As I mentioned in my last post I’ve completed the basic draft of the manuscript for my next book and will turn to the standard continuity rework of the whole thing …..chapter by chapter.  But after spending some intense time on both 9/11 and Benghazi I need a bit of a break before starting again all the way back at Pearl Harbor.  Its work that needs to be done before it goes to the first editor but I’d like to easy back into it. I’d still love to see some questions or comments about Shadow Warfare, we know its selling and given its somewhat controversial content I’m surprised to have received no comments here.

I have recently taken a few JFK related questions elsewhere and one of the things that keeps coming up is that people ask me why I didn’t cover certain topics or more particularly certain people in the SWHT or NEXUS.  In some cases such as the Chicago incident with Thomas Vallee, that was covered in detail in November Patriots, my first book – which is now out of print.   In other instances such as Thomas Beckham, Fred Crisman, and a slew of others – well I didn’t miss them and in some cases spent months or years researching them only to find them or their stories not solid enough to go in my books.

So, for a limited time only – about two weeks – as I’m gathering my energy to plunge back into the book in writing, if you have a question about a JFK related person, post it here and I’ll give you a top of the head assessment.  About anything is fair game except questions of who shot from where since I don’t pretend to know that sort of detail.  I’ll either give you a reply here if the item is not in my books or tell you where to look if it is…

Limited time offer – questions on the JFK conspiracy (or RFK for that matter) – good to the end of July…. no refunds, no money back…     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.

19 responses »

  1. Richard says:

    The continuity of the composition and strong network of CIA operatives that went from several campaigns, OSS in China, Guatemala, Bay of Pigs, pre-Cuban Missile Crisis sabre-rattling, is of enormous importance in understanding the foreign policy tensions both Kennedy and Johnson faced. Did these guys — Phillips, Hunt (with an especially close relationship to Allen Dulles), Robertson, Morales, Roselli, Barker, Sturgis and Sforza form a kind of elite network, like those in the State Dep’t or Defense or modern political campaigns, that took on a life of its own? Some of them also come back not just in Watergate but in the overthrow of Allende in 1973.

    • Richard, there certainly is continuity there and I tried to take it all the way though Viet Nam, Latin America and even into Iran Contra in Shadow Warfare. There were networks of sorts, some of them actually day job related and others personal. The guys that did work together most consistently and officially were Shackley, Morales, Sforza, Phillips and Fexlix Rodriquez. In some cases that was strictly geographic as when they all – except Phillips – went to SE Asia. They did not necessarily work directly together but may well have crossed paths at times there as they did in Latin America later. Barker and Sturgis were not part of any of this really as they were not trusted by any of the more serious CIA officers such as Shackley, Morales, Phillips et al. Morales wrote a memorable stating that neither was trustworthy and would likely spill anything they knew under pressure – and he included Hunt. Sturgis was never more than an informant actually, not post 1964 for sure.

      The real hard cases like Morales and Phillips each had their own vest pocket projects, especially in Latin America. For that they turned to people they really trusted like Felix Rodriquez
      and other special Cuban exiles. Morales was probably the most skilled at having his own private network of trusted assets….going all the way back to his training of the AMOT and OP40 guys for the Bay of Pigs invasion. If you want to look at real stone cold folks that would be running elite networks look to Morales and Sforza. Sforza tried to convince Hecksher to bring in exile assassinations in Chile. Hecksher deserves much more attention for being part of a clique than he generally receives. So to answer your question, yes their were cliques but it gets pretty complex and varies as to time and geography, I think if you plow through Shadow Warriors you will get a good view of how that changed over time and by mission. The mistake some have made is in envisioning one clique when in reality there were simply “trusted associations” who turned to each other in different projects – official or personal.

  2. Brian Kelshaw says:

    Larry, your opinion of the information supplied by Judyth Vary Baker please, if that’s a question within the parameters of your limited offer?

    • Brian, I discussed Judyth in some detail with Mary Ferrell and Debra Conway who were some of the very first people she approached when she bagan coming out with her story and first traveled to Dallas. Their assessment was that she certainly had worked at the coffee company where Oswald worked but the only material they were shown was on that general employment. I was told she was interested in contacting Marina at that time and that she had a ton of questions about the assassination in general. I then followed the various iterations of her postings and her books over several years, and the postings of some of her strong supporters who changed their minds over time. None of that gave me any great confidence in her story. Perhaps more importantly for me is the fact that so much of what she says is inconsistent with the clandestine practices I’ve studied as well as what was going on in regard to both Oswald and Cuba in the time frame she discusses. And beyond all that, I’m relatively certain that if she knew as much as she claims and that the people in the conspiracy knew she did…..she would have met with an accident very quickly. The people who killed JFK were quite serious, they were quite cold blooded and any “civilian” with as much inside knowledge as she claims would have been eliminated – people like Morales and Sforza did not play games.

