Lots of CIA Spooks in New Orleans?

How Many Spooks?

Not Nearly So Many as Garrison Thought

Jim Garrison was convinced that CIA agents were thick on the ground in New Orleans. There were, first, his suspects such as David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, and Guy Banister. Other suspects included numerous Cubans who were associated with the anti-Castro cause. But then there were people who opposed his investigation like Gordon Novel and the lawyers defending various of his suspects and hoped-for witnesses.

How many of these people really were CIA? The following Secret memo from the CIA to the Justice Department outlines the facts, from the CIA's own internal files, about who was, and (mostly) who wasn't CIA.

28 SEP 1967


SUBJECT: Garrison Investigation: Queries from Justice Department

1. By routing slip of 18 September 1967 the General Counsel has forwarded questions prepared by the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, and one of his aides.

2. The first set of questions concerns Clay Shaw. The questions are as follows:

a. During the 1948-1956 period of his association with CIA, what services did Clay Shaw perform for the Agency? Our records show that Shaw submitted to the New Orleans office of the Domestic Contact Service information which was incorporated in eight reports. These reports all concerned international trade. One dealt with an East German directory of firms engaged in such trade. Another concerned the establishment of a Czechoslovakian Trade Exhibit. Still others contained information about foreign exchange problems in Peru, opposition to the Peruvian government in early 1949, highway construction in Nicaragua, politics in Argentina, and similar subjects.

b. What was his remuneration? Our files do not contain the answer. It is requested that DCS supply this information.

c. What were his contacts? Shaw was in contact with a DCS representative in New Orleans seven times in 1949, twice in 1950, five times in 1951, nine times in 1952, once in 1953, twice in 1954, twice in 1955, and twice in 1956. On 9 May 1961 Shaw, the program chairman, introduced the then Deputy Director of CIA, General Charles P. Cabell, who gave a speech to the New Orleans Foreign Policy Association. There are no other known contacts.

d. What was the reason for the cessation of the relationship? Our files do not contain the answer. It is requested that DCS furnish this information.

3. The second group of questions concerns Sergio ARCACHA Smith.

a. Whereas one FBI report says that ARCACHA was formerly the registered agent of the FRD (Frente Revolucionario Democratico), another states that there was no association between him and CIA. What was the exact nature of his relationship with the Agency? Our records show that there was never a direct relationship between ARCACHA and CIA. ARCACHA became the FRD delegate in New Orleans on 11 November 1960 and remained in that position until the FRD ceased to function in October 1961. The FRD was created in May 1960 with CIA's assistance, guidance, and financial support. Consisting of several anti-Castro groups, it was a political action, propaganda, and military unit. FRD headquarters were in Miami. During the period from November 1960 to October 1961 ARCACHA reported to FRD headquarters in Miami through a post office box in Coral Gables. Whether his superiors in Miami mentioned CIA to ARCACHA is not known.

b. What was CIA's interest in and support of the FRD? This question has been answered above.

c. What was the Agency's interest in and support of the CRC (Cuban Revolutionary Council)? The CRC was formed in late 1960 and early 1961. In October 1961 it completely absorbed the FRD. The CRC was headed by Dr. Jose MIRO Cardona, who was assisted by Manuel ARTIME and Dr. Antonio VARONA. The CRC had direct access to and support from the White House as well as CIA.

d. What was CIA's interest in and support of the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee? Our records indicate that ARCACHA was one of the promoters of the Friends of Democratic Cuba, Inc., with which CIA was not associated, but do not contain information about the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee. It is requested that the reply be provided by WH/COG.

4. The next group of questions deals with Gordon NOVEL.

a. Garrison has charged that the burglary of the Houma munitions dump in 1961 was "CIA-inspired". The Houma burglary should be explored. The facts are that CIA had no connection with the alleged burglary of the Houma munitions bunker or dump and also no connection with the dump itself.

b. NOVEL, who participated in the burglary, has stated that he is or was a CIA agent. The statement is false. NOVEL was never associated with CIA.

c. Steven PLOTKIN, Novel's New Orleans lawyer, has claimed to be paid by the CIA. Although Garrison has claimed that PLOTKIN and other defense attorneys are or have been paid by CIA, we were not aware that PLOTKIN himself had made such a statement. The New Orleans Times-Picayune of 12 May 1967 carried an explicit denial by PLOTKIN of having received money from CIA. In any case, there is no CIA record of PLOTKIN. Like NOVEL, he has had no association with this Agency.

d. We should attempt to learn the exact relationship of Novel's former business partner, Rancier Blaise EHLINGER, to CIA. A check of our records has shown that there was no such relationship.

e. In respect to NOVEL's letter (or what has been reported as his letter) to a "Mr. Weiss" of CIA, we should determine where any person on the CIA staff in Washington or New Orleans has that name. Whether CIA ever retained a fnu WEISS in a staff capacity is still being checked. It is noted, however, the NOVEL's information about the Double-Chek operation may have been derived from the erroneous account of it which appears in The Invisible Government, written by Wise and Ross.

f. Garrison has charged that NOVEL's trip to Washington in late March was financed by CIA, and that the Agency administered a polygraph test to him. The charge is false. The Washington Daily News of 27 March 1967 reported that during the week-end of 25-26 March NOVEL was in the Washington area (later press accounts specified McLean, Virginia) and was given a polygraph examination by a private detective named Lloyd FURR. CIA had nothing to do with this examination. NOVEL stated to the FBI that Walter SHERIDAN of NBC was present when the test was given.

