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CIA Document: Of Moles and Molehunters


John Simkin
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A good friend has sent me a copy of a CIA monograph published in October, 1993. It was obtained under the JFK Act in November, 2003. The document is written by Cleveland C. Cram, who worked for the CIA between 1949 and 1975, eventually serving as Chief of Station in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Cram was a member of the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Established in February 1975 as an in-house think tank, its publications were used for in-service training.

The document is entitled “Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature”. Cram looks at the reliability of information found in books about the American and British intelligence agencies. It is in fact very revealing as it looks at the sources that the authors used and the conclusions they came to in their books.

Cram praises certain authors for writing accurate accounts of these covert activities. He is especially complimentary about the following authors: David C. Martin (Wilderness of Mirrors), Gordon Brook-Shepherd (The Storm Birds), Andrew Boyle (The Climate of Treason), David Wise (Molehunt) and Thomas Mangold (Cold Warrior). Cram points out that these authors managed to persuade former CIA officers to tell the truth about their activities. In some cases, they were even given classified documents.

Cram is particularly complimentary about the Wilderness of Mirrors, a book about the exploits of William Harvey and James Angleton. He points out that Martin does “not name his sources, footnote the book, or provide a bibliography and other academic paraphernalia” but is invariably accurate about what he says about the CIA. Cram adds that luckily Martin’s book did not sell well and is now a collectors item (I have just managed to order a copy from Abebooks – they still have other copies if you are interested).

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchRe...IRRORS&sortby=2

Cram is particularly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald and Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Legend… gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently.”

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Cram is particularly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald and Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Legend… gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently.”

Cram was singularly well situated to pass such a judgement. Freshly retired after a quarter century at the Agency, Cram was drafted by Kalaris and Shackley to do a review of the Agency's counter-intelligence history, and was eventually granted access to all the super-classified files needed to do the job. What was originally supposed would be about a one year effort lasted six years, and Cram generated a twelve volume analysis of Angleton's work, each volume between 300 and 400 pages in length. If a single person inside CIA knew fact from fiction, truth from trash, it was Cram. Though the twelve volumes have yet to be made available to anyone in the general public, to my knowledge, the monograph you cite no doubt reflects the knowledge Cram obtained in the process. His view should be taken more seriously than those of just about everyone else in the Agency.

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Cram is particularly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald and Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Legend… gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently.”

Cram was singularly well situated to pass such a judgement. Freshly retired after a quarter century at the Agency, Cram was drafted by Kalaris and Shackley to do a review of the Agency's counter-intelligence history, and was eventually granted access to all the super-classified files needed to do the job. What was originally supposed would be about a one year effort lasted six years, and Cram generated a twelve volume analysis of Angleton's work, each volume between 300 and 400 pages in length. If a single person inside CIA knew fact from fiction, truth from trash, it was Cram. Though the twelve volumes have yet to be made available to anyone in the general public, to my knowledge, the monograph you cite no doubt reflects the knowledge Cram obtained in the process. His view should be taken more seriously than those of just about everyone else in the Agency.

It doesn't require a stack of books to understand that Angleton was a prolific propagator of deceptive orchids. It makes it very hard to unravel his deceit. Such a stack may certainly help.

There are aspects of his life that indicates he was also capable of telling the truth. The trick lies in understanding how he thinks. As such a study of Angleton can be very important in this investigation. Personally I wish more attention would be spent in discussing him and his life.

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Cram is particularly critical of the work of Edward J. Epstein (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald and Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA). Cram makes it clear that Epstein, working with James Angleton, was part of a disinformation campaign. Cram writes: “Legend… gave Angleton and his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently.”

Intriguing post, but I am inclined to give Epstein the benefit of the doubt - i.e I think he was deceived along with nearly everyone else. That is not such a great disgrace on Epstein's part: Bear in mind that if he was deceived, then he was deceived by the best in the business. Epstein, who is a very bright man (taught at Harvard, etc) and from my experience a perfect gentleman, reminds me of the old adage about Clever John. "Clever John could name a horse in seven languages, but bought a cow to ride on."

