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Richard Case Nagell Revisited


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Dick may very well have said that, in fact Nagell may have said that....but if so I would suspect that Nagell confabulated two people into Bob as he presented him to Dick.  If I recall my discussions with Dick correctly that was one reason he could not buy into Hecksher as the Bob who sent Nagell after Oswald.

And for that matter,  I can't see Hecksher sending Nagell off after Oswald - for what reason - or if so never contacting him again.  

Plus if Nagell was playing both sides in Tokyo, because he was so upset about dirty tricks....and if that would compromise him...it would be Soviet intel that would know that, not Hecksher.  If Hecksher had known it Nagell would have been dealt with in Tokyo and not promited within Army CI.  

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Larry,

Can it be stated with a high degree of confidence, that RCN is the source that claimed LHO was approached by Cuban exiles impersonating themselves as Castro G2 agents. To the best of my knowledge, prior to the publication of TMWKTM, such a scenario has never been presented.

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43 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

Dick may very well have said that, in fact Nagell may have said that....but if so I would suspect that Nagell confabulated two people into Bob as he presented him to Dick.  If I recall my discussions with Dick correctly that was one reason he could not buy into Hecksher as the Bob who sent Nagell after Oswald.

And for that matter,  I can't see Hecksher sending Nagell off after Oswald - for what reason - or if so never contacting him again.  

Plus if Nagell was playing both sides in Tokyo, because he was so upset about dirty tricks....and if that would compromise him...it would be Soviet intel that would know that, not Hecksher.  If Hecksher had known it Nagell would have been dealt with in Tokyo and not promited within Army CI.  

One of the reasons I asked: If Hecksher was double agent "Bob," and "Bob" threatened to expose Nagell to US authorities...where would that have left Hecksher's career?

Edited by David Andrews
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That really never made any sense to me at all.....especially given that it would have to have occurred at the same time Nagell

was going to the US embassy, offering to defect and give information to an adversary foreign power.......not sure that

anything that happened back in Tokyo would trump that.  Which is why my interpretation is that Hecksher may

indeed have used Nagell as a dangle in a CI op against the Cubans (one can wildly speculate that he might have

used him the same way to some extent in Japan) but Hecksher blackmailing Nagell into something relating to

Oswald makes no sense to me.  In fact Hecksher knowing or caring about Oswald at the time of the missile crisis makes

no sense to me. 

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1 hour ago, David Boylan said:

Hecksher became the Project Case officer for AMWORLD in 1963. Wouldn't that be a huge promotion for him? Doesn't make sense if he was "Bob" and a  double agent.

Trying to decipher the Richard Case Nagell story is like looking for a straight line in a spaghetti bowl. 

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As David said,  Hecksher was given a major headquarters assignment in 1963, one directly from SAS Chief Fitzgerald.  Prior to that he had been a Chief of Station in Laos, done some deep counterintelligence work in the border regions of that country after taking criticism for being to radically anti-Communist by the Ambassador to Laos (Hecksher was well respected for his ability to operate under cover, first demonstrated in the Guatemala operation) and after that was appointed to COS in Tokyo, a premier job in the Far East.  He was brought back into headquarters staff as something of a very high level troubleshooter,  which would explain a special assignment to Mexico City. 

All of which is why Nagell might refer to him as Bob (since Hecksher had also been chief of the Berlin Operation Base) but as with everything else about Nagell he did spin his own webs, he did confabulate and misdirect and it makes no sense that after his abortive defection (which might well have been arranged under Hecksher) that Hecksher would be the guy who sent him off after Oswald.

As Ben says, there are few if any straight lines when dealing with Nagell, its all "situational" as per his own agenda at a given time.  Which is why, at this point, my interest in him is really only that summer in New Orleans and whether or not he corroborates approaches by anti-Castro Cubans presenting themselves as Castro agents to Oswald and recruiting him for some special action directed in the Baltimore/DC area.  If true that would have been the first step in drawing him into a particular set of contacts - but its critical to remember that what Nagell was warning about was something on the East Coast, not about Dallas. 

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3 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

All of which is why Nagell might refer to him as Bob (since Hecksher had also been chief of the Berlin Operation Base) but as with everything else about Nagell he did spin his own webs, he did confabulate and misdirect and it makes no sense that after his abortive defection (which might well have been arranged under Hecksher) that Hecksher would be the guy who sent him off after Oswald.

