THE FIRST RELEASE
by Joseph Backes
On July 21, 1995 the Assassination Records Review Board released in full 16 CIA documents that had been previously released in redacted form. This decision to release was a unanimous vote by the Board pursuant to their closed meeting on June 7, 1995. Material on these documents were given out at the June 28 Public Hearing in New Orleans. Included in this packet was a copy of the letter Mr. Marwell sent to the President. These documents relate primarily to the opening of Lee Harvey Oswald's 201 file and to certain issues relating to Oswald's visit to Mexico City. According to Mr. Marwell's letter, "The Review Board's decisions were premised on several factors including: (a) the significant historical interest in the documents in question inasmuch as they relate to core issues surrounding the CIA's records relating to Lee Harvey Oswald; (b) the absence of evidence that the release of the information would cause harm to the United States; and (c) the lack of evidence that the release of the information would cause harm to the persons whose names (or pseudonyms) are being revealed."
Well, I think this is a rather promising start. I am sure I speak for many when I say the research community would have wanted more. However, the Board is targeting certain groups of documents for release. That the first batch came from the CIA and relates to Mexico City and the opening of LHO's 201 file is very welcome news.
I believe the idea to target certain groups of documents that are known to exist and that certain members of the research community have specific and precise knowledge about grew out of the secret "Experts conference" that the Board held on May 16.
I know quite well that I am not an expert researcher and certainly not on either the topic of LHO's 201 file or the Mexico City story. I do look forward to when those with the knowledge to fit these fragments of the puzzle into place will do so. I suspect John Newman or Peter Dale Scott will have something to say on them at the upcoming COPA conference. Now with that disclaimer I will try to tell you what is new in this release. The Board very nicely did this for us by bracketing what is now no longer redacted.
In document #1, (Note: This is my numbering system. Do not use this to obtain a copy of the document. This is just the first document in my packet from the Board. They are stapled together. I am using the designation document #1, etc., for discussion purposes. I will give their Record Number and Agency number for each document I discuss; researchers should use both of these numbers to obtain a copy of the document. I hope that is clear to everyone.) Record Number : 104-10007-10037, Agency File Number : 201-289248 there are new tidbits of information. This is a 4 page document that concerns Elena Garro de Paz. It is dated December 25, 1965. All the newly released information was written onto the document and is not part of the actual text. In rather large handwriting on the top right hand side appears to be the name Scott. Some type of code is given for Sylvia Duran, namely, P-7969. On the second page there is more of this type of code. Eusebio Azcue is P6613, Emillio Carballido is P8253, General Jose Jesus Clark Flores is P7878, Ricardo Guerra is P8237 and Rosario Castellanos is P8234. On page three Manuel Calvillo is apparently given a "P' number, however, only the first two numbers are discernable (74). Eunice Odio is P6840. June Cobb appears to be singled out similarly to Manuel Calvillo. At the top of page three there is a line pointing to his name and back to "Extract to "P" file", also bracketed, not by the Review Board, in a similar fashion are the first three paragraphs of the page numbered 7, 8, and 9. On page 4 the first paragraph which is a continuation of paragraph 12 is a line that brackets the paragraph and refers back to the start of the paragraph on page 3 with the instruction "Extract to June Cobb", her number P4381 is bracketed by the Review Board as newly released information. Also on page four are the "P" numbers for Noe Palamares, P7223 and Victor Rico Galan P 7354.
The text of the document is about a party, September 2 or 3, 1963 at the home of Reuben Duran where Oswald was allegedly in attendance.
Now the questions I have are what is a "P" file and what do these numbers mean? What relation, if any, do these people have with the Central Intelligence Agency?
Document #2, CIA Record Number: 104-10007-10040, Agency File Number 201-289248 is a very intriguing document, almost all of which I cannot understand. It is dated December 29, 1965. It appears to be a cable. The Mexi legal attache interviewed Elena Garro De Paz and her daughter in November 1964 and failed to substantiate her allegations. (See document #1 for allegations and her story.) The document refers to two other cables Mexi 5741 and Mexi 5621,which is new information. There is a signature at the top left which is either "Walter' or "Walker", something like that. Also new is RYBAT GPFLOOR which is bracketed, by the Review Board. This is written in and not text, "DISSEM PER RYBAT GPFLOOR CABLES".
