Central to Richard Case Nagell's story is the claim that he had a professional relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency, over a span of at least twelve years. Declassified CIA records demonstrate otherwise. While Nagell purported to have worked for the CIA as early as 1956, numerous documents show that he was unknown to the Agency until 1964, when the FBI forwarded information concerning his September 1963 arrest. At no time was Richard Case Nagell ever an employee or contract agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.(1)
To counter such arguments, Nagell biographer Dick Russell cites page two of a four-page 1969 Military Intelligence report on Nagell, which reads, "During the period from August 1962 to October 1963, Subject [Nagell] was intermittently employed as an informant and/or investigator for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)."(2) However, the report explicitly cites an interview with Richard Case Nagell as the source of its information.(3) Nagell also claimed to have worked for Soviet intelligence,(4) the FBI,(5) and Military Intelligence after resigning his commission (his security clearances had already been revoked)(6) and he also hinted at involvement with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).(7)
Nagell A CIA Agent?
Secret internal Agency documents show that he was not:
Nagell's story first began to emerge in early 1967, following the announcement of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's inquiry into the John F. Kennedy assassination. By his own admission, Nagell followed the press accounts of Garrison's investigation as avidly as he could.(8) He informed the NODA that he had inside knowledge of an assassination plot and that he had associated with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans during the summer of 1963.(9)
This contrasted somewhat with Nagell's only prior public statement on the matter, an FBI interview of December 19, 1963. "For the record," the report of this interview reads, "he [Nagell] would like to say that his association with Oswald (meaning Lee Harvey Oswald) was purely social and that he had met him in Mexico City and in Texas" the accused assassin's two most highly publicized stamping grounds.(10) By the time Oswald visited Mexico City, however, Richard Case Nagell was in jail,(11) and there is no evidence whatsoever placing Nagell in New Orleans, with or without Oswald.(12) Later, of course, Nagell would add not only New Orleans but also Japan to his list.
There are problems with Nagell's account of his alleged 1957 acquaintance with Oswald, however. He specified November 1957 as the time that he and Oswald supposedly became involved in a CIA operation targeting Soviet colonel Nikolai Eroshkin.(13) Aside from questions about the dubious value of a teenage Marine private in sensitive intelligence matters, Lee Harvey Oswald was not on duty in November 1957; he was taken out of action on October 27, 1957, when he accidentally shot himself with a .22 Derringer.(14) He was hospitalized for three weeks, and returned to duty on November 20, just in time to ship out to Cubi Point in the Philippines. He would not return to Japan until March 18 of the following year.(15)
[In addition to the CIA] Nagell also claimed to have worked for Soviet intelligence, the FBI, and Military Intelligence after resigning his commission (his security clearances had already been revoked) and he also hinted at involvement with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Nagell's claim about he and Oswald frequenting the Queen Bee together is equally problematic. Nagell never mentioned the Queen Bee prior to May 31, 1978,(16) in an interview with Bernard Fensterwald, Jr. It seems more than coincidental that the Tokyo nightspot had just been linked to Lee Harvey Oswald for the very first time, in Edward Jay Epstein's Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald, published earlier that year. It may be significant that during this same interview with Fensterwald, Nagell also stated for the first time that George De Mohrenschildt had debriefed Oswald for the CIA, a claim advanced by De Mohrenschildt to Epstein during his interviews for that book.(17)
According to Nagell, Oswald's name next came to his attention in October 1962, in Mexico City. At this time, Nagell asserted, he was serving as an agent for the Soviet Union, and not for the first time in his life.(18) While the claim cannot be proved or disproved, Nagell related a number of contradictory accounts of his alleged involvement with the Soviets. By one account he was approached in August or September 1962 in a Washington, DC watering hole by "an individual whom he felt was either a Special Agent of the FBI or a Soviet Espionage Agent."(19) Nagell claimed that at this person's instruction, he traveled to Miami, where he supposedly met with another contact.(20) On another occasion he said it was a man he met in Mexico City who "introduced him to individuals whom he believed may have been Soviet Agent[s]."(21) On a third occasion, however, he suggested that his Washington contact might have actually been with the CIA.(22)
In September 1962, at a party in Mexico City reportedly hosted by employees of the Chilean and Columbian embassies,(23) Nagell met a man he would name as "Robert Graham,"(24) described as a "'subordinate' CIA officer whose ultimate reporting reached all the way up to Desmond FitzGerald in the CIA hierarchy."(25) Graham, Nagell claimed, "would become, for the next year, his CIA 'contact.'"(26) When Nagell purportedly was offered an intelligence assignment by the Soviet Union, he allegedly consulted Graham for advice. Graham purportedly instructed Nagell to "take the bait,"(27) signifying that Nagell would ostensibly be infiltrating the Soviet agency under Graham's supervision.(28)
Biographer Dick Russell writes, "When Nagell signed his contract with the CIA [sic] in 1962, starting him on a 'double agent' mission vis-à-vis the Soviets, Nagell says it was a FitzGerald subordinate who would serve as his CIA contact in Mexico City." "According to Nagell, Desmond FitzGerald definitely figures into the Oswald saga to what degree we may never know, except perhaps through a no-holds-barred official inquiry."(29)
Desmond FitzGerald, however, was not in Mexico City in the fall of 1962. He was not appointed to the Special Affairs Staff until late January 1963. Prior to that he was stationed in the Far East.(30)
Another alleged assignment of Nagell's was to penetrate a group referred to in Nagell's correspondence by the code name, "Bravo Club." In 1976 Nagell informed Dick Russell in writing that "Bravo" was the notorious activist/terrorist exile organization, Alpha 66.(31) In a 1967 letter to friend Arthur Greenstein, Nagell had strongly implied that "Bravo Club" was an Alpha 66 splinter group known as Commandos L.(32) However, in May 1967 Nagell "made it expressly clear" to NODA investigator William R. Martin "that none of these [Cuban exile] organizations, acting as organizations, planned to assassinate, or in fact assassinated, President Kennedy. Rather, [Nagell] stated that the Cubans who took an active part in the assassination acted as individuals and that they did not all belong to one organization or even to two organizations, even though they had all come together and become known to each other because of these organizations."(33)
Nagell claimed that during the first week of October 1962, the Soviets picked up on a rumor that there was a discussion within "Bravo Club" of assassinating President Kennedy.(34) Nagell was allegedly assigned to ascertain whether or not the rumor was true, and if so, to find out exactly who was involved, along with the motive and methods being discussed. He said he had barely begun when he was called to a particular location and informed by an unnamed person that the rumor was true. He claimed to have been briefed about the alleged assassination plot, furnished a number of photographs of alleged participants, and instructed to return to the US.(35) Depending upon which version of Nagell's story one consults, the location to which Nagell was summoned for this briefing was either the US Embassy in Mexico City,(36) the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City,(37) or the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC.(38)
According to Nagell, Lee Harvey Oswald had been recruited into the plot as an assassin and patsy during the summer of 1963.(39) Nagell named a number of individuals as Oswald's "handlers" during the months that followed. One of them, Nagell said, was he himself.(40) The others, Nagell informed Jim Garrison in 1967, were the very men Garrison had targeted in his New Orleans-based investigation. In fact, all of Nagell's statements about these men seem to have been lifted from media accounts.
