Testimony of Jim DiEugenio

Los Angeles, California -- September 17, 1996
The next witness today is Mr. James DiEugenio. He is the author of a book entitled Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the Garrison Case, which is an analysis of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's inquiry and of the assassination itself. Mr. DiEugenio.


Author of Destiny Betrayed; JFK, Cuba and the

Garrison Case

MR. DIEUGENIO: Thank you. I am kind of stunned after Mr. Belin's presentation.

I would like to welcome the Review Board here and thank you for coming to beautiful downtown L.A. I appreciate the opportunity to offer anything I have to say about here, and I'll get right to some of the main points I think concerning the Board and what they should be seeking to declassify.

According to some of the sources I have in Washington, some of the executive session transcripts of the Warren Commission have yet to be declassified. That was a couple of months ago. I don't know what the situation is now. But those are very important, because I think a lot of them -- the ones that were declassified since 1993 show that the Warren Commission had a problem. I don't know what Mr. Liebeler or Mr. Belin had to say about this, but the Warren Commission definitely had a problem with this single-bullet theory. And I think if you look at the transcript Mr. Rankin actually says it in those exact words. So if there are still executive session hearings that are not declassified yet, I think that they would have those kind of interesting tid bits in them which I think go right to the heart of the problem.

Also, the executive sessions of the House Select Committee should also be next on the agenda. And because these are some very interesting people like Richard Helms and James Angleton and Robert Maheu, that the public needs to look at. Also, all of the communications between Robert Blakey and his chief aid, Gary Cornwall, need to be declassified. These would be like, I imagine, the working papers going towards the final draft of the HSCA report. And if they aren't there then Mr. Cornwall and Mr. Blakey should be subpoenaed because they would most likely have them. I find it very hard to believe that they would just be destroyed. Any other documents that especially Mr. Cornwall took with him -- I don't think Mr. Blakey took anything with him because the last days of the Committee he was actually calling CIA and asking them to come over and give him documents. So Mr. Cornwall probably did take some stuff. I don't think Mr. Blakey did.

As time goes on, the figure of Clay Shaw becomes more and more fascinating, and even the official record on Clay shaw is incomplete. In 1967 the CIA answered a query by Ramsey Clark. In this communication they stated that they had -- that Mr. Shaw had filed 30 reports with the CIA as of a DCAS agent, Domestic Contacts. According to my sources at the Archives there's nine of those reports. What happened to the others? And if there is no written record is there any notation of any kind of oral communications.

Also, since JFK came out, the story about Clay Shaw being solely a Domestic Contact agent has completely collapsed. And we have Shaw working in some top secret projects like ZR Cliff and also something called QKENCHANT. And Victor Marchetti has since said that in his opinion if Shaw had a high covert security clearance, as it appears that he did, he was not working in DCS, he was probably working in DOD, Domestic Operations under Tracy Barns.

To figure that puzzle out the documentation on QKENCHANT needs to be thoroughly declassified and analyzed. And what makes this even more curious is, which is kind of ironic, we have the documentation of E. Howard Hunt's QKENCHANT clearance, that was declassified. And according to those documents that clearance went all the way up to the Director of Central Intelligence. So I don't understand why we don't have Shaw's documentation on his clearance. And after we have the documentation someone has to get more documents explaining what the purpose of this program was, and I wouldn't ask the CIA.

Staying with Clay Shaw. Shaw was also on the board of a mysterious trade organization called Permanex, and the CIA has a file on this in DDP. Which is interesting in itself because directorate of plans is an operational kind of organization. So I would like to get that declassified. The present state department cables on permanex are incomplete in two senses, in that the state department documents we have are redacted. And then they stop at 1959 although Permanex continued at least into 1965 in Rome and Johannesberg, and I find it hard to believe they would only have documents when it was in Switzerland. So I'd like to see that extended.

