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The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 10: Nightmare in Mexico City)

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There are strong indications that the Mystery Man was a Soviet intelligence operative named Yuri Moskalev, whose cover was that of a scientist in Mexico City whose papers "rarely, if ever, were specific, or presented new data." [xiii]   A CIA source who used to work with Cuban intelligence identified him as "Yuri", a KGB officer who he met in Moscow in 1964 while attending an intelligence course.    The CIA's file card for Moskalev identified him as "35, medium height". [xiv]   The photo shows he had an "athletic build".   He fit the legend being told about Oswald.

Several identification experts from the Disguise and Identification Section reviewed photos and concluded that "Moskalev could very likely be identifiable with the unidentified man." [xv]    A photo of Moskalev in 1971 is available and can be viewed within this endnote. [xvi] Moskalev's dossier stated that the famed spy Oleg Penkovsky identified a 1961 photo as "Col. Yuriy Ivanovich Moskalevskiy, Air Force colonel and GRU officer". [xvii]    As late as 1978, the Chief of the CIA's Latin American Division protested that this finding was "entirely theoretical". [xviii]   Nonetheless, the man who handled Oswald's CI file in the 70s, Russ Holmes, came to the conclusion that the Mystery Man might be Moskalev.   Given the number of sources and the strength of the evidence, a strong argument can be made that the Mystery Man is Yuri Moskalev.

Headquarters went along with Goodpasture's ruse

Ann Egerter at CIA HQ, the analyst from counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton's "office that spied on spies", was in on Goodpasture's ruse.   Egerter came up with a response to the October 8 memo that Goodpasture helped put together. (See Part 3 -- Angleton was legend maker #1, and Egerter was legend maker #5)   Egerter and Angleton were skilled in smoking out spies, also known as the art of the molehunt.  Egerter's foray can be found in twin Oct 10 memos that were cleverly crafted.  

One memo went to the national headquarters of the FBI, State, and Navy, and contained a description of Oswald as "6 feet tall, athletic build, age 35".   This description was wholly inaccurate, but it did match up with Goodpasture's "Mystery Man" photo described in the October 8 memo but not sent to HQ at that time.   It claimed that this information was being shared "with your representatives in Mexico City". But that was not true.

The second memo went directly to the Mexico City station itself, with a different description of Oswald as "5 foot 10, 165 pounds" that matched the description of Robert Webster that had been used for molehunting purposes by the CIA and FBI during Oswald's days in the Soviet Union.    (See Part 5 of this series).   

Unlike the first memo, the second memo said that the last information on Oswald was when he was in the Soviet Union during May 1962, where he had "matured" .   And where the first memo provided the Mystery Man description to the headquarters of the FBI, State and Navy, the second memo instructed the station to share the Robert Webster-like description with the local Mexico City offices of these same agencies!   

A clever aspect of all this was that the memo to Mexico City said that their latest info on Oswald was from May 1962, but to hold this information back from the FBI and other agencies. Otherwise, the whole game would have been blown, as FBI HQ agents and others had   provided post-May 1962 information about Oswald to the CIA.  

When the ruse didn't work, the result was that the CIA and FBI were now effectively the victims of blackmail

The hope was that one of these marked cards would pop up in the wrong hands in the midst of this clash between the agencies' headquarters and the local agencies' offices.   But it didn't happen.

Instead, Lee Oswald was accused of killing President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.  

Goodpasture's immediate response on November 23 was to tell CIA HQ that the September 28 tape was destroyed before the October 1 tape was obtained. [xix]   But that doesn't make any sense, as the rule was to hold tapes for at least two weeks.   For tapes that emanated from the Cuban consulate, the rule was to hold on to them for 30 days.     By the 24th, the word from the Mexico City station was that all the tapes involving Oswald's voice had been destroyed.  

In fact, Goodpasture's boss Win Scott played the tapes for the Warren Commission investigators several months later in a successful effort to convince them to get the Commission to shut up about them.   The Warren Commission investigators had no idea that Oswald might have been impersonated, so they put no special value to his voice . [xx]

Meanwhile, the Mexico City station was sitting there with all the above-mentioned memos, tapes, and transcripts about Lee Oswald over the past two months of his life.   If they had released these documents to the public, it would have probably meant the end of their agencies and the careers of the officers involved.   The solution was for the CIA to provide paraphrased versions of the documents to the Warren Commission.  

Goodpasture does not appear to be in on any plan to kill Kennedy.   She does appear to be in on a molehunt to find out who made the Oswald calls, which created a paper trail that had to be covered up and hidden from the Warren Commission after November 22.  In other words,  it appears that she was involved in a compartmentalized operation and took action like any officer would to protect the operation.

Who made those phone calls?    I will address my thinking on that in my book on Mexico City, coming out in late September.    I will say this much.    If whoever made those calls genuinely had a hard time speaking either Russian or English, their native tongue was probably Spanish.    Oswald was not a Spanish-speaker.

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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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