CIA teams were watching Oswald in 1961, two years before JFK was killed

“By early 1961, at least three different CIA counterintelligence teams were watching an obscure young man named Lee Harvey Oswald,” writes Bill Simpich in Chapter 2 of his fascinating book,  “State Secret,” which is being serialized on MaryFerrell.org.


One team was the mole hunters from an office within the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff known as the Special Investigations Group, or CI-SIG.

The second team came from the CIA’s Soviet Russia division, where an officer named Bill Bright was studying Oswald’s biography, which had taken him from an itinerant childhood in Texas and New York City to a stint in the U.S. Marines and then to defection to the Soviet Union.

The third team was a husband-and-wife team known as the Potockis. Anita and Will Potocki were CIA officers personally loyal to Bill Harvey, going back to their days together in Berlin.

“To understand the relationships among these three teams,” writes Simplich, “you have to know just who Bill Harvey was.”

Read Chapter 2 of  “State Secret.”

34 comments

  1. Photon says:

    Simpich states: “Oswald had just begun work at a photographic firm in Dallas, doing highly classified work for the Army Mapping Service as it analyzed maps of Cuba obtained by U2 flights.”
    The U2 was never used for mapping purposes over Cuba or anywhere else.
    Warren Testimony of March 30, 1964 of Robert L. Stovall:
    Q. “So anything that is classified is done only by employees of yours who have been cleared…”
    A. “Yes sir.”
    Q.”Then I gather that as far as Lee Harvey Oswald is concerned, he had no part in it nor access to any of this work.”
    A.”This is correct.”
    Mr Simich has been caught in a lie. What else that he wrote is a lie?

    • JSA says:

      Photon, Can you tell us with 100% certainty that CIA has NEVER told a lie? I don’t think that you can. There are two sides to the “lie telling” phenomenon. You’re only attacking ONE side, which means that your argument is probably biased in favor of CIA.

    • jeffc says:

      The U2 was making reconnaissance flights over Cuba during the missile crisis, beginning two days after Oswald was hired at Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall. Oswald’s time cards show that he worked on numerous jobs for the Army Mapping Service, the classified work which Stovall denies Oswald was involved. Simpich or Stovall may be inexact, or perhaps you are misreading context, but to suggest you have discovered a “lie” is a real stretch.

      • Photon says:

        Yes, I am sure that those U2 photos were going down to Dallas for review at a private company. Since when do time cards say what your job is- have you ever punched a time card, or even seen one?
        Simich stated that the U2 was mapping Cuba. That was not true ;what it tells me is that in his zeal to connect Oswald somehow to U2s he made up a story without any knowledge of the U2 mission or its role in Cuba. You seem to have forgotten that the single most important photos obtained by the U.S. during the Missle Crisis did not come from U2s.
        Simich made a false claim- it is interesting to see people scrambling to explain it away without presenting a shred of evidence backing it up.

        • leslie sharp says:

          Photon, JCS did not have that many employees. And ones that I have talked to would challenge your assertions.

          • Photon says:

            Didn’t have enough employees to do what?

          • leslie sharp says:

            Photon, my point was that it was a relatively small operation with overlap and lax security which would allow for access and possible misuse of information. However,

            BK says it best “Like all other employees of the typesetting department, Oswald had complete access to the worktables on which the secret lists of place-names for the Army Map Service were kept. In theory, these were supposed to be ‘restricted areas’ in which only employees with a security clearance from the FBI were allowed to be present. In fact, however, little effort was made to enforce these restrictions. There were no guards or security measures which prevented employees from entering the areas in which the classified work was done….It was even possible, according to Calverly, for employees to use the cameras in the plant to reproduce the list of names.”

        • jeffc says:

          The time cards were published in the Warren Commission volumes, and footnoted with links in the Simpich article.

    • George Simmons says:

      Photon, maybe you should check with the person concerned before you accuse them of writing intentional lies.
      We all have our own beliefs over what happened, and we all interpret events in a different way, that does not mean people are intentionally lying.

      I remember when you and I were discussing Dr Mclelland and I was using a radio interview he gave in 2009 to make my point. You insinuated that the interview may not even exist ( ie that I was making it up). But it does exist and is on You tube.

      Not everyone will agree with you. Doesn’t mean they are lying, they may just have a different way of looking at it.