It was explained to me by John Judge that the GP is CIA crypt for very high officials in the United States government. GP/Floor is Lee Harvey Oswald. GP/Ideal is President John F. Kennedy. There is another GP for Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy but John forgot what the rest of the crypt was.
Document # 3, Record Number 104-10007-10043, Agency Number, 201-289248, is a one page document, dated December 27, 1965. There is a lot of marginilia here. Mr. Winston M. Scott was apparently sent a copy of this document. His name is bracketed as being newly released information. This document refers to the apparent dismissal of Mrs. Garro dePaz's allegations.
Document #4, Record Number 104-10007-10046, Agency file Number 201-289248 is a two page document, again on Elena Garro dePaz's story that she met Lee Harvey Oswald. The document is dated December 10, 1965. In handwriting at the top appears to be the signature of Stan W, this is bracketed and is new information. In the same handwriting is "What an imagination she has!?!" and "Should we send to HQs?" .
Document #5, Record Number 104-10007-10195, Agency File Number 201-289248. This is a one page document from "WIGREN" to "C/SR", a transmittal sheet concerning opening of files on U. S. defectors. It is dated April 13, 1964. The name Ann Egerter is bracketed and is newly released information. The first paragraph in the comments column reads, "Re your query of this morning the 201 file on Lee Harvey Oswald was opened on December 9, 1960 by CI/SIG (Ann Egerter)." Please read Oswald and the CIA by John Newman for further information on Ann Egerter.
Document #6, Record Number 104-10008-10109, Agency File Number 201-289248 appears to be Mexi cable 5621 which was referred to in document #2. This is a two page document, dated December 17, 1965. Page two of the document has the "DISSEM PER RYBAT GPFLOOR CABLES handwriting. There is a paragraph 4 wherein "LIONION and "LICHANT" are going to check Garro de Paz's statements. The last paragraph is bracketed by the Board, "LIONION LICHANT ONE". This appears to be code for one or two people.
Document #7 is rather a familiar looking document. Record Number : 104-10015-10052, Agency File Number : 201-289248. This document has graced the cover of the A.S.K. '92 program. The NARA RIF [Reader Identification Form] title is "Cable stating that Lee Oswald contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City inquiring whether the Embassy has received any news concerning a telegram which had been sent to Washington." The document is dated October 10, 1963. The subject is Lee Henry Oswald. The new information on the first page is in the upper left hand corner "C. Bustos WH/3 Mexico." On the second page the new information is Egerter's name next to CI/SIG and Roll's name next to SR/CI and L. N. Gallary's name and signature above C/WH/R. Please see Oswald and the CIA by John Newman pages 398-400 for more information.
Document #8, Record Number 104-10015-10093, Agency File Number 201-289248. This is a two page cable reporting on the movements of Kostikov at the Soviet Embassy. It is dated November 23, 1963.
Document #9, Record Number 104-10015-10153, Agency Number, 201-289248. This is a cable to Curtis from Knight. It is dated November 26, 1995. "Knight" is David Atlee Philips. Richard Helms signs off as the releasing officer. Knight is new information. Philips talked with U. Alexis Johnson about Ambassador Thomas Mann's request for an [ODENVY] officer to go to Mexico and investigate the Oswald case. "ODENVY" is the FBI. R. W. Herbet signed off as the authenticating officer as Chief of the Western Hemisphere division.
Document # 10, Record Number 104-10015-10154, Agency File Number 201-289248 is another cable to Curtis from Knight. Also dated November 26, 1995. U. Alexis Johnson spoke to Philips and informed him that Hoover considered that Mexi FBI office has all relevant information and was not disposed to send an agent down there. Philips wants to know if that is correct and if Curtis wants an agent anyway. Though this document is supposed to be open in full the authenticating officer's name appears to still be blacked out, at least to me.
