Who was ‘Maurice Bishop?’

Antonio Veciana

Earlier this week, we reported on a newspaper interview with former CIA agent Antonio Veciana in which he talked about JFK’s assassination and the CIA man he knew as ‘Maurice Bishop.’

From Citizens for Truth About the Kennedy Assassination, here’s the essential background on this long-standing JFK mystery that has now been clarified:

“Maurice Bishop…was David Atlee Phillips.”

Why do JFK scholars debate the identity of Maurice Bishop?

David Phillips

David A. Phillips, CIA officer who denied using the name ‘Bishop’

In 1963, Veciana ran an anti-Castro militant group called Alpha-66, which staged hit and run attacks on the Cuban government. This violent crusade brought him in close contact with undercover CIA officers seeking to overthrow Castro, including David Atlee Phillips (left)

In the 1976, Veciana told congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi, that he had seen a friend from the CIA whom he knew as “Maurice Bishop” in the company of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in September 1963.

Working with an artist, Veciana gave a description that yielded a drawing of a man who resembled Phillips (below right).

Artist’s sketch of the CIA man known as ‘Maurice Bishop’

One of Phillips colleagues, contract CIA officer named Ross Crozier, was interviewed by the congressional investigators twice and he said he was “almost certain” that Phillips had used the name “Bishop.”

When Phillips denied using the name “Bishop,” Crozier recanted, and Veciana stayed vague. In his book The Last Investigation, Fonzi concluded that Veciana was just protecting himself by hedging. The fact that Veciana never quite said “Bishop” was Phillips left the matter unresolved.

On November 22, 2013, Veciana sent a letter to Fonzi’s widow, Marie, and told her that he admired her late husband’s work and that “Bishop” was indeed Phillips.

Veciana’s letter strengthens his credibility but it does not entirely prove his story.

Veciana’s claims that he worked closely with Phillips in 1963 and that Phillips used the name “Bishop” have been corroborated by a variety evidence, not just Crozier’s testimony.

So Veciana is a credible witness. However, his story that Phillips and Oswald associated in Dallas before JFK was killed is still uncorroborated. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true.


  1. Jonathan says:

    I’m willing to believe D.A. Phillips used an alias from time to time. We know the guy Jack Ruby shot allegedly used multiple aliases.

    I continue to disbelieve Phillips (Bishop) met openly or otherwise directly with Oswald. It’s easy to believe Oswald was being tracked by and even used by the CIA. It’s hard to believe an upper-echelon case officer like Phillips would deal directly with a street-level operative like Oswald. Phillips would have used an intermediary and kept his identity and presence concealed. That’s part of compartmentalized agent handling; the agent is trained, targeted, and debriefed but is given little to no knowledge of why he’s doing what he’s told to do.

    Giving the agent information about his case officer is very, very dangerous for the case officer and the case officer’s organization. Imagine for example that the Cuban DGI captures Oswald and forces him to talk. There goes the CIA’s Mexico City operation. Phillips wasn’t going to let this possibility arise.

  2. Pages of DAP’s unread testimony should be released in due course.

  3. Marcus Hanson says:

    Veciana’s credibilty is the key. At one point in time,he told the truth.At another point,he lied.Which is which?
    Veciana has offered no reason for making his recent statement. Nor,TTBOMK,has anyone challenged him on why he has changed his position.

    What was his motivation to say what he said at each point? Is he telling the truth now,because he is an old man who is no longer afraid? Or is he lying now,perhaps because of a grudge against CIA?

    And why was Phillips allegedly so nervous before the HSCA? His alleged alcohol abuse? Or some other reason?
    Initially,I was inclined to believe that Veciana is telling the truth now,that Bishop was indeed DAP.
    The “Frontline” interview from 1993-which I learned about only last month-has forced me to re-consider.

    The CTKA article is shallow. Among its failings of omission is to discuss Oswald’s whereabouts in September 1963 : he was in New Orleans,not Dallas,until the 25th.

    A better discussion than the CTKA piece can be found here :

    • “Veciana has offered no reason for making his recent statement. Nor,TTBOMK,has anyone challenged him on why he has changed his position.”~Marcus Hanson

      Yes Veciana has offered a good reason for making his recent statement. He explains that he felt loyal to Philips and didn’t want to reveal his dual identity until Philips had passed away. And also that he decided to reveal that secret before he himself (Veciana) passes away.

      Veciana was clear that the more he read about and came to know more of who Kennedy actually was, the more important it became for him to reveal all that he knew about the plot to assassinate JFK.

  4. James Morgan says:

    Veciana likely saw the Oswald impostor.

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