INTERVIEW WITH JANE ROMAN
DATE:† 2 November 1994
Participants: Jane Roman, John Newman, Jefferson Morley.
Transcribed by Mary Bose of the Washington Post on 7 November 1994.
Corrected by Jefferson Morley in June 1999.† Editorsí notes by Jefferson Morley.
[SIDE A OF TAPE]
NEWMAN: The first time I saw your name in this collection of what I
would call the Oswald personality file, um, was actually at Ground Zero
in connection† with Halloween, you know it was Halloween here two or
three days ago, well, Oswald defected on Halloween [ed. note 1959] on
NEWMAN: Yeah. He went into the American Embassy
ROMAN: Oh, oh, oh
NEWMAN: Ö renounced his citizenship and said
he was going to turn over radar secrets and something of special interest and
this caused some cables immediately to be sent back to Washington saying the
same thing; and alerting the FBI and the CIA and the State Dept. and the Navy.
ROMAN: This was from Mexico?
NEWMAN: No, no, no, this is back in 1959 when he defected.
ROMAN: You mean here in Washington.
NEWMAN: No, he defected in Moscow.
ROMAN: Oh, I see, to our embassy in Moscow.
NEWMAN: Correct. Through them. In other words,
defection is a two-part process where Ö
ROMAN: But he was already in, in Russia?
NEWMAN: Um, I, the first, that was a Saturday, by the way. And of course,
theyíre twelve hours or more ahead than the U.S.† time so that the news
came back on Saturday here. And there were a number of things that were
done internally. The FBI had the fingerprints checked, and things like
that. And the Navy began searching his records.
At some point, when Monday morning came, and everyone got to
their offices and actually looked at this then the wheels started turning
inter-agency wise. And you† received a phone call on Tuesday from Sam
Papich. This [showing the original document] was a document that they
released and youíre the one, the CIA liaison person, who took his Ė
it was just a query Ė wanting to know what the agency had or what you
knew about him. Do† you remember that telephone call?
ROMAN: No, about Sam Papich† we met every day and we were very good
friends. Say what you will about the FBI, and many people do, but he
was an excellent representative. And I think that [inaudible phrase]
more than some people.
NEWMAN: Oh yeah, still today I think researchers and historians find
him accessible. And he didn't, he came down on the right side of some
of the issues that the Bureau leadership was coming down on the wrong
way on over the years. I think heís getting credit for that.
ROMAN: His name will appear, you know, with Ė
NEWMAN: Oh Sam Papich is already a household figure, [Roman laughs]
itís the case, believe it or not.
ROMAN: And heís a great guy.
NEWMAN: And heís used to it by now. He doesnít take it wrongly when
people come off half-cocked. Heís been very good about giving interviews
and doing the best.
ROMAN: Weíre still in touch. Occasionally, you know, we go to his house
and talk about this and that.
NEWMAN:† Ö So you donít really remember much about the initial call.
ROMAN: No, I didn't. Every day† these calls came† in asking for information
about this and that Ö
NEWMAN: Well, so you donít remember then searching for anything on
Oswald when he defected and passing on the answer to the FBI at this
point. This is okay not to remember. Itís a long, long time ago. This
is not to be raising you anxiety level. I just have to ask these questions
because I know that you were involved in some of these personnel actions.
ROMAN: No, I mean Ė remember that date, that time, that query? No.
NEWMAN: All right. Fair enough.
ROMAN: But it would obviously be routine and appropriate.
NEWMAN: One of the things that bothers everybody about the case is
that Oswald was stationed everywhere there was a U-2 program, it was
in the Marines.
ROMAN: Oh, really?
NEWMAN: Yes, and in fact, Iíve researched this thoroughly and found
out that every place he is on the ground: at Suki, Pyngtong Ė which
is the northern part of Taiwan Ė there is an air base there, and also
at Cubie Point, those are the three places he was. And all three locations
we were staging U-2 op, out over the impact areas.
I wondered if you had any knowledge of that program, and if so,
do you remember this classification Ė IDACHESS. This is a U-2 document
thatís been released in 1994 which is going to make NSA very unhappy
to see it.
ROMAN: This is the highest classification.
NEWMAN: Yes, this is the first time, I have an intelligence background,
I think I told you that Ė 20 years in intelligence.
NEWMAN: Mostly in NSA.
ROMAN: Oh, really.
NEWMAN: so when I saw this document I was amazed.
ROMAN: Did you know, Frank Rowley?
NEWMAN: : I know the name but ---
ROMAN : Before your time.
NEWMAN:† Yeah, I actually worked for Gen. Odom when he was director
there. I was his military representative. But I had many, many years
as an Army guy. In any event, yeah, when I saw this piece of paper,
I said thatís NSA material. And thereís this IDACHESS caveat.
ROMAN: Iím not familiar with that. That must be an NSA Ö
NEWMAN: I believe it must be for the program would have been whatever
their material was, this is what they were calling it. OK. Well, do
you remember anything about Oswald and the U-2 program?
NEWMAN: For example, when a U-2 was shot down in Russia, did his name
ROMAN: Not to my knowledge, not in my area.
NEWMAN: All right, let me move on, where I donít get any fish--No fish?
Donít fish there, right?
NEWMAN: Let me ask you today, from this perspective, when was the first
time that you recall having heard about Lee Harvey Oswald and saying
something about him?† Or hearing somebody saying something to you about
Was there a time before the assassination? How far back does
it go, really?
ROMAN: I donít think I ever heard about him before the assassination.
