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New Essay by Bill Simpich - The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend


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Among other things -  including his well documented political assessment of Oswald - Bill's new work on the Domestic Contacts Division and its "Guides" is remarkable;  the DCD has been discussed here before and Bill really takes it to another level in demonstrating exactly how the Domestic Contacts Division dealt with Lee Oswald.

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4 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

Among other things -  including his well documented political assessment of Oswald - Bill's new work on the Domestic Contacts Division and its "Guides" is remarkable;  the DCD has been discussed here before and Bill really takes it to another level in demonstrating exactly how the Domestic Contacts Division dealt with Lee Oswald.

Mr. Hancock the following link shows that in 1963, the CIA's Domestic Contacts Division, the Cover and Commercial Staff, the Domestic Division of the Air Proprietaries of DPD, Civil Air Transport and Fairways Corporation all came under the control of the CIA's Domestic Operations Division: 

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2018/104-10118-10427.pdf

That means the Domestic Contacts Division came under the responsibility of Hans V. Tofte, Charles Tracy Barnes and Everette “Eduardo” Howard Hunt.

Edited by Robert Montenegro
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Yes, there has been discussion for some years that Barnes had been assigned to Domestic Operations after his role in the Cuba Project and that Hunt was placed there circa 1963.   It appears that was sort of a holding area for Hunt, given that he was also working on side activities including a connection to Manuel Artime and the AMWORLD project (even given Henry Hecksher's objection) based solely on his personal friendship with Artime. What exactly Hunt was doing under Barnes in 1963 would be very interesting to know.  Beyond that it certainly appears that Hunt was given a cover assignment in Spain circa 1964 in hopes that Artime would develop an autonomous international cover there as well as in Central America.

As far as Barnes goes, its important to remember that Domestic Operations included not only the contact activities, and domestic intelligence collections but also the creation of domestic covers in support of  CIA operations overseas...that had been something Barnes was involved with even in the years before this particular assignment.

Bill's work on the Domestic Contacts group as linked to Oswald is fascinating.....as is his overall theme which is the construction of a legend for Oswald....everyone should give his paper a through read.

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4 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

everyone should give his paper a through read.

Will do, sir!

I just read it.

Absolutely fascinating.

I have long suspected that the commanders of seven offices in the CIA, the Office of Security under Brig. Gen. Paul Francis Gaynor, the Domestic Operations Division under Charles Tracy Barnes, the Domestic Contacts Division under E. M. Ashcraft, the Directorate of Plans-Counterintelligence Staff Support Branch under Robert Trumbull Crowley, the Counterintelligence Staff under James Jesus Angleton, the Western Hemisphere Division under Col. Joseph Caldwell King and the Soviet Russian Division (SR6) Research Component under Rudy Balaban (the latter who, in all likelihood, put Oswald in contact with anti-Soviet émigré fanatic Spas Todorov Raikin)

Each of these department heads appear to have had a great deal of knowledge of the dealings and operational uses of Lee Harvey Oswald before the murder of President Kennedy, and many other pawns just like him (including the vast array of persons who were impersonating him).

Edited by Robert Montenegro
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This is an interesting read.  Thank you for posting the link, but I do have a couple of very simple questions.

In the preface, Mr. Simpich writes: “Oswald was different in another way - he wanted to be involved in espionage. As many have pointed out, he didn't have the credentials.”

Similarly, in the opening pages of State Secret, Mr. Simpich wrote several times that Oswald was “a spy in his own mind,” or words very close to that.

Is this not a remarkable assumption if we even come close to accepting Jefferson Morley’s statement that the biography of LHO “is one of the most contested stories in U.S. history”?

If “Lee Harvey Oswald” was not trained as a spy, how did he learn to read, write, and speak Russian before ever traveling to the USSR?

Are we really to believe that Oswald, always ostensibly as poor as a church mouse, had the money he needed for first class European hotels and private tour guides at the start of his Russian Adventure, all paid by his savings of non-convertible USMC script?

CIA's Ann Egerter, who worked for J.J. Angleton's Counterintelligence Special Interest Group (CI/SIG), opened a "201" file on Oswald on December 9, 1960.  Egerter testified to the HSCA: "We were charged with the investigation of Agency personnel....”  When asked if the purpose was to "investigate Agency employees," she answered, "That is correct."  When asked, "Would there be any other reason for opening up a file?" she answered, "No, I can't think of one."  Am I missing something here?