      I can’t offer anything further, there are several assessments of her on line but my overall issue is that her story just does not fit with the rest of what we now know of Oswald’s associations and activities. I also have to say that her story never made it far enough through my filters to give the sort of study I have other things. In regard to full transparency I don’t claim to have kept totally current with what she is saying at this point in time – and I’ve never talked with her personally.

      • Brian Kelshaw says:

        Thank you for responding. I get the impression that because she has little proof she is seen by many researchers as a fake. But there are a few things in her favour. She explains, in detail, the exact circumstances of hers and Lees time at Reilly’s. She gives credible explanations for events such as the voter registration incident. She has a witness for her double dates in New Orleans, who has gone on record. And she was important enough to be impersonated for the benefit of Edward Haslam, years before he had ever heard of the Judyth who surfaced in the 90s. I wish serious researchers would engage with her. If she’s not telling the truth, experts such as yourself, Jim DiEugenio and others have enough background knowledge to really test her. Why bother? Because if she is the real deal, a lot of stuff makes sense. I sense that many researchers have a blinkered outlook. It’s not deliberate, but it hinders the search for answers.

      • Brian, actually I think that she may well have known Lee Oswald at the coffee company and for all I know she may have had a brief affair with him. That would have been quite consistent for Lee who chatted up and flirted with women when given the opportunity. I personally don’t see Judyth as a fake and I think she is sincere. My impression is that it is her sincerity that has convinced a number of her supporters. You may well not seen how many of her details have changed over the years, when challenged factually she moves on to a new response and claims she was simply misquoted. I believe she is quite intelligent. Serious researchers have engaged with her and generally do not find her conspiracy claims credible, regardless as to any relationship she may have had with Oswald…as to why, honestly there are questions of legal liability and I doubt most would comment on their reasons publicly, certainly I won’t. It is however incorrect to think that some very serious researchers – beginning with Mary Ferrell – have not looked into her claims in the cancer conspiracy area. As to Ed Haslam, actually I believe that certain of the material in his first book is very interesting in regard to a private research initiative, but I view that has something that also evolved and became “entangled” with the Judyth story as time went on. That’s about the best response I can give…

  3. Brian Kelshaw says:

    And it’s much appreciated.

  4. David Brown says:

    Put our man in Mexico in context?
    Does Morley add to the truth?
    What is the truth?

    • David, “context” was a very good choice of words. I reference Jeff’s work a good deal in NEXUS because his book gives some very solid insights on the structure and operations of the Mexico City station and until you understand how a station operates and a bit about the personalities involved, you really don’t have the background to get the most out of the documents. Jeff peels back the actual day job for Phillips so that you can understand his changing role from 62 to the fall of 63.

      Phillip’s role did change a good deal when Phillips was assigned to SAS – and created some real conflicts withing the station and especially with Mann. Jeff’s work also gives some insights into the real adversarial situation that was developing between Anglton and Mann over counter intelligence in Mexico City. Angleton had people working for him but reporting to Mann and their loyalty was to Angleton, not Mann. There are also suggestions that Phillips was actually doing CI work for Fitzgerald and SAS in MC so you may well have had three slightly different sets of CI agendas working there.

      Jeff’s work was seminal when he did it, now that we have more documents and an actual CIA station history of the MC station, we can go further and that is what Bill Simpich has done most recently. Our Man in Mexico was pioneering work, just as Newman’s first book was. Newman’s updated work goes beyond Morley and so does Simpich’s but that’s the way we make progress. I believe that Simpich is very close to the truth about MC and I had the chance to brainstorm with him a lot while he was working on it – especially as he was seeing documents and breaking crypt identifications never before known. Bottom line, the key in MC is the Oswald telephone impersonations and what had to be known by whoever did it to actually get it on tape – to understand that you literally have to deconstruct the MC taping systems, as Bill did with a little help from me – having worked in telephony and telephone switching for a time in my career. For the best answer on “what is the truth”, in my opinion at least, I have to refer you to his book, which is available for free chapter by chapter on the Mary Ferrell Foundation web site.

      — hope that helps, Larry

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you…To MFF I go…
        And I just ordered Shadow Warfare…
        Your willingness to help is a blessing. Keep truckin’!

