summary, no assessment, just a raw and meaningless data dump and of course totally focused on Castro/Cuba with no hint of exile motives. Maybe you can give me a clue how far through that huge document it is...I suspect I just missed it in scanning the document..
  16. I don't have the time to go through that in detail at the moment but I will...I had presumed this was from an actual CIA file document not from the FBI, is that not true? If its from the FBI I may have to amend my comments because their sources including their own field offices often gave them some bad and even misleading info about CIA activities. And its always necessary to remember that the official CIA/FBI liaison was Angleton..sign.
  17. ….Great find David, the best observations I can offer are below, sure wish I could offer more, especially on the use of the QJWIN crypt: ZRRIFLE Project Job # 69-S-551 - No File Number ZRRIFLE/Adrninistrative Financial Folder ~T)2173 dated 13 October 1960, Att. Top Secret DEPIGRAM Interpol representative ........._ ___ __. Altman to pick his brain and pinpoint his ability to do this job for us, but once selection made, DEPIGRAM to be cut out of the operation. ……..We do know that by 1960 Harvey was hiding the ZRRIFLE program inside Staff D operations and funding activities the QJWIN personnel crypt so this makes good sense. Don’t know who DEPIGRAM was but we do know that Harvey was using spotters to select candidates for a variety of Staff D activities. Memo to C/FI from William Harvey, 27 June 1963 "As far as ZRRIFLE aspects this op, which have been covered under the QJWIN authorization for security reasons and with which Fletcher Knight is fully familiar, except for one precautionary 'lifeline', aspects of this case have been terminated and need no longer be considered part of this project." …….we also know that in late Spring, Harvey was officially closing out the Castro assassination element of ZR/RIFLE …whether or not Roselli is the “lifeline” being maintained is an interesting question. This is a great example of the extent to which embedding ZR/RIFLE within Staff D operations was a beautiful and extremely confusing cover. Folder entitled Personality Sketches Tab M - Harold MELTZER Harold MELTZER with aliases was involved in the rackets with upper echelon "hoodlums" throughout the U.S. (pg. 1 Encl. 3 dated 19 Dec 1960.) "In 1959 he furnished information to our QJWIN California office ... but has not since cooperated with us. N. B. He has the background and talent for the matter we discussed but it is not known whether he would be receptive." ….this is particularly interesting since it is the period in which Harvey was heavily involved in recruiting for Staff D. We know some of his activities in Europe, the question is whether he was actively recruiting in the US as well or just using “spotters” within criminal networks. There have been reports that the QJ/WIN crypt was used for multiple Staff D assets, this appears to support that. Tab Y - Hanna YAZBECK YAZBECK lived in Beurit and worked for QJWIN's office intermittently during the past 10 years (dates not given- possibly 51-61). YAZBECK's chief bodyguard from 50-58 (not named) was a convicted murderer. The bodyguard was murdered. States that YAZBECK has an available pool of assassins. …..this is the most confusing of the entries, again suggesting the QJWIN crypt was used over a lengthy period of time…even before Harvey’s time. It appears the crypt has been used for financial authorizations, for individuals and even for offices….this particular Tab Y appears to hold information predating Harvey himself.
  18. The Torriente Group