Depending upon which version of Nagell's story one consults, the location to which Nagell was summoned for this briefing was either the US Embassy in Mexico City, the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, or the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC.
For example, Nagell stated that during the summer of 1963 he had discovered that Oswald was "undergoing hypnotherapy" from Garrison suspect David Ferrie, grooming the young Marxist into a "Manchurian Candidate"-type programmed assassin.(41) This was one of numerous well-publicized stories given the NODA by Ferrie associate Jack S. Martin immediately following the assassination. Upon further questioning, Martin admitted that all of his claims were fabrications.(42)
Nagell hinted at personal knowledge of Ferrie's involvement with an exile training camp located off Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain during the summer of 1963.(43) Such involvement had been asserted by Jim Garrison, but has no factual basis. All involved with the camp deny that Ferrie was involved in any respect.(44) In fact, Ferrie's association with the exiles ended in the fall of 1962, following an arrest on morals charges that tarnished his reputation.(45)
Another Oswald "handler" named by Nagell was indicted Garrison suspect Clay L. Shaw.(46) When Shaw was acquitted in 1969, Nagell seems to have dropped him from his tales.
According to Nagell, another Oswald "handler" was Garrison suspect William Guy Banister,(47) described by Nagell as "a real asshole" and "a guy who should have gone to jail."(48) According to Nagell, Banister was a "private detective who did a few jobs for the agency."(49) But it was none other than Jim Garrison who started the rumors of Guy Banister's alleged CIA connections. Likewise, Nagell's claim that Banister was "partially responsible"(50) for a 1963 FBI raid of an arms cache located off Lake Pontchartrain was simply another Garrison factoid with no basis in reality.(51)
Nagell also supported Garrison's conviction that an Oswald impostor had been involved in framing the accused assassin well in advance of the assassination.(52) According to Nagell, the impostor went by the name of "Leon Oswald," a name that had shown up in the widely publicized statements of Garrison witness Perry Raymond Russo.(53)
"I knew both of them," Nagell told Dick Russell, of Lee and "Leon." "I have been trained in observation, and there is no mistaking who was who. The other Oswald was working with anti-Castro Cubans. He was not pro-Castro. This Leon Oswald, the second Oswald, allegedly registered at a hotel in Mexico City where I had once registered under a different name. . . . I told [Richard] Popkin he ought to check with the State Department, because somebody's got a picture of him."(54)
At times, Nagell seemed to support Richard Popkin's theory that Lee Harvey Oswald had been impersonated by such an individual in Dallas during November 1963. However, he also informed the NODA that "Leon Oswald" had been "eliminated" in late September of that year.(55)
There is no evidence so much as placing Nagell in New Orleans in 1963. If he indeed spent time in the Crescent City, he did not even make his customary stops at the local VA and FBI offices.(56)
On June 1, 1964, Nagell wrote of "two Cubans who were associating with Oswald in August and September 1963." One of these men, he wrote, "also fits the description of one of the two Cubans who allegedly visited Sylvia [sic] Odio at Magellan Circle with Oswald in September 1963 . . ."(57) This Cuban, he wrote, "was witnessed entering the On the Beach Bookstore on two separate occasions while he was under surveillance."(58)
Silvia Odio claimed that two Cubans had visited her apartment in late September 1963 in the company of Lee Harvey Oswald, and she recalled the men's "war names" as "Angel" or "Angelo," and "Leopoldo."(59) From the above statement of Nagell's, one would never guess that he knew both of these men. It can be reasonably inferred, in fact, that he did not. Surely if he were acquainted with a pair of Cuban exiles named "Angel" or "Angelo" and "Leopoldo," he would find it most significant that a witness in Dallas had placed two Cubans with those precise names in the company of Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the assassination.
It can also be inferred that, while "one of the two Cubans who were associating with Oswald in August and September 1963 fits the description" of one of Silvia Odio's visitors, Nagell did not associate Oswald's other alleged Cuban associate with either one of Odio's visitors. Yet before long, Richard Case Nagell was claiming to have known them both. He claimed to Dick Russell that he "conducted surveillance" on both men, "was briefed" about them in 1963, and had even photographed them.(60)
For his part, On the Beach proprietor Vaughn Snipes told Dick Russell, "I just have no recollection of anybody I knew as a Cuban coming into the bookstore, or my having any contact with anyone who was a Cuban."(61)
If Nagell inserted figures like "Angel" and "Leopoldo," Desmond FitzGerald, and assorted Garrison witnesses into his tales to bolster his credibility, he might have been better served by some restraint. In the Seventies he started dropping the names of such assassination-connected figures as Sam Giancana,(62) Johnny Roselli,(63) Carlos Marcello,(64) George De Mohrenschildt,(65) and David Atlee Phillips.(66)
If Nagell inserted figures like "Angel" and "Leopoldo," Desmond FitzGerald, and assorted Garrison witnesses into his tales to bolster his credibility, he might have been better served by some restraint. In the Seventies he started dropping the names of such assassination connected figures as Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, Carlos Marcello, George De Mohrenschildt, and David Atlee Phillips.
According to Nagell, "Angel" and "Leopoldo" approached Oswald in the guise of Cuban intelligence agents and convinced him to join the plot to assassinate President Kennedy. They allegedly assured him he would thereafter be provided with a visa to Cuba, where he was certain to receive a hero's welcome.(67)
Nagell claimed that he subsequently received instructions to "initiate certain action against Mr. Oswald, who was the indispensable tool in the conspiracy, and thereafter depart the United States . . ." He was to try to persuade Oswald "that the deal was phony and if that didn't work, and it looked like things were going to progress beyond the talking stage, to get rid of him."(68)
Instead, Nagell asserted that he made an effort to alert various authorities about the assassination plot. He claimed to have visited Cuba and to have personally warned Fidel Castro that Cuban exiles were plotting JFK's assassination, presumably because of the danger this could pose to Castro, who Nagell alleged was a leading candidate for the position of fall guy.(69) The claim might have been a little easier to swallow had Nagell not insisted that the meeting was with Fidel Castro himself. "To my knowledge I never talked to any 'Castro aides,"(70) he stated later, and told Dick Russell that Castro was an excellent ping-pong player. "And he'll play you, too," he added, advising Russell to bone up on his game.(71)
Nagell also claimed to have contacted the New Orleans FBI about the alleged assassination plot,(72) but no documents support this. According to Nagell, he also sent warnings to Desmond FitzGerald and another, unnamed official of the CIA, as well as to his Soviet employers.(73)
The alleged warnings would seem to have provoked no action, despite Nagell's assurances that neither the Soviets nor the CIA wanted President Kennedy assassinated. We know that Desmond FitzGerald, a longtime friend of JFK's (some even mistakenly believed the two to have been related),(74) was as distraught about the assassination as anyone else that cold November weekend. Writes Newsweek's Evan Thomas, "FitzGerald was at home watching television when Jack Ruby shot Oswald . . . [His] wife Barbara was shocked to see her husband burst into tears. She had never seen him cry before. "Now," said FitzGerald, "we'll never know."(75)
Nagell alleged that on or about September 17, 1963, shortly before his arrest, he dispatched from Texas a registered letter warning J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI that Lee Harvey Oswald and unnamed others were planning to assassinate John F. Kennedy at the end of September, in Washington.(76)
The most widespread belief about Richard Case Nagell may not derive from Nagell at all. William Turner wrote in the January 1968 issue of Ramparts that Nagell got himself arrested in El Paso "because he wanted to be in custody as an alibi when the assassination took place."(77)
But Nagell himself strongly disavowed Turner's Ramparts article,(78) and specifically refuted the suggestion that he had been seeking an alibi that day in El Paso. "I certainly wasn't trying to establish an alibi, as some of these researchers have written," he told Dick Russell. "I didn't need an alibi. I was on my way out of the country, to Mexico and then somewhere else, and I did not plan to return."(79)
Even Jim Garrison, who personally interviewed Nagell in 1968, cites Turner's version of events. In On the Trail of the Assassins, Garrison writes that when the FBI did not reply to Nagell's alleged letter, Nagell sensed "there was a very real danger of his being drawn into a trap. After all, he had been in the company of Oswald, and others with him, during much of 1963." "Finally, in what [Nagell] admitted was an act of desperation, he decided that his one safe course was to insure that he was in a federal institution on the day the assassination occurred."(80)
Nagell adamantly denied such claims. "I was not the least bit [desperate] about anything in September 1963. . . I had no fear of being implicated [in the assassination] at the time of my arrest or prior thereto."(81)
But Nagell himself strongly disavowed Turner's Ramparts article, and specifically refuted the suggestion that he had been seeking an alibi that day in El Paso. "I certainly wasn't trying to establish an alibi, as some of these researchers have written," he told Dick Russell. "I didn't need an alibi. I was on my way out of the country. . . .
