Bill Simpich is back with the third installment of his research on spy games in Mexico City, as background for anyone who had not read the previous post audio intelligence was always a key goal for the station. Initially the main tap program, LIFEAT, used a number of “outside” taps, at points adjacent to target locations. Some 23 lines were monitored from 7 separate intercept points; individual monitoring, taping and some transcription was performed at those sites. Circa 1959, a much more sophisticated, centralized tap operation was added (LIENVOY) – some 30 lines were tapped of centralized telephone switching equipment and eventually one center would contain 30 tape recorders, monitors, etc (more on issues and problems with LIENVOY in a follow-up post). The station history is clear that LIENVOY was complemented by LIFEAT and both were continued. In the following, Bill discusses some significant issues involved with operating the advanced LIENVOY system:
(given problems with formatting Bill’s posts, we are trying something different this time, to avoid cutting off the right hand side of his pages…hope it works).
The CIA was stuck working with the Mexican DFS in operating the LIENVOY wiretap system, while the FBI also had access to LIENVOY from Mexican government sources.
It simply wasn’t secure.
During 1963, the CIA had a real problem with their sophisticated wiretap system in Mexico City known as LIENVOY. The problem was that they were relying on the DFS (Mexico’s federal security police), who were the worst kind of political police. The FBI also had access to it from Mexican government sources. It simply wasn’t secure.
This personality brief is attached to the LIENVOY monthly report dated October 8, 1963. I believe Goodpasture wrote it. The DFS (Mexico’s federal security police) are described as follows:
“The principal functions of this security unit are to:
(1) Provide a plain-clothed security detail for the President;
(2) Maintain an extensive telephone tap activity on both the Rightist and Leftist political opposition forces;
(3) Perform investigations and arrests of primarily political offenses.
The unit’s agents are largely poorly trained, insecure, and unreliable.
Their professional characteristics are best described as being dishonest, cruel, and abusive.
The position, at this moment, of Manuel RANGEL Escamilla as director general of DFS is precarious.”
Goodpasture wrote a history that describes the section of DFS working with the CIA in Mexico City as a “hip-pocket group run out of the Mexican Ministry of Government. This Ministry was principally occupied with political investigations and the control of foreigners. Its employees were cruel and corrupt”.
Peter Dale Scott points out that this situation provides a “strong clue that conspirators to frame Oswald…existed within the (telephone) intercept process, either in the CIA or (as I will suggest) within the DFS (the Mexican federal police).” Scott points out that the reason why LIENVOY was considered so incredibly sensitive may have been because it was insecure.
Former CIA agent Philip Agee revealed that LIENVOY was “joint telephone-tapping operations between Mexico City station and Mexican security service.” Agee also states that “the station provides the equipment, technical assistance, couriers and transcribers, while the Mexicans make the connections in the exchanges and maintain the listening posts.” (Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, pp. 532, 613).
In other words, those working in the “intercept center” as “tap center monitors” are actually DFS employees.
Agee’s observations are supported by several sources. Goodpasture, describing herself as the station case officer, reported that ten Mexican employees in the listening post prepared the daily transcripts and the resuma (a summary of the transcripts). Richard Helms’s testimony indicated that the telephone taps in Mexico City were being run in conjunction with the DFS.
Furthermore, the FBI also had access to this LIENVOY telephone tap information, apparently from Mexican government sources. Here’s a chart of how LIENVOY was run at the end
of 1964. Note that second-in-command of LIENVOY, right under chief Win Scott, was “Robert B. Riggs”, the alias for Anne Goodpasture.
After the telephone tap information and Soviet photo info was obtained by Goodpasture, Soviet data was provided to Frank Estancona and Tom Keenan, while Cuban data went to John Brady.
 Station case officer…ten Mexican employees in the listening post… http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?mode=searchResult&absPageId=234609