(John reads from the document.)
Here's what the relevant portion actually says.
1. Important you review all LIENVOY tapes and transcripts since
27 September to locate all material pertinent to subject ref.
2. Dispatch soonest by special courier, staffer if necessary,
full transcripts and original tapes if available. All pertinent
3. Are original tapes available?
"ARE ORIGINAL TAPES AVAILABLE?"
"And who sent this? It's the one and only time he sends
anything. Look who it is. It's Birch D. O'Neal. He's the head
of the mole hunting unit, CI/SIG. Angleton's mole hunting unit.
He's the one who asked the question, 'Are there or are there
not tapes down there?' It's a very interesting one, like I said
this is about an hour and a half after this.
"Now you will notice the number here. This is the Director
84888 (John said 84888. It's not. It's actually 84886.) There
is never an answer on this. What happens is this. In fact, the
very next, I don't have time to go through this right now, anyway,
the very next Mexico City cable that comes out immediately after
this one totally blows off the question, doesn't say anything
"This one here, and this is, look, look at the date on this,
23 November, so this is noon on the 23rd, headquarters wants
to know, are there are or are there not tapes? This is 24 hours
later. Finally, buried on page 2 in paragraph 3, is this remark,
'Regret complete recheck shows tapes already erased.' And they
reference B, and reference B is Dir 84920. 84920 doesn't ask
about tapes. So, they never answer this one (84886). And 24 hours
later in an answer to another cable that has nothing to do with
the tapes they stick this in the middle of paragraph three on
[Author's note: The first document
wherein we find "regret complete recheck..." is RIF# 104-10015-10290. Dir 84920 is RIF#104-10015-10064.
"Now I know things are confused, but I mean it is Sunday,
I mean things have calmed down a little bit so you would think
they could get it a little better than this. But that's it. You
have now seen the complete accounting of contemporaneous CIA
statements on erasure(s).
"Okay, you can stack that up against what I showed you earlier
in this presentation.
"Now, the FBI has got to be brought in line. Now, I had
this document years ago and many of you have suffered with pieces
of garbage like this, and it really looks like that. I mean,
to me this is a red flag, but if you have the one I have from
the archives, I mean it's awful. And I remember playing with
Peter Scott for hours and hours, we would spend, like, three
days on one of these things trying to get five words out of it,
and so on. Well, I actually found this the other day. That's
it. And we could read it. I might even have a better one yet,
and, yeah, I blew it up for you even more.
"This is the 25th. Can you read this? This is from FBI headquarters
to the FBI in Mexico City. 'If tapes covering any contacts of
Oswald with the Soviet or Cuban embassies are available forward
them to the Bureau for laboratory examination and analysis together
with the transcripts, include tapes previously reviewed in Dallas
if they have been returned to you.'
"Later that day the FBI in Mexico City says, 'I think you
guys are confused. We never sent any tapes to Dallas.' This is
from the legat.
"I've been wondering about the FBI down there, because the
FBI had quite a robust operation in Mexico City. For one thing
we had Anderson, we've got Crawford, a guy by the name of Peck,
I'll show you some of his stuff later on, and we got Eldon Rudd.
There's four people we know about working down there full time,
and there's probably more. And they were quite good and I've
seen memorandas, CIA memorandas, saying we came to rely on them.
They really weren't supposed to be doing a lot of stuff overseas,
they are supposed to be here, you know and the CIA does their
thing overseas, but Mexico City was one of these exceptions.
It had a fairly active FBI effort down there, and I thought you
would be interested in just taking a peek real quick at Clarence
Kelly's book, a little line or two. And I put this one up here
first just so that you could see that Clarence Kelly, he was
the Director of the FBI after Hoover, and in his book he has
a chapter on the Kennedy assassination which is quite intriguing
in a number of areas. Anyway, he understands that there were
CIA wiretaps down there in Mexico City. He says right here, you
can read it on page 268 of his book.