Nevertheless, conspiracy theorists seem to prefer William Turner's version. For example, in Destiny Betrayed, James DiEugenio writes that when Nagell's alleged letter to the FBI "went unacknowledged, he acted to save himself. He thought the conspiracy was bigger than he dreamed. Even worse, he feared that somehow he would be sucked into it and be accused of being a plotter through his association with Oswald and the trio [of Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, and David Ferrie]."(82)
The fact is that Nagell consistently refused to offer conspiracy theorists an explanation for his actions in the bank. "There was a reason for having myself arrested in the manner I did, which I thought would turn into a misdemeanor," he told Dick Russell. "It wasn't because of the Kennedy assassination, in that sense, but for a reason that I've never disclosed to anybody in the United States."(83)
Be that as it may, when "asked for his motive in attempting to hold up the bank," an FBI report of September 25, 1963, reads, "Nagell stated that he was unhappy with the American judicial system, because he had attempted, through judicial procedures, to get to see his two children, a girl 3½ and a boy 2½, in custody of his divorced wife, and the California court had not executed an order in keeping with his request."(84)
In June of 1966 Nagell underwent a psychiatric evaluation at Leavenworth. He initially refused to answer any questions, but after several days it was impressed upon him that his cooperation would be to his benefit. Nagell "kept emphasizing throughout the various interviews that his whole purpose in entering the bank in El Paso, Texas when he is alleged to have attempted to rob the bank was for the purpose and sole purpose of getting psychiatric treatment."(85)
Nagell explained that "he had tried for admission to the VA Hospitals just prior to the alleged bank robbery. He stated that after getting married, his wife insisted that he resign [from the Army], which he did in 1959 and that his adjustment to civilian life was very difficult and made more difficult by his marital problems and finally resulted in his marriage breaking up in the Spring of 1962 which had a very traumatic effect on him. He alleges that his wife left him twice and after she left him for the second and the last time, that he lost his job in June, 1962 and noticed that he was starting to get nervous and emotionally unstable, that he got and quit two jobs after that because he couldn't concentrate. He felt that he was slipping and finally, that he tried for admission to a VA Hospital just prior to the alleged bank robbery that he was desperate for some type of psychiatric treatment for his psychiatric symptoms of nervousness and emotional instability and inability to concentrate."(86)
In 1992, Dick Russell published The Man Who Knew Too Much, a lengthy account of Russell's 17-year investigation into the subject of Richard Case Nagell. It espoused a number of theories that did not originate with Nagell himself, and advanced for the very first time the allegation that Nagell possessed foreknowledge of the assassination in Dallas, something Nagell himself never stated or even implied. The claim stems from the statement of a single eyewitness, Officer Jim Bundren. Bundren claims that during a court hearing of November 1963, he privately asked Nagell why he had fired off the shots in the bank. According to Bundren, "Nagell just smiled and said, 'Well, I'm glad you caught me. I really don't want to be in Dallas.'"(87)
There are several problems with this. Most obviously, Bundren never mentioned this alleged remark of Nagell's to anyone until May 11, 1990, when he revealed it to Dick Russell.(88) Russell himself had interviewed Bundren fifteen years earlier,(89) but accepts the new claim unquestioningly. Meanwhile, Nagell himself never mentioned such a statement, not even in his 40-page draft for a writ of habeas corpus, in which he seems to list every alleged remark he'd ever made in custody that could even conceivably be linked to a motive for his actions in the State National Bank.(90)
It's also unclear why Dallas would have been on Nagell's mind on November 4, 1963 Nagell's last court appearance prior to the assassination several weeks before JFK departed the White House for Texas. President Kennedy's Dallas trip had not even been announced until Nagell had been in custody for a full six days.(91)
Nagell himself consistently maintained that the plot he knew about was to occur at the end of September, "presumably" in Washington, DC.(92) Strangely, JFK was not in the nation's capital at that time.(93)
Regarding Lee Harvey Oswald, the enigmatic individual Nagell was allegedly 'handling' in 1963,(94) Nagell seemed to be doing more guesswork at times than would seem necessary for one so closely involved. For example, the young Marine definitely "had CIA connections" in Japan, Nagell once stated,(95) and "got paid by indirect means."(96) On the other hand, "If Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the CIA," Nagell said, "he sure didn't know it."(97)
Nagell seemed no clearer on his own status. From the fall of 1962 to the time of his arrest in El Paso, Nagell claimed to have been "an investigator (informant) for the Central Intelligence Agency in an undercover role . . . the appropriate credentials being furnished to me by the CIA."(98) "Most of my connection in 1962-63 was with the CIA and FBI," he reiterated at one time.(99) On a third occasion he stated that he had performed duties for the CIA in 1962-63,(100) and on a fourth occasion he emphatically noted that from "approximately the middle of August 1962 until my arrest in Texas on 20 September 1963, I was employed by the Agency in a capacity which can be accurately described as that of an agent, in every sense of the word."(101) Yet a few years later he would write, "I have never stated to anybody, either verbally or in writing, that in 1963 I was an agent for the CIA . . ."(102)
Nagell claimed that sometime between August 23 and 27, 1963, he made "a tape recording of four voices in conversation concerning the plot which ended in the assassination of President Kennedy."(103) The conversation "was primarily in Spanish although on certain occasions . . . certain of the participants lapsed into English. When questioned as to the identity of the persons speaking on the tape [Nagell] stated openly that one of them was 'Arcacha' and another individual whom [Nagell] would only identify as 'Q.'"(104) Many assume that Nagell was referring to Garrison suspects Sergio Arcacha Smith and Carlos Quiroga, who had associated with one another in 1961-62, though not in 1963, by which time Arcacha had left Louisiana.(105)
Soon after making this statement to a Garrison investigator, Nagell informed the NODA that the identities of the speakers on the tape actually were Lee Harvey Oswald, Nagell himself, "Angel" (the Cuban exile reportedly seen with Oswald by Silvia Odio), and an unidentified fourth party.(106)
In April 1967, Nagell told the NODA that the tape was in the possession of a friend of his in California, Frederick H. John, and promised to see that the DA's Office received it as soon as possible.(107) NODA investigator William Martin traveled to California to pick up the tape, but was told by John that it had been "the subject of a burglary sometime in 1964."(108) On July 8, 1967, Nagell wrote his sister, Eleanore Gambert, about the tape, saying, "I can state with good foundation that if it was stolen, it was not stolen in 1964. In the same vein, I can also say that while the item involved may indeed no longer be available, it is not in the custody of the opposition either."(109)
In the late 1970s, Nagell assured Dick Russell that the tape was safe, and in 1995 he told Noel Twyman that he himself had "stashed" it away, along with other evidence, and that it "would be revealed in the event of his death."(110) "The truth will come out if I die," he assured Dick Russell.(111) Nagell died in 1995, of arteriosclerotic heart disease,(112) but the alleged recording has never surfaced.