 

It's true, and what David Boylan says is true.  I really need to review the "Bob" saga as presented to Dick Russell., and compare it ti the latest estimates.

Still, somebody gave Nagell funding and put him in play, as you point out in the Wilson interview.  Somebody he could jerk around a bit by ducking into VA hospitals, visiting relatives, etc.

Among similarities between Oswald and Nagell, as discussed with Wilson, Nagell is also in a position to be subverted by persons whose affiliations are unclear to him, and to be moved around geographically like a pawn.  (Which is why I wondered above if any chicanery making him think he'd been doubled by the Russians might have been manufactured by CIA to give him an imperative.)  So, when Nagell told Oswald he was being played, I feel it was from a very real sense that he himself was in the same fix and recognized the signs.

Benjamin Cole, if nothing else, Nagell is an important monitor of the way Agency and KGB methods played out in the Kennedy period.  One just has to decide, after ongoing serious consideration, how important his knowledge and experience were to JFKA research.

Edited by David Andrews
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1 hour ago, Benjamin Cole said:

Trying to decipher the Richard Case Nagell story is like looking for a straight line in a spaghetti bowl. 

My impulse with Nagell (and Dick Russell's book) has been to proceed like a screenwriter and try find the through line of the story, the line that leads from A to B and onward.  However, Larry's interview with Wilson makes the important point that researchers often proceed backward from a significant event and try to reverse-engineer the circumstances that "created" it, as if they were stone-set principals.  When, really, chance, change of plans, improvised methods and human perversity have to accounted for - "perverse engineering," if you will.

Edited by David Andrews
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16 hours ago, David Andrews said:

Larry, check if I have this convoluted story in order, and give me an opinion on my question, please. 

  • Harry Hecksher was "Bob," and "Bob" presented himself to Nagell as a double agent for Russia
  • "Bob" coerced Nagell into surveilling Oswald for the Soviets
  • If Nagell refused, he would face exposure for a previous action "Bob" had gotten Nagell to unwittingly perform for the Soviets

If that's all correct as we know it...is there any way "Bob"/Hecksher could have lied about being doubled by the Soviets, and was actually stage managing Nagell's pursuit of Oswald for CIA or some part of the intelligence apparatus?

"Bob" was the nickname for the Berlin Operating Base which housed many of the cold war recruits and spooks from the east and was run by Hecksher for a time. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this was a play off of that and RCN may have connected with him there or was at least aware of it. BOB was the CIA hotbed for a long time and actually still stands and can be found on Google maps.

In case you're interested: 19 Fohrenweg Berlin. Still has the car park and everything.

21 Föhrenweg - Google Maps

Edited by Bob Ness
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1 hour ago, David Andrews said:

Still, somebody gave Nagell funding and put him in play, as you point out in the Wilson interview.  Somebody he could jerk around a bit by ducking into VA hospitals, visiting relatives, etc.

Nagell could get around quite a bit with just his benefits as an retired Officer flying space available and using BOQs. A frugal retired officer can do a lot.

Edited by Bob Ness
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2 minutes ago, David Boylan said:

When was Hecksher in Berlin? We know he was in Havana in 1960 when he recruited Emilio Rodriguez.

Not certain off the top of my head. The CIA declassified a fairly long document I believe was written by Dana Durand about the first couple of years of BOB (49-50??). Hecksher was mentioned in it but I forget now in what capacity. The document was prepared to get the new guy up to speed I believe although I could be wrong about that. It's been year since I've read it but I believe I posted a link to it in here somewhere.

Harvey headed it up also - I wonder why it couldn't be him? He was slithering around at that time in the hemisphere also.

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Mr. Boylan,  you of all people - if you will pull out your much used copy of SWHT 2010 and consult Appendix B / Crossing Paths in the CIA you will find "It All Started with BOB", detailing Mr. Hecksher's entry into the CIA from his time with the OSS and his activities at BOP immediately after the war in Germany before joining others with a history at BOB (including David Morales) in Guatemala...

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1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

Mr. Boylan,  you of all people - if you will pull out your much used copy of SWHT 2010 and consult Appendix B / Crossing Paths in the CIA you will find "It All Started with BOB", detailing Mr. Hecksher's entry into the CIA from his time with the OSS and his activities at BOP immediately after the war in Germany before joining others with a history at BOB (including David Morales) in Guatemala...

Ha! But it was Appendix B!

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