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Cram was singularly well situated to pass such a judgement. Freshly retired after a quarter century at the Agency, Cram was drafted by Kalaris and Shackley to do a review of the Agency's counter-intelligence history, and was eventually granted access to all the super-classified files needed to do the job. What was originally supposed would be about a one year effort lasted six years, and Cram generated a twelve volume analysis of Angleton's work, each volume between 300 and 400 pages in length. If a single person inside CIA knew fact from fiction, truth from trash, it was Cram. Though the twelve volumes have yet to be made available to anyone in the general public, to my knowledge, the monograph you cite no doubt reflects the knowledge Cram obtained in the process. His view should be taken more seriously than those of just about everyone else in the Agency.
Intriguing post, but I am inclined to give Epstein the benefit of the doubt - i.e I think he was deceived along with nearly everyone else. That is not such a great disgrace on Epstein's part: Bear in mind that if he was deceived, then he was deceived by the best in the business. Epstein, who is a very bright man (taught at Harvard, etc) and from my experience a perfect gentleman, reminds me of the old adage about Clever John. "Clever John could name a horse in seven languages, but bought a cow to ride on."

As Robert points out, Cram is an important investigator that should not be ignored. It should also be remembered that when Cram wrote this he did not know it would one day enter the public domain.

Cram does not take the view that Epstein was fooled by Angleton. Instead he believes he was a willing conspirator in the plan to mislead the American public. According to Cram, Epstein virtually admitted this in an interview in May 1989 when he confessed that he never really believed Angleton’s stories.

The important point is that researchers like Gus Russo and Joe Trento (another one that Cram criticizes for believing Angleton's disinformation stories) continue to write books and articles claiming that Angleton was telling the truth about Cuban and KGB plots to kill JFK. This in turn helps to convince others like Tim Gratz to believe this nonsense.

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Cram was singularly well situated to pass such a judgement. Freshly retired after a quarter century at the Agency, Cram was drafted by Kalaris and Shackley to do a review of the Agency's counter-intelligence history, and was eventually granted access to all the super-classified files needed to do the job. What was originally supposed would be about a one year effort lasted six years, and Cram generated a twelve volume analysis of Angleton's work, each volume between 300 and 400 pages in length. If a single person inside CIA knew fact from fiction, truth from trash, it was Cram. Though the twelve volumes have yet to be made available to anyone in the general public, to my knowledge, the monograph you cite no doubt reflects the knowledge Cram obtained in the process. His view should be taken more seriously than those of just about everyone else in the Agency.

Intriguing post, but I am inclined to give Epstein the benefit of the doubt - i.e I think he was deceived along with nearly everyone else. That is not such a great disgrace on Epstein's part: Bear in mind that if he was deceived, then he was deceived by the best in the business. Epstein, who is a very bright man (taught at Harvard, etc) and from my experience a perfect gentleman, reminds me of the old adage about Clever John. "Clever John could name a horse in seven languages, but bought a cow to ride on."

As Robert points out, Cram is an important investigator that should not be ignored. It should also be remembered that when Cram wrote this he did not know it would one day enter the public domain.

Cram does not take the view that Epstein was fooled by Angleton. Instead he believes he was a willing conspirator in the plan to mislead the American public. According to Cram, Epstein virtually admitted this in an interview in May 1989 when he confessed that he never really believed Angleton’s stories.

The important point is that researchers like Gus Russo and Joe Trento (another one that Cram criticizes for believing Angleton's disinformation stories) continue to write books and articles claiming that Angleton was telling the truth about Cuban and KGB plots to kill JFK. This in turn helps to convince others like Tim Gratz to believe this nonsense.

----------------------

Not that I would know anything about "Clyde" Cram !! His older brother "Jack" was a WWII Marine Corps hero. He strapped two torpedoes onto the struts of a PBY "Catalina" and nearly sank a Jap Cruiser in the Central Pacific. [The PBY was designed only for dropping ant-submarine depth charges, and never expected to mount external bombs, much less torpedoes]

I flew with the late Colonel "Jack" Cram (USMC) while at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, T. H. during 1956-58, while he was Operations Officer for H & MS Squadron-15, MAG-15, 3rd MAW, 1st Marine Brigade]

Gerry

___________________________________________

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  • 2 weeks later...
The Cram monograph was published in "Studies in Intelligence", the official organ of the CIA. I believe it is available on-line. Time permitting I will try to get a copy myself.

Moles and Molehunters was a CIA internal document that was produced in October, 1993. The Studies in Intelligence was not the official organ of the CIA. You are obviously getting confused with The Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). This was established as an in-house think tank in 1975. The CSI was responsible for inservice training and commissioned Moles and Molehunters. The document was declassified on 11th October, 2003, as part of the JFK Act. The document was written by Cleveland C. Cram, Chief of Station in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. He retired in 1992.