Document # 11, Record 104-10015-10165, Agency File Number 201-289248. It is dated November 29, 1963. This is a classified cable message from CIA HQ to Mexico City Station. On the top left after the words "Immediate Mexi" is the word [Mana], which is new information. Then under that is [RYBAT GPFLOOR]. Then under that is Ref [MANA 4617]. There are two paragraphs to the cable. This cable is about someone going to Mexico even though Alvarado Ugarte may be in Mexican hands. Paragraph one begins, "Feel [Erthyroid 3] should go ...." I have no idea what this is about.
Document #12, Record Number 104-10015-10181, Agency File Number 201-289248 is a two page document. Page one is a routing and record sheet with the names Scott and Shaw on it. Page two is a classified message cable dated November 28, 1963. It is apparently from [LFBARKER] to the Dir of the Mexico city station. There is a [RYBAT GPFLOOR] above the first paragraph of the text. The text reads as follows.
1. REQUEST OPIM AUTHORIZATION TURN ALVARADO OVER TO [LITEMPOS] WITH BRIEF EXPLANATION HE CLAIMS TO BE WITNESS TO OSWALD IN CUBAN CONSULATE 18 SEPTEMBER, ADMITES IS IN MEXICO ILLEGALLY, ADMITS CP MEMBERSHIP, ADMITS VISITS TO SOVIETS, CLAIMS THAT CUBAN CONSULATE NOW INVOLVED IN DOCUMNENTING HIM WITH FALSE MEXICAN PAPERS FOR TRAVEL TO CUBA. LATER POINT ALONE WOULD GIVE MEXICAN AUTHORITIES GOOD REASON TO SUBJECT HIM TO DETAILED INTERROGATION.
2. WITH HQS APPROVAL OF TURN OVER STATION WOULD PLAN NO FURTER CONTACT WITH ALVARADO.
Let me tell you a little about Alvaredo Ugarte. His story appears in the Warren Commission Report (where he is identified as "D"), pp. 307-8, CE 3152. According to Photographic Whitewash, p. 306, "His fabrication is that he saw people in the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City give Oswald $6,500 to kill JFK. Nothing about this story stacked. But the CIA Mexico City Station passed it on in excited, uncritical haste, even though on the basis of time alone the story was a complete impossibility." Weisberg noted that his name was known and in the Warren Commission files, however, twelve years later the CIA hid the name pretending "national security" and refered to Ugarte as "D". The Schweiker committee was completely taken in by this. They also did this with AM/LASH when everyone knew he was Rolando Cuebela.
Document #13, Record Number 104-10050-10002, Agency File Number 80T01357A, is a one page document. It is titled "Delay in sending the first cable about Oswald". This appears to be part of a GPO volume that was published. There is a comment listed in the RIF that says "JFK : F1 1993.07.06.16 : 17:21:930150: Part of Vol 1, COPY 1 OF HELMS HEARING; COPIES 2-4 (BOX3) AND COPIES 5-7 AND 10 (BOX 4) ARE DUPLICATES AND ARE RETAINED IN HRG.
Document #14, Record Number 104-10050-10077, Agency File Number 80T01357A. This is a one page document. It is dated November 1, 1963. It is from CIA to Dir Mexico City. It is titled "Bulk Materials Being Sent Under Transmittal Manifest". These bulk materials were to be held under registry until picked up by Michael C. (?)H(?)ADE(N?). John Judge told me that was possibly a code name for David Atlee Philips.
Document # 15, Record Number104-10054-10023, Agency File Number JFK80T01357A. This is a 6 page document. It is from Chief of Station to Chief [KURIOT]. It is dated November 7, 1963. This document concerns the use of photographic equipment to photograph people entering and exiting the, I believe, Cuban consulate entrance. There are photographs included in this release. I do not know who they are but there are 6 photographs of very identifiable people here.
Document #16, Record Number 104-10054-10204, Agency File Number, 80T01357A. This document was published on page 463 of John Newman's book Oswald and the CIA completely unredacted. The Review Board thinks that Ann Egerter's name which appears twice in the document is new information. It isn't.
