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William Kelly

Col. Robert Jones

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Paul, their is a great deal of information available about Ellsworth, the weapons deals, Mason, the task force that was being set up, the armory sting that Ruby was a middle man for (probably), etc.  I went into all that in SWHT and its a pretty old story by now...I'm thinking you must be talking about something else there but it not take a look at SWHT.  

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Larry - I did read your section on Ellsworth. I think that his sting was deliberately interrupted by DPD because Ellsworth was getting close to an operation that military intelligence wanted to keep under wraps. Didn't you point out the possible connections to Ruby? I resurrected this thread for Steve Thomas, looking at all the retired colonels. I'm glad you posted - I would have mentioned SWHT but was still looking for another version that had more detail that I read somewhere. It may have been from Ellsworth himself. I know he later told the HSCA that he attributed the DPD bust to lack of info sharing. But since Hosty, who along with MI Ed Coyne had met with Ellsworth the morning of the assassination, later reported that Ellsworth was at Dealey Plaza when the shots were fired, on the grassy knoll pretending to be SS, I think there was deliberate tension created for some reason. I've always thought the Ellsworth story worthy of a close look because of its intersection with Masen and his far right connections to alpha 66. Oswald's presence at a meeting in the Alpha 66 safehouse was not looked at by the WC. Peter Dale Scott suspects Oswald was acting as an informant for one or more military branches. I find this surmise believable.

Edited by Paul Brancato

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Hi Paul, there should be a citation for Ellsworth's own testimony on this; I recall reading it and it is available.  The thing is that originally he was not aware of the sting targeting Mason because that was a joint effort of regional military intelligence and the FBI - the Army NCO involved had immediately informed Army CIC.  It appears that when Mason received no joy from his Army contact (whom he was actually setting up to go into a fairly legitimate ammo business with on the side) he turned to some other contacts who did the Armory theft at Terrell and Ruby was a middle man for that.  The weapons transfer from that was busted by DPD interference and that led to the joint DPD, ATF, Army meeting that Ellsworth was going to on the morning of Nov. 22.  This is in the 2010 version of SWHT and probably not the earlier one; the citations should take you to Ellsworth's own interview on all that but he did not know the Army side, that is in a totally different set of FBI documents.  There is no doubt this connects to the efforts to the Alpha 66/DRE guys (in Dallas most of them belonged to both groups) to buy weapons but Mason was having a really hard time coming up with military grade stuff beyond standard surplus and sporting weapons.  Plus its pretty clear that neither DRE or Alpha 66 had that much cash, not much sign they were that successful in Dallas. Much more so in the Midwest but that may have been money from the Sierra funds which is a different story entirely.

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21 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

Hi Paul, there should be a citation for Ellsworth's own testimony on this; I recall reading it and it is available.  The thing is that originally he was not aware of the sting targeting Mason because that was a joint effort of regional military intelligence and the FBI - the Army NCO involved had immediately informed Army CIC.  It appears that when Mason received no joy from his Army contact (whom he was actually setting up to go into a fairly legitimate ammo business with on the side) he turned to some other contacts who did the Armory theft at Terrell and Ruby was a middle man for that.  The weapons transfer from that was busted by DPD interference and that led to the joint DPD, ATF, Army meeting that Ellsworth was going to on the morning of Nov. 22.  This is in the 2010 version of SWHT and probably not the earlier one; the citations should take you to Ellsworth's own interview on all that but he did not know the Army side, that is in a totally different set of FBI documents.  There is no doubt this connects to the efforts to the Alpha 66/DRE guys (in Dallas most of them belonged to both groups) to buy weapons but Mason was having a really hard time coming up with military grade stuff beyond standard surplus and sporting weapons.  Plus its pretty clear that neither DRE or Alpha 66 had that much cash, not much sign they were that successful in Dallas. Much more so in the Midwest but that may have been money from the Sierra funds which is a different story entirely.

