Those familiar with the full Nagell story will be well aware of the implications about his remarks on working in Mexico City, of the incident of his attempted “defection” at the US Embassy there, offering to provide intelligence information to foreign powers (and the lack of any response).  More importantly you will be aware of his story of being recruited by a CIA officer he had known earlier in Japan, where he had also crossed paths with Lee Oswald.

Although Nagell would only designate the individual as “Bob”, research over the past several years by myself and Dick Russell has raised the very good possibility that the individual was career intelligence officer Henry Hecksher.  One of the missing elements of that identification has been the ability to place Hecksher in the Cuba project prior to 1963 when was assigned to lead the Artime autonomous group project, and the CIA element of that project designated as AMWORLD (run out of LORKE at the Miami JMWAVE station).

Further study of Hecksher in project documents, aided and abetted by my buddy Bill Simpich, has resulted in the probable identification of Hecksher’s crypt as Nelson L. Raynock (he also used a couple of pseudo names but that’s a dicsucssion for another time).

The relevance of that identification is that taking that to the NARA quick search tool and to the MFF search engine shows that indeed Hecksher would have been involved in collection of Cuban intelligence as early as 1960, and continuing with a special interested in the MRR and Artime though the period before he was personally assigned to the Artime project. Nagell reported that “Bob” had assigned Artime as one of the primary targets for Nagell’s intelligence collection, in particular “Bob” was very concerned about Artime contacts with fringe exiles and with what information might be leaking from Artime. Given that AMWORLD documents show the same ongoing concern by Hecksher, it all seems very consistent – and Nagell’s lose of contact with “Bob” occured at approximately the same time that Hecksher went into his full time Artime project assignment, taking him out of a good deal of his covert travel and putting him a full time management position.

Hopefully this will turn into an ongoing story, perhaps one day we will learn as much about the mysterious Mr. Hecksher’s role in Cuban operations as we have dome to know about El Indio.

— Larry





About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

7 responses »

  1. Ingemar says:

    The double-agent project or operation Dick Russell writes about was a Soviet / Satellite ( SOV / SAT ) operation, called LI / COZY. One of the case officers in the Soviet / satellite section in the Mexico City station was Robert Steele ( Philip Agee, Inside the Company – CIA Diary, pp. 528 – 530 and p. 621 ).

    • Ingemar, I will check with Dick on that project crypt, to my knowledge the LI/COZY crypt has never been verified. It would be a Mexico City station prefix (LI) but the crypts we have been able to document and corroborate can be reviewed here:

      I’m not sure if the double agent op you mentioned referred to Oswald or Nagell, Oswald I suspect. As far as Oswald is concerned, the ops going on around Oswald in Mexico City were multiple, possibly three separate operations (Angleton, Fitzgerald, Phillips) as well as very possibly a local SOV/SAT operation relating to Kostikov. What we have recently been able to dope out about all those games is in Nexus, hopefully my friend Bill Simpitch, the current expert on the subject, will be publishing a book one of these days which will tell a much more detailed version of the Mexico City spay games.

      In regard to another double/triple agent in MC (Richard Case Nagell) both Dick and I speculate that Nagell’s primary CIA contact in Mexico City (“Bob”) was Henry Hecksher. Hecksher is a good match for virtually all aspects of Nagell’s description, I write about in in some detail in the third edition of SWHT and Dick did some more research on him and put that into his
      latest JFK book. Since that time I’ve also been able to locate documents that strongly suggest Hecksher had rotated back to JM/WAVE and was operating in Mexico at the times in question, prior to being assigned to lead the CIA element of the AM/WORLD project in 1963. Hecksher has been a little known but key figure in American covert operations ranging from Berlin Operation Base to Guatemala, SE Asia, Japan, the Cuba project and finally Chile. He’s worth a post all his own – which I will get to some day – as far as posting on Nagell, that’s beyond the length of what I would post here but what I’ve come to know about him is in SWHT and in one of my Lancer CD’s which includes a host of Nagell documents and my analysis of him. He’s a hard guy to tackle since his statements and disclosures were very much “situational” depending upon what was going on with his legal affairs, his children or his legal action over his disability at different times.

      • Ingemar says:

        Dick Russell wrote :

        “He ( RCN ) signed a contract with the CIA and received an assignment as a “double agent”. He would seem to work for the Soviet KGB, but his actual duties would serve the CIA. [ …… ] His initial CIA mission, he says, revolved around the gathering Cuban missile crisis. He was to feed “disinformation” to the Soviets. At about the same time, Nagell was given an assignment by the Soviets”. ( Gallery Magazine, March 1981, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, 2008, p. 160 ).