On or about September 15, 1963, Nagell purportedly met with Oswald one last time, in New Orleans' Jackson Square. He claimed to have arranged for a street vendor to snap a Polaroid photograph of the two men while they were talking, which he retained as evidence of their relationship.(113) No sooner had this last claim surfaced, in a 1975 Los Angeles Free Press article by William Turner,(114) than Nagell fired off a letter to the editor insisting, "I have never claimed that I 'squirreled away a snapshot of (myself) with Lee Harvey Oswald taken in Jackson Square in New Orleans in 1963.'"(115)
Less than a year later, however, Nagell wrote Dick Russell that the "faded Polaroid pic" did indeed exist, "amongst my belongings in another country."(116) This was one of several items that Nagell referred to as his "life insurance": "In the event of his demise, Nagell made arrangements for this [the Polaroid] and more to surface."(117) Yet the alleged Polaroid too has failed to appear.
Arguably most crucial of all was the receipt Nagell often claimed to possess for the registered letter he claimed to have sent to J. Edgar Hoover, shortly before his arrest in El Paso. In this letter he purportedly stated that Lee Harvey Oswald and unnamed others were planning to assassinate John F. Kennedy at the end of September, "presumably" in Washington.(118) He often claimed that he had in his possession the receipt for that letter, a letter the FBI denied ever receiving.(119) For some time in the late Sixties, however, Nagell said that he no longer had the alleged receipt, as it had purportedly been confiscated by the FBI following his September 1963 arrest and never returned.(120) Later he would imply that he still had the receipt after all.(121)
Immediately following Nagell's death, the Assassination Records Review Board (established by the JFK Records Act of 1992) investigated the possibility that Nagell had left behind any information relevant to his claims. The board's Final Report notes, "A member of the Review Board staff traveled twice to California to inspect the effects of Nagell in an attempt to find assassination records. During the first trip, the Review Board staff member, along with Nagell's son and niece, inspected Nagell's apartment in Los Angeles. During the second trip, the Review Board staff member inspected, again with the assistance of the son and niece, material contained in some footlockers found in storage in Phoenix, Arizona. The Review Board staff did not locate any of the items" Nagell had claimed to possess.(122)
|Next: Part 4 scrutinizes another controversial period in the mystery man's life.|
1. A fairly lengthy paper trail was established soon after Nagell's September 20, 1963, arrest, when a handwritten note in his possession was found to list the name of the well-publicized Richard Fecteau, a CIA agent captured and imprisoned in China some years earlier, as well as six additional surnames and the notation "CIA." The six names were determined to correspond to six employees of the CIA's Los Angeles field office, though none of the individuals themselves recalled Nagell. A CIA memorandum of March 26, 1964, written by Bruce Solie, Chief, Research Branch/SRS, references the seven names, and reports that "a check of SO Indices has revealed no record of NAGELL, and an RI check only disclosed the attached FBI report," a report generated as a result of Nagell's arrest. In other words, there was no record of Nagell ever having been a contract agent or employee of the CIA. This memorandum requested that Virginia Thorne of the Domestic Contact Service be contacted to determine whether Nagell had any record with DCS, i.e., if it could be verified that he had ever been an informant.
A memorandum of January 16, 1968, generated in reference to William Turner's January 1968 Ramparts article on Nagell, states of Nagell, "CIA CONNECTION: None; although Subject was of interest to OS in 1964 and early 1965 because of information furnished to the Agency by the FBI that he had in his possession the names of six CIA employees at the time of his arrest for bank robbery in El Paso, Texas on 20 September 1963." The memo continues, "Subject became of to the Office of Security in March 1964 when the FBI informed the Agency that subject had in his possession . . . the name of Richard FECTEAU . . . and of six Agency employees. Research failed to reveal any reason why NAGELL had these names in his possession. It was concluded that while NAGELL is unquestionably unbalanced, his story of being involved in espionage is not fully contradicted by evidence. He could have been contacted by a Soviet agent while in Washington DC in December 1962 or while he was in Mexico City in September and October 1962." (A reasonable question, one that is unlikely to be answered to anyone's satisfaction, is how did Nagell obtain these names? Regardless, Nagell denied that his activities in California had anything to do with the assassination.) The memo continues, "Subject's file reflects no Agency interest in him prior to March 1964 when the names of CIA employees were found in his possession when arrested for bank robbery." A December 10, 1968, CIA memorandum with the subject, "Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination: Richard Case Nagell (201-746537)" states, "Subject is not associated with CIA and has not been so associated."
The skeptic should bear in mind that these documents are not press releases; they are reports written expressly for use within the CIA, and would still be classified were it not for three separate acts of legislation that occurred at a later date.
2. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much, New York; Carroll and Graf , 1997, pp. 54, 735.
3. It is less than certain that MI would have been able to obtain such information from the CIA had they tried.
4. In addition to alleged services he would claim had been performed unwittingly for the Soviets, Nagell stated on several occasions that he had been performing services for at least one foreign government during his time with the CIC (Russell, 159-60). He specified to Bernard Fensterwald in 1978 that he had worked for the Soviets (Russell, 160), and told NODA investigator William Martin that he had operated in 1962-63 out of the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City (William R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, April 18, 1967; AMKW).
Nagell denied specifying the Soviets to Martin or anyone else (Russell, 644), but two others corroborate Martin's account Nagell attorney Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., and Nagell's Springfield cellmate, David R. Kroman.
5. Russell, 77, 238, 264.
6. Russell, 187.
7. Russell, 236.
8. William R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, April 18, 1967; AMKW.
9. William R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, April 18, 1967; AMKW.
10. Russell, 51, 735; AMKW. If Nagell thought that by claiming an association with Oswald he would attract the eager attention of the authorities, he was mistaken. The FBI received hundreds of statements from citizens claiming sightings of or associations with Lee Harvey Oswald in places that did not fit Oswald's known whereabouts. Once it had been determined that Oswald had not been in Mexico City prior to the time of Nagell's September 20, 1963, arrest, it's doubtful that anyone would have taken Nagell seriously, particularly in light of his medical history.
