Spirit of Angleton hovers over an attack on Edward Snowden

From the New York Times Book Review:

The spirit of James Jesus Angleton, the C.I.A.’s mole-obsessed counterintelligence chief during the peak years of the Cold War and evidently a mentor to Epstein (he’s mentioned several times), hovers over these pages.

That’s reviewer Nicholas Lemman’s way of casting doubt on Edward Epstein’s lightly sourced (to put it mildly) indictment of the NSA whistle blower. In other words, Epstein’s case against Snowden as a spy today is as unsuccessful as Angleton’s hunt for a Soviet mole in the 1960s.

My biography of Angleton, The Ghost, will be published in the fall of 2017. It can be preordered now.

Source: Is Edward Snowden a Spy? A New Book Calls Him One. – The New York Times

Dealey Plaza: after the shots rang out

Dealey Plaza moment
I found this remarkable photo in Robin Unger’s extraordinary galleries of JFK assassination photo. It was taken moments after gunfire that took President Kennedy’s life. At a glance we see exactly how two law enforcement officers responded to the sound of gunfire. Read more

The Economist highlights JFK disclosures in 2017

Economist on FK 2017More evidence that the whole world is paying attention to the JFK disclosures coming later this year. The British newsmagazine The Economist tweeted out their prediction that JFK internet searches will search in October. They’re right.  Read more

‘Jim [Angleton] would prefer to wait out the Commission …’

The reason James Angleton’s still-secret testimony to the Church Committee matters in 2017 is found in this Warren Commission document.

“Jim would prefer to wait out the Commission on the matter covered by paragraph 2 …”

CIA’s Raymond Rocca, writing to Richard Helms regarding counterintelligence chief James Angleton’s desire to stonewall the Warren Commission on certain CIA materials passed to the Secret Service.
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Secret JFK document #2: James Angleton’s testimony

Angleton thoughtful

Counterintelligence chief James Angleton

On January 22, 1976. retired CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton testified in secret session with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, otherwise known as the Church Committee.

Forty two years later, the 74 page transcript of Angleton’s testimony is still a state secret, according to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s comprehensive listing of still-classified JFK material.

Angleton’s testimony, scheduled to be released in October of this year, could not be more important to JFK assassination scholarship.

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The origins of the battle for the soul of the CIA

In a prequel of sorts to the emerging war between President-elect Trump and the CIA, the War on the Rocks blog, reviews the latest revelations from the declassified history of the CIA’s disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.
Why is something that happened 55 years ago relevant to power politics in today’s Washington?
Because the the power struggle that followed the CIA’s first public defeat would shape and hone the interventionist mission of the secret agency. Now the CIA faces the wrath of a commander in chief who mistrusts its prerogatives and sympathizes with its adversaries in Moscow and, according to the CIA, was aided by them.

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Literary (CIA) agents at work

In Literary Agents, Patrick Iber of the New Republic delves into the role of the CIA in the culture Cold War. He doesn’t specifically mention the role of Cord Meyer and James Angleton but they were probably the two CIA officials most responsible for CIA cultural funding between 1954 and 1967,

Iber captures what was most problematic about the CIA’s role, something I will touch on in my forthcoming Angleton biography.

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The Dulles ascendancy: the rise of a secret government 

Allen’s ascendency brought furtive characters, such as gun-toting William Harvey and cadaverous James Jesus Angelton, into a powerful global apparatus. Cold War ideology brooked no nationalist aspirations in any country wishing to control domestic politics and natural resources. A post-colonial era was emerging. But democratically elected nationalist leaders such as Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala were conveniently portrayed as communists. In both countries, the CIA orchestrated coups ensuring protection for profitable corporate oil interests and the United Fruit Co. The agency contributed to the killing of Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic Congolese leader who only wanted self-government for his beleaguered people.

Source: The mid-20th-century rise of a secret government | Street Roots

Anthony Summers digs deeper on Orest Pena

Orest Pena

Orest Pena, JFK witness (H/T Vasilios)

A faithful reader adds to what is known about Orest Pena, the New Orleans bar owner whose testimony to Congress in 1978 remains secret. The reader quotes from Anthony Summers’ useful reporting in his book, Not  in Your Lifetime. 

“There was the claim of Orest Pena, a New Orleans bar owner who in 1963 himself supplied occasional information to FBI agent Warren De Brueys. Pena was to say he had seen Oswald with Agent De Brueys on “numerous occasions” and that De Brueys threatened him physically before his Warren Commission appearance, warning him to keep quiet.

Summers continues: Read more

What Orest Pena knew

Orest Pena’s story is particularly compelling because he was trusted by the FBI agents in New Orleans. As a bar owner of Cuban descent, he saw and heard a lot of interest to law enforcement. Oswald had visited his bar in the summer of 1963 in the company of a man Pena described as Mexican. Pena also said he saw Oswald with FBI agent Warren DeBreuys on several occasions. DeBreuys denied this and denigrated Pena as unreliable.

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Secret JFK document #1: the Orest Pena interview

To launch the New Year, JFK Facts will highlighting key JFK documents that remain secret in part or in full. We will also be focusing on the effort to make sure that all these documents are made public by the legal deadline of October 26, 2017.

The first is a document that has always intrigued me. As described by Rex Bradford of Mary Ferrell Foundation, it is

A transcript of the HSCA interview with Orest Pena, the New Orleans bar owner who told them that he saw Oswald was palling around with FBI agents in New Orleans. There are actually 3 copies of this 1978 interview with different RIF numbers – all still withheld in full

Source: Mary Ferrell Foundation: Mark the Date

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Trump family confidante served on the Warren Commission

Murray Laulicht

Murray Laulicht, former Warren Commission attorney

Bill Kelly has the story on the former Warren Commission lawyer who is close to Donald Trump and well-positioned to influence the decisions the Trump administration will have to make about JFK secrecy and disclosure in the next ten months:

Of all the surviving former Warren Commission lawyers, none will be more influential in the new administration than Murray Laulicht, a New Jersey attorney whose wife, Linda Kushner, is the sister of Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law.

Source: JFKcountercoup: Warren Commission Lawyers Strike Back

Dashiell Hammett, JFK and ‘the fall guy’

Sam Spade

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade

Bill Kelly passed along the photo of Oswald under arrest at the Texas Theater along with a revealing quote from Dashiell Hammett, the 20th century American writer who specialized in hard-boiled detective fiction.

Within 24 hours of his arrest, Oswald had shouted to reporters that he was “a patsy,” and everyone knew what he meant. He was claiming to be “a fall guy,” an innocent set up to take the blame for the deeds of others.

How did Americans know about the concept? As Kelly notes, Chapter 14 of Hammett’s classic detective tale, The Maltese Falcon, is called “The Fall Guy.” In it, detective Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart in the movie version) explains: Read more

What happened when Oswald was arrested?

Oswald at Texas Theater

Lee Harvey Oswald being arrested at the Texas Theater, November 22, 1963

In a 2013 essay for Time magazine,the late Gary Mack wrote about this photo of Oswald’s. The photo is interesting but the editorial treatment is fascinating Read more

Oswald: ‘I work in that building’

OSWALD: “I work in that building…” from Vimeo.

(H/T Jean)