"Look at this, on page 293, 'William
Sullivan, assistant director in charge of security in Washington,
was probably the highest FBI official, at that point,' and basically
if you're reading that page it's about 4 o'clock on the afternoon
of the assassination, 'reading the Oswald file when he discovered...and
he read the data on the meeting between Oswald and Kostikov,
(Sullivan would have known exactly who Kostikov was), 'surmised
the Cuban connection and reviewed the CIA surveillance photos,
and he studied this, 'FBI wiretaps in Mexico City.'
[FBI wiretaps in Mexico City?
If this is true and accurate, then this means that the FBI had
its own wiretapping system in Mexico City separate and distinct
from the CIA wiretapping system. The implications of this are
Here's the passage from p.293 of Kelly's book:
"William C. Sullivan, assistant director in charge of security
in Washington, was probably the highest FBI official, at that
point, to review the Oswald file. What he discovered there must
have astounded him. He read the data on the meeting between Oswald
and Kostikov (Sullivan would have known exactly who Kostikov
was), surmised the Cuban connection, reviewed the CIA surveillance
data on the Soviet embassy in Mexico City, studied FBI wiretaps
involving Oswald and Kostikov, then read the November 9 follow-up
letter from Oswald to the Soviet embassy in Washington. This
information, it would surely have struck him, had such dire international
implications that the White House must be informed immediately."
While the FBI possibly having their own wiretap operation is
astounding, personally, I'm intrigued by the phrase, "surmised
the Cuban connection" How? What exactly does that mean?]
"It's just interesting. And there
are other indicators in the record. Basically, there is a cable
out of Mexico City. It's on the 23rd. It's
a CIA cable. [ See document RIF #104-10015-10129] And it says the Chief of
Station was visited; essentially the cable I'm talking about
right now talks about a fairly high level Mexican official, and
it's blacked out, you can't see who it is. It looks like it's
LITEMPO2, and I think it's Echevarria who is the deputy prime
minister, or whatever, I'm not certain of his position, in any
event the cable said he had placed an urgent call to Win Scott,
the Chief of Station and that Win Scott had anticipated that
this might be him expressing his condolences on Kennedy's death,
it wasn't, it developed that the identity of somebody else, who
has a LI/ crypt on it, it developed this somebody else had discovered
the 9/28 call.
"And so they are reporting this, they think it's very significant
that the Mexicans had discovered this call and that they reported
it to the chief of station, the CIA chief of station. And this
is well into Saturday, after everybody in Washington has been
reading the transcripts for a long time."
"So, I don't think it's a transcript. I think it's a tape.
I think the Mexicans probably had copies and may yet still. But
I'm not absolutely certain about that. But, I think these references
to FBI wiretaps and to Mexicans discovering the call, you see
the Mexicans actually ran those intercept sites for us, they
were actually in the houses where the tape recorders were going,
they were Mexican nationals, so if the FBI had their own operation
going on down there (separate from the CIA's) then it's likely
they ( the Mexicans) had access too at the time, but I can't
"Oh, here it is, this is the one I was telling you about.
'Chief of Station had an urgent call to see,' this is LITEMPO.
Anyway, I told you about it so I am just going to keep on going
because I've got so much more to do.
"Now, I'm ready to wrap up the first part of this with a
few slides here to show you the story as it carried forward into
the 70's. I want to remind you there are really three distinct
phases of this story. For the first 24 hours there is nothing
but references to listening to tapes from this point, a lot of
specificity in there. And then sometime around noon on Saturday
comes the first reference to one tape being erased, and then
around 6 o'clock Saturday begins the story of complete erasure.
And that story survives today.
"Here is a memo by Ray Rocca, written in 1975 where he says
the same thing, basically that the tapes, that they could not
make voice comparisons because the tapes had been erased and
"I may have one or two more. Ah, I just wanted to show you
what happened though when they got "John Scelso" under
[Author's note- "John Scelso"
is a pseudonym, a false name for the CIA officer in charge of
the Western Hemisphere Division/ Branch 3. His real name is John
Whitten. Document # 104-10015-10229
from what I refer to as the 8th batch revealed this.
