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CIA and Walnut


Steve Thomas
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This really isn't apropos to anything special. It's just an observation of an aspect of the JFK assassination that I don't think has been explored much. For example, I wonder how much info on Oswald might be found in the old Walnut files?

 

You can see a reference to this system on page 6 in the document entitled: “DCI John McCone and the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy”

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB493/docs/intell_ebb_026.PDF

that Douglas Caddy referred to in his thread, “CIA report concluded director led JFK assassination coverup

 

According to Wikipedia, Walnut used an IBM 1360 data retrieval and name trace system employing IBM punch cards and microfilm. Paper documents were microfilmed and then the pages were scanned and input into IBM punch cards. The cards were keyword searchable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_1360

 

I had been doing some reading on the 507th Army Security Agency Group in Germany in the 1950's and 60's. The soldiers talked about using IBM punch cards in their work. Several said that there was a job waiting for them at IBM when their hitch was over.

 

(Source: Email from John O'Neil)

My next duty station (after Vint Hill Farms) was with the 507th USASA Group (Field Army) at Heilbronn am Neckar. We had 4 -2½ ton trucks with expandable sides that held all our IBM equipment that ran off portable diesel generators (one per truck).

 

Jim Campbell in his email said “(When I was in, no 206 had ever re-enlisted - IBM had a job ready for them when they got out.)” When I got out I went to the IBM office in San Francisco, showed them my diploma with TJ Watson’s signature and asked for a job, they asked me what I knew about computers, so I told them I’d seen one in Germany. I got the hint when they said ‘Goodbye, thanks for stopping in”.

"Late in 1962 was not the time to look for a job repairing the soon to be obsolete IBM punched card machines! It all turned out for the best. I worked as a tab operator while I taught myself computer programming and all that stuff and lived happily ever after. My wife, our three children and I moved to Australia 40 years ago."

 

Hielbronn was where Dennis Ofstein of Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall fame and Thomas H. Crigler of the 507th were stationed.

 

The CIA used IBM computers and so did Army intelligence. The CIA report cited above says, "In his appearance before the Warren Commission, McCone encouraged other federal agencies to computerize their records to facilitate investigations." I wonder if the FBI's databases were computerized.

 

Steve Thomas

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Steve, you are making me feel old.  One of the pieces of equipment that I was trained on in the Air Force was the IBM O26 data entry / card punch machine.  The training was primarily on repair.  Lovely things with a ton of electro-mechanical relays in them, all of which could either jam or go out of adjustment.  No doubt the skill of adjusting mechanical relays like those has passed into history now.

The machine could do data entry on each card from a keyboard and print the cards.  You could also run a card deck to reenter the data into a computer, which we did,  but that took ages.  At that time, even in 1970, the computer storage was still on read/write memory cores, an early form of digital storage.

I was very surprised by the comment below:

"Paper documents were microfilmed and then the pages were scanned and input into IBM punch cards. The cards were keyword searchable."

It sounds like paper documents were microfilmed and separately somehow scanned to put on IBM punch cards.  I can see a limited amount of data going onto the punch cards that I was familiar with - those were normally used for putting in computer programming code.  I would think the content would be restricted to say a name and some very basic profile info. Perhaps something similar to the FBI index card entries? Fitting a whole document onto a punch card would have been a real challenge; would love to have seen that system.

All of which is irrelevant other than the fact that you took me back in time several decades...grin.

 

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44 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

Larry,

 

Steve, you are making me feel old. 

I was very surprised by the comment below:

"Paper documents were microfilmed and then the pages were scanned and input into IBM punch cards. The cards were keyword searchable."

It sounds like paper documents were microfilmed and separately somehow scanned to put on IBM punch cards.

All of which is irrelevant other than the fact that you took me back in time several decades...grin.

 

I could have mis-read the Wikipedia entry I cited.

That's not un-heard of. *grin*

 

Glad I could take you for a stroll down memory lane. I've got a line on walkers if you need one. :-)

 

Steve

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