NEWMAN: Well, OK well, we need to refresh your memory on it. [Roman
laughs.] I have a few documents today.
ROMAN: I warned you about my memory.
NEWMAN: Itís okay. This is not an interrogation in the sense that youíre
supposed to know something that happened back then.
ROMAN: To reassure you, all people my age, apparently Ė I mean, I say:,
"Oh dear, oh dear."
And they say join the club. So thatís what happens to you.
NEWMAN: I wish I had Ann Egeter still† alive because she handled more
closely those 201; in fact, it was restricted to her when it was open
at the end of 1960.
ROMAN: She died.
NEWMAN: Yes, Iíve heard that through many sources. So Iíve given up
looking for her. In fact, in fact, I wasnít sure you were alive. I looked
for you for a long time and gave up and it wasnít until Dick Helms said
ďI was just on a trip and met her. You must find her.Ē
So thatís when I told Jeff I was interested, that I knew you
were alive. And I didnít know he was going to go to all this trouble
to find you but he did. So thatís what happened; it was Dick Helms who
was at the bottom of this.
ROMAN: Well, he could have told you how to find me.
NEWMAN: Well, he did. He said that he thought I should try New York
for some reason. But his memory is also --- [Roman laughs knowingly]
Iím going to have to do a different tack than I intended here
because Oswald has a very interesting, almost spectacular, record before
ROMAN: Now, something just came back to me that might be pertinent:
The Fair Play for Cuba committee ---
NEWMAN: Yes, that would be exactly one of the subjects.
ROMAN: Yeah, some documents may have come through from the FBI.
NEWMAN: I have them today to show you. You can look at those documents.
ROMAN: So you know, that you knew, it may be in that connection. [inaudible]
NEWMAN: So do you remember vaguely something about the FPCC and Oswald?
ROMAN: Oh, yeah.
NEWMAN: I mean, prior to the assassination, of course.
ROMAN: Iím just saying that itís a possibility, I donít remember.
NEWMAN: Well, in fact, no, your memory is very good. And I have those
documents with me today and Iím going to show them to you. Theyíre FBI
documents. They concern, among other things, his activities for the
FPCC and you were, in fact, receipted for them. You have your initials
and the date stamped on it. So your recollection is very good on that.
Although it may be better to show. In fact, Iím going to do that very
shortly, right now.
So you donít have a recollection, for example, of his departure
from Russia and arrival back in the United States, any of that? Coming
back on the boat with his wife.
ROMAN: Of course, at this point I know it happened, I know the story.
But I canít really be sure.
NEWMAN: Let me just change up then and letís go straight to an important
point here. To show you Jeff and I have our own copies over here, three
documents. Letís begin with one here, and weíll take our time with it.
Thatís the Ė let me unfold this bottom part for you Ė
um, this is of course, the standard from 610A routing and record sheet
NEWMAN: and your copy has the actual document that this was attached
to. We donít but I know whatís in that document so I can talk to you
[crosstalk] This one did not. But Ann Egeter has it here. But youíll
understand the pattern of what Iím doing here. This is an FBI document.
And I believe it may even get into, you can look at, it [inaudable]
basically covers his early activities after returning to the United
States. After heís off the boat. Letís see. They've got a physical description
of him. Fort Worth, Texas.
Would you characterize this Ė these are the people who read this
FBI report on Oswald. And again, Iíd like to emphasize that it is after
he came back from the United States [sic he means Soviet Union].This
is Sept. 11, 1962, for example when he comes in to RID [ed. Note Records
Integration Division]. He goes through all these people, of course that
would make sense. They are the Russia Division and counterintelligence
folks. Would you --Is that a fairly wide distribution or a significant
number of people who were reading?
You handle these things on a daily basis. How would you characterize
this many people reading this file?
ROMAN: Well, theyíre all very closely connected. I mean, normally [inaudible
part] They worked all very closely together.
NEWMAN: What kinds of organizations are we talking about here?
ROMAN: Well, the CI staff I donít know them too well. [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Special Investigation Group. Birch D. OíNeill was the chief,
ROMAN: And they worked very closely on these [inaudible]. Then they
took out CII so that was sensible because those were the operations
officers who had to deal with operations per se. They were never interested
in this kind of thing. The counter-intelligence staff branch with the
Soviet Division ---
NEWMAN: To Lt. Bagley, I believe it is by this time. Wasnít it Pete
Bagley, isnít he SRCI? I think so.
ROMAN: I think so, yeh
NEWMAN: Iíve done a lot of interviews already by the way.
ROMAN: Who have you talked to?
NEWMAN: Well, I talk, in the CI arena, Scottie Miler who was very,
very helpful. Birch is too old. Heís 83 and heís not well. He has a
heart problem, so it really, it upsets him to talk about it so I donít
bother him. But he is alive and he is here, close by.
ROMAN: How well is Scottie? Heís in what, North Carolina?
NEWMAN: Yeah. But heís chipper and well and heís accessible. If youíre
not totally crazy, heíll talk to you.
ROMAN: And he was a good guy. He was in CI operations, but he was very
close, worked very closely with [inaubile].
Iíll bet. And Iíve talked to a lot of people in the Soviet, so some
of these names I do know. But Iím interested in what your views are
on, on† why these people are reading Oswaldís file. Does this ---
ROMAN: The rest of these are Soviet?
NEWMAN: Yeah, the rest of these are, exactly. Until it comes back to
CI in the end. See, Ann Egeter has the whole thing charged out to her,
so the way I interpret that, you canít put anything in, you canít take
it out of the 201 without her approval. So, in fact, this was always
the MO. Youíd see CI at the beginning and the end of these distributions.
