A faithful reader writes with questions about my recent post on the UNLV conference celebrating New Orleans DA Jim Garrison for his efforts to prosecute a JFK assassination conspiracy
The reader says he is “not aware of evidence that the [CIA's] Counterintelligence staff was ‘secretly trying to subvert his investigation,’” as I wrote in my post.
“Subvert” was perhaps too strong a word, but not by much. The so-called “Garrison Group” within the CI Staff operated in secret in 1967-68. This group of analysts was plainly part of the larger Agency effort to thwart Garrison from investigating Oswald’s contacts with CIA-affiliated Cubans.
Reader goes on:”What is the basis for saying that Garrison was looking into that anti-FPCC operation?
A. He was asking questions of Carlos Bringuier and Carlos Quiroga about their contacts with Oswald, the FPCC man. Garrison did not know anything about CIA “black” operations in New Orleans. He knew very little about how the CIA funded and managed the Cuban Revolutionary Council and the DRE, which both Bringuier and Quiroga were associated. Nor did Garrison know how thoroughly the CIA and FBI had penetrated the FPCC at the time of Oswald’s membership in the group.
And a follow-up question: “Or are you just saying that he [Garrison] was looking into Oswald’s interaction with the DRE and that the DRE was involved in that operation?”
A. Yes, I am saying that. I am saying that the CIA’s counterintelligence staff acted to prevent Garrison from learning more about Oswald and the anti-Castro Cubans in New Orleans to protect its operational interests in disrupting the FPCC.
One more point. The intense interest of Angleton’s Counterintelligence Staff in every person touched by Garrison’s prosecution in 1967-68 was both peculiar and revealing.
The job of the Counterintelligence Staff was to prevent the penetration of CIA activities by a foreign intelligence service. Yet as the CI staff monitored Garrison’s investigation, Angleton’s people never raised the issue of whether Oswald had come under the influence of the Soviet KGB or the Cuban DGI.
Independent scholar Max Holland calls attention to KGB involvement in the publication of a “CIA did it” conspiracy theory published in an Italian newspapers in 1967. But that didn’t concern Angleton, although he surely knew about it. (Angelton had grown up in Italy.)
Nor was Angleton worried about foreign penetration of CIA operations in 1967-68. He expended no effort to investigate Oswald’s contacts with Soviet and Cuban government officials in Mexico City
What worried Angleton about Jim Garrison hit closer to home: the possibility Garrison’s scattershot prosecution might expose Angleton’s pre-assassination interest in Oswald, which was far greater than the Warren Commission ever knew, and far great than many people inside the CIA knew.
The exposure of the CIA’s secret operation against the FPCC in the fall of 1963 was of special concern for obvious reasons. It might lead people to ask questions like: if the CIA was running a covert operation against the FPCC in late 1963, how did they manage to overlook the most dangerous FPCC supporter of them all, Lee Harvey Oswald?
Jim Angleton and his colleagues at the CIA did not want to face that question, which is why he worried about Jim Garrison.