11. Nagell stuck to his Mexico City story, however. "Was Lee Harvey Oswald with me in Mexico City?" he responded to a query from Dick Russell. "Not in September 1963. I told the FBI: He shot at a cactus plant and he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a shotgun" (Russell, 371). Friend John Margain recalled, "On Oswald, the only thing [Nagell] ever told me he was in Mexico with him one time. They both had some rifles and were shooting at some cactus. He told me Lee Harvey Oswald couldn't hit the side of a barn" (Ibid.). Russell theorizes an earlier Oswald visit to Mexico City, and cites Robert Buick Clayton as a witness (Russell, 377-8), but even Buick does not place Oswald and Nagell in Mexico City together (Russell, 377). There is no record of Oswald ever crossing the border to Mexico prior to his visit of late September. He did not even obtain his tourist visa until September 17 three days before Nagell's El Paso arrest (Russell, 163; Warren Commission Report, 730). Marina Oswald testified that he was never away overnight that summer except for the night he spent in jail for disturbing the peace (Transcript, State of Louisiana v. Clay L. Shaw, February 21, 1969, p. 17).
12. Dick Russell attempts to substantiate Nagell's claims with two of the most dubious conspiracy witnesses on record. The first is Robert Morrow, whose credibility is all but nonexistent. Morrow is merely embellishing the story put forward in 1968 by William Turner. (Morrow appropriates many other Turner claims, such as the notions that Guy Banister was a high-ranking Minutemen and that David Ferrie trained anti-Castro exiles in summer 1963 at a camp off Lake Pontchartrain. Morrow says he got such information from deceased CIA officer Tracy Barnes. But much of this information is false. For example, only one witness, Jerry Milton Brooks, ever claimed that Guy Banister was a high-ranking Minuteman or a Minuteman at all and Brooks has changed his story several times. Likewise, David Ferrie was no longer involved in any exile activities whatsoever in 1963 he'd ceased all such activities by the time Sergio Arcacha Smith, his contact in the exile community, was deposed from his position with the Cuban Revolutionary Council; see endnote 44.) Russell's second witness is Colonel William Bishop, who came forward specifically to support Morrow (Russell, 505-6), and who claims, among other things, to have assassinated Jimmy Hoffa (Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, 642-3).
13. Russell, 136. Eroshkin was the military attache to the Soviet embassy and, according to Nagell, suspected of being the legal Soviet military intelligence (GRU) representative in Japan (Russell, 136-7). According to Nagell, he was informed that this project was being guided by CIA officer Desmond FitzGerald (Russell, 151).
14. Warren Commission Report, 683. Some researchers believe this incident was staged, but his USMC medical records clearly record the treatment of the gunshot wound.
15. Warren Commission Report, 684. Oswald arrived in Japan for the first time on September 12, 1957, and served for the following six weeks as a radar operator in Marines Air Control Squadron No. 1 (MACS 1), Marine Air Group 11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Atsugi (Warren Commission Report, 683).
In 1978, Edward Jay Epstein's Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald was published with the claim that the seemingly impoverished Marine had frequented the allegedly KGB-infested Queen Bee. Epstein writes, "The Queen Bee, known for its more than 100 strikingly beautiful hostesses, was then one of the three most expensive nightclubs in Tokyo. It catered to an elite clientele field-grade officers, pilots (including U-2 pilots) and a few junior officers with private incomes not to impoverished Marine privates. To take a hostess out of a nightclub customarily required paying not only the girl, but the nightclub as well for the bar business it lost during her absence. The man also had to pay for the accommodations for the evening. For an evening at the Queen Bee, a date could cost anywhere from $60 to $100." "Yet Oswald, who was earning less than $85 a month take-home pay, went out with [a particular Queen Bee hostess] with surprising regularity, even bringing her back to the base area several times" (Edward Jay Epstein, The Assassination Chronicles, New York; Carroll and Graf, 1992, p. 360).
Even Case Closed author Gerald Posner accepts the Queen Bee story as at least partly authentic, despite the fact that Oswald had actually managed to save up $1,500 nearly 75 percent of his pay prior to his 1959 sojourn to the USSR. Posner understandably doubts that Oswald actually paid for any dates at the club (Gerald Posner, Case Closed, New York; Random House, 1993, p. 25). Posner claims that some of his information on the Queen Bee though not related to Oswald in particular comes from a "confidential source" (Posner, 511 fn. 24). Strangely, this source doesn't seem to have told him anything that wasn't printed in Epstein's book. After Legend's publication, one David Bucknell, an alleged fellow Marine of Oswald's, told Mark Lane that Oswald had established US intelligence contacts while frequenting the Queen Bee (Russell, 146). No David Bucknell is listed among Oswald's USMC unit (Epstein, 657-8).
Incredibly, Epstein's tale of Oswald and the Queen Bee is based solely on the recollections of a single eyewitness, Oswald's Marine buddy Zack Stout, who told Epstein that Oswald had fallen in love with a women whom Oswald allegedly stated worked at the Queen Bee (Epstein, 360; Russell, 145). If Oswald was lying or if Stout is mistaken, the Queen Bee story goes up in smoke.
16. Russell, 145-6, 749 fn. 33.
17. Russell, 276. Nagell also asserted that De Mohrenschildt had been murdered to keep him from testifying before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (Russell, 281), a once-common theory that has been soundly debunked (Click here to read a detailed report on De Mohrenschildt's death).
18. On April 21, 1958, Nagell was informed he was being investigated for the compromise of classified material (Russell, 158). A subordinate claimed that Nagell "permitted Japanese Nationals to have unauthorized access to classified defense information" (Ibid.). Nagell was relieved of all his duties with the CIC and his security clearances were revoked (1964 CIA chronological dossier of activities; AMKW).
Nagell once noted, "During the period of my military service I had occasion to sign numerous US Government loyalty oaths, and to perform in capacities for which I could now be prosecuted if it were disclosed that I was a Communist at the time" (Russell, 160). Nagell stated on several occasions that he had been performing services for at least one foreign government during his time with the CIC (Russell, 159-60). He specified to Bernard Fensterwald in 1978 that he had worked for the Soviets (Russell, 160), informed Jim Garrison that he had functioned as a double agent (Russell, 159). "Hypothetically," Nagell told Dick Russell, "I was doing something for another country and it backfired. I got ID'ed, got called in, and I strapped some story on my superiors." "This had to do with a Korean who was a suspected Soviet agent, though he was working with a very right-wing group. He was one of our informants, and also an informant for the Japanese police. They wanted to know, why did I contact this guy? They caught me cold. I came out with some preposterous thing that they bought." "If they'd have checked, I'd have been court-martialed . . . The Korean was really a contact and I screwed up." (Russell, 160).
Admittedly, Nagell is too problematic a witness to credit even in self-incriminating statements such as this, and his alleged service for the USSR is every bit as suspect as his claims about the CIA. At the very least, however, those closest to Nagell tend to affirm that his sympathies were with the left.