But I want to ask you frankly, is this, when you look at something like
this, all these people and these particular, you know, the CI folks
everywhere, and the SR6. This is the Soviet realities branch, Is this
the mark of a personís file whoís dull and uninteresting? Or would you
say that weíre looking at somebody whoís ---
ROMAN: No, weíre really trying to zero in on somebody here. I mean
NEWMAN: So there is some acreage (?) in this?
ROMAN: Oh, absolutely.
NEWMAN: You would have a very good perception institutionally on that,
ROMAN: Yeah. If somebody went to the Soviet embassy, the American embassy
in Moscow and said he wanted to defect Ė is that was this is all about?
NEWMAN: Actually, this is a little bit later than that. I have some
earlier ones, this is what Iím taking you through now, this document
and the next two I will show are what he did after he came back and
got off the boat. This is one of the initial reports. This is in the
fall of 1962, so heís already done all that, and spent, what, almost
two years over there. All of 1960, all of 1961, so itís more than that.
Two and a half years heís been in Russia, and how heís back, and heís
doing things, weird things again, writing to the FPCC, writing to† The
Worker, and this FBI report is detailing those activities.
ROMAN: I see. Well, let me ask you one thing, because Ö the years†
[inaudible]Ö my memory. Had he gone down to Mexico and talked to the
NEWMAN: Weíre heading in that direction. No, this is a year away. This
is September í62; itís about a year before that. But the next documents
Iím going to show you pertain to that time frame. But Iím very interested
in the period of Oswald, U.S.Ė in other words, his post-Russian period,
which is what I call the Cuban period in his life. In any event, you
were going to characterize this. We were talking about the level of
ROMAN: I would say that there was some keen counter-intelligence interest
in somebody who had returned from Russia and had offered to defect.
Then ,of course, he becomes the, not the property of the FBI but the
NEWMAN: The purview, yeah.
ROMAN: But they keep us posted. Well, when did he get in touch with
the Fair Play for Cuba Committee ---
NEWMAN: He got back in June of 62 and within two months or so.
ROMAN: Well as I recall it, that wouldíve been of keen interest to
us, and particularly in the Soviet connectionÖ
NEWMAN: Yes, you have a very large agency operation picking up at this
point. Right in the middle of, of course, this Mongoose thing that the
Kennedys set up with Lansdale, and weíre cresting into the Cuban missile
crisis by this time, so thereís a very great deal of concern on Cuban
ROMAN: What was the date of the Bay of Pigs?
NEWMAN: Thatís 1961, April 19th. So itís a year before this,
more than a year before this. In any event, so that would be my interpretation,
but I was not a CIA employee, so I couldnít tell you on a daily basis
how many people this is. Just my own sense of my own 20 years in government
in intelligence is that this looks to me like a lot of people were interested
in this file.
MORLEY: Can I ask just one? On something like this, when you get a
file with the next person down on the list, would that be somebody who
you were saying, ĎHey, I think youíll be interested in this?í Or was
that just you were required to pass it on to the next person on the
list?í What would be the Ė Ann Egeter had been saying, okay, I think
CI ops will be interested in this? Or would CI have just automatically
gotten it? Is that a question that can only be answered in specific
ROMAN: Well, I would say this ---
NEWMAN: I could probably answer that question, [Roman laughs] because
Iíve asked a number of people about these. It varies. The people in
the Records Integration Division for example, often assigned, put suggestions
on here. Sometimes they were followed, sometimes they werenít. Sometimes
they would leave a space because they would anticipate people who further
down the line would want to add organizations to it.
ROMAN: Right. As I recall, it would be vaguely routed in, I mean, ---
NEWMAN: But itís not something thatís sort of religious, a lockstep
that you have to follow whatever the first --- Quite often they just
check it off or cross it out.
ROMAN: If somebody writes something in.
NEWMAN: I want to move on to the next document. But suffice it to say
that we have a great deal, as you said, keen interest, at least at CI
apparently, in the man, in his activities since his return to the United
ROMAN: And I would assume that our interest would stem mainly from
the Cuban angle because the bureauís interest, at that time, the bureauís
interest would focus on the Soviet in this country.
NEWMAN: Right exactly, right. And the next document I want to show
you is this one. Itís a little bit, itís cut off at the bottom but its
what it is.† And now weíre moving ahead almost a year. And the date
is September of 1963 Ė in fact, it is a year later. And the report that
weíre talking about here is, these are, these are their actual, the
Bureauís sources in New York where they actually went in, broke in and
took pictures of these Ė we have some of them Ė of the lists inside
the FPCC offices, the mailing lists. Theyíve got pictures of Oswaldís
letters at the time. The envelopes and so on. So they were really checking
out, you know, what he was doing writing to all these Ė hereís the earlier
versions [inaudible] blacked out. But here weíre really talking about
where heís employed at the time and the relations with his wife and
family, connections with the Communist party. And hereís a whole appendix
on the FPCC Ė actually from the Chicago office. This was from Dallas.
[inaudible] Once you can read these files, itís very interesting, whoís
doing all of this stuff.
But again, weíre talking about basically Cuban activities and
so on. And the people who are reading this, itís a little bit tighter.
Itís interesting, and after Records Integration Division, youíll notice
the person whoís at the top of the list, there on 23 September, who
signed for this is named, looks to me like itís Jane Roman.
ROMAN: Right, it is.
NEWMAN: And then it goes through CI ops, and I believe thatís Will
Patoki [sp?] And then itís International Communism element, under CI.