 

Speaking of Alpha 66 and money, I wonder if they were able to raise much in my hometown, La Jolla, California.  (google it)

A slightly-older friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous) posted on FB a month or two ago that he had attended an Alpha 66 meeting in La Jolla, and from other things my friend has said on FB, I believe that the meeting he went to may have been as early as 1963.

(Remember: Clint Murchison Jr's "Hotel Del Charro" was in La Jolla, and David Ferrie called a La Jolla bank in April, 1962...)

--  Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Wish I could offer more on that. We do know that Alpha 66 had active chapters in the Los Angeles area and that there were some individuals moving between Miami and LA in 1963 but that seems to have been fairly small scale. There was money to be solicited from right wing groups in southern California but there was a lot of competition for it from both the Minutemen and right wing Christian Identity connected groups. Generally speaking it looks like those folks took most of the money for themselves and collected a great deal of the available weapons - that's documented in a lot of FBI reports. In general the local groups wanted the money for their own causes and endorsed anti-Castro activities in spirit without all that much participation.  The only donations I've seen go to the anti-Castro cause came from Cuban exiles in the LA area.  You can judge how much was available for the taking by the trailer load of supplies and limited number of weapons Howard and Hall brought out of California.  And as I recall that came largely from donations from a couple of Cuban professionals. 

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interesting Tommy.

Larry - I guess you are saying that the MI/FBI bust which short circuited Ellsworth's own operation (in which he was an actor) was not suspicious. Did that bust have the effect of limiting damage to Military covert operations, such as Alpha 66? The DRE was CIA if I understand this right. The line blurs so often between CIA, FBI, and military Intel that I'm finding it hard to believe there was much separation. This goes as well for local DPD and local military Intel reserves. It was the DPD that busted the Terrell armory theft that Ellsworth was investigating. If there is so much sharing between DPD, FBI, and MI and reserve MI, why is the ATF left out? And I guess the main question is what was the result of the bust? Was it in fact a theft, or was that some cover? And what is the connection between gun dealer and Oswald lookalike Masen and US intelligence? He was definitely connected to the Minutemen and JBS. Another blurring of lines?

 

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Yes Paul, the sting was pretty much routine.  Once again its a matter of being specific, in this case it was a 112th regional Army intelligence problem first because somebody was trying to buy Army weapons illegally out of the military in their region of responsibility.  The buyer was Masen - he could have been buying for his Minutemen customers or pretty much anyone and it would still have been an Army investigation along with the FBI since it would be a federal crime.

Based on actual documents we know the regional military units were tasked with maintaining surveillance on Americans trying to go in and out of Cuba illegally but that would have been something entirely different.  As far as monitoring Alpha 66, that was an FBI task since they had orders not only to interdict weapons sales but to prevent any exile group (well the ones not sanctioned by the Administration at least) from engaging in actions against Cuba.  That was a JFK policy handed off to FBI and ATF.   In the Mason incident the ATF was not brought in because the FBI was carrying the case with MI only assisting and the FBI does not normally share.  On the other hand ATF was monitoring Masen because of his record of illegal activities with ultra right groups and both investigations crossed paths and then tripped over each other. After that there was some move to share, which resulted in the Nov. 22 meeting...intended to keep them from messing each other up and probably for the FBI to claim primacy, which would be normal for them..

It does have to do with tasks and individual cases becoming entangled around Masen...this specific weapons deal that he tried to promote through his Army contact seems to have had to do with a DRE shopping list while his normal customers were Minutemen and other ultra right folks.  As a side comment, there has been talk for a long time about Masen being the guy at the Harlandale sighting....that made sense based on Dick Russell's description of them being almost twins.  But once we got a photo of Masen, I for one see little resemblance and suspect that it was indeed Oswald on Harlandale, up to his usual activities of hanging out with various types of Cuban exiles - either pro or con.

