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The JFK Case; the Office that Spied on its Own Spies

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"First priority went to efforts to recruit Soviets as sources or, as the Redcap sloganeers put it, to encourage them to "defect in place": Id., at 238.

American vice consul William Costille was an officer specializing in REDSKIN-type operations: Memo by chief Eric Timm, Western Europe, to chief of Helsinki CIA station, 9/21/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 5/NARA Record Number: 104-10051-10196 click here=27338&relPageId=3

Costille and Golub met when Costille was installed as vice consul in December 1958. Memo from Chief, Helsinki CIA station to Chief, Soviet Russia (David Murphy) and Chief, Western Europe (Eric Timm), 12/30/58, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10313.

During July 1959, seemingly estranged from his wife, Golub turned on the charm towards two women known to us only as PAWNEE/3 and PAWNEE/5: Memo from Chief, Helsinki CIA station to Chief SR (David Murphy) and Chief WE (Eric Timm), 7/10/59.

It is hard to decide from this whether G. just has a case of plain old hot pants or is entertaining more sinister plans or schemes:
July 1956 CIA routing slip, NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10302.

Arrangements have been made for a night on the town this Saturday with Costille and date and Golub and a trusted Finnish girl we are certain will give Golub a run for his money: Memo from Chief of Station, 8/14/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10297.

It seems that providing Golub with female companionship during the summer sweetened him up. The focus of the August 28 REDCAP/LCIMPROVE memo was that "Golub said he had no objections to giving them a visa in a matter of minutes: Memo from Helsinki CIA chief of station to Murphy and Timm, re REDCAP/LCIMPROVE Procuring of Female Companionship for Gregoriy T. Golub, 8/28/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10294.

An inspector general's report issued in June 1956 stated that "the Soviet division could not produce "an authoritative statement of its missions and functions". The report stated there were only twenty "controlled agents' in the USSR: Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, (New York, Doubleday: 2007) pp. 124-125.

REDCAP was originally designed in 1952 to deal with the results of uprisings in the Soviet satellites, including defectors and refugees: Ronald R. Krebs, Dueling visions: U.S. strategy toward Eastern Europe under Eisenhower, p. 64.
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It is said that clandestine services chief Frank Wisner and James Angleton had dual responsibility for Red Cap: Michael Holzman, James Jesus Angleton, The CIA & the Craft of Counterintelligence (Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press, 2008) p. 158.

The CIA chief of station in Helsinki sent a memo to Murphy and Timm with immediate assurances that Golub had confirmed with Costille that Americans would receive Soviet visas as soon as they made Intourist advance reservations: Memo from Chief, SR to Chief, WE, 10/9/59

Richard Helms told Warren Commission counsel Lee Rankin on 7/31/64 that in Helsinki 5-7 days was the absolute minimum to obtain any visa longer than a 24 hour transit visa:
Memo from Richard Helms to J. Lee Rankin, 7/31/64. CIA 104-10009-10053

It was weeks or months to try to obtain the visa anywhere but Helsinki - elsewhere, the rule was that the Soviet consul had to send the visa applications to Moscow:
John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee (Quasar, Ltd., Arlington, Texas, 2003), p. 255.

Oswald arrived in Helsinki late Saturday night on October 10, requested a visa on the 12th, got a visa by the 14th, and was in the USSR by the 15th: Mary Ferrell's chronology, October 1959.

On the 13th, right while Oswald's visa was hanging in the balance, Golub called up Costille and they had a quick lunch and get-together. This was the first time Costille had heard from Golub in more than a month. Golub thanked Costille "profusely" for buying him two tickets to see Leonard Bernstein on the 4th: Dispatch: REDWOOD/REDSKIN/REDCAP re Gregory Golub, 11/27/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/ NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10291

Here's a document showing departure from Finland on the 15th: CE 2775 - Translation of registration of Lee Harvey Oswald for residence in Moscow, October 1959 (CD 735, p. 237).

When the CIA questioned Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko who claimed that Oswald was a KGB agent, the first question on their interrogation list was about Oswald getting a visa within two to four days: HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 56/NARA Record Number: 1993.08.10.14:55:58:930060.

After traveling to Europe by freighter, the normally tight-fisted Marine stayed in an extremely expensive Helsinki hotel and booked a private guided tour of Moscow: John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee (Quasar, Ltd., Arlington, Texas, 2003), p. 255.

Timm had already cautioned that any hope of the "jilted husband" Golub defecting to the West was becoming more remote, and thought that Golub might be on to Costille's game: Memo from CIA Western European chief Eric Timm to Helsinki CIA chief of station, 9/21/59, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 5/NARA Record Number: 104-10051-10196

Three weeks after Oswald entered Moscow, Golub's wife "returned to Helsinki on 7 November and surprised him after an absence of four months: Personal Information Data, Gregory Golub, p. 10, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10283

HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (microfilm - reel 8: Golitsyn - Hernandez)/ NARA Record Number: 104-10172-10291

This is part of a long-term pattern of citing LCIMPROVE in espionage affairs directed at the Soviets, when Dillinger describes the phone call of Oswald speaking broken Russian while seeking an instant visa: IN 36017, memo from Mexico City to Headquarters, 10/9/63, Oswald 201 File (201-289248)/NARA Record Number: 104-10015-10047 "Cable Concerning Telephone Call to USSR Embassy From American Male Who Spoke Broken Russian".

Mexico City asks the Navy for a photo of Lee Henry Oswald: MEXI 6534, from G.F. Gestetner to Navy, re "Lee Henry Oswald", 10/15/63, COPY 4 OF A DUPLICATE FILE ENTITLED, "GOODPASTURE.", RIF#: 104-10086-10396

Oswald's plans make sense in the context of the REDSKIN program, which used strictly legal methods such as travel itineraries to gather intelligence about facilities in main metropolitan areas and along main transportation lines: Jeffrey Richelson, A Century of Spies, p. 257

It appears that Oswald may have been part of a vest-pocket operation run by a high CIA official who had no duty to respond in the ordinary channels: One officer acknowledges that "vest pocket" operations exist without other Agency officials knowing about it. At the same time, a deputy chief of clandestine affairs insists that he reviewed every clandestine operation ever run in the Soviet Union. Obviously, these two statements are contradictory.

However, assuming the deputy chief is both truthful and accurate, it would indicate that if Oswald was involved in an operation, and it wasn't REDSKIN, the operation was closely held by someone who did not answer to this deputy chief. HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (staff notes)/ NARA Record Number: 180-10142-10413.

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Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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