Also, on the intelligence, who seems to be very reluctant about cooperating with the Review Board, is supposed to have a file on Permanex, which would make sense since Shaw looks like he was an Army intelligence officer during World War II. So I would ask for both from Army intelligence, that is the file on Permanex and Shaw's military intelligence file. Only the military file was declassified to my knowledge.

About Lee Harvey Oswald. I strongly urge the Board to interview John Armstrong about some of his new discoveries about who, what or whatever Lee Harvey Oswald was because he's becoming a more and more complex kind of a figure.

The FBI seemingly knew about this and the Bureau attempted to cover up Oswald's espionage role with what looks like a forgery of the films -- the photos of the evidence discovered at the Paine household and taken over to the Dallas jail. And John has actual -- I mean, pretty undeniable evidence that this was the case. And of course this concerns the mysterious Minox Camera.

All the tax records on Lee Harvey Oswald, the ones that he filed and the W2s that were supposed to be filed by his employees, have to be collected in one place and analyzed. Armstrong has evidence that the W2 that was submitted is a false one. It was made up in 1964, which of course is impossible. And the overwhelming evidence that Oswald was an FBI informant is I think has gotten to a critical mass. So I would suggest that the Review Board depose James Hosty and Warren DeBrueyes. And I would use John Newman's book as a guide to question James Hosty. And I have some interesting letters that Mr. DeBrueyes wrote to the FBI when he was being called on to testify by the House Select Committee, which I think the Board should see if you don't have them already. He seems to be kind of nervous about a certain set of files that pertain to Lee Harvey Oswald. And DeBrueyes is important -- and I think he's still alive because I interviewed him in 1994 -- because he was the FBI's contact with the Cuban exiles in New Orleans, which from other witnesses that you've heard, is a pretty important connection. He was chosen by Hoover to do the FBI's first examination of the Kennedy assassination. And also it was DeBrueyes who after talking to Marina, it was him who figured out that Oswald shot General Walker. And his logic was, since Oswald shot Kennedy in the head and the shot of Walker was aimed at his head, they must have been the work of the same man.

Every single file on Ruth and Michael Paine has to be located and declassified in its total entirety. And there's a reason why Ruth Paine was asked more questions than anybody else by the Warren Commission. And there's a reason why there is no record of her being interviewed by the House Select Committee. There's evidence that Michael Paine bought a car for Oswald that he tried to apply the payments on. There's this Minox Camera controversy. The Paines had told differing stories about this Minox Camera over time and they don't coincide with each other.

And recently declassified FBI documents says there was an Oswald sighting in 1963 in Antioch, Ohio. That's where Ruth Paine attended college. Curiously the guy who stepped forward and said that wasn't Oswald, it was me, is a guy called Carl Hyde, this guy is Ruth Paine's brother. Then there's this mysterious surfacing of the third backyard photograph supposedly at a meeting between De Mohrenschildt and the Paines in 1965. And most analysts agree that it's this particular photograph that shows strong evidence that defers to was forgeries. Once files are declassified that refer to Michael Paine, they should be called in for depositions and try and explain these curious events and the different remarks they have made through time on this case.

In the declassified version of the Lopez report there is a reference in that report to a supposedly complimentary report that was supposed to be contained within it or right next to it, and when I interviewed Eddie Lopez on this point he thumbed through the report for a few seconds and said, "It's not here anymore." In fact, there's even a footnote in the note section of that report that is blanked out. It's not blacked out, it's blanked out. And Eddie said to me words to the effect, well, if I'd have been them I'd have taken it out also. The title to that report is, "Was Oswald an Agent of the CIA."

Robert Blakey should be asked about this particular point since he stayed on after most of the workers left and took part in rewriting the report and some of the volumes. And Robert Blakey is another guy I think he merits doing a deposition with if for nothing else his behavior about the Regis Blahut affair, which I'm sure most of you are aware of where a CIA liaison was caught with his prints on the autopsy photographs.

I would also like to try to get to the bottom of how Mr. Blakey got this job in the first place. If it turns out to be true that Chris Dodd played a role in this I think that is significant.