Edited by Larry Hancock

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Thanks Larry. I also find it odd that Masen would be confused with Oswald.

in reading over Peter Dale Scott's review of Oswald's conversations while in New Orleans custody it is apparent that he had no ID at that time which would show the Hidell name. How is it that Colonel Jones, getting information from that meeting, opened two files, one on Oswald, and one on Hidell, which he considered to be Oswald's alias? What do you make of the fact that Oswald had no Hidell ID on him at that time, but later Hidell ID was found in one of the 3 wallets supposedly belonging to Oswald, I believe the one found at the scene of the Tippett murder?

Edited by Paul Brancato

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To Larry Hancock,

 

Larry,

 

Something has been bugging me for a couple of days. When he was testifying before the HSCA, Col. Jones was asked about a "secret cable" that Jones said originated from the Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Fort Sam Houston and was "prepared by a Mr. Arthur Nagle." Jones said that the cable did not originate from the 112th and that, "I take no pride in authorship of it."

testimony before the HSCA on April 20, 1978. (History Matters Archive – Unpublished testimony of Robert Jones, pp. 55-57.

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/hsca/unpub_testimony/Jones_4-20-78/html/jones_0055a.htm

 

 

This is the cable that said Oswald had defected to Cuba and that he was a card carrying member of the Communist party, blah, blah, blah.

 

My questions are:

1) How did the HSCA get a hold it?

2) If the cable didn't originate from the 112th, who did it originate from? Who is Arthur Nagle?

3) If it didn't come from the 112th, how do we know it's genuine?

Peter Dale Scott references it in his books, and people seem to take its authenticity for granted, but, I'm beginning to wonder.

 


The RIF for this document reads as follows:

AGENCY INFORMATION

AGENCY : USA
RECORD NUMBER : 197-10002-10369
RECORDS SERIES : HEADQUARTERS FILES, PENTAGON TELECOMMUNICATIONS CENTER

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : COMMANDING GENERAL US CONTINENTAL ARMY COMMAND
FROM :

These seem to me to be extremely hazy originators.  (Agency: USA?) (Originator: Commanding General US Army Continental Army?) As far as I know, there is no such person.

 

I have a summary of the cable in my files, but not the actual cable itself. Could you or someone else provide a copy? I'm doing something wrong. If I go to the NARA, all I can pull up right now is the cover sheet for 

RECORD NUMBER : 197-10002-10369

 

Thanks,

 

Steve Thomas

 

Thanks,

 

Steve Thomas 

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I'll try to tackle Paul's question first - " in reading over Peter Dale Scott's review of Oswald's conversations while in New Orleans custody it is apparent that he had no ID at that time which would show the Hidell name. How is it that Colonel Jones, getting information from that meeting, opened two files, one on Oswald, and one on Hidell, which he considered to be Oswald's alias? What do you make of the fact that Oswald had no Hidell ID on him at that time, but later Hidell ID was found in one of the 3 wallets supposedly belonging to Oswald, I believe the one found at the scene of the Tippett murder?"

The source for all of Jones information was out of New Orleans. As I mentioned before one task for the regional military intelligence groups had to do with monitoring the port cities in their areas related to Americans - primarily students - attempting to travel illegally to and from Cuba. To what extent that had to do with port security I can't say but we know it was a 112th agent in NO who picked up a leaflet in the dock area from Oswald's distribution of them in the area of a US naval vessel. The FBI and 112th appear to have shared some information, things like the leaflet and a good deal of the FBI investigation material on Oswald/FPCC in NO.  Oswald was ex-service, and the FPCC was a major target for both the FBI.  There were a number of memos about the FPCC and Oswald and Hidell in the 112th files...coming from the FBI.  One included FBI speculation that there was no real Hidell and that it was an alias used by Oswald.  They did not know for certain at the time and were wrestling with identifying Hidell.  What they did have were letters to the FPCC...from their informant in the FPCC office.

So that is how Jones knew of the possible Hidell/Oswald connection and as he claimed he did pass that on to Dallas via his liaison with the DPD. 