19. FBI Memorandum, October 2, 1963, cited in FBI Memorandum, April 7, 1964; CTKA.
20. FBI Memorandum, October 2, 1963, cited in FBI Memorandum, April 7, 1964; CTKA.
21. FBI report, January 24, 1963, quoted in 1964 CIA Nagell chronology; AMKW.
22. Richard Case Nagell, addendum enclosed with letter of January 28, 1970, to the editor of The Family; SS 53; AMKW. The contact described as working out of "domestic intelligence" is inferred to be the same individual who reportedly spoke of "domestic intelligence" in the Washington bar (FBI Memorandum, October 2, 1963, cited in FBI Memorandum, April 7, 1964; CTKA). This is the only context in which Nagell uses the term "domestic intelligence," which he guessed might have referred to a "forerunner of the present-day Domestic Operations Division . . ." (Addendum to January 28, 1970, letter; SS 53).
23. Nagell attended the party with Arthur Greenstein, an American he had befriended at Mexico City's Hotel Luma. Greenstein was able to confirm certain details to Dick Russell.
24. Richard Case Nagell, addendum enclosed with letter of January 28, 1970, to the editor of The Family; SS 54. In his contacts with Dick Russell, Nagell referred to the individual only as "Bob." Russell states, "If Nagell knew Bob's last name, he has never revealed it" (Russell, 241). Yet Nagell clearly refers to "Bob" as "Robert Graham" in his response to the article in The Family, which is quoted in Russell (cf. p. 292).
25. Russell, 241.
26. Russell, 241.
27. Russell, 241.
28. In both a letter of October 8, 1967, and his April 1967 interviews with New Orleans Assistant DA William Martin, Nagell named the Soviet Union as the government directing his alleged investigations at that time. "Graham" is the Soviet double agent within the CIA referred to in his letter of October 8, 1967, under the code-name "Abe Greenbaum" (Richard Case Nagell, letter to Arthur Greenstein; "The Private Correspondence of Richard Case Nagell," Probe, Vol. 3, No. 1, November-December 1995).
29. Russell, 147.
30. The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Chronology of Events; see also William B. Breuer, Vendetta, 206; Gus Russo, Live by the Sword, 80-3. Contrary to what might be inferred from Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much, Desmond FitzGerald and John F. Kennedy were longtime friends (cf. Russo, 82).
31. Russell, 251.
32. Richard Case Nagell, letter to Arthur Greenstein; "The Private Correspondence of Richard Case Nagell," Probe, Vol. 3, No. 1, November-December 1995.
33. William R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, April 18, 1967; AMKW. Only weeks after beginning his talks with Martin, Nagell abruptly cut off communication with him. On some occasions he would assert that this was due to certain alleged CIA connections of Martin's, but in one letter Nagell admitted that he refused to speak with Martin because he overheard the NODA investigator discussing his case with a prison official, and he thought this to be inappropriate behavior (Russell, 795 fn. 37).
34. The CIA, Nagell emphasized, did not want Kennedy assassinated, and was especially anxious about this rumor because of the Cuban Missile Crisis occurring at that time. Nagell states in a letter of January 28, 1970, that "Robert Graham" was also the American representative of the "same foreign government" that proposed to him in September 1962 that he "participate in an act" he described as a "criminal offense and inimical to the best interest of the United States" (Richard Case Nagell, letter of January 28, 1970, to the editor of The Family). "Robert Graham," Nagell stated succinctly, was the very individual who allegedly ordered him to assassinate Lee Harvey Oswald and thwart JFK's assassination (Ibid.)
35. Richard Case Nagell, letter to Arthur Greenstein; "The Private Correspondence of Richard Case Nagell," Probe, Vol. 3, No. 1, November-December 1995.
36. Richard Case Nagell, Letter to Arthur Greenstein, September 17, 1967, "deciphered" by Bernard Fensterwald ("Clay Shaw will probably be convicted, as he is guilty."); AMKW.
37. William R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, April 18, 1967; AMKW.
38. Stephen Jaffe, Investigator, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, February 14, 1968, Re: Interview of January 27, 1968, of David R. Kroman, Minneapolis, Minnesota. This memorandum shows Kroman himself to have been a witness of most dubious credibility, but the majority of his statements regarding Nagell are confirmed by others.
39. Richard Case Nagell, letter to Arthur Greenstein, September 17, 1967, "deciphered" by Bernard Fensterwald, Jr.; AMKW; Russell, 369-70, 384.
40. Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, 614.
41. Richard Case Nagell, letter to Arthur Greenstein, October 8, 1967.
42. By Jim Garrison's own contemporaneous reckoning, Martin was "an undependable drunk and a totally unreliable witness" "a liar who hates Ferrie" (Richard Billings, Contemporaneous notes on the Garrison investigation, December 1966-January 1967 [p. 4]).
43. Dick Russell had asked Nagell about Robert Morrow's claim that Nagell infiltrated what Russell calls "the Ferrie-Banister" group allegedly involved with the training camp. Nagell did not confirm or deny Morrow's allegations, only saying, "I was cognizant of the goings-on at Lake Pontchartrain" (Russell, 409), and alleging that Guy Banister was "partially responsible" for an FBI raid on an arms cache near the camp (Russell, 432).
44. David Blackburst has interviewed the trainers of the Lake Pontchartrain MDC training camp, with which Dave Ferrie and Guy Banister both have been falsely associated, who have no recollection of Ferrie, Banister or practically any other American ever being at the camp. Victor Paneque told Blackburst that he had done all the training at the camp, did not ever see Ferrie there, and had ascertained in 1967 that no one else had seen Ferrie there either. "In NODA interviews, Laureano Batista Falla (2/5/67) said there were no English-speaking people at the camp except Ricardo Davis and Fernando Fernandez. Angel Vega (2/5/67) said he never saw . . . Lindbergh (NODA code name for Ferrie) at the camp, that the only other Americans he saw there were the DeLaBarres. [paragraph] Ricardo Davis, who helped organize the MDC camp, gave a joint interview with Arcacha to Holland McCombs of Time (3/21/67). Both told McCombs that . . . Ferrie did not run any training camp [and] that Ferrie did not concentrate on any one thing long enough to operate a training camp." Carlos Quiroga and Carlos Bringuier "were not directly involved in the MDC camp," but "they both had heard that Ferrie had nothing to do with it" (David Blackburst, Newsgroup post of March 20, 1999). Blackburst adds, "I have the impression that the NODA investigators chronologically confused Ferrie's 1960-1961 'Internal Mobile Security Units' training of a few former CAP cadets (no Cubans) at Abita Springs with the 1963 MDC camp. I don't know how they came to the conclusion that Guy Banister was behind the MDC camp, as several of the organizers/participants deny this" (David Blackburst, Newsgroup post of April 24, 1999.)
45. See accounts by Carlos Bringuier and Carlos Quiroga; A. J. Weberman Web site.
46. Richard Case Nagell, Letter to Arthur Greenstein, September 30, 1967, "deciphered" by Bernard Fensterwald ("Clay Shaw will probably be convicted, as he is guilty."); AMKW; Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins, 1991 ed., 216, 267.
47. Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins, 1991 ed., 216.
