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David Christ aka Daniel Carswell


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I was wondering what people's views were on this somewhat mysterious character and if they have any further info to add. There is some information on him on Alan J Weberman's site and a photo comparison of him and the 'Frenchy' tramp which does look very similiar (but I don't really want to get ino a discussion of whether he is or isn't that tramp) but more a wider one. I've found there doesn't seem to be much info on him yet seems he is someone who deserves a further look.

I think he was a member of the CIA's technical services division and the HSCA tried to find out if he was in Dallas on the 22nd. This memo is rather interesting:

Attention: Roger Gabrielson

Subject: HSCA Request

Reference: HSCA Memo 77-0058/12 December 22, 1977 (OLC 77-5685)

1. Per your request concerning Item 1 of Reference the following information is submitted:

Question: DAVID L. CHRIST. Reported to have been in Dallas on November 22, 1963."

A. We have searched for time and attendance records on DAVID L. CHRIST to determine his duty status on November 22, 1963. We have been informed that T & A records for all employees have been destroyed, and therefore we do not know his duty status on November 22, 1963.

B. We have searched the financial records of DAVID L. CHRIST to determine if he was in travel status on November 22, 1963. We did find that CHRIST performed travel to Boston, Mass. on November 26, 1963, and returned to Washington, D.C., on November 27, 1963. Transmitted to you separately are copies of his travel voucher and Request for Advance of Funds concerning his travel to and from Boston. It may be worth noting that CHRIST signed the request for advance of funds on November 20, 1963, and his secretary signed a receipt for the advance of funds on November 21, 1963.

C. We have not conducted a search for any records, memos, letters, buckslips etc. that might be in our files and contain initials or a signature of CHRIST signifying action by him on November 22, 1963. Such a search would require an extensive effort, and may not prove fruitful, but we are willing to make the effort if requested.

D. In addition, we have not attempted to question or obtain statements from CHRIST'S colleagues who may recall seeing or talking with CHRIST on November 22, 1963. Once again we are not sure such an action would be fruitful, but we are willing to make an effort if requested."

[Roger Gabrielson, Harold P. Clark, Special Assistant DDS&T -1455-78 CIA FOIA 17477]

I wonder how the HSCA came to be interested in him in the first place - how did he come to their attention?

Does anyone know anything further about him like who he was connected with and if there is a possibility he was in Dallas that day? I did find a page with some other information on him a while back but this time it hasn't come up in google and I can't remember the URL. Unless it has disappeared.

Edited by Francesca Akhtar
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Francesca, Christ was one of the very first of the technical staff of the CIA - specialist in electronics including intercepts, bugs, etc.

He managed to get involved in a Cuban penetration to bug the Chinese in Havana but their operation went bad and they ended up just trying to steal the code books...he and his team were captured but the Cubans had no idea of his real stature or knowledge. CIA first tried to use Cuban criminal assets to break his team out of prison but gave up on that and eneded up supporting a legal action to get his team out as part of a general move to free Americans in prison there. Actually Martino met Christ and the team in prison and was added to the negotiation list as part of an effort to divert attention from Christ and his team.

Christ's wife was very upset with the Agency over all this and reportedly Christ was also quite upset and held the Agency responsible for his imprisonment. Beyond that his activities after return are unknown (at least to me) including why the HSCA would have thought he might be in Dallas....he was basically an electronics engineer not a covert operative.

-- I'll be interested to see what anyone else has on him... Larry

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Francesca, Christ was one of the very first of the technical staff of the CIA - specialist in electronics including intercepts, bugs, etc.

He managed to get involved in a Cuban penetration to bug the Chinese in Havana but their operation went bad and they ended up just trying to steal the code books...he and his team were captured but the Cubans had no idea of his real stature or knowledge. CIA first tried to use Cuban criminal assets to break his team out of prison but gave up on that and eneded up supporting a legal action to get his team out as part of a general move to free Americans in prison there. Actually Martino met Christ and the team in prison and was added to the negotiation list as part of an effort to divert attention from Christ and his team.

Christ's wife was very upset with the Agency over all this and reportedly Christ was also quite upset and held the Agency responsible for his imprisonment. Beyond that his activities after return are unknown (at least to me) including why the HSCA would have thought he might be in Dallas....he was basically an electronics engineer not a covert operative.

-- I'll be interested to see what anyone else has on him... Larry

I saw an article on him online a while back - basically an obituary.

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Francesca, Christ was one of the very first of the technical staff of the CIA - specialist in electronics including intercepts, bugs, etc.

He managed to get involved in a Cuban penetration to bug the Chinese in Havana but their operation went bad and they ended up just trying to steal the code books...he and his team were captured but the Cubans had no idea of his real stature or knowledge. CIA first tried to use Cuban criminal assets to break his team out of prison but gave up on that and eneded up supporting a legal action to get his team out as part of a general move to free Americans in prison there. Actually Martino met Christ and the team in prison and was added to the negotiation list as part of an effort to divert attention from Christ and his team.