As to the Hidell ID, the wallets etc, I'm as up in the air as everybody else about that but I'm tempted to wonder if that wallet relates to some idea that Oswald might have had about getting into Cuba under that name - since his only conceivable way in was via FPCC endorsement, as we see in the AM/SANTA program.  I see no value in the ID unless it was used in conjunction with the material he had assembled in NO...and which he or somebody did take to MC and presented there to endorse his travel visa request.

 

 

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Aha, the Strike command memo resurfaces....but its a good question and prompts me to think of a new possibility.  First off let's start with what Fourth Army really was circa 1963, and that was one of the non-combat, continental Army commands.  During WWII its mission had largely been training and some defense missions for the west coast.  By 1963 it was largely a recruiting and training command - later in the decade it would do special training in Louisiana for Vietnam bound infantry. In 1965 it lost the recruiting mission as the USA Continental Army Command activated a separate command for recruiting.

Lets also throw into the pot that the HSCA did not know much about military structure, and most definitely not much about the 112th and that it called the wrong person to testify to it in calling Jones. It should have called the commander of the Dallas officer if it wanted to ask about possible security support on Nov. 22, or at least the Regional G3/Operations officer.  Fortunately the ARRB did a much better job of clearing those things up but we are still left with a muddled interview of Jones. 

The point is that the RIF for the memo says it is a Pentagon telecommunications document (not a Fourth Army document and not  an intelligence document).  It originated from the Commanders office of the Continental Army Command and I suspect the HSCA got it from the Pentagon; I also suspect communication went to Strike command but was copied to all Continental Army Commands of which Fourth Army was only one.  The originating agency would have been US Army. 

This begins to make a whole lot more sense and also becomes much less mysterious (darn).  The wording in the memo is very similar to what Hoover and the FBI were saying the afternoon of the assassination.  I think it is at least possible that the Army at Pentagon level picked up that information (just as the 112th was getting info fromt he FBI and the DPD) and sent it to Strike Command (located in CONUS) as well as continental Army commands.  Nagle was mos likely in a clerks position in the Commanders office, or at the communications center.

If the RIF is correct and the origin was the Pentagon, Continental Army Command, the communication makes a lot more sense. Jones failure to interpret it clearly for the committee reflects a good deal of the rest of his testimony which I do consider muddled at best and also the lack of preparation or the questioning (I mean its a Pentagon level memo from the Army, why ask a guy down in San Antonio about it).

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

 

Lets also throw into the pot that the HSCA did not know much about military structure, and most definitely not much about the 112th and that it called the wrong person to testify to it in calling Jones. It should have called the commander of the Dallas officer if it wanted to ask about possible security support on Nov. 22, or at least the Regional G3/Operations officer. 

The point is that the RIF for the memo says it is a Pentagon telecommunications document (not a Fourth Army document and not  an intelligence document).  It originated from the Commanders office of the Continental Army Command and I suspect the HSCA got it from the Pentagon; I also suspect communication went to Strike command but was copied to all Continental Army Commands of which Fourth Army was only one.  The originating agency would have been US Army. 

This begins to make a whole lot more sense and also becomes much less mysterious (darn)....    Nagle was mos likely in a clerks position in the Commanders office, or at the communications center.

If the RIF is correct and the origin was the Pentagon, Continental Army Command, the communication makes a lot more sense.... 

"This begins to make a whole lot more sense and also becomes much less mysterious (darn).... "

 

*smile*

 

The cable we have on hand is a message dated November 26, 1963 from the Commanding General, U.S. Continental Army Command re-transmitting a message dated November 23, 1963 from someone at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio to CINC U.S. Strike Command at McDill Air Force Base in Florida. The November 23rd message summarizes a telephone conversation between a Captain Saxton in Strike Command and a Lieutenant Colonel Fons, Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence at 4th Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston that took place on November 23, 1963

 

So, someone (name unknown) transmits a message to CINC at McDill in Fl. summarizing a phone call placed by Lt. Col Fons (there's those damn colonels again) to Captain Saxton at Strike Command in Florida. 