The purpose of Cram’s investigation was to discover the sources for 18 books published about the covert activities of the American, British and Canadian intelligence agencies between 1977 and 1992.

Cram pointed out that the first book that caused alarm was Edward Epstein’s book, Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. It became clear that Epstein had a source from within the CIA. However, he had used this information to write lies about what the CIA had been up to. Cram concluded that Epstein was part of a disinformation campaign. The question was – who was he working for?

Cram discovered that Epstein’s main informant was James Jesus Angleton. Cram established that Epstein was a willing participant of a disinformation campaign being organized by Angleton (two other former CIA agents, Bagley and Miler were also part of this campaign). They were also helped in this by a MI5 agent named Peter Wright. Angleton and Wright both believed that the KGB had reached the upper echelons of both the American and British agencies.

Another source was Clare Petty, who worked for Angleton. The CIA discovered this and he received a warning and came close to being fired. Interestingly, Petty later speculated that Angleton was a KGB agent. This was based on the harm that Angleton’s beliefs had on both the American and British intelligence agencies. Along with Peter Wright, Angleton had argued that top MI5 officials such as Guy Liddell, Victor Rothschild, Roger Hollis and Graham Mitchell, were KGB spies. Ironically, he had never suspected Kim Philby as a spy, in fact they were close friends. The theory goes that it was Philby via Angleton, who seriously damaged MI5 by planting information suggesting that it had been completely infiltrated by the KGB.

There were other authors who were willing to make use of information supplied by Angleton. This includes Widows by Joe Trento and William Corson. Cram rather harshly that this book was not “reputable by even the generally low standards of most counter-intelligence writing”.

Cram points out that some of these journalists had found CIA and FBI insiders to tell the truth about covert activities that took place in the 1960s and 1970s. This included David Martin’s Wilderness of Mirrors (1980), David Wise’s Molehunt (1987), Ron Kessler’s Spy v Spy (1988), John Ranelagh’s The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (1988) and Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior (1991). These authors also interviewed Angleton. However, they also interviewed other CIA officers and discovered he was lying to them.

The document was produced for CIA officers. He even includes a list of books they should and should not read in order to discover what the CIA was up to in the 1960s and 1970s. The books that he tells these officers not to read include the books by Joe Trento and Edward Epstein. Also on this list is Thomas Powers’ The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms (1979). He points out that much of what Powers writes about the CIA is inaccurate.

Cram especially likes Martin’s Wilderness of Mirrors. Martin portrays Angleton as “self-centred, ambitious, and paranoid”. Cram points out that Epstein wrote a review of the book in the New York Times that was full of “vituperative comments, loose charges, and what some might consider character assassination” (page 30). Cram believes that Epstein wrote the review on behalf of Angleton.

The major villain in this report is Edward Epstein. Cram, writing about his book, Deception: The Invisible War: “Like Legend, it is propaganda for Angleton and essentially dishonest” (page 60).

Cram also likes Tom Mangold’s book on Angleton (Mangold is a much respected investigative journalists in the UK). “It is an honest and accurate book. Mangold’s conclusion is inescapable: something was seriously wrong with CIA counterintelligence under Angleton. Some trait in the man’s character, at once attractive and repulsive – his intellectual arrogance perhaps – apparently led him to make serious misjudgements”. (page 66)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cleveland Cram, the son of a farmer from Waterville, was educated at St. John's University, a Benedictine school in Minnesota. He obtained a master's degree in history at Harvard University before joining the United States Navy. He served in the South Pacific during the Second World War.

After the war Cram returned to Harvard for his Ph.D. He intended to become an academic but in 1949 was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1953 he was sent to work in London where he got to know Kim Philby. In 1958 Cram returned to head office where he ran the British desk. This was followed by a second spell in England before serving as chief of station in Canada.

Cram was appointed Deputy Chief of Station in Europe. After nine years he became Chief of Station in the Western Hemisphere. He retired from the CIA in 1975. The following year he met George T. Kalaris and Ted Shackley at a cocktail party in Washington. Kalaris, who replaced James Angleton, as Chief of Counterintelligence, asked Cram if he would like to come back to work. Cram was told that the CIA wanted a study done of Angleton's reign from 1954 to 1974. "Find out what in hell happened. What were these guys doing."