THE SECOND RELEASE
There has been a second batch of documents released in their entirety by the Board. This batch is pursuant to the Board's July 17th and 18th closed meetings, 16 FBI documents and 2 CIA documents. I found out about this at the August 3 open meeting of the Board. John Judge got the material and shared it with me. The Board gave John a two page list. One page had the FBI documents, the other page the CIA documents. The list contained only the originating agency's Record Number. I took this over to the Archives and tried to get the documents in redacted form. On Thursday I left the Board's list with people who pull the documents for you thinking they could pull them and have them ready for me Friday morning.
Well, they did nothing with it. I then filled out their request forms on Friday. And still nothing happened. I then made some noise about the uncooperativeness of the Archives staff. Now someone came. I was told that the Archives could not do this request. They could not, or would not, locate the documents for me. They said, now get this, they needed the RIFs from me! RIF's are Reader Identification Forms. They are created by the Archives. How the hell am I supposed to have them? I was ready to hit them. Surely you can match up the Record Number with the Agency Number? Surely, you can find the RIF? Surely, you can work with your own indexing system? No, was the repeated answer. The two people under Steve Tilley--a man named Roland, and a young woman whose name I didn't get--were giving me the runaround. I then called Tilley, who continued to give me the runaround. They then had to call the Review Board, have them fax over the RIF's, which the Archives already had, and now they could pull some documents for me. It is getting to be around 5 o'clock now and the Archives closes at 9 o'clock. They then pull out several grey boxes, put them on a cart and give it to me. I now have to go through at least ten boxes to find the documents. For one FBI document, they needed more time to find which FBI box it was in. Now instead of giving me the document in redacted form they went through all this nonsense to find out what box it was in. So I am searching through FBI field office files. I find nine of the 18 documents. I could not find the CIA documents and the remaining FBI documents were in the FBI HQ's file that someone else had pulled out, so I could not gain access to them. I noticed a lot of people researching JFK material. You can tell that people are researching JFK material because the Archives places a big red marker with your name on it on the outside of the grey boxes. I decided to return on Saturday and try to befriend whoever had the FBI HQ file out. I was out of luck as whomever it was had turned them back in.
The following are the Record numbers for the the documents. The ones marked with a star are the ones I got.
The CIA Documents
5 of the documents, 124-10006-10342; 124-10170-10064; 124-10244-10077; 124-10232-10345; and 124-10243-10367 (let's call them Document #1-5) are different copies of the same document. All refer you to FBI 105-82555-648. The Pittsburgh field office file is withholding page two in its entirety. You are not even allowed to see the page blacked out. If you go to the copy in the Cincinnati field office file then you can see page two blacked out. The Dallas field office file and the Cleveland field office file are similarly blacked out. The New York field office file is the least redacted, page two is completely open as is page three. Page one only blacks out two spaces which appear to be names of FBI informants.
The text of the document tells us about Arnold Johnson who was at a meeting of the Communist Party U.S.A. wherein the Assassination of President Kennedy was discussed. Johnson asked whether people were blaming the assassination on Marxism or on right wing activity. "Arnold Johnson several times stated Marxists were not to blame since such action did not follow theory of Marxism. Informants believed Johnson was trying to get over point that Oswald was working as someone's agent."
Document #6, Record Number 124-10070-10354, Agency File Number, 44-24016-329 is a one page document. It is from the Ruby file at FBI HQ. It is dated November 26, 1995. It is from the SAC in Houston to the Director. An informant called the Houston office about as telephone call he/she had with someone. This someone is a quote fixer and quote pay off contact unquote between things that are blacked out.
Document #7, Record Number 124-10108-10142, Agency File Number is 44-1639-299 is the same document from FBI Dallas field office file. Unfortunately, they seem to be redacted the same.
Document # 8, Record Number 124-10230-10425, Agency File Number 105-3702-10. This is an odd document. It is a cable, apparently. It is dated November 8, 1963. It is received by M. D. Crawford Jr. It states, "NO INFO LOCATED RE LEE HARVEY OSWALD."