 

Fort Sam Houston send a message to McDill on 11/23 summarizing a phone call from Fons at Houston to Saxton at McDill.

Somehow, Washington has a copy, and on 11/26 re-transmits the 11/23 back to McDill.

 

Why? If the 11/26 cable is a re-transmission of an 11/23 cable from San Antonio to Florida, why is Washington sending the cable back to Florida? That's got me scratching my head. 

 

Going by memory, the call from Fons to Saxton took place in the late evening of the 22nd. (I wish I had kept a copy of the cable). (I'd like to see the original 11/23 cable too.)

 

I agree, they should have called either Fons or Saxton or Stringfellow to testify. 

"Is this an accurate summary of your phone conversation?"

"What did you say to him, and what did he say to you?"

 

The notes I have say, "

In the middle of this summary, there is this passage:

ASSISTANT CHIEF DON STRINGFELLOW, INTELLIGENCE SECTION, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT, NOTIFIED 112TH INTC GP, THIS HQ, THAT INFORMATION...

 

Did Stringfellow call San Antonio directly? If so, I wonder why he didn't just tell somebody at the 112th right there in Dallas.

 

Without any written or testimonial record from Fons or Saxton or Stringlfellow, all we are left with is he said/he said.

 

Steve Thomas

 

 

 

 

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"The cable we have on hand is a message dated November 26, 1963 from the Commanding General, U.S. Continental Army Command re-transmitting a message dated November 23, 1963 from someone at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio to CINC U.S. Strike Command at McDill Air Force Base in Florida. The November 23rd message summarizes a telephone conversation between a Captain Saxton in Strike Command and a Lieutenant Colonel Fons, Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence at 4th Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston that took place on November 23, 1963"

.....Steve, one thing we do see in the message traffic from that day is a pattern of constant cross sharing and copying of information between the FBI, DPD, Fourth Army and other groups as well. I don't recall seeing the exact message you describe since it seems to summarize a telephone call. What I can imagine however, based on the wording of the info on Oswald being so similar to what we see in FBI messages and most especially from Hoover himself, is that the original source was FBI, and that Fourth Army HQ was copied on a message that prompted the telephone call. A Lt. Col calling a Captain sounds more like a staff officer calling STRIKE command and getting a duty officer on the line.  Why he would make the call is a good question, its also possible a call or message was sent to the Continental Army Command from Fourth Army and we don't see that.  Given the chaos of the day Fons might just have been distributing the info to other continental commands to be through.  As far as the transmission three days later - heck, the Pentagon comm center might have gotten behind in its traffic (little doubt about that).

What seems clear is that Jones was confirming that the message came from higher staff levels at Fourth Army and it wasn't his fault...you might want to look at the larger set of messages going to Fourth Army that day.  I put a number of them on my DC years ago but more might be available now and the ARRB might have collected more as well.

I doubt that we will ever be able to fully connect the dots in the message traffic though.

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18 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

 

The line blurs so often between CIA, FBI, and military Intel that I'm finding it hard to believe there was much separation.  If there is so much sharing between DPD, FBI, and MI and reserve MI, why is the ATF left out?

 

Paul,

 

One of the most informative things I've read in a while is CD 852

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=11249

DOD Bartimo Letter of 24 Apr 1964 with Attachments

Starting on about the third page or so of this document is a copy of

Army Regulation 195-10 which spells out how the Army was supposed to liaison with other agencies. It talks about the Army, Navy, Air Force and FBI, but interestingly enough, leaves out the Secret Service.

 

Look at Paragraph (9)(c)(1)(a) on the bottom of Page 5 of this CD. It says how Army Commanders are supposed to establish policies to establish "effective liaison" with other agencies and specifically mentions the ATTU.

 

As I sit here, I don't know if the FBI or the ATTU has such a Regulation they were supposed to be operating under.

 

Steve Thomas

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