5. What was the exact relationship of Jack RUBY to CIA and what was the extent of CIA's file on RUBY before the assassination? RUBY was never associated with CIA, and the Agency had no file on RUBY before the assassination.

6. The next group of questions concern Lee Harvey OSWALD.

a. Garrison has alluded to a telegram that was allegedly received at the State Department on 10 October 1967 from the CIA . . . . We should attempt to learn the contents of that telegram. The telegram concerned OSWALD's trip to Mexico City and his visit to the Soviet Embassy there. Further information on this subject appears in The Warren Commission Report on p. 777. It is suggested that a copy of the telegram be made available to the Attorney General's office if desired.

b. The CIA photograph of the unidentified man in Mexico City. The man was thought to be possibly OSWALD when the photo was turned over to the FBI after the assassination. It was subsequently determined that it was not a picture of him, and the man who does appear remains unidentified to date. CIA did not photograph OSWALD in October 1963 or at any other time. There was no relationship between CIA and OSWALD at any time.

7. What was the exact relationship between CIA and David FERRIE? What was the extent of CIA's file on FERRIE before the assassination? There was no relationship, and there was no file before the assassination.

8. Richard Rudoph DAVIS apparently managed the training camp that was operated on the far side of Lake Pontchartrain in July 1963. What was the CIA relationship with him? Is he associated with the "Free Cuba Committee"? There is no association between DAVIS and CIA, nor has there been. CIA had nothing to do with the training site on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, near Lacombe, La. FBI reporting has listed DAVIS, a Cuban, as a New Orleans delegate of the Christian Democratic Movement (MDC) but has also quoted one other Cuban as saying that DAVIS was not an MDC delegate. This source and others characterize DAVIS as a heavy drinker with a vivid imagination.

Is DAVIS associated with the Free Cuba Committee? Our files do not contain the answer. It is requested that WH/COG respond.

9. CIA association with Alvin BEAUBOUEF. There is not and has not been an association between CIA and BEAUBOUEF. CIA had nothing to do with BEAUBOUEF's trip to Washington, other than to report to the FBI on 9 May 1967 information about the trip which was supplied by a CIA contact.

10. Was Guy BANISTER or Hugh WARD associated with CIA? No.

11. Were there any CIA employees or operatives among the White Russians with whom OSWALD was associated in Dallas? No. CIA's information on this score is summarized on pp. 716-723 of the Warren Report.

12. Is there any CIA association with George de MOHRENSCHILDT? No.

13. Is CIA tapping Garrison's phone? No.

14. If indeed the CIA did photograph visitors to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, how would Garrison know? Presumably he learned of the photograph in question from the Warren Report.

15. Who is the J. Garrett UNDERHILL referred to in Garrison's Playboy interview as a former CIA agent? UNDERHILL was born 7 August 1915 in Brooklyn, was graduated from Harvard in 1937, and committed suicide on 8 May 1964. He served with the Military Intelligence Service from 6 July 1943 to May 1946 as an expert in photography, enemy weapons, and related technical specialities. He was in infrequent contact with the New York office of the Domestic Contact Service, of CIA from late 1949 to the mid-'50s. The contact was routine. Mr. UNDERHILL was not an employee of CIA.

16. What is CIA's interest in the Atsugi AF Base in Japan? U-2's were based there. The fact that OSWALD underwent marine training there is coincidental. The marine's training site was removed from the U-2 area, to which the marines did not have access.

17. What is the CIA's interest in or contact with some of the lawyers for figures involved in the probe: ANDREWS, ZELDEN, WEINER, DYMOND, WEGMANN brothers, BALDWIN, etc? Garrison has stated that they are all on the CIA payroll.

We know of no lawyers involved in the probe who are on the CIA payroll or who have received funds or other assistance from CIA. The following lawyers have been checked, all with negative results.

a. Dean ANDREWS, convicted of perjury.

b. Ernest COLVIN JR., attorney for Sergio ARCACHA Smith.

c. Jack GREMILLION, the state's Attorney General.

d. Burton KLEIN, attorney for Alvin BEAUBOUEF.

e. Steven R. PLOTKIN, attorney for Gordon NOVEL.

f. James F. QUAID, a New Orleans attorney who offered his services to CIA (and who may have done so as a provocation). The offer was not accepted.

g. Everett Gordon SCHAEFFER (phonetic), a lawyer, allegedly took a deposition from David FERRIE. (FBI information.)

18. Traces are now being instituted on the following:

a. Allen ADELSON, a Detroit attorney who talked with Garrison and who said on WRC/TV, 22 May 1967, that he can prove false everything that Garrison is saying.

b. Sal DANN, formerly an attorney for Jack RUBY. He has urged that Garrison be disbarred by the Louisiana Bar Association.

c. Irwin F. DYMOND, attorney for Clay Shaw.

d. Frank HERNANDEZ, another attorney for ARCACHA.

e. Frank J. SHEA, formerly an attorney for ANDREWS.

f. Edward F. WEGMANN and William J. WEGMANN, attorneys for SHAW.

g. Jerry WEINER, Ohio attorney for NOVEL.

h. Sam Monk ZELDEN, an attorney for NOVEL.

19. We have no record on fnu BALDWIN but will be glad to trace him, or any other lawyer in the case, if identifying data can be provided.




Orig. - General Counsel w/ att
1 - Office of Security
1 - D/DCS
1 - A/DCI

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