48. Russell, 395.
49. Russell, 395.
50. Russell, 432.
51. Another figure named by Nagell as being involved in the alleged conspiracy plot was Garrison suspect Sergio Arcacha Smith (William R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, District Attorney, April 18, 1967. Nagell threw another sop to Garrison: he endorsed the theory of a "second Oswald" (Russell, 443), which Jim Garrison was endorsing. Also, by informing Garrison that this "second Oswald" went by the name "Leon Oswald," he was supporting the stories of Garrison witness Perry Raymond Russo). He wrote that in 1963, "I checked out an alleged connection between a Miami resident named Eladio del Valle and New Orleans CIA informant Sergio Arcacha-Smith [sic]" (Richard Case Nagell, letter of January 28, 1970, to the editor of The Family; Russell, 292). But Arcacha was not a CIA informant, and it was David Ferrie not Arcacha who would be spuriously linked to del Valle, in a widely cited 1967 tabloid article by Latin American rumormonger Diego Tedendera (Furthermore, the Tedendera allegations, now discredited, first surfaced in 1967 after both men died within 24 hours of each other. William Turner and other researchers would later allege that Jim Garrison's office had been searching for Eladio del Valle at the time of his death, and Russell repeats this in his book, but no evidence supports this. Garrison's files contain no evidence that the office had any awareness of del Valle prior to his death. Garrison himself never mentioned Eladio del Valle during the numerous press conferences of early 1967, and states flatly in his 1967 Playboy interview that he had not been able to verify an association between Ferrie and del Valle.) Arcacha was an associate of Ferrie's, but has never been linked even speculatively to del Valle.
Nagell told Dick Russell, "At one time I think [Arcacha] had a connection with Cuba Libre. He may also have had something to do with [Alpha] 66." "Cuba Libre" is a code name used by Nagell, supposedly to indicate a group called the "Movement to Free Cuba" (Russell, 294), but there is no such organization. Referring to this "Movement" as being affiliated with the CIA, it's a safe bet that Nagell actually meant the Cuban Revolutionary Front, the CIA-funded umbrella under which the Cuban Revolutionary Council operated. Arcacha's affiliation was with the CRC. Despite Nagell's characterization of Arcacha as an "ex-fink for the CIA" consistent with descriptions of the anti-Castro activist in many conspiracy books Arcacha's true affiliation was with the Justice Department and in particular, Robert F. Kennedy (Russo, 141-2).
At the time Nagell claimed to have been investigating Arcacha in relation to the exile movements in late 1962 or early 1963 Arcacha had been deposed from his position with the CRC and was no longer involved in anti-Castro activism (Warren Commission Exhibit No. 1414 [Warren Commission Hearings Vol. XXII, 828-30]).
52. Playboy interview; see also Harvey and Lee Web site.
53. Russell, 443.
54. Russell, 443.
55. Russell, 443.
56. Nagell also apparently did not let his incarceration hinder his statements about events in Dallas. In his letter of October 8, 1967, Nagell describes Oswald firing from the Book Depository, awakening from a hypnotic trance, fleeing the building, and refusing a ride from a former "Bravo" associate Nagell links cryptically to the CIA. (Nagell writes that Oswald refused a ride from a "former Bravo boyfriend driving by in utility [a] truck bearing Bell Telephone Company markings." Earlier in the letter, Nagell describes the "firm's undercover utility truck, disguised with Bell Telephone Company markings" parked at CIA headquarters.) In this scenario, the CIA instructs Officer J. D. Tippit to eliminate Oswald. (Tippit is the Dallas patrolman murdered by Oswald following the assassination.)
Nagell asked the New Orleans District Attorney's office if they were "aware of a man in San Antonio who owned a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle." According to Nagell, "this man had known Lee Harvey Oswald and had been seen with him" (Russell, 572). In 1971, Nagell told Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., about something he called "the old substitution trick," stating, "I understand that a rifle like the one picked up at a certain school book depository was discovered the following day [actually four days later], abandoned, in a hotel room at Terre Haute, Indiana. Its ownership was traced to a person then residing in San Antonio." The Associated Press had reported this in April 1967, except that the rifle's owner, one Harry L. Power, had left Texas in 1962, moving to West Virginia (Russell, 572-3).
57. Russell, 334.
58. Russell, 334.
59. Click here to read the House Select Committee on Assassinations' report on the Odio incident.
60. Russell, 330, 343, 410, 764 fn. 2. In 1976, Nagell wrote to Dick Russell that two conspirators were "known to Oswald by the given names 'Angel' and 'Leopoldo,' and were said to be former CIA employees of Cuban extraction, born and raised in Cuba. Both were members of a CIA-financed group operating in Mexico City and elsewhere. In 1962, both had participated in a bomb-throwing incident directed against an employee of Mexico's Cuban Embassy. Both were said to be well known to Mexican and Cuban authorities, and of course to the CIA. In Mexico, one name for the group may have been 'Alpha 66'" (Russell, 294).
In a letter to Bernard Fensterwald, Nagell wrote, "Angel was in Miami during the latter part of January 1963. He may have stayed at the Holiday Inn located on Biscayne Boulevard [where Nagell was also residing at that time]. On several occasions he visited a well-lighted Cuban restaurant that was located on Flagler Street. He also visited a small photo shop that was located perpendicular to the long axis of Flagler . . ." (Russell, 294) In another letter Nagell added that "Angel" used the pseudonym of "Rangel" or "Wrangel" on at least one occasion (Russell, 294). Flagler Street had been named by reporter Tom Dunkin as an exile gathering place in articles written for Life magazine in the 1960s.
In an interview with Dick Russell, Nagell said that "Leopoldo" was an ex-CIA employee who had once lived in Cuba, and had received training from the US military at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. (Russell, 331) In a letter to Russell, Nagell wrote, "'Leopoldo' was a nom de guerre taken from the name of a now-defunct Mexican restaurant once located at 3675 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles (the proprietor's name was Leopoldo Gonzalez)." This restaurant, Nagell added, had served as a "sometimes contact point" in 1963. (Russell, 331)
When asked on two occasions by Dick Russell whether Nagell knew "Angel" and "Leopoldo's" real names, Nagell said first, "I might have suspected a lot of things," (Russell, 295) then later said, "I knew the names that were supposed to be real. I knew names. And their backgrounds." (Russell, 295) In 1969, Nagell supplied Jim Garrison's office with physical descriptions of both men. He also alleged that he possessed photographs of both men. (Russell, 343, 410) These photos, needless to say, have never surfaced.
61. Russell, 339. Nagell added, "The bookstore was located in Venice and [Vaughn] Snipes was the proprietor. Snipes, who once boasted that he was a good shot with a rifle, was considered for recruitment to hit JFK in June 1963 during his visit to the Beverly Hills hotel. That 'project' never materialized" (Russell, 334). In an interview with Dick Russell, Snipes seemed to find Nagell's claim very credible, even if the evidence suggests that Nagell, rather than investigating Snipes, may well have simply been assisting him in political activities with which he was sympathetic (Russell, 335-6).
62. Russell, 580.
63. Russell, 580.
64. Russell, 399.
65. Russell, 281.
66. Russell, 421.
67. Russell, 334. It was also "Angel" and "Leopoldo," Nagell said, who convinced Oswald to set up his phony Fair Play for Cuba Committee chapter. This would mean that Oswald was associating with both men as early as April or May 1963, impeaching Nagell's earlier statement that Oswald associated with the two in "August and September 1963." Nagell always said that Oswald was brought into the alleged assassination plot in May 1963, but Oswald claimed to have briefly operated a one-man FPCC chapter in Dallas in April 1963, and one Dallas police officer recalled having been informed of an individual displaying a pro-Castro placard at that time, though he never personally encountered the individual.