    • Gary Shaw says:

      CIA personnel are expected to lie. Allen Dulles said so. They have been proven liars over and over again. Not so with Simpich. I’ll go with Simpich, thank you very much.

      • Photon says:

        Did Oswald’s employer lie to the Warren Commission? For what reason on Earth would he want to commit perjury oner an employee he fired for cause?
        Simpich simply made it up. The comment about U2s mapping Cuba gave him away.

    • leslie sharp says:

      Jaggers Chiles Stovall had fascinating connections within the Dallas establishment; one of their managers lived on Jade Street, only houses down from a key employee at Texas School Book Depository. Also, former employees of JCS are now fairly open about the role the company played within the intel community. Whether or not any of the named partners in the firm willingly or knowingly lied in their testimony is any one’s guess. However, to disregard the collective pressure in Dallas at the time is simply naive. One of the JCS partners lived in the same condominium building as a Dallas developer with at the very least casual connections to the Campisi brothers.

      • leslie sharp says:

        Photon, this is a central flaw that is repeated by those who believe that Oswald acted alone: a refusal to recognize the context within which the assassination occurred. Dallas was an extremely small community at the time, and the establishment functioned as a kind of fraternity. No one broke rank, no one ‘ratted’ on one of their own, everyone benefited from being a member of that fraternity, and certainly they lived in virtual compounds even before the term gated community was popularized. And mid-management on the periphery were loyal if for no other reason than survival. Those dynamics would have affected testimony before the WC.

        If you are suggesting that for instance there is no significance in the specific neighborhood that George W. Bush chose to retire in Dallas, then you are blind to how the forces of deep politics operate. That, or perhaps you are comfortable with it.

    • leslie sharp says:

      Photon, for your own sanity, you might begin to consider the possibility that people lie under oath, or at best, obfuscate, particularly when committed to an agenda that is in conflict with an investigation.

      • Photon says:

        The task that Simpich assigned to Oswald didn’t exist.

        • leslie sharp says:

          There seems to be some controversy over your statement; and how do you prove a negative, unless you are in possession of the operations manual and/or the organizational chart from JCS

    • Larry Hancock says:

      Of course the U2 was used for photographic reconnaissance over Cuba, particularly during the missile crisis. And films from that work were sent to Jaggers Stoval for preparation of composite terrain maps which became used in much of the military contingency planning and training in 1963. In fact you can find copies of those maps annotated that they were prepared by Jaggers.

      The point is that Oswald was working at a facility which was doing work with classified information…I imagine Oswald had no direct access to it but how the work was compartmentalized and segregated inside the building and facilities would be an interesting question and you can bet if the practices were questionable nobody was going to stand up and point that out.

      I also imagine that if the Army or anyone associated with the photography knew that a “defector” who was still under investigation and monitoring by multiple intelligence agencies was working in the facility they would have raised a lot of questions about security and background checks.

  2. Alan Dale says:

    There are two things that happened in October of 1962 which should be the focus of consideration in terms of context if we are to address issues that may be relevant to President Kennedy’s assassination. One is that there was a peaceful resolution to the Cuban Missile Crisis; the other is that William King Harvey was fired as Chief of Task Force W in the war against Castro.

    I consider Harvey’s emergence from the shadows of America’s Cold War history to be among the most significant of all that we have encountered in our search for truth and understanding. The late Bayard Stockton’s book, “Flawed Patriot,” along with Bill Simpich’s groundbreaking work, “State Secret,” should be included among essential materials documenting Harvey’s resources, realms of influence, and authority.

    • Photon says:

      Ignore the lie?

      • Alan Dale says:

        Photon is mistaken. The U-2 was used for mapping purposes over Cuba. See Bill Kelly’s Countercoup website. http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2009/12/u2-photos-of-cuba-oct-62.html

        Kelly’s article quotes Edward Epstein’s Legend. Epstein writes:

        “Jaggers-Chiles-Stoval also had a contract with the Army Map Service to set the typescript for its maps. Although the maps themselves were not on the premises, this was nevertheless highly classified work. For one thing, the maps were made from secret aerial photographs presumably taken from spy satellites, U2 planes and other forms of clandestine reconnaissance. For another, the lists of names of cities and areas in the Soviet Union, China and Cuba which were being set, themselves provide clues to the targets of these reconnaissance missions.”