I donít know who that is.
ROMAN: Well, I think that was [inaudible] but he was never in International
[crosstalk/inaudible]And then to SRC I believe [inaudible] And then
Iíve got this Tom Ryan. This is Tom Ryan of Soviet Russian, counter-intelligence,
KGB, counter-intelligence branch, KGB section. I know because Iíve interviewed
people Ė and then back to Ann Egeter again.
Now all of this happens at a very interesting time. It comes
in on the 10th of September. You get it on the twenty ---
looks to me like the 23rd. I have a better copy at home.
And then Will Patoki signs off on the 25th of September.
And it looks to me like it goes back to the KGB boys on the 17th
of December. So it looks like it goes its normal route here, and then
it goes, get refiled in RID after Bagley sees it back† here. But Iím
not sure because I donít have any dates. It may actually have set over
in CI Ops the whole time, I donít know.
What I would like to draw your attention, Iím going to have
to show you the other copy though, is where it ends up being filed right
away, which isnít in his 201 file. Itís in this file here, 100-300-11,
itís a Cuban file. Now, Iím going to take this document back out and
just leave it side by side with this one, because these are both FBI
reports about Oswaldís activities in the United States, as weíve gone
through it, various activities.† And I want to give you the final document
in this series that weíre going to talk about today. There it is.
And in this case, what we have is another FBI report, probably
the most interesting of all in terms of his Cuban escapades, because
this details his arrest in New Orleans, in jail, and hanging out there
with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, these pamphlets on Canal Street,
itís got the whole story in here. Again, filed initially [inaudible].
ROMAN: What did you say that was? The Cuban file?
ROMAN: Cuban [inaudible] file?
NEWMAN: Yeah, FPCC. I believe this may be the FPCC generic or Cuban.
I know that it is. This copy isnít so good. In any event, hereís Corliss
Lamont, the Communist party guy that Oswald had written to and so they
wanted a characterization of him, and hereís more left-wing organizations
that mention Oswaldís letters and so on. So its, what weíre looking
at here is a fairly extensive report about his arrest record in New
Orleans, his Cuban capers and escapades, etcetera. And this comes into
the agency on the second of October. Here it is, yeah. Oct. 2 at 4:26
p.m. This is a very interesting time. Oswald is, that very day, leaving
Mexico City to return to the United States. I'm sure that just a [inaudible]†
But in any event, it gives you a time for when weíre talking about.
This particular document is very interesting.
So two days later, now, understand Oswald is now back in the
United States, but this file Ė which is not about his trip to Mexico
City which is, as youíve seen, about the weeks prior to that in New
Orleans. And it lands on your desk on the 4th. And presumably
you read it.
ROMAN: The fourth of October?
NEWMAN: Yes. In other words, it comes into the agency to RID on Oct.
2, 4:26 p.m. And Ann Egeter† routes it to you first on the 4th.
And then, it goes from you to Horn who is counter-intelligence over
in SAS which had replaced Mongoose. Weíve now gone through the transition
from Mongoose to the Special Affairs Staff and the Cuban problem. They
got rid of Lansdale. The agency took back control of that whole empire
that had been built down there in the JMWAVE station, and have now reorganized
directly under Desmond Fitzgerald as chief of SAS, by this time. And
ROMAN: On the Cuban desk?
NEWMAN: And Fitzgerald worked ---
ROMAN: The Special Affairs Staff was really mostly an anti-Cuban operation.
It was before that Mongoose which wasnít really controlled by the agency.
It was a special thing that John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy set up with
this guy Landsale.
ROMAN: Dick Lansdale?
NEWMAN: Uh, Edward Lansdale.
ROMAN: Not Col.. Landale?
NEWMAN: A general. He was a colonel.
ROMAN: Oh him, yeah.
NEWMAN: Well, it was† not an amicable situation [Jane laughs.] to have
this outsider really in charge of an enormous slice of the agencyís
material. So it was contentious and after a year, they got rid of him.
But they, all those people were still there doing all these myriad anti-Cuban
operations. So they just called it SAS at this point, Special Affairs
Staff, it didnít replace PP or it didnít replace CI. The other staff
were all still there.
ROMAN: But it came under CIA, didnít it?
NEWMAN: Yeah. DO [Directorate of Operations] It was staff† level, along
with Angletonís counter-intelligence staff and propaganda and paramilitary
staff, and then the Special Affairs Staff. It will change again shortly.
It was Mongoose, then it became SAS for this time frame, and then itís
going to be downsized and become, again, a branch in Western Hemisphere
like it was, before the whole thing started. So it goes through this
sort of evolution into this big thing that Kennedy makes, then the Special
Affairs Staff, then back to a reasonable size branch in the division
But at this point, in 1963, when Oswald was going around doing
all these things, the Special Affairs Staff is in existence. And thatís
who weíre talking about here, Desmond Fitzgerald is the chief, Horn
is the counter-intelligence guy in SAS. And it goes from you to him.
ROMAN: I'm not familiar, I donít remember his name at all.
NEWMAN: Fair enough. We want to maybe come back to all that. I need
to take you through this process now because weíre going somewhere with
this. From him, it goes to somebody else, Iím not sure who this is --†
Control, Counter-Intelligence Control Ė on the 10th, and
then on back through Ann Egeter and so on. And then weíve already characterized
what weíre talking about here, itís a very interesting period of his
Cuban escapades in New Orleans. But this is going on inside the agency,
just after his trip to Mexico City
And I would like to mention to you now the dates when Mexico
City asked headquarters: "Who is this masked man named Oswald down
here?" [laughter] And headquarters responded with what they know
And the date that headquarters Ė excuse me, that Mexico City
asked headquarters at this date, and the date of the response was this
date. And weíre going to go into that right now. It may be a total coincidence,
Iím just pointing out to you ---
ROMAN: May I interrupt for a second?