      • Thanks David, I’m trying. I was glad to see your post on “context” because I think that is something that has been really missing for some time now. There is so much JFK conspiracy material available now, not just in books but in internet videos and forums and essays, that it is easy, cheap and tempting to study the JFK assassination only from inside that particular box. Unfortunately a great deal of the info in that box is now considerably dated and worse many of the original “mysteries” are no longer mysterious but explained by more recent information from not just sources such as the ARRB, document releases etc but from works of history on the people and events of the period we focus on. There is considerable historical information on many of the familiar JFK case names that exists elsewhere but never gets discussed within the JFK “box”. Its all invaluable to truly understanding the context of events in 1963 but you have to go out and dig for it in sources generally unfamiliar to us. Beyond that, as illustrated by Simpich’s new findings on Mexico City, actually there are few researchers still working with the wealth of documents released during the past decades. Bill Simpich looked at JMWAVE operations documents readily available on MFF that nobody has taken the time too even examine…but searching to bring them up requires a huge amount of work and to some extent is only possible now that we can decode so many of the group, people and unit crypts that were total symmetries previously. Its just a shame that many of the good researchers didn’t have what we have now; the sad part is how little original data mining is still going on.

        I didn’t do a bibliography for Shadow Warfare but even aside from documents, I suspect there were a good hundred or so history book references that are totally outside the JFK box. The same is true for the new book I’m into now – Surprise Attack – which also covers the history of the period 1940 to 2014 as Shadow Warfare does. Lots of reading, lots of highlighting and a enough books to overwhelm my house, that’s for sure.

  5. David Brown says:

    Anonymous is David Brown

  6. Brace Berg says:

    Larry, what kind of details can you provide on a background spook who was very plugged in Colonel Howard Burris Air Force? He was hooked up some way with LBJ but never too much information on him.

    • Brace, actually there is a ton of info on Burris but it really takes digging. He was a major subject of mine for a couple of years and I did learn a great deal about him….not as much as I would have liked but that’s the way it normally goes. I’ll have to dig out my Burris file and check some notes but I should probably do a full post in response to your question. I’m tied up today but if at all possible I will do a full Burris post sometime this weekend and then we can have exchanges on that in comments.

  7. David Saunders Brown says:

    Shadow warfare is history where none is supposed to be, and thank you for that. You have a particular genius, or personal discipline, in eliminating the pejorative in your writing, which very much serves you well. In this forum will you share your judgments?
    1. Unaccountable secrecy
    2. State action in support of individual investments
    3. Interference in sovereignty to affect regime change, whether democratic or otherwise
    4. Assassination
    5. CIA
    6. NSA
    7. Military intelligence
    8. Covert military
    9. Disinformation
    10 Blowback
    11 Chalmers Johnson and Kinzer and Jacob Hornberger view of Dulles and War State and covert operations
    If you prefer not, I understand.
    Thanks for all you do.
    David Brown

    • Hi David, thanks for the kind words and of course good reviews on Amazon are always appreciated too…grin. That’s a long list but I’ll see what I can do with it a few items at a time. One of the things that make broad comments on some of the subjects difficult is that in discussing topics such as CIA, NSA, military intelligence at a Federal Agency level, its really important to separate what they do om regard to covert action (Presidential tasking), from their other activities but also from two other factors – senior officer personalities and political leverage. The impact of those elements is hard to see unless you look at a reasonably long span of time – something like 50-70 years is probably a minimum.

      For example, much of what we see the CIA doing with covert action during the Eisenhower era was totally dependent on the world views of the Dulles brothers. The same can be said for the Nixon era but then the driving force for Agency covert action was not within the Agency but within the White House/State Department under Kissinger. This point is particularly important in regard to your item number 3. Under GWB clearly both covert and overt action were more influenced by what Cheney did do and Rumsfeld did not do than what GWB was thinking. So in the first instance, you have CIA driving disastrous interventions, later you have the National Security Adviser driving them and even later you have the Vice President driving them. In the latter two instances with the covert actions often diametrically opposed to the studies, positions and advice coming from the CIA.

      Eisenhower was very worried about the Military-Industrial complex being manipulated by politicians for their own advantage – with the manipulation going both ways of course, we call that lobbying – but in more contemporary times the National Security – Intelligence complex is being manipulated for political agendas, its a bit like the current defense budget. If Congress forces expensive projects onto the military that it does not want and will not let it make the cost reductions it proposes – then blaming the military is a bit unfair. If the CIA analysts are largely ignored and their data cherry picked by White House figures for their agendas, blaming the CIA is unfair as well.