        “Like all other employees of the typesetting department, Oswald had complete access to the worktables on which the secret lists of place-names for the Army Map Service were kept. In theory, these were supposed to be ‘restricted areas’ in which only employees with a security clearance from the FBI were allowed to be present. In fact, however, little effort was made to enforce these restrictions. There were no guards or security measures which prevented employees from entering the areas in which the classified work was done….It was even possible, according to Calverly, for employees to use the cameras in the plant to reproduce the list of names.”

        “…The employees of JCS set the long lists of geographical names, which came from the Army Map Service, on three-inch strips of paper. Some of these names were written in Cryrillic characters and identified Russian cities; others appeared to be Chinese names. And in the fresh batch of names that arrived almost daily some of the employees began to notice the appearance of odd-sounding Cuban names on the list.”

        “At CIA headquarters in Langley, photo analysts were receiving a similar set of Cuban place-names on the latest batch of U2 photographs from Cuba. Throughout the first two weeks of October intelligence reports had indicated that the Soviets were constructing concrete bunkers and installing electronic equipment at sites in Cuba under conditions of extraordinary secrecy. Hence the U2 overflights. Then, on October 14, the U2 planes focusing on the area around San Cristobal in eastern Cuba photographed newly built structures which could be unmistakably identified as missile launchers for intermediate range missiles. Every city within the eastern part of the United States would be vulnerable to these missiles, when operational. On receiving this ominous report, President Kennedy summoned an emergency meeting of the National Security Council. The Cuban Missile Crisis had begun.”

        Jaggars employee Jack Bowen remembers being “present in the office of Ray Hawkins, foreman of the Photo Department, when Oswald was explaining Russian symbols on maps the firm was preparing for the United States Army.” http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=57744&relPageId=70

        Kelly also writes that at Dulles Airport a public display showed the U2 airplane and some photos taken during the missile crisis. John Judge noticed a typed reference at the bottom in small print: “Photo Courtesy of Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall.”

        • Photon says:

          Simpich’s source #41 references the testimony of John Graef and that of Robert Stovall. They both refute Mr. Simpich’s claims and both rather firmly insist that Oswald had no access to confidential information; one wonders why he used them as sources. The work form of Oct 16 is the only one listed that refers to the Army Map Service but makes no mention of what that work was. As a Sears order was his next task I find it highly doubtful that it had any sensitive information. There is no evidence that ” ams” was what Mr. Simpich claims it was, particularly if Oswald used the full term on Oct 16.
          Mr. Kelly’s web sight is interesting. But he neglects to report that the picture that accompanies it was taken by a RF-101 or RF8, not a U2.
          As stated previously the U2 did not engage in any mapping activity at this time. Missions carried a large high -resolution camera for strategic recon, not a panoramic camera that would take in larger field of view. The typical flight program involved obtaining close-up pictures of specific military and political targets.
          Topographical maps of Cuba in 1963 were not necessary, as Cuba had been mapped previously as we’ll as most American states. The U.S. had a functioning military base with a military airfield on the Island and had already had to have geographical information to keep the airfield in action. In addition, Cuba was a major tourist destination in the 1950s as much as Las Vegas is today. Many of the major roads on the island were surveyed and built by American companies.
          There was no need for aerial recon, from U2s or any other aircraft.
          Your Bowen reference actually confirms that Oswald never came into contact with maps, except one brief episode that may not have even been a confidential map. Did you read the source?
          Lastly, I have traveled through Dulles for the last 40 years and don’t recall any U2 exhibit, particularly in the 90s. There really isn’t a lot of space in the main terminal; in those days it was mainly palace for baggage check-in and then you took bus-like transporters to the gate across the runway. But even if it was there, I doubt very much that any picture would be courtesy of a private company in Dallas when the original sources were in the area. Besides, what was the status of JCS in the 1990s?

          • Photon says:

            Aerial recon for mapping purposes.,that is.

          • leslie sharp says:

            “As a Sears order was his next task I find it highly doubtful that it had any sensitive information.”

            You bring up an interesting aspect, Photon.

            Chicago based Sears, with a significant corporate presence in Dallas (not far from the overpass btw, and whose Division Director CA Appleton was posted in Latin America for years) had a vast investment in Latin America. General Robert E. Wood, a founding member of the American Security Council whose mantra “Peace Through Strength” has permeated ultra-conservative, anti-communist movements in the US for decades, was board chair, and honorary chairman of Sears through 1968.

            I doubt that anything Sears had commissioned JCS to do lacked at least some element of ‘sensitive information.’ The business of America was business.