Cram took the assignment and was given access to all CIA documents on covert operations. The study entitled History of the Counterintelligence Staff 1954-1974, took six years to complete. As David Wise points out in his book Molehunt (1992): "When Cram finally finished it in 1981... he had produced twelve legal-sized volumes, each three hundred to four hundred pages. Cram's approximately four-thousand-page study has never been declassified. It remains locked in the CIA's vaults."

Cram continued to do research for the CIA on counterintelligence matters. In 1993 he completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature was declassified in 2003.

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Nosenko and the Orchid runner need a history book about them.

Cram wrote one but it is classified.

OF COURSE EPSTEIN has a conventional spin, we all know that

READ BETWEEN THE LINES

IF LEGEND:OSWALD is even halfway true, then DeMorenschildt was running Marina as an Agent,

and Oswald was a counterdefector in touch with his wifes counterintelligence handlers................

Oswald was a MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE

and if the Russians weren't running him, then the NAVY was

Edited by Shanet Clark
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Namebase entry on Cleveland Cram:

http://www.namebase.org/main1/Cleveland-C-Cram.html

Britain 1953-1963 Netherlands 1966 Canada 1971-1975

Agee,P. Wolf,L. Dirty Work. 1978 (50, 412-3)

Bellett,G. Age of Secrets. 1995 (188)

Corson,W. Trento,S.& J. Widows. 1989 (74-5)

CounterSpy 1976-W (26)

Dorril,S. MI6. 2000 (523, 651)

Dorril,S. Ramsay,R. Smear! 1992 (109)

Hersh,B. The Old Boys. 1992 (347)

Hersh,S. The Dark Side of Camelot. 1997 (382)

Lane,M. Plausible Denial. 1991 (154)

Leigh,D. The Wilson Plot. 1988 (16, 84-5, 103)

Lisee,J. In the Eye of the Eagle. 1990 (86-7, 89-93, 104)

Mangold,T. Cold Warrior. 1991 (345-6)

New York Times Magazine 1994-07-10 (36)

Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (466, 472, 474)

Spotlight Newspaper 1979-04-16 (45)

Thomas,E. The Very Best Men. 1996 (267, 315)

Trento,J. The Secret History of the CIA. 2001 (430-1)

Wise,D. Molehunt. 1992 (114, 255-8)

Wise,D. Nightmover. 1995 (275-6)

Wright,P. Spycatcher. 1987 (135, 274-5)

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This is the introduction to Cleveland C. Cram's, Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature (1993):

This monograph has two parts. The first is an essay on the counterintelligence literature produced from 1977 to 1992. The second contains reviews of selected books from that period. The essay and reviews concentrate on the major counterintelligence issues of the period. Highlighted are the controversial views of James Angleton, former head of CIA's Counterintelligence (CI) Staff, about the threat posed by Soviet intelligence operations. Also featured is Soviet defector Anatole Golitsyn, whose claims about Soviet operations had a compelling influence on Western counterintelligence services beginning about 1962 and until 1975.

The study focuses mainly on books about the American, British, and Canadian intelligence and security services as they dealt with the Soviet intelligence threat, although it also mentions the services of other West European countries such as France, West Germany, and Norway. Not every book on espionage and counterintelligence published between 1977 and 1992 is reviewed; only those that are historically accurate, at least in general, and were influential are assessed. Excluded are some recent works like Widows, by William R. Corson and Susan and Joseph Trento because they are not reputable by even the generally low standards of most counterintelligence writing.

No study exists on Angleton's efforts in retirement to spread his conspiracy and other theories through writers such as Edward J. Epstein. Nor has there been any substantial analysis of the impact in Britain of revelations such as the Blunt case, the false charges made against Sir Roger Hollis and his deputy, Graham Mitchell, nor of the events that led eventually to the famous Spycatcher trial in Australia. The books reviewed in this monograph appeared during these difficult times, and an effort has been made to put them in their historical perspective. Some of these publications, with their extreme assertions, distracted intelligence and security services from important challenges they faced in the last years of the Cold War. That they overcame these diversions reflects the common sense and decency exercised by leaders of intelligence services in the post-Angleton years...

The year 1974 was a watershed in literature about the CIA. Before that time, only a few outsiders, usually professional journalists, had written books critical of the Agency. Most of the others were neutral or even positive, especially those written by former Agency officials like Allen Dulles and Lyman Kirkpatrick. But in 1974 a disgruntled former Agency employee, Philip Agee, published his highly critical book Inside the Company: CIA Diary. Books by other ex-employees - J. B. Smith, John Stockwell, Victor Marchetti (with J. D. Marks), and R. W. McGehee - followed in quick succession, each exposing highly confidential material.