The Bay of Pigs first appeared to be a bizarre blunder than one author has termed it "A perfect failure." And as time goes on there's pieces of evidence that emerge from the record that indicate that there's elements of subterfuge to help insure it was a failure. And there's indications that some of these people that were involved in this deliberate botching of the Bay of Pigs also resurfaced at the time of the Kennedy assassination. So I think it's important that the Board get the top secret internal report on the Bay of Pigs. And I know someone who knows the author of that report and he's struggling with the CIA right now to get it declassified and I wouldn't -- I would urge you to try and subpoena it from him rather than struggle from the CIA over getting it.

Relating to that, there's a tape by a suspect

who surfaced during the Garrison investigation. And this guy resurfaced during the House Select Committee. Two of this guy's interviews have been declassified. The audio tape itself has not yet been declassified according to my sources. Now, this tape is important because it's supposed to have been recorded during the polygraph examination, and during this polygraph examination he talks about a connecting point between the New Orleans and the Dallas parts of the conspiracy involving such people like Sergio Acachas Smith. Although that tape was made during the House Select Committee inquiry, the investigator, Lawrence Dulsa actually paid to have the polygraph examiner do it. So you might be able to simplify it since it was not paid for by government funds, that might be a point of getting it declassified as fast as possible. And in fact you might want to go back to the polygraph guy himself, he might have a copy of it.

There's another tape that is held by a private party. And this is an audio tape of another suspect, Lorann Hall. And this was made during the time of the Garrison investigation when Hall was under intense pressure and being actually harassed and some people say physically harassed to stop him from talking. At this time Hall went to this guy and presented him an audio tape. And he said, keep this in case anything happens to me and then release it to the press if something does. Well nothing happened to Lorann Hall and this man still has the audio tape, which he says he has never listened to. So I strongly suggest that you subpoena that and get that in the National Archives.

And I hope some day that the Board actually get into the National Security Agency because I think -- I would like to see all the files on Walter Sheridan who is supposed to have been a counter-intelligence chief at the NSA and who was a chief obstructionist at the time of the Garrison investigation.

The Board has the HSCA transcript of the Shaw trial. But according to what I've looked at, there are still witness' testimony that you don't have and that's because these were recorded in stenographic notes. The stenographic notes are not part of the record or else the Board has not had them transcribed yet. If you don't have the stenographic notes then I think you should send Mr. Montague down to Miss Helen Dietrich's son down in New Orleans who probably still has the stenographic notes and those should become a part of the record.

I don't have to tell the Board that Guy Banister is an important figure in all this intrigue. There's two leads outstanding pertaining to Guy Banister's files. One is a man named Allen Campbell who is a former employ of Guy Banister who is still alive and who recently moved from New Orleans to California. His brother Dan Campbell told me that Allen actually has some of the original files removed from Banister's office at 544 Camp Street. And also Ed Hazland relates that in his book he was actually shown these files by Ed Butler down in New Orleans when Butler and Al Knoxer, Jr. were part of the contra-resupply effort going to New Orleans in the 1980s. So I would strongly suggest that you subpoena both of those people to see if they still have any of these files. Dan Campbell told me Allen still has them, and Allen Campbell confirmed this with me in an interview I did with him in 1994.

In a recent memo found in the Garrison's files it's revealed that William Walter, a former employee of the FBI, told Garrison in 1973 that the FBI through Wackenhut, the Metropolitan Crime Commission and Aaron Kohn, had wire tapped his office.

DR. HALL: What was the year again, I'm sorry?

MR. DIEUGENIO: Of the interview with --

DR. HALL: Yes.

MR. DIEUGENIO: And these taps led to the technical services branch of the FBI headquarters in New Orleans. These tapes were transcribed and then sent to Washington. Walters knew this because he had worked there and his wife had actually done the transcribing. Both he and his wife should be subpoenaed to see if they have any physical evidence left of that wiretapping operation, which was probably illegal.