Oswald’s lengthy “Lives of Russian Workers” essay, or whatever we call it, sure reads like a pretty good intelligence report to me.

There are many other reasons to suspect that “Lee Harvey Oswald” was far more than just a “spy in his own mind.”  These are just a few.  I can’t imagine why Mr. Simpich dismisses Oswald’s possible intelligence connections so blithely.

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Jim - Maybe I missed something, but I didn’t read it quite that way. I hope Bill Will clarify in more detail when he has a moment to do so. My take is that Oswald simply didn’t know nearly the full extent of his operational uses, or the motives of various intelligence contacts that guided him.

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4 hours ago, Jim Hargrove said:

If “Lee Harvey Oswald” was not trained as a spy, how did he learn to read, write, and speak Russian before ever traveling to the USSR?

Jim,

I admired your analysis, especially the question you raised about Oswald's fluency in the Russian language.  We have now reached the point in JFK assassination studies to recognize that any attempt at an Oswald biography must begin with how, when, and where this young man learned to read, write, and speak Russian.  I have attempted to present the evidence in my article "Oswald's Proficiency in the Russian language":  http://harveyandlee.net/Russian.html

According to the Warren Commission testimony of Dennis Ofstein in Volume 10 of the Hearings and Exhibits, Oswald dazzled him with his Russian fluency when Ofstein and Oswald were co-workers at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall in 1962.  Ofstein recalled that Oswald was subscribing to and reading sophisticated Russian-language materials.  Despite the fact that Ofstein had spent a year studying Russian at the famed Monterey language institute, Ofstein testified that Oswald's Russian was so superior that he provided Offstein with coaching.

A problem that I have with Bill Simpich's article is that there are no source citations other than links to other internet resources and there is no bibliography.  For studies of Oswald, the goal should be to work closely with primary sources.  And there is no greater repository of documents and eyewitness testimony about Oswald than in the Baylor University archive.

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James,  I'm puzzled, most of the links in the article that I checked go to primary sources,  the documents themselves - existing on on the MFF site and available for immediate reference? 

 

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Dear Anthony and Larry,

Let me rephrase my point.  In good scholarly work, it is really helpful to see all of the sources within the document, cited at the bottom of the page, or referenced in a bibliography, as opposed to clicking on so many links.  The conventional source citations would allow us to learn that the author is working closely to Mary Ferrell site, but not much beyond that for a diverse set of sources.

Setting aside the matter of primary sources, the article strikes me as superficial, never probing deeply into the topics raised.  One example is that raised by Jim Hargrove about Oswald's ability to speak Russian.  Another is the author's attempt to the identify the "intimate" relationship of Oswald and "Don Alejandro" Ziger, whom he met in Minsk.  But the article never probes beneath of surface of understanding what actually was the intimate relationship of Oswald and the Ziger family and what it tells us about Oswald
.  The only point would appear to be that Oswald was given the nickname Alik by the family.  There is so much more to explore.

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Jim. The article is a preface. From memory the earlier incarnation of the text on another site ended with a long list of links and footnotes and citations. So maybe things are still forthcoming, particularly as we’ll ultimately have thirteen segments to read, and this is the first, and some might prefer seeing all those footnotes gathered in the one spot.

And in your second paragraph you criticise the work for being superficial and not probing matters more deeply - ‘there is so much more to explore’ etc. Simpich clearly agrees with you, as he made this article a preface, and there’s another deeper article coming each week for the next twelve weeks to expand the argument over twelve more essays. So maybe judge those before you dismiss the piece under discussion as glib.

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Anthony,

Thank you.  I will keep an open mind to forthcoming articles.  At the same time, I want to take a stand on what I believe constitutes good scholarship versus substandard work.  Even if the essay is preface, the author should still have the obligation to guide the reader carefully through the selected source materials.  Instead of linking the reader to a document at a principal hub like the Mary Ferrell site, each item needs to be carefully identified in context.  Was the document an excerpt from Warren Commission testimony?  Was it from a newspaper article?  Was it from the HSCA?  Was it declassified by the ARRB?   The only way to weigh the evidence is for the author to take the time to identify the context of each source.  And that has not happened in the preface.

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