ROMAN: We spotted him going into the Cuban embassy, right?
NEWMAN: I want to show you some documents about that, because this
is a problem area. And I will not attempt to mislead you in any way.
Iím going to work through that problem with you about his entering the
Cuban consulate and what the agency [inaudible].
Okay, so where Iím going to go now is, the two cables go back and forth
between Mexico City station and headquarters response to them about
his trip in there, because thatís really the backdrop for whatís happening
here. So now Iíve gone through all this material, and itís time to proceed
to the next piece.
ROMAN: Let me just be sure I have this straight, my mind is not as
sharp as it was at one point. Letís see, the first report was from the
FBI that this guy had tried to defect to the Soviet embassy.
NEWMAN: Yeah, heís already back, this is what heís doing Ö. I donít
have those documents in front of me. In other words, I havenít brought
you all of the documents at the time of his defection. Weíre just looking
at the record ---
ROMAN: The FBI lets us know that this guy has come back to the States.
NEWMAN: Right. They did. There was a lot more of these.
ROMAN: Then this is all about this being in touch with the Fair Play
for Cuba Committee.
NEWMAN: All three of these are his Cuban life.
ROMAN: Yeah, this was where [inaudible]
NEWMAN: His Cuban life Ö Thatís an interesting point by the way. At
this point, itís the Cuban aspect of Oswald that wouldíve interested
you, not the Russian one.
NEWMAN: That's what you just said, Iíve had that feeling myself, that
that was whatís interesting about him at that time. Heís not doing things
ROMAN: They donít accept it, I mean, they wanted to send him home,
get rid of him. And so obviously he didn't get particularly far with
the Russian Ö..
NEWMAN: Okay, Jane, what happens at this point, as Iíve said on the
8th, Mexico City sends up a cable saying this guy has been
here, heís using the name Oswald, who is he? And this is the response
that headquarters sent. As I said on the 10th, itís the same
day that actually, this guy is looking at this file. And it contains
a long background of Russia, Minsk and everything that he was doing
way back in í59 and Ď60. In fact, that this whole first page is all
ROMAN: Well, I shouldnít bother to read that.
NEWMAN: No. Itís not interesting anyway. [Roman laughs] All this is
about the Russian period. Now, it says the latest headquarters information
Ė in other words, hereís the latest stuff we have on this man was a
State report dated May í62. Do you see anything wrong about this picture
ROMAN: Ö spent, what , about a couple years in Russia?
NEWMAN: Yes. And heís been back already for a year and a half. This
is now 10 October 1963, you see, to refresh your memory here JaneÖ We
took you through all of the material the agency has been reading since
his return to the United States. You see the problem that I have is
that this says they donít have anything since 1962.
ROMAN: Well, I donít find that particularly surprising. These are all
FBI reports. And State would have no particular interest in them.
NEWMAN: This isnít State, this is being sent to your own station. This
is going to Ö
ROMAN: No, but youíre asking if itís surprising that this is all that
State has on this.
NEWMAN: No, not State, this is headquarters. This is latest headquarters
ROMAN: Oh, I see.
NEWMAN: This is the headquarters response to the query. I just donít
have the query in front of you. Itís not, we donít need it. Win Scott
says, ďHey, thereís a guy here by the name of Oswald. Whatís going on
here?Ē This is the response.
ROMAN: [Laughs] Well, did the desk write this?
NEWMAN: Well, weíre going to get to that right now. Here are the people
who are the drafters here. And I have other copies of this. This is
Ann Egeterís in here. SPG was another way of referring to SIG Ė Special
Projects Group or Special Investigations Group. Jack Scelso for Chief
WH3 and this is Stephen Roll [spelling?]
ROMAN: The Cuban desk?
NEWMAN: Yes, exactly. WH3 handles Cuba. This is Stephan Roll. I donít
know what the A is unless itís assistant chief. [crosstalk] So thatís
a little bit problematic. I donít know about the word surprising because
I donít try and interpret what Iím looking at here because Iím just
now trying to grapple with the dimensions of the problem here.
ROMAN: The only interpretation that I could put on this would be that
this SAS group would have held all the information on Oswald under their
tight control, so if you did a routine [inaudible] check, it wouldnít
show up in his 201 file.
NEWMAN: Yeah, I think that that is a very interesting possibility,
of which there are more than just one, but thatís the first one that
occurred to me too because of those numbers I was showing you. These
100 dash 300 numbers, I think would lend credence to that explanation.
But still, you realize weíre opening up another can of worms here,
because the 201 file is restricted. And that doesnít mean you get around
the business by creating a separate file somewhere. If I understand
the agency procedures right, really Jane, weíre talking here about a
procedure where Ann Egeter should have had this information and should
have made the decision. And this is a little bit abnormal. This is a
restricted file, since December 1960, a restricted 201. And itís been
followed until we get to this particular point. Now I must tell you
that itís difficult as an historian, when I see Oswald running around
in the Cuban consulate down there in Mexico City, and I see all of a
sudden these anomalous things start to happen at headquarters, the first
of which is the parking of this information in this weird file, and
then I see this response go down that obviously has nothing to do with
ROMAN: Well, um, the Cuban desk wrote this. They might have not had
any access at all to this restricted file.