        “Nagell said only that Bob would become, for the next year, his CIA “contact.” Nagell was instructed to take the bait offered by “a foreign government.” Melvin Beck, an undercover CIA agent in Mexico City between 1962 and 1967, later described such assignments in his book Secret Contenders: The Myth of Cold War Counterintelligence:

        At times of international stress, flash points of conflict or confrontation, or threatening moves of Soviet policy in the world arena, it is the custom to use the double agent operational window on the Soviets to elicit a “Soviet” view of the disturbing events. The theory is that a clever agent ( or case officer ) will be able to extract inside information from his Soviet contact.

        And that is exactly how Nagell described the CIA “double agent” mission he was about to embark upon – namely, his “participation in a ‘disinformation’ project directed against the Soviet embassy at Mexico City in 1962 at the onset of the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis.” ( The Man Who Knew Too Much, 2003, p. 147 ).

        “In several interviews and letters, Nagell recounted what happened when, as instructed by his CIA contact Bob sometime in September 1962, he made contact with the Soviets: “I was really involved heavy with the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis. […..].” ( The Man Who Knew Too Much, 2003, p. 149 ).

        This all sounds and looks like a SOV / SAT operation to me and one could regard Cuba as a Soviet Satellite nation at the time.

        Paul Dillon, Cynthia Hausman and Robert Steele are mentioned as Mexico City Station SOV / SAT OPS CIA personnel being involved in the Warren Commision Investigation ( RIF # : 104 – 10118 – 10347, a.o. )

        LI / COZY is mentioned as one of the “more interesting [ … ] operations” ( RIF # : 104 – 10414 – 10124, p. 68 ).

    • Thank you Ingemar, that clears it up for me as I was uncertain if you were referring to Negell or Oswald (I should have assumed Nagell because of the thread).

      Also, I checked the LI/COZY reference and the reason we have not added that and several of the related crypts from the Mexico City history to the list is that its hard to determine exactly which crypt goes with the descriptions due to the missing crypt references in the text. But we probably should at least list all those crypts on MFF and relate them to Sov/Sat operations of some sort.

      I did check with Dick and he had never related Nagell specifically to Li/COZY or any other specific crypted operation. I would note that Nagell’s attempt to do a “hostile defection” in Mexico City might well have been related to even a different activity. The fact that nobody in the embassy followed up on his statement about being an intelligence operative and essentially defecting to another power is pretty interesting – was it a test or part of his cover, probably the latter I suppose.

      I like your general assumption of an ongoing Sov/Sat op based on Nagell’s description – I would have to refer you to the third edition of SWHT for the analysis of “BOB” as Hecksher (or to Dick’s latest material in “On the Trail of the Assassins”. A good deal of it has to do not only with the assignment but Nagell’s earlier contact with him in Japan. Its also significant that Nagell’s “Bob” goes out of touch at exactly the time Hecksher gets pulled out of field ops and assigned to the AM/WORLD project in DC.

      Unfortunately one complicating factor is that documents are now showing that JM/WAVE ran its own operation around Mexico City, it some instances working with the station but in others apparently very independently. That started during the ramp up to the BOP and went on until at least 64-65. In addition, some of Fitzgerald’s new Cuban operations were running largely independently of the MC CIA station….support of AMWORLD was kept very compartmentalized from station operations. Talk about room for confusion …for them and certainly now for us.

      Good discussion…

  2. Ingemar says:

    “I should have assumed Nagell because of the thread”

    Yes, indeed !

    “I did check with Dick and he had never related Nagell specifically to Li/COZY or any other specific crypted operation.”

    I know, I was the one who did that.

    “…or to Dick’s latest material in “On the Trail of the Assassins”..”

    I have read the book and I would like to read an update of it with chapters on “General Donald Donaldson”, Mexico City Station SOV / SAT ops and the SOV / SAT ops officers involved ( Robert Steele, a.o. ).

    “Good discussion…”

    Thanks, Larry !

  3. Ingemar says:

    “Further study of Hecksher in project documents, aided and abetted by my buddy Bill Simpich, has resulted in the probable identification of Hecksher’s crypt as Nelson L. Raynock”

    Nelson L. Raynock was the alias of James A. Noel according to Joan Mellen ( The Great Game in Cuba, p. 111 ) and Trumbull Higgins ( The Perfect Failure, p. 223 ).

  4. […] Pilatus has known Oswald since their time in the service in Japan. Oswald worked or was Oswald worked or was associated with the FBI, Naval Intelligence, the KGB, the CIA, organized crime and the DRE. He says that Castro’s intel tells him the CIA is finding the anti-Castro effort. Then he stuns Patch by telling him: Leave and disappear forever. Oswald is being handled for propaganda purposes. […]

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