And this relates to the defleeced Justice Department on Garrison, which according again to my sources in Washington, is about 90 percent withheld at this time. And it's awaiting a third agency review. And that agency is probably the CIA, since many of the -- on these classified files shows that the FBI liaison person with the Justice Department was James Hunt, who appears to be James Angleton's operations officer. And this is significant because the Justice Department, to put it mildly, offered no help to Garrison at anytime, actually monitored and impeded his investigation. And James Angleton seems to be the man at the CIA who at this time appears to be running Lee Harvey Oswald. That file is very important in my opinion, and that should be pretty high on the priority list at this time.

Now the equivalent of that file at the CIA would also be important, but the location on this one would be more complex. There's a long 1967 CIA memo referring to Garrison's discovery of the Cuban exile training camp at Bellechase. This trust looks like it was held in trust to the CIA through Schlumberger Tool Company, and this was used to prepare Cuban exiles at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion. This very detailed memo on this camp could only have come from someone who had imminent knowledge of it at an operational level. And this was written by David Phillips. The routing of this memo goes to six places within the CIA. This includes a special counter-intelligence file on Jim Garrison. It goes to James Angleton and it also goes to the infamous Office of Security headed at that time by Paul Gainer, the other man in the CIA who had extensive files on Lee Harvey Oswald, and according to Jim Hogan, kept a separate file on homosexuals in employ of the CIA. I think that routing sheet and the memo should be studied to see if it can take you to anywhere else within the CIA so you can start looking at these files to see what the CIA had on Garrison. And that becomes important because in the interview I did with Robert Tanenbaum he said that he actually saw a memo out of Richard Helms' office that concerned the monitoring and the harassment of Garrison's witnesses at the time of the Clay Shaw trial.

Besides the names involved and their association with Oswald and the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee coverup activity, there's one other reason why I think that those last two files really should be looked at and pursued vigorously, and that's because of some notes and records I came across quite accidentally. They were written by a former employee of the CIA who had some knowledge of these activities first hand. And I'd like to read an altered and edited version of those notes and the reasons why it's edited and altered will become clear. "I disagree with you on the House Committee Report. It is a continuing coverup of the original Warren Commission coverup. The part seeking to neutralize the political motivations for the crime are of course ludicrous and contemptuous of the public. Unlike you I know the report is a coverup because in the late 1970s I decided to write up at synopsis of both my role in and knowledge of the conspiracy and the coverup. I was directly involved in the latter. I prepared this summary when I was debating whether or not to testify before the House Select Committee. The synopsis turned out to be quite a document. In it I detailed the detailed subterfuge involved in the Aisle of Pines and Giron Bay parts of the Bay of Pigs operation. This was aided in part by Guy Banister. That debacle in turn set the stage for the conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. I went on to list five major parts of this elaborate CIA early disinformation plan

to insure the safety of the conspirators. Number one, the coverup of Oswald's provocateur status. Number two, the squirreling away of the Castro assassination plots. Number three, the staged handling of the Mexico City charade with the help of KGB double agent Valerie Kastakoff. This helped to enlist the rest of the government into a coverup or risk World War III mode. Number 4, Howard Osborne and the Office of Security's successful disguising of Clay Shaw's true agency status from J. Lee Rankin, Jim Garrison and the House Select Committee. Number 5, the office of security's efforts to confuse the public to the secret sponsoring of books like Appointment in Dallas written by CIA asset Hugh McDonald. The effort to both create and destroy Garrison's hopeless investigation was headed by Osborne along with Helms and Dulles. The point of this was to capture, blunt and finally wreck the efforts of the critics to reopen a timely reinvestigation. In that sense a discreditation of Garrison completed the initial coverup. In the affidavit I name many of those I work with operationally in that phase. This include CIA press stringers both here and abroad and the FBI agents involved through the criminal division of the Department of Justice. That particular phase of the coverup continued with the phony charges against Garrison by DOJ's Galinghouse. These also originated in the Office of

Security. That's one that I myself refused to work on. Although begun by Osborne Office of Security continued the coverup through Gambino. This was needed since Bill Coleby sacked Osborne during his struggle with James Angleton over Yuri Nosenko and other matters. At this stage OS shifted to another level what with the Bass tapes of the church committee and the Schweiker report. This led to the untimely death of William Harvey since in the last ditch effort Angleton had hinted between leaving the plot between Harvey, Osborne, Helms and Dulles. This is what appears to be elaborate and obfuscatory internal defenses at CIA whose linchpin is the Nosenko controversy.