      This whole issue has become much more clear to me during the last couple of years I’ve been at work on my next book – Surprise Attack – which deals with warnings intelligence, preparedness and command/control during surprise military attacks on the nation. Here’s an example which relates to your item number 1. Eisenhower was well aware based on SAC and Navy intelligence but especially CIA collections that there was no bomber gap in the 1950’s – but the decision was made that revealing that information would jeopardize sources and methods so he signed off on a decades long air defense program (SAGE) larger than the Manhattan project – for literally no practical purpose at all. By the early 1960’s Eisenhower was made aware there was no missile gap – but for the same reasons he was decided to allow a huge missile program often duplicating the same weapon among two to three services, for no practical reason.

      I’ll try to be more specific in future comments but what I’m wrestling with here is that it really takes some digging to get to the core of certain issues – and then just when you do, the pattern changes as personalizes and politics evolve. Item number 6 is a perfect example of that. If you look at 9/11 you find some real problems in regard to the NSA and FBI restricting themselves over then contemporary privacy laws (this is in regard to monitoring terror suspects – their other activities are another story entirely). Post 9/11 the NSA was literally ordered to reverse itself and start doing all sorts of things it was not doing before hand – is that an NSA problem, not really, its a Congressional issue. Often the agencies are much more at the mercy of politics than what we see in the 50s and early 60’s, or during the Reagan era for that matter. Certainly that was true during the GWB administration.

      — Larry

      • Anonymous says:

        Cannot wait for your next book
        You are driving me forward on these critical issues

    • Several of the items on David’s comment/judgement list could well be a book in themselves – one of the most challenging being item #2 – “State action in support of individual investments”. The short answer would be that its a bad idea and virtually never works as intended anyway – that would be the same judgement that I would give to “deniablity”, which is a separate item but somewhat similar to #1. It is important to note that the whole idea of state action supporting individual investments has changed a great deal since WWII. It would be fair to say that during the earliest Cold War decades that American action in support of American corporate interest overseas was viewed as supporting the higher level conflict between Communism and Capitalism. Overseas regimes which were supportive of American investment were seen as anti-Communist bastions, deserving support against the spread of Communistic practices and Eastern bloc influence. J.C. King and other senior CIA officers would routinely receive and give briefings to corporate business leaders doing businesses under “contested” governments. The CIA would routinely receive corporate assistance and in turn assign case officers to provide introductions and business intelligence to cooperative corporations and businessmen. I go into that in Shadow Warfare and the degree to which it actually violated CIA security is amazing; while people like Hunt or Phillips received actual disciplinary action for even minute security violations, top echelon CIA officers routinely shared what would have been classified as secret operational information. Yet in their culture, corporate executives were “trusted”, assumed to be devout patriots. Of course given that neither party could successfully differentiate nationalism from Communism, the net effect was for business interests and the CIA simply to feed each other’s fears. That sort of relationship extended beyond the Dulles brothers, through the Kissinger era. Its very much like depending on intelligence from exiles, obviously they are going to tell you anything they can to get you to intervene – the same was true for the corporate leaders.

      In more recent decades CIA and other analysts have become much more cautious about such sources – unfortunately the principals of the GWB administration demonstrated that if the top level of the policy making machine already has an agenda, they will simply cherry pick their own intelligence and analysts can be intimidated just like any other employee. Which brings up the second aspect of commenting on this subject – political influence. Again, in Shadow Warfare we go into great lengths to show how presidents and top policy makers can be influenced by individuals outside the intelligence community – Eisenhower was one of the earliest examples of the impact of commercial influence under the Capitalist vs. Communist paradigm. But for Ike, it was largely ideological. Clearly from Johnson on there are plenty of indications of where special business interest profit from interventions – that’s a much different story. It also appears to be different in that the decision maker is arriving at a policy largely based on either politics (Johnson – 64 election) or ideology (GWB – “got democracy”) and “trusted” business associates follow along behind for maxim profit. At one point we would have thought of Johnson leading the pack in that regard, after Iraq I’m not so sure. Someone should do a book on corporate profit taking from Vietnam vs. Iraq/Afghanistan.

      David, that may not be exactly the question you were asking but there is one clear test for how much each Presidential administration is swayed by the the concerns of its corporate political sponsors. Take a look at the national intelligence assessments that are given each president and then map that to what they actually do. In a great many cases you find them acting in direct conflict with the intelligence analysis they are given – when you find that its worthwhile asking just whose counsel they are actually taking if its that of the professionals.

  8. David Brown says:

    This is where transparency and legitimate oversight should play a limiting role,
    If the principles and structures could be melded to work for real time accountability.
    You have moved the needle!

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