David Lifton is credited with this discovery as noted in Noel
Tyman's book Bloody Treason on page 386, "In April
1997, David Lifton revealed to me that in scanning CIA documents
he had discovered the real name of "John Scelso." Listed
in Who's Who in the CIA. Lifton said that it was his understanding
"Scelso" is living in a foreign country, and is now
in his 70's and somewhat fearful of his identity becoming known.
Lifton said he informed ARRB's Jeremy Gun, Gunn informed the
CIA, and they said in effect, "We blew it."
However, I had this information on the world wide web months
if not a year before this. Fair Play July-August 1996
in my review of ARRB documents, Eighth batch:
"Document # 104-10015-10229 is a 12 page cable from CIA
to the White House, State Dept. and the FBI. It is a translation
of a report by the Mexican police on interrogation of Silvia
Duran, her husband Horacio Duran and others. "Scelso"
appears twice on p. 12 over the releasing officer, J.C. King
and J. M. Whit- (something). It appears to have originated from
B. Reichardt in WH/3/Mexico."
This is the document that reveals "John Scleso" is
really John Whitten. There is a smudging of the name Whitten,
right in the middle of the name, so I didn't write it out as,
"Aha! 'Scelso' is John Whitten" I wasn't really sure
of the exact name. But, I had it. And I gave the RIF#. You won't
find the RIF# in Bloody Treason.]
"John Scelso" of course is Western Hemisphere 3 Mexico
City desk at headquarters CIA. And they asked him whether the
original tapes had been available.
[See RIF# 180-10131-10330,
HSCA agency file # 014728. This is a 193 page document from the
HSCA's Security Classified testimony of "John Scelso".
( page 76, Mr. Goldsmith, an HSCA investigator ask, "The
third paragraph of this letter asks, this cable asks, whether
the original tapes were available. What was the response to that?)
And he said, "I do not remember. Well, the response was
they sent in a lot of transcripts, I do not know whether-- they
probably transcribed them then.
Mr. Goldsmith: Were they able to locate the original tapes?
Mr. Scelso: I think so.
(Later in the transcript p. 77)
Mr. Goldsmith: On what basis do you say that the original tapes
Mr. Scelso: I had the impression that after the assassination
they did a lot of transcribing. I may be wrong.
Mr. Goldsmith: When you say "they did a lot of transcribing"
who are you referring to?
Mr. Scelso: Both the staff of the envoy and our Soviet transcriber,
our Russian transcriber. However, I am not at all sure of that.
I was not looking for things like this at this time. We were
rushing ahead, being flooded with cables from all over the world.
Mr. Goldsmith: Let's look at CIA 208. Paragraph four there, which
indicates that the person who did the transcript, and says, 'Oswald
is identical with the person in an earlier paragraph who spoke
broken Russian and called on 28 September.'
That indicates that some sort of voice comparison was made.
Mr. Scelso: Yes. Tapes were probably still in existence.'
"That's 'John Scelso'
Goodpasture. I love this one. And this is Eddie Lopez doing
the questioning. You know Eddie
Lopez, he had a big frizzo hairdo, and wore beads, and sandals
and stuff and had a beat up Volkswagen he used to drive up to
CIA headquarters every morning. You know they liked him walking
down the halls there.
"Anyway, they had to subpoena her. She was hostile. She
did not want to talk to Eddie Lopez about any of this stuff.
Q. Do the tapes still exist today?
A. If they do, I do not know where they are.
"It's what you call one of these technically true non responsive
"Okay, well anyway, I wanted to take you through the tapes
cleanly, apart from everything else. I'm going to go through
everything now, I'm going to put the Kostikov story in, I'm going
to take you through, you know, from the time "Oswald"
makes the call, we are going to watch all kinds of things happening,
but I wanted you to see apart from all of that, the story about
the tapes and where we stand today.