NEWMAN: To the 201 you mean? But see, if you read this, this describes
the contents of the 201, except for this Cuban material.
ROMAN: When they started to restrict it.
NEWMAN: No, it wasnít restricted back in ,† no, thatís not true, Jane.
There's a lot .. this is from the restricted file. It was restricted
back in Dec. of 1960. And this is all the story about Oswaldís Russian
ROMAN: Maybe they thought that was all they needed to know or something.
NEWMAN: Well, thatís one thing. Not having a need to know. Itís another
thing to actually say something thatís not true. I mean, thereís a difference.
ROMAN: I havenít read it, but itís all true ---
NEWMAN: Except for that one sentence.
ROMAN: Oh, except that [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Sure. Itís not even a little bit untrue. Its Ö [Roman laughs]
Öitís grossly untrue. As you can see here, Iíve also schematically laid
it out. Itís very impressive when you actually look at it this way.
Those are all the people after they read these Oswald files that supposedly
didnít exist. Itís 18 monthsí worth of his life. And of course, itís
nothing to do with all this stuff in Russia. This is October 1963. The
manís been running around doing all sorts of things that people have
been watching very closely. But it has nothing to do with whatís in
this message. See, this is all about Russian, Russia, Russia, Minsk,
Minsk, Minsk, Soviet, Soviet. Soviet, Ö.And itís written, as you have
pointed out ably, not by the Soviet Russian component, but by the Special
Affairs Staff. Who are the counter-intelligence people, and when did
they do it? Look at these dates. See? They take it from you on the 8th,
the day the query comes up, ĎWho is this guy?í And it goes through SAS
counter-intelligence control the day this is authored.
ROMAN: Well, these CI people signed off on it.
NEWMAN: Yep. Karamessines signed off . Now, can I show you something
thatís even more perplexing? The same day, a mate was sent to this--
to the FBI and State Dept. and National Security Council because they
had to inform the rest of Washington as well as answer to the Mexico
City station. And Jane, this is essentially the same as this, except
for that sentence is missing. The special sentence is gone. In other
words, they told it only to the Mexico City station, but they did not
tell the FBI about the latest headquarters information [laughter] until
May í62. [inaudible}
Iím not interested in any guesses. If you donít remember anything,
thatís okay Jane. We need to take this slowly. As you can see, this
is now a matter of public record. Itís out, and what we need to do is
very carefully reconstruct how this happened, and why.
ROMAN: Well, I would say that all these things that you have shown
me so far, before the assassination, would have been very dull and very
routine as far as Ė Itís interesting that this guy tries to defect in
Russia then he comes back to the United States, [inaudible] turn him
over to the FBI. Then he gets in touch with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee
and all the-- the Cuba task force, they got word how to handle this.
NEWMAN: They have the word?
ROMAN: Well, I mean they hold it within themselves and within the special
operations FBI staff. [inaudible] need to know and did† anybody [inaudible]
and what not.
NEWMAN: Yeah, thatís very interesting. I mean, I find that entirely
credible, but extraordinary. And we can get into why I think thatís
extraordinary, but for now, I need to ask you some direct questions,
quite apart from where this stuff was stored as to whether itís in the
Cuban file or the 201 file.
Jane, you knew that Ė you read this file just a couple of days
before you released this message. So you knew thatís not true. Whether
or not you remember it today, you must realize, at least analytically,
logically, that you had to know that this sentence here was not correct.
ROMAN: Well, I had, you know, thousands of these things.
NEWMAN: Right, Iím willing to accept whatever your explanation is,
but I have to as you this ---
ROMAN: And I wasnít in on any particular goings-on or hanky-panky as
far as the Cuban situation [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Right. So youw wouldnít have--what youíre saying is-- tried
to examine it that closely?
ROMAN: Yeah, I mean, this is all routine as far as I was concerned.
NEWMAN: Problem though, here.
ROMAN: Yeah, I mean, Iím signing off on something that I know isnít
NEWMAN: No, maybe. Iím not saying that that is whatís going on. You
may not even Ė
ROMAN: I may have not noticed it or anything. And normally I wouldn't
be moving the cable.
ROMAN: I mean, higher-ups than me. Iím a desk, division chief.
NEWMAN: Well, and Karamessines signed off on there, and Hood for, excuse
me, Wood, for chief of WH, exactly.
NEWMAN: Excuse me Wood. Hood. Well, this is a problem though. If what
weíre saying is they slipped this one in ---
ROMAN: Maybe they considered it was so run of the mill that I was authorized
to sign off on or they put me down to sign off on. Whoever had--heads
up this cable put me in† to sign off on it.
NEWMAN: Itís not necessarily--youíre not a drafter, huh?
ROMAN: Oh no. I didnít draft it.
NEWMAN: Itís just going through you, I guess. Youíre signing off on
a draft, a draft copy, basically.
ROMAN: Well, theyíre just disseminating information, and I wouldnít
necessarily remember at that point other information that had come in.†
NEWMAN: OK. Certainly not. I mean, I accept that, although if you do
get any recollections on this matter, this sentence, that appear strange
to you or maybe didnít register. If you† have any more thoughts, weíd
sure appreciate hearing from you about it because this is going to become
an issue. But I want to ask you another question about it, without regard
now, to whether you remembered it at the time, or realized at the time.
