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THE JFK CASE: THE TWELVE THAT BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 2: An Instant Visa Gets The Marine Into Moscow)

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LCIMPROVE has been described by the CIA as "counter-espionage involving Soviet intelligence services worldwide". LCIMPROVE is a counterintelligence technique used around visas and travel. It's often seen in conjunction with programs such as REDCAP or REDSKIN.

A CIA Helsinki memo in May, 1959 comments on how Golub and a fellow officer are conducting a "Soviet Cultural Offensive in Helsinki" by inviting younger Western diplomatic and consular corps to lunch and Soviet movies. A REDCAP memo of August 14 states that "arrangements (were) 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."

A REDCAP/LCIMPROVE memo dated 8/28/59 has Costille discussing how he set up the date for Golub with the trusted Finnish girl - there was a lot of alcohol and flirtation, but no actual sex. The central focus of this memo was that Soviet consul Gregory Golub would issue visas immediately and without Moscow approval. "As long as the Americans had made travel arrangements through a local travel bureau, as well as hotel reservations, (Golub) said he had no objections to giving them a visa in a matter of minutes."

A crucial memo is dated October 9, with the subject line of "REDCAP, Costille-Pawnee/5-Golub Contact". Costille reports that during early September, "(t)wo Americans were in the Soviet Consulate at the time and were applying for Soviet visas through Golub". Golub phoned Costille to state that he would give them their visas as soon as they made advance Intourist reservations. When they did this, Golub immediately gave them the visas."

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Throughout 1959, Costille was gently trying to encourage Golub to defect. Costille learned in June about Golub's estranged marriage. The Western Europe chief told Costille he was convinced 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.

The next report offers strong evidence that Oswald immediately made good use of Costille's tip about coming through Helsinki. Oswald arrived in Helsinki late Saturday night on October 10 and submitted his visa request on Tuesday the 13th.

Much of the memo discusses a quick lunch requested by Golub with Costille on the morning of the 13th, which the two men managed to swing that same day. Like the earlier memo, this memo's subject line is also REDWOOD/REDSKIN/REDCAP/LCIMPROVE. Golub expresses his gratitude to Costille for the two tickets he gave him to see Leonard Bernstein on the 4th. Leonard Bernstein may be the reason that Oswald got into the Soviet Union at all.

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After the Costille-Golub lunch on the 13th, Oswald obtained his visa on the 14th, was in the USSR by the 15th, and arrived in Moscow on the 16th. After Oswald's defection, Golub told a wild story about how one of his American dates spent the night. He gave her his wife's pajamas. He came back in the room, and she was standing there nude. He went to sleep in another bedroom and never called her back. Golub's wife "returned to Helsinki on 7 November and surprised him after an absence of four months. (Redacted) states that the relationship appears to be the same as it was before Mrs. G left, and Golub was glad to have her back." The days of wine and roses were over.

I suggest that Golub, Costille, and the these two CIA division chiefs were central to the plan to get Oswald into the Soviet Union, as part of the LCIMPROVE technique to encourage counter-espionage opportunities aimed at the Soviet intelligence services. We see LCIMPROVE again four years later when someone claiming to be Oswald and trying to get an instant visa to Cuba and the USSR telephones the Soviet embassy in Mexico City shortly before the JFK assassination.

The Marine arrives in Moscow ready to give U-2 secrets to the Soviets

On October 16, 1959, the very day that Oswald arrived in Moscow, Popov was arrested while on a bus and trying to obtain a note from Russell Langelle, his CIA contact from the American Embassy. Langelle was expelled from the Soviet Union. Popov was executed. Popov's information on the KGB's knowledge of the U-2 made him one of the most important double agents the US has ever had. Counterintelligence chief James Angleton never recovered from the loss of Popov. Angleton took it as a signal that a Soviet mole had penetrated the Central Intelligence Agency, and was learning all of the Agency's secrets. He had to act.

The next day, October 17, American Robert Webster went to the US embassy and announced that he was defecting to the Soviet Union. Webster had a strong physical resemblance to Oswald, as can be seen by the pictures here

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and here.

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Webster remembered meeting Oswald's future wife Marina Oswald on several occasions. Although Marina claimed that she didn't remember Webster, she confused her own husband with Webster on one occasion by claiming that she had met Oswald at the World Trade exhibition in Moscow in 1959 before he defected. Angleton claimed to be surprised in 1967 to find out that the address of Webster's apartment building was in Marina's address book.

On that Saturday, Webster met with Richard Snyder while in the company of his two bosses at the Rand Development Corporation, Henry Rand and George Bookbinder, both former OSS agents and in town with Webster for the World Trade Exhibition in Moscow. Legend maker #4 Richard Snyder had a current clearance to work with CIA officials. Since 95% of the Americans at this event could speak Russian, this particular exhibition was described by Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko as a field day for counterintelligence activities.

Upon arrival, Oswald announced that he was a radar operator with the Marines and he knew some "classified things" that he was going to give to the Soviets. Oswald had also brought with him a handwritten statement renouncing his American citizenship that he wanted the Embassy to accept so that he could seek Soviet citizenship.

Why did the American Embassy officials protect Oswald?

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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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