Document #9, Record Number 124-10119-10078, Agency File Number,44-1639-32 is a one page document. It is from Special agents Charles T. Brown Jr. and Arthur E. Carter to SAC, Dallas. During an interview with someone in Dallas, Texas, on November 24 this someone received a long distance telephone call from the manager of the King's club in Oklahoma City, whom he did not identify, told him that Hubert Gibson, a lawyer, wants to represent Ruby, free of charge. "Blank" was requested to contact relatives of Ruby and advise them of this offer. How nice of the FBI to pass this info along.
So of the 9 I have there are really only 4 documents.
There is a third batch pending. I do not know how many documents are going to be released in this batch. I believe most if not all are CIA documents. The CIA is strenuously opposed to this release. John Newman is anxious about this and has called a meeting of the governing board of COPA. Jeremy Gunn hinted to John Judge, Dan Alcorn, and myself that something big was coming.
THE THIRD BATCH
On August 19th I received in the mail some news from the Board. These were notices of Review Board determinations. The first item concerned the closed meetings held August 2nd and 3rd. At these meetings the Board decided to release 37 CIA documents, sort of. Actually they are releasing 17 documents, postponing 13 until the Board reviews them again in December, postponing 5 until August in the year 2005, releasing one on July 7, 2015 at exactly 10:51:19 AM, so help me god this is what it says, and postponing one until the year 2017. All of these documents relate to Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico City. Notification was sent to the President on August 17 and he has 30 days to agree or disagree.
For the first time the Board voted to sustain the CIA's objections and some of the information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods would not be publiclly released at this time. The Board voted to introduce "substitute language which gives some relevant information in place of the redactions."
Well what do you think of that folks? Personally, I would just as soon have the redaction than some "substitute language".
The Board voted to release 393 of the 478 redactions.
Oh god, they are playing a numbers game. I think there are a few more million redactions to go.
The second item concerned information on the 15 FBI documents and the 2 CIA records.
The third item concerned the determination by the Board that all serials dated after January 1, 1960 in Sections 1-16 of the FBI Headquarters file on Sam Giancana, 92-3171 are "assassination records" pursuant to Sections 7(i)(2)(a) and 9(c)(1)(A) of the JFK Act and Sections 1400.1 and 1400.8 of the Guidance for Interpretation and Implementation of the JFK Act. The FBI has already processed sections 16-37 as assassination related.
The 37 CIA documents are as follows:
SD=Status of Document
NRD=Next Review Date
ARRB-R=Assassination Records Review Board-Release (Meaning the document may still have a redaction but it now has this many less)
RN ARRB-R SP SD NRD
104-10004-10195 3 3 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10004-10199 16 6 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10013 25 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10014 18 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10015 8 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10019 4 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10027 10 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10047 4 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10048 16 1 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10061 20 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10070 6 2 Postponed in Part 08/2005
104-10015-10074 1 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10080 1 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10091 8 3 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10092 0 1 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10114 4 1 Postponed in part 12/95
104-10015-10118 4 2 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10157 2 2 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10173 16 4 Postponed in Part 08/2005
104-10015-10176 3 1 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10015-10177 16 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10188 13 7 Postponed in Part 08/2005
104-10015-10212 1 1 Postponed in Part 08/2005
104-10015-10304 6 0 Open in Full
104-10015-10359 8 0 Open in Full on
07/21/2015 at 10:51:19AM
104-10018-10040 8 3 Postponed in Part 2017
104-10018-10064 4 3 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10018-10103 6 1 Open in Full *
104-10052-10056 60 0 Open in Full
104-10062-10001 19 19 Open in Full *
104-10086-10002 8 1 Postponed in Part 08/2005
104-10086-10003 6 0 Open in Full
104-10086-10005 5 0 Open in Full
104-10096-10001 29 19 Postponed in part 12/95
104-10096-10001 31 0 Open in Full
104-10125-10001 1 2 Postponed in Part 12/95
104-10125-10002 5 1 Postponed in Part 12/95
*Before you ask--yes, that is what is written and no I don't understand how it can have something postponed and still be "open in full" either.