    McLendon's pop radio format was a real winner in the US in the early sixties and was transported overseas, especially to pirate ship stations broadcasting into Britain - I'm sure you are familiar with all that and of course there are lots of historical articles on that for folks that may not remember those days. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120358447 However in respect to your question, first off the radio equipment needed to intercept Russian and other NSA targeted transmissions would be considerably different than the pirate ship transmitters and related antennas. More importantly, we now have a great deal of detail on actual NSA intercept sites, which were located (with large antenna farms) in Britain and in Scotland. I write about the Kirknewton installation at some length in an appendix in Someone Would Have Talked. Serious intercept work was done by highly trained Air Force specialists (Security Service) working for NSA and done under very controlled security given that they were working on a variety of military targets as well as other civilian and commercial traffic - all spelled out in watch lists compiled by NSA from request by various American agencies. The CIA did intercept work, but as far as we know that was a matter of cable taps, telephone taps and short range radio intercepts made from CIA stations in American diplomatic facilities (the Russians routinely did the same thing). I wish I could add something to your work but on the surface the claim that pirate radio ships were CIA intercept facilities just doesn't fit with what I know. Certainly there were "pirate" radio stations broadcasting into the Soviet Union in earlier days, particularly during the 1950's but those were all as far east as they could be positioned, in order to provide maximum coverage into Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, which were their primary targets. There is a great deal of historical information on the specifics of that now available. I have not read Weaver's book but I did see your review on Amazon. The book appears to be a novel and is described as a work of fiction so my thought (having written a bit of docufiction myself) is that you find some facts in it but that Weaver has extended that into something more sensational...which with McClenden as a character (and he was a real character) would be pretty easy to do. It appears you met Weaver and perhaps he offered something more substantive but givem how much we have in real facts about the political broadcasting network in Europe, the NSA intercept program and real world CIA intercept activities I just can't see a fit for the Mi Amigo as an intercept platform off the Swedish coast without something more to go on.
  19. David was originally scheduled to speak but in the end was unable to present at Lancer 2017 so there was no recorded presentation...
  20. Jim, you can always check the updated crypt lists at: https://www.maryferrell.org/php/cryptdb.php#_ZR As for me, nothing on that particular pages matches anything I'm aware of being documented ...
  21. Both can be found on the crypt list at the Mary Ferrell Foundation https://www.maryferrell.org/php/cryptdb.php?id=LITAMIL-9 https://www.maryferrell.org/php/cryptdb.php?id=LITAMIL-7 Thanks to the work of Simpich, Newman and others we have been making extensive additions to the crypt list
  22. My Brand New Theory-In-Progress

    Tommy I'm in the midst of getting two new books published this year and really don't have time to go back into looking up specifics on these folks - these days I try to limit what I offer that is strictly from "memory"...grin. I would definitely treat the "illegals" very much in a different category than any double agents and from moles. Its another area where its too easily to make mistakes by talking about them all in one group, same problem as talking about the "CIA" or the "Mafia" in toto. Wish I could be more helpful..
  23. My Brand New Theory-In-Progress

    If you really want to examine the damage done by serious moles its almost entirely of fairly immediate value - providing either operational information or actual information on codes/ciphers, communications practices, weapons or equipment plans or something that is "actionable". The first time the CIA was seriously hurt by a mole was through the exposure of virtually all its team and agent infiltration into Eastern Europe and it was Angleton's British intelligence "buddy" who did that. A high level mole within the CIA could spread insecurity and discord (which is why Angleton himself was suspected) but most of America's covert operations programs were so obvious (even if officially deniable) that a mole would not be needed....although of course nobody was admitting that. The danger of a real high level mole would be more within the top levels of the military or somewhere within the National Security Council structure. And remember, moles are normally "recruited" (even if voluntarily) in place because they do have access of some sort of value....years of KGB effort to develop sources from the ground up in the U.S. produced relatively little and very low level intel. Check out some of the Russian moles that the U.S. recruited and it will give you a balanced picture.
  24. communications override/hacking?

    Steve, its certainly an interesting subject and I recall my own time slaving over the recordings...back in the days where all were had were copies on cassette.. At this point I just can't come up with a scenario which would make messing with DPD comms in that fashion worth the trouble or risk. Interestingly something of that sort did happen in regard to the MLK assassination but that involved CB radio, and what proved to be a very effective police diversion.
  25. communications override/hacking?

    Hi Eddy, I did recently comment on Steve's thread about possible jamming on the police frequencies - which I don't see happening since it would be really obvious, at a minimum static at an amplitude two to three times the volume of the regular police transmissions since it would have to totally override them. I'll go back and look at the other thread, while I certainly can see the possibility of radio communication in play among the tactical team I think it would be much more in the nature of very local "walkie talkie" class communications. Its more likely you have visual signaling among a tactical team, such as the fellow raising and lowering his arm on main street. In any event, I'm not sure I see the advantage of working with equipment which would intrude on police frequencies...what do you think would be the purpose?