Let me ask you today, knowing what you know about the agency, What does
this tell you about this file, that somebody would write something they
knew wasnít true? And† Iím not saying that it would have† to be considered
sinister. Donít misunderstand if I donít say anything, I tell you you
donít have a need to know. But if I tell you something that I know isnít
true, thatís an action that Iím taking for some reason. But, I guess,
what Iím trying to push you to address square on here is, is this indicative
of some sort of operational interest in Oswaldís file?
ROMAN: Well, to me, itís indicative of a keen interest in Oswald, held
very closely on the need-to-know basis.
NEWMAN: To the point where they would actually slip in something thatís
a bit deceptive?
ROMAN: Well, [crosstalk] anything unusual.
NEWMAN: Well, it is. And they donít put it† in this one. Itís very
interesting. Iíve interviewed a lot of senior people by the way, along
the way. Somebody Ė Iíll mention his name to you Ė Ed Junovich came
up through SR division, and then later rose to become the acting DDP
under Reagan. He came up through Soviet Russia.
ROMAN: What was his name?
NEWMAN:† You wouldnít have known him that well at the time.
ROMAN: I retired in í71.
NEWMAN: Well, he was not at that point a senior, a very senior person
yet. But he was still in Soviet Russia, probably in Japan at that time.
But heís been both down in the trenches and I [inaudible] with you,
took an entire day to fly out to California.
[ TAPE ENDS]
[Ed. Note. JANE ROMAN INTERVIEW/2 NOVEMBER 1994 / SIDE B OF TAPE]
NEWMAN:† Öthatís one interpretation, that there was an operation thatís
going on and Oswaldís file and what is known about it is considered,
in this context.
ROMAN: You mean, they were considering using Oswald?
NEWMAN: Not using in a direct sense but an operation built around what
heís doing in there. In other words, Oswald is in the Cuban consulate.
Do you see the pattern here? Oswaldís physically there. And what weíre
having going on here is this very intricate story at headquarters and
Mexico City at that very time where weíre telling a false story of what
we know about this man.
Where essentially we donít know anything about his Cuban life. The
only thing we know about it is his Russian life and yet the real meat
and potatoes of whatís going on with Oswald is that heís in that Cuban
consulate down thereÖ Now I must tell you thereís an enormous amount
of documents that have been released with respect to the operations
that we had going on inside that embassy, penetrating the embassy and
using those people to get back into Ė
ROMAN: When you say ďwe,Ē youíre talking about?
NEWMAN:† The Central Intelligence Agency attempting to recruit Cuban
consulate people. It was the largest Cuban op, the largest communist
Cuban foreign operation was in Mexico City and we had a large one ourselves.
I mean in fact the CIA station had a special cell in the Western Hemisphere,
WH3/Mexico† in Mexico, a special cell down there and so did Ö
ROMAN: Thatís who originated.
NEWMAN: It was WH3 for starters but I donít know if it was WH3 Mexico,
yes it is WH3 Mexico, yes Ė which is interesting because the guy who
takes over Cuban operations in WH3 Mexico on the 8th of October
1963 is named David Phillips. Thatís the date he assumed charge of Cuban
operations in that cell.
ROMAN: Well thatís just what I was saying, itís suddenly become important
and they donít want to spread it around.
NEWMAN: Yes, and that can only mean that Oswaldís file is important.
It was important to somebody Öfor some reason. And it was a calculated
decision that to withhold this information at this time, that is to
some advantage, for a reason, some operational reason. Thatís the only
thing I can conclude. I mean you donít do things like that without making
sense to your job and your life. Iíve never known people in the intelligence
arena to do anything that wasnít necessary Ė or at least perceived as
necessary Ė in the course of their duties. Iím not just, hey, Iím going
to throw in a full sentence today in the old cable to Mexico City.
ROMAN: No, there wouldnít be any point in withholding it. There has
to be a point for withholding information from Mexico City.
NEWMAN:† Yes, I just donít know what it is offhand.
ROMAN: Of course at that point all that Mexico knew is that he had
applied at the Cuban embassy for a visa to Cuba.
NEWMAN:† Yeah, in fact we need to move directly to that point right
now. Can we do that? Because that is so important so, Iíll just leave
this out as well. Ö. And let me move directly to this problem of the
There are two documents Iíd like to show you. This is Dick Helms
talking to Lee Rankin, the chief counsel for the Warren Commission in
1964. And at that time Mr. Helms said, as you can see, that the reason
for the† Mexico City station reporting this event in the first place
was his visit to both locations, the Cuban consulate and the Soviet
ROMAN: They didn't know at that time that our [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Yes they did. I just didn't bring you the query out of Mexico
ROMAN: Oh I see.
NEWMAN: This is just the next year they want to know--the Warren Commission
wants to know why it was reported. Whis story of the actual communications,
the information from the Mexico City station to headquarters about Oswaldís
visit there. And Helms makes the comment in the context of that question
that well, they reported it headquarters because he was in both locations.
That made it very significant. Almost as if he Ė
ROMAN: Well they would have reported it in any event.
NEWMAN: Yeah, Iím not disagreeing with that, Iím just saying Helms
said that. This makes it clear that his presence in both places was
known at the time, that it was reported. Thatís what that tells me.
And this here is another CIA document,. Actually Angleton has just been
fired for the LINGUAL program and Kalaris has now taken his position
as head of CI, and this memo comes out and it talks about several cables
in October  about his visits to both locations. So this is another
CIA document which makes it clear.
But I must tell you, well, let me ask you this: from these two things
would you say that the agency knew that he was in the Cuban consulate
at the time? Did they know who was in--that he had visited the Cuban
consulate? Wouldnít this tell you that they had to know in October?
ROMAN: Sure. Mexico would have reported right away.