These authors usually wrote about subjects of which they had special knowledge, and the cumulative effect was to breach the walls of confidentiality that had protected Agency operations and personnel. Although the net effect was damaging-especially in the case of Agee, who disclosed the identities of officers serving abroad under cover-information about sensitive operations against the Soviet Union and its intelligence organs was not compromised.

A Turning Point

The change that occurred in the mid-1970s began when Edward J. Epstein published a series of articles that later, in 1978, were the basis for his book Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. The articles, and especially the book, publicized for the first time clashes that had occurred within the Agency between the Counterintelligence Staff and the Soviet Division over the bona fides of a KGB defector named Yuriy Nosenko.

Because Epstein's writings contained so much information about sensitive CIA and FBI operations, it was generally assumed he had a willing and knowledgeable source, either a serving officer (considered doubtful) or a retired senior person with wide knowledge of anti-Soviet operations overseas and in the United States. Neither the articles nor the book was annotated, however. Epstein stated that he had spoken occasionally with James Angleton, the retired chief of CIA's Counterintelligence Staff, but did not acknowledge that he was the source.

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Cleveland Cram points out in his study that the best book on what was really going on in the CIA in the 1960s is David C. Martin's, Wilderness of Mirrors (1980). Cram argues that although he gives no references in the book, Martin clearly had been talking to the right people. Martin's father, Joseph W. Martin, actually worked for the CIA for 23 years. Although he claims his father was not a source for his book (of course we all believe that) he was useful in putting him in touch with important people within the CIA.

Cram points out that Martin's book is a collectors item. However, it was republished by the Lyons Press in 2003. I have got a copy and it is indeed a fantastic book. It includes this passage which I think is highly significant in terms of the investigation of the JFK assassination.

How could the KGB even dream of pulling off so convoluted a scheme? "Helms and I have talked about this many times," a high-ranking officer said. "I do not believe that any son of a bitch sitting in Moscow could have any conception that he could dispatch Golitsin here and disrupt the Allied intelligence services to the extent he did. Nobody could have expected Angleton to buy it, lock, stock, and barrel." And no one sitting in Moscow could have predicted with any certainty that Nosenko would be fingered as a plant and thereby build up Golitsin. Furthermore, it seemed incredible that the KGB would entrust to an agent whose mission was to be discovered as a fraud the message that the Soviet Union had not had a hand in Kennedy's death. Such a plot could only fuel suspicions of Soviet complicity. It was true that Angleton's counterintelligence staff, although convinced that Nosenko was lying, had concluded that there was no evidence to support the contention that Oswald was working for the Russians when he killed Kennedy. But surely the KGB could not control the workings of the counterintelligence staff with so fine a hand.

Could not - unless they already had a man inside the counterintelligence staff who could influence the handling of the case. Who controlled the counterintelligence staff? Who had directed the handling of both Golitsin and Nosenko, championing Golitsin, denigrating Nosenko, yet stopping short of the conclusion that the KGB had ordered Kennedy shot? Who but James Jesus Angleton?

Such a case had indeed been outlined. It had the attraction that all conspiracy theories possess. It provided a cause commensurate with the effect. "The effect of Golitsin was horrendous," a chief of the Soviet Bloc Division said, "the greatest disaster to Western security that happened in twenty years." Now, for the first time, the possibility arose that the entire fiasco was not a self-inflicted wound but the work of an infernal Soviet machination. Who better to cast as the villain than Angleton himself? Two men who had headed the Soviet Bloc Division at different times, neither aware that an effort had been made to develop a case against Angleton, would make the same point in almost identical terms. "If I were to pick a Soviet agent at the Agency, it would be Angleton for all the harm he's done," said one. "There is just as much reason to say Angleton could be the guy because he has done so much to be destructive," said the other. Popov, Goleniewski, Penkovsky, Golitsin, Nosenko. Everything that had gone wrong could plausibly be traced to Angleton. Complexity became simplicity. With Angleton as the mole, the KGB could dispatch any number of false defectors confident that they would be handled according to plan. "He is the guy who is perfectly placed," one of the Soviet Bloc chiefs said. "He's even better to have than the Director." The Soviets had penetrated the counterintelligence operations of the British with Kim Philby and of the Germans with Heinz Felfe. Why not the CIA with Angleton?

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