        • Photon says:

          I also note that Mr. Kelly’s article mentions the U2 exhibit was at “Allen Dulles Airport”. Obviously Mr. Kelly is so obsessed with the CIA conspiracy myths that he doesn’t know that there is no Allen Dulles Airport, at least not in Loudon County, Virginia.
          IAD was named after John Foster Dulles. If he can’t get such a simple fact correct what does it say about the rest of his research?

  3. Shane McBryde says:

    I decided a long time ago that if I had something substantive to say I would say it. Anyone who read my comment would know who said it and whom to confront should there be any disagreement. Also, it causes me to think long and hard before I post something on the Internet for all the world to see, and it makes a statement about how much I believed in what I say, as it would have my name attached to it.

    Comments posted anonymously are not so. Posted anonymously, one can say anything and not be bothered with having to accept responsibility for it. One could simply fade into the background, or perhaps create another identity entirely. So, not to be too critical of anonymous posts, I’m just not going to give much consideration or credence to some person or persons who don’t posses enough courage in their convictions to stand behind them by stating this is what I believe and my name is…

    • Alan Dale says:

      Well said, Shane.

      In consideration of our moderator’s policy of enforcing basic standards of civility, I thought long and hard before responding within this thread. I think you have well stated how many of us feel regarding how much consideration is due those who choose to impose ill-mannered provocations from behind pseudonyms. I am neither interested nor affected by such tactics, except to note once again the only thing that can be known for sure: There are men Will Rogers must not have met.

    • S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

      Shane, I share your opinion for the most part. The one exception being that I suppose someone must play devils advocate, if for no other reason than to provide a beacon to identifying the obvious flaws in the Warren Commission position. Still, you would think they wouldn’t be ashamed of identifying themselves if their comments were truly their own beliefs, rather than obvious attempts at disrupting legitimate debate on known facts. However, I do find the tactics used to disrupt any debate, both informative and at times amusing, although there is nothing funny about the assassination of a President. Amusing due to some of the foolishness of said posts. I’m sure these are the very types of tactics used back in the 60’s and later, (along with threats and intimidation) to suppress evidence. Fortunately, we live at a time where informations is readily passed from one place to another and disruptive disinformation tactics do not work so well. In a way, it is good that people can witness these tactics for themselves on this website….just another fact added to the collection.

      • Paul says:

        Does anybody know who. Photon is? He writes as if he were a known authority.

        • S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

          Paul….to answer…No. Attempting to appear “authoritarion” is not the same as being an authority, let’s just make that distinction.

        • Photon says:

          Just an insider who has been around long enough to remember the Joy Boys, watching Hungarian diplomats at Old Europe, stopping at the Zebra Room after monitoring the site of the old VA hospital on Wisconsin, hitting the bar atop the Key Bridge Marriott when it was only one tower before I-66 went through, staying away from the rooftop bar at the Hotel Washington because you might see the Congressman you have to meet the next day trying to impress his latest mistress with the view, seeing Tip O’Neill and Ted Kennedy intoxicated in front of the 1789, wondering why a friend had to pick Au Pied du Cochon to entertain a defector when Aux Fruits du Mer next door had better food, going to Rive Gauche when it was the best restaurant in D.C. , picking up groceries at Someplace Special after leaving work or the Evans and seeing Ethel having an argument with one of her many kids.
          I have been around.

          • Paul says:

            So lots of people have been around. That doesn’t make you an authority. Nor does it make your opinions any more correct.

            It’s hard to take someone who claims to be an authority seriously if he doesn’t identify himself. And I’m not talking about people like me, who make no claims to knowing anything special.

          • Bill Simpich says:

            After all that anger earlier on, Photon, I’ve got to say that what you just wrote was poetry. I get the feeling that like many people, you have low tolerance for bullshit.

  4. Larry Silverstein says:

    YO HOMERS,

    The CIA make the Mafia look saintly!

    Sunday Times: Mumbai massacre mastermind was CIA agent
    A double agent masterminded the Islamist terrorist attack on Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008 while he was being used by the CIA to hunt Osama bin Laden.
    When India discovered his role, it accused Washington of having sacrificed Mumbai for the prime target of the al-Qaeda leader.
    David Headley, a former drug smuggler, was acting as a “highly prized counterterrorism asset” for America, according to former officers in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, who said his covert career had run for 11 years.

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