Christ's wife was very upset with the Agency over all this and reportedly Christ was also quite upset and held the Agency responsible for his imprisonment. Beyond that his activities after return are unknown (at least to me) including why the HSCA would have thought he might be in Dallas....he was basically an electronics engineer not a covert operative.

-- I'll be interested to see what anyone else has on him... Larry

Hi Larry,

Thanks for the info. I didn't realise he had some links to Martino. I just think he must have some significance for the HSCA to have been interested in him, although knowing how they worked, they probably didn't follow up the leads.

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While I defer to Larry as the specialist in this area, if I remember correctly - from either Martino's book or the monotone recitation on 33/1/3 record that his sister gave me - Martino thought the CIA buggers were a joke, and could not have been part of a real CIA operation.

Martino himself was an electronics expert, hired originally by the Havana mob as an electronic security technician. When Martino heard the details of the purported CIA bug team arrested as bungling burglars- does this plot sound familair? - in a foreign embassy in Havana, he thought they were the Marx Brothers. Whatever their mission was when they got caught, it wasn't to bug the embassy, is what Martino concluded, while he was in jail in Cuba.

Whatever they were doing, they screwed up and got caught, and what they did before and after they were released would certainly be interesting

BK

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Bill, you can find extensive documents on this from the CIA's own effort to deal with the situation - one with

Christ's wife - who was very upset with the Agency and could have turned into a major security leak herself.

It's pretty clear that the effort was intending to bug the Chinese, it would have been an attractive

opportunity to get their codes in a relatively insecure situation. How and why Christ himself went in

having no real operational experience is quite unclear and indeed it did turn out that the whole thing

fell apart badly....any allusion to the Marx brothers might be unfair but this sounds more like an

engineering team trying to play covert operators without much luck, skill or training....well actually

if they had training maybe it was from Hunt as they come across about on the level of the Watergate

team.

What happened after their return would be interesting but their is a lot of good background on

the incident itself including the initial efforts to contact Cuban criminals to get them out of prison.

-- Larry

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I saw an article on him online a while back - basically an obituary.

I cannot find the obituary on the web.

According to Seymour Hersh (The Dark Side of Camelot) Christ was “the best break-in man the CIA had” (page 164).

No, I had a look too for the obituary but couldn't find it either. Do you remember the URL of it Gary?

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I saw an article on him online a while back - basically an obituary.

I cannot find the obituary on the web.

According to Seymour Hersh (The Dark Side of Camelot) Christ was “the best break-in man the CIA had” (page 164).

No, I had a look too for the obituary but couldn't find it either. Do you remember the URL of it Gary?

Sorry, no. As I recall it was a local newspaper; the story had a photo of Christ and some background about his CIA career, probably from the family. I posted a link to it on one of the forums at the time, but I don't think I saved it.

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I saw an article on him online a while back - basically an obituary.

I cannot find the obituary on the web.

According to Seymour Hersh (The Dark Side of Camelot) Christ was “the best break-in man the CIA had” (page 164).

No, I had a look too for the obituary but couldn't find it either. Do you remember the URL of it Gary?

Sorry, no. As I recall it was a local newspaper; the story had a photo of Christ and some background about his CIA career, probably from the family. I posted a link to it on one of the forums at the time, but I don't think I saved it.

Oh well maybe it will turn up. I'm still digging through the numerous documents I've found on him on the MF site. A lot of them are hard to make out the meaning of as lots seems to be forms with lots of CIA 'codespeak' or just pretty routine stuff but I will keep looking.....

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Hm...I found a doc. saying that Christ had clearance for something called 'Project Argon'. Tried looking that up in the MF database but didn't come up with anything else.

Anyone know what this project was?

Francesca,

there was a project Argon that was a subproject of the CIA's Project Corona, Argon dealt with Satellite image mapping of the USSR.

http://n3krozoft.com/_xxbcf67373.TMP/NSA/corona.html

http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/imint/corona.htm

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there was a project Argon that was a subproject of the CIA's Project Corona, Argon dealt with Satellite image mapping of the USSR.

http://n3krozoft.com/_xxbcf67373.TMP/NSA/corona.html

http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/imint/corona.htm

Thanks for that Dave! Interesting, I wonder what exactly he was doing in that, if that is the Project Argon referred to (and there doesn't seem to be another one I can find).

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  • 3 years later...

One night in Hemming Little Havana office he whipped out his dick, only kidding, he whipped out photos of Daniel Carswell and told me this was the third tramp. He also told me when I returned the photos to him make sure they dont stick together.

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