An intriguing coincidence one that has lent credibility to Nagell's tales is that during the summer of 1963, he worked closely with Vaughn Snipes, member of the Los Angeles branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and proprietor of the bookstore "Angel" or "Leopoldo" was allegedly twice seen entering. Nagell implied that "Angel" and "Leopoldo" had been scouting Snipes out as a possible assassination "patsy" (Russell, 334), but Snipes told Dick Russell, "I just have no recollection of anybody I knew as a Cuban coming into the bookstore, or my having any contact with anyone who was a Cuban" (Russell, 339).
68. Russell, 429.
69. Russell, 429.
70. Richard Case Nagell, letter to Penelope Grenoble, Editor, Los Angeles Free Press, August 12, 1975 (Here is page one of that letter, and here is page two); AMKW.
71. Russell, 773 fn. 6.
72. Russell, 722.
73. Russell, 444-6.
74. Gus Russo, Live by the Sword, 330.
75. Russo, 330.
76. Russell, 55, 442, 722.
77. William W. Turner, "The Garrison Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy," Ramparts, January 1968. (The full article used to be posted on-line, but currently there only seems to be a zipped file of three out of four sections. The fourth part is the least significant, however, dealing primarily with the slaying of J. D. Tippit and theories about Jack Ruby.) Turner repeats his theory in Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets, 266-7.
78. In 1975, Nagell wrote that William Turner "knowingly and purposefully cited numerous lies about me" in the articles he had written for Ramparts and other publications. "He has proved himself adept at putting words in my mouth and misquoting his sources of information to lend credence to his major untruths, a skill he probably developed while serving with the Bureau's intelligence-security division. His recent claims cause me to wonder whether or not he ever left the FBI" (Richard Case Nagell, letter of August 12, 1975, to Ms. Penelope Grenoble, Editor, Los Angeles Free Press; CTKA (Here is page one of that letter, and here is page two); see also SS 35, SS 118).
79. Russell, 446.
80. Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins, 1991 ed., 215.
81. Richard Case Nagell, letter of August 12, 1975, to Ms. Penelope Grenoble, Editor, Los Angeles Free Press, in reference to identical claims from William Turner; CTKA.
82. James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, 141. DiEugenio cites no source for these claims.
83. Russell, 446. Elsewhere, Russell quotes Nagell as saying, "I was on my way out of the country, and I did not plan to return. Instead, I walked into a bank and busted two caps. Not because of what I might have known of any plans to assassinate the president, in that sense but for a reason that I've never disclosed to anybody in the United States" (Russell, 74). This may well be a slightly divergent recollection on Russell's part of the same Nagell statement quoted above.
84. Russell, 774 fn. 36.
85. US Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, Classification Study, Report of Psychiatric Staff Examination, June 29, 1966; SS 205.
86. Ibid. He noted that "several requests for admission to a VA Hospital had been turned down and that in desperation he involved himself in the act to call attention to his need" (SS 203).
87. Russell, 45.
88. Russell, 741.
89. Russell, 741.
90. Richard C. Nagell, Memorandum in Support of Petition for Writ of Habea Corpus, June 6, 1967, William R. Martin, Notary Public, Parish of New Orleans; CTKA.
91. Warren Commission Report, 40.
92. The modifier "presumably" is used in Nagell's sworn affidavit of November 21, 1975, reproduced in the photo section of Russell's book.
93. Russell, 525.
94. Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, 614.
95. Russell, 145.
96. Russell, 361.
97. Russell, 361.
98. Richard Case Nagell, addendum enclosed with letter of January 28, 1970, to the editor of The Family; SS 53; Russell, 264.
99. Russell, 238.
100. Police Group West memorandum, Berlin, April 15, 1969; SS 63.
101. Richard Case Nagell, addendum enclosed with letter of January 28, 1970, to the editor of The Family; SS 53; AMKW. These remarks exist independently of Nagell's numerous claims that he had been led to believe he was working for the CIA at that time and later realized he had not been (cf. Russell, 438).
102. Richard Case Nagell, letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Free Press, August 12, 1975 (Here is page one of that letter, and here is page two); AMKW.
103. Russell, 425.
104. Memorandum from William R. Martin to Jim Garrison, April 18, 1967; AMKW. This information on the speakers' identities is edited out of Martin's statement in the portion cited in Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much (pp. 423-4).
105. See for example Jim DiEugenio, "Rose Cheramie: How She Predicted the JFK Assassination," Probe, Vol. 6, No. 5, July-August 1999, p. 28. DiEugenio writes, "Unfortunately this tape has never surfaced and it is highly likely that [William] Martin tipped off the CIA to its existence." Richard Case Nagell claimed that William Martin was an agent or employee of the CIA, though there is no evidence for this charge, nor Dick Russell's allegation that Martin infiltrated Garrison's investigation on behalf of the Agency (Russell, 642-4). Arcacha and Quiroga: see the profiles of Arcacha and Quiroga in my article Garrison Ripples.
106. Russell, 425. Nagell now stated that Arcacha was only spoken about on the tape, along with another person, allegedly identified on the tape under the alias "Raul." Nagell was apparently still changing his story well into the Seventies. A May 11, 1975, letter from Nagell's attorney, Bernard Fensterwald, asks if three of the four individuals heard on the alleged tape would be Sergio Arcacha Smith, an "Angel Ferrer," and a "Ponce de Leon" (Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., letter to Richard Case Nagell, May 1, 1975; AMKW), possibly signifying a Cuban exile with that surname known to have been involved with Alpha 66 in the early 1960s. Nagell's response, if any, is not available.
107. Memorandum from William R. Martin to Jim Garrison, April 18, 1967; AMKW. As explained in the Martin memorandum, Nagell gave the investigator John's name, but it was omitted from the memorandum at Nagell's insistence. See also Russell, 424.
108. Russell, 424.
109. Russell, 424.
110. Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, 615.
111. Russell, 581.
112. Twyman, 605.
113. Russell, 441.
114. William W. Turner, "Bank robber, 'Manchurian Candidate' linked to JFK assassination probe," Los Angeles Free Press, July 25-31, 1975; AMKW.
115. Richard Case Nagell, letter to Penelope Grenoble, Editor, Los Angeles Free Press, August 12, 1975 (Here is page one of that letter, and here is page two); AMKW.
116. Russell, 58, 441.
117. Russell, 58; Twyman, 615.
118. The modifier "presumably" is used in Nagell's sworn affidavit of November 21, 1975, reproduced in the photo section of Russell's book.
119. Russell, 55, 442, 722.
120. William W. Turner, "The Garrison Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy," Ramparts, January 1968. (The full article used to be posted on-line, but currently there only seems to be a zipped file of three out of four sections. The fourth part is the least significant, however, dealing primarily with the slaying of J. D. Tippit and theories about Jack Ruby.
121. Russell, 58; see also Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, Chapter 7.
122. Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, Chapter 7.
123. Russell, 47.