I also listed what I knew about the actual conspiracy since it was planned simultaneously with the coverup are essentially one in the same. I listed the probable main assassin behind the fence a CIA/mafia contract assassin and former agent. I listed the weapons used directly silenced rifles designed by Mitch Warbell and the ammunition which was frangible projectile pellets. Needless to say, what happened at that committee I decided not to testify."

I am unable to check out all of this. A lot of it does seem true and it could only be written by someone within the CIA. The details were just not available at that time. But that's another reason why I think that those particular files will be useful. And if you can't get anything out of them I would subpoena the survivors of James Angleton and Paul Gainer.

One last word, if I can editorialize like some of these other people have before me, even though I was told I was only supposed to get 15 minutes. This Review Board is really in my view the last ditch hope for ever getting the truth about the Kennedy assassination. And even though a lot of people say it doesn't matter, I think if you'll examine the record it does matter. And the reason it matters is very clear from Kevin Phillips book Arrogant Capital. In that book he displays a chart of the increasing cynicism about government. And that chart begins a nose dive in 1964. And Kevin Phillips is no liberal or John F. Kennedy lover, but he's simply an honest man. And he said that nose dive was precipitated by the issuance of the Warren report and I tend to agree with that.

After the film JFK brought this terrible state of affairs to public consciousness you five people were then appointed to begin speaking frankly and knowledgeably about what had happened to these files and where they can be located today. Very few people, including myself, think that you'll be able to finish this task, and if that occurs I believe the attempt to reconstitute this Committee must be made. If you don't try and at least half heartily or whatever to do so, then I think you're going to lose the moral high ground in this struggle, which I think today that you still have. If you don't take that seriously then I think that basically this will be another failed investigation. And I understand it's not really an official investigation, but it is an investigation into the total amount of files that are left and some of the validity of the evidence. And since you have the right to depose people on the validity of that evidence, there are some people that should be cross examined on this point and they should be out there for the record for the American public to see.

And if you decide not to attempt to reconstitute, then I think a really honest final report has to be written in which you actually detail where you tried, where you failed, who you got cooperation from and who you didn't from. That's the kind of report that Bob Tanenbaum, who's one of the very few heroes in this whole travesty would have written if he would have been forced out at the end of the House Select Committee instead of at the beginning. In that way the research can get to others who will keep after this long after you're gone. They will be able to make an honest judgment about your work.

I prefer that you attempt to reconstitute. This country has lost five hundred billion dollars through the S and L crisis, through lack of oversight. A hundred and eighty billion dollars in a war in Vietnam which never would have happened if proper oversight would have been installed in the first place. Billions more in the secret arming of Iraq from a lack of oversight. And if we can use that kind of money, approaching a trillion dollars, then we can sure spend the peanuts to reconstitute this Committee to finally get some truth about what happened in 1963.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. DiEugenio. We have about a minute or so for questions if there are any from members of the Board.

DR. HALL: I have a very brief question, a very direct question with a simple answer. As I have understood your testimony, you indicate that you have sources that have knowledge about documents in the existing governmental system. Would you be willing to share the names of those sources with us?

MR. DIEUGENIO: Do you mean those nameless sources I talked about in Washington?

DR. HALL: Yes.

MR. DIEUGENIO: Yes. Peter Villa, who goes to the Archives all the time, and Bill Davy.

DR. HALL: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you very much. We appreciate your testimony here today.

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