OK, I know I said I would follow on with “connecting the dots” but I’ve received some queries about the second part of my last post that I thought should be addressed first.
“The second point, that no documentation of conspiracy has been uncovered in the files is….well either naive or intentionally obtuse….to think that any government agency would have solid evidence of conspiracy and leave it in files to be released is just ludicrous.”
That is a pretty strong statement and “ludicrous” is a strong word. Perhaps I would not have been as adamant before doing the research for NEXUS and Shadow Warfare but I’ve not seen way to many examples of CIA operating procedures that would prevent the types of documents we would love to see from ever being created in the first place – or more precisely getting into the headquarters file keeping system where they might be recovered during either an investigation or a release action.
First off, if you are following State Secret with Bill Simpich, or if you read NEXUS you will know that the files we would most want to see on Lee Oswald would have been in Angleton’s special CI collection, in his own private vault. That collection was never merged with the overall Agency file system and Angleton even used his own crypts and project designations, not part of the overall system either. And what happened to those files, which were never shared with any investigative body. Well the safes were drilled out…even his own staff did not have the combination, the material was reviewed by only a handful of select people who were apparently aghast at some of the contents and it was all destroyed. Done, over. OK, what would you want next, lets say its the FBI subversive files related to Lee Oswald or the even more important informant files reported by a credible FBI office employee in New Orleans. Either gone or denied, your choice. Well lets take another shot at it, the joint FBI/CIA Cuba project built around putting controlled FPCC members into Cuba and which worked so beautifully on its first attempt….AMSANTA. Well guess what, that whole project either just imploded and vanished about the time of Oswald’s visit to Mexico City – at least all the memorandums and reports on it ceased, or vanished.
But lets back off and benchmark expectations a bit. I’m afraid that in general researchers have treated the Agency as far too much of a single entity, with such a tight security and chain of control that headquarters would actually know what was going on in the field, and have files on it. Well that’s just not necessarily true. In Shadow Warfare I review a whole set of actual practices that contest that view, with examples ranging from Cuba to Angola to Afghanistan. Certainly very few people ever truly knew what was going on with counter intelligence but even with normal field operations it was standard procedure to use soft files which were not part of the master control system, to write memos which the author knew to be untrue or incomplete (no, that did not only happen in regard to Oswald and Mexico City). And in several instances I describe statements from CIA field personnel who themselves were told to do one thing and put something different in their reports to headquarters, or to never mention certain words, terms or people in their headquarters communications. To paraphrase one officer, it was not unusual for the agency to lie to itself, or to leave inaccuracies uncorrected. Why would you do that, for security purposes and for deniable. And not bringing forth information when asked was justified by compartmentalization - not responding to queries was valid if those asking were not cleared for the information. It gets even worse when the field was dealing with incidents that conflicted with headquarters policy, probably the worst instance of that was the fiasco in Afghanistan with the Pakistani ISI hijacking of the Afghan insurgency. The field knew about it and headquarters simply told them to shut up and stop sending reports.
So, was I harsh in my assessment of what we could expect to find in CIA files, you can be the judge. There is a ton of good stuff in what has been released, it all helps us to understand what was going on and establish the context for events in 1963, but when we are challenged that all those releases provide no specific proof of a conspiracy, I really can’t take it seriously. Anyone who would ask that is either playing games or doesn’t understand the CIA at even a basic level.
– Larry, now entering his opinion stage….