NEWMAN: They didnít though.
ROMAN: They didnít?
NEWMAN: They didnít talk about Cuban consulate in the first message
Ė and I wish I had it for you† here. It only talked about the Soviet
embassy. Didnít talk about the Cuban consulate. Itís missing, too, just
like the headquarters side. [Roman laughs] In other words they donít
talk about anything Cuban at headquarters, when they send that query
up from down there they donít talk about Cuba either, they just say
he was at the Soviet embassy, making a call. Everything about this Cuban
life just happens to fall through the cracks.
ROMAN: Refresh† my memory. Did you stop him at the Soviet Embassy in
Mexico City as well as Ė
NEWMAN: Yes, both of them. Many times. Three times in the Cuban consulate,
twice to the Soviet embassy and several phone calls as well. Busy, busy,
fellow. In those few days.
Anyway, I asked Dick Helms the same questions as Iím asking you
and itís so straightforward but I hate to ask straightforward questions.
NEWMAN: I donít know, this is a problem, I wouldnít waste your time
bringing this to your attention if this were not a problem. Let me clear
about the problem here. The agency has always maintained that they didnít
know that he went into that consulate until after the assassination.
The problem is, it doesnít square with these documents. And these cables
are classified, theyíre in the National Archives, you go into that file
and guess what happens? There are little pink withdrawal sheets on every
one of Ďem.
And Iíd like your guess and after I get your reaction Iíd be happy
to share Dick Helmsís reaction with you and then get your reaction to
ROMAN: Say again what you first said.
NEWMAN: The question Iím asking is, When did the agency know he went
into that Cuban consulate?
MORLEY:† Hereís the third thing, this is agency 31 January, information
developed by CIA on the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald. And thereís
the statement that they filed.
ROMAN: Ö to Mexico City.
MORLEY:What theyíre saying is after an intensive review of all available
NEWMAN: This is not explicit, Jeff. What Jeff is trying to say is that
this is part of the story we didnít know til after the assassination.
That he was in the Cuban consulate.
MORLEY: This is the official position.
ROMAN: I see. And it didnít even mention that he also went to the Soviet
NEWMAN: Thatís the only thing they do admit to knowing. Before the
assassination. they knew about his visits. The Soviet but not the Cuban.
MORLEY: Theyíre saying after an intensive review of all available sources
it was learned Ö that he had also visited the Cuban consulate.
ROMAN: And who is this to? The committee did you say?
NEWMAN: To the Warren Commission.
MORLEY: This is the first summary that was forwarded to the Warren
NEWMAN: But there are better examples of this. I mean I could show
you, this is just one that I knew I had the exact sentences.† Ö The
real problem is this: does that square with this? You see, Helms here
says they didnít report it--the reason they reported it in the first
place was that heíd been in both locations--and this here describes
cables in October of 1963 about his visits to both locations.
Now either the agency is wrong, in saying something like this or Helms
is wrong and the drafter Kalaris, or whoever drafted this for Kalaris,
is wrong. But they canít both be right. [Roman laughs]
NEWMAN: And once again itís the damned Cuban story, it confounds me
everywhere I turn. I have no problem with the Russian story. Everybodyís
just tickled to death to talk about that, you† know, in great detail.
Of what use it was at the time, I donít know, but this stuff was very
hot. What was going on in the anti-Cuban operations, let me tell† you,
in September and October 1963. The assassination plots against Castro?
All the plans to invade and penetrate Cuba, just an enormous amount
of operations were cresting and coming to a head at this very time.
[Newman knocks on the table] Everywhere we look Ö we find this problem.
And I donít even mind if we say itís classified and the agencyís
position is that, we would request--hereís the way the law works. The
agency has the right to request findings be postponed from release but
they donít have the authority any more to make those decisions themselves.
Thatís been taken away and rests with five Americans. This review board
will have the power.
ROMAN: Are these Congress people?†
NEWMAN: They were appointed by the president and they were sworn in,
yes, by Congress.
ROMAN: But theyíre not government employees?
NEWMAN: Yes, they are. They absolutely are.
ROMAN: No, I mean theyíre not Congress people.
NEWMAN: Theyíre very erudite professors, historians, professionals,
yes. Itís okay if the agency says, "Look, this is an operational
matter, thereís people weíre protecting, theyíre still alive."
Thatís okay, theyíre allowed to do that. But theyíre not allowed anymore
to make up a cover story and put it into place of the truth. In other
words, the only procedure open now is to tell the truth or request that
the truth be withheld. But it is not where the American public can be
fed a cover story or a false story any more. Thatís finished.
ROMAN: Is there any one on this committee who was ever connected to
NEWMAN: No. On purpose. It was written in the law that that could not
be. In the public law.
ROMAN: Well, all I can think of [inaudible], note to myself, something
called administrative error.
NEWMAN: Well I accept that. The problem is that when Mr. Murphy stares
at me and smiles at me every time I turn the corner, I have a problem
accepting it everyday.
ROMAN: Who is Mr. Murphy?
MORLEY: Murphy's Law.
NEWMAN: Murphyís Law. If something can go wrong it will.
NEWMAN: A very senior guy over there, he asked me, he said, ďJohn,
have you ever heard of Murphyís Law?Ē And I said, ďDave, absolutely.Ē
You know, every time I turn a corner of the CIA, heís smiling at me
Itís too much. Thereís too many people reading these documents for
this to be accidental, Somebody withheld that information from Mexico
city on purpose. There was an operational reason for doing it. That
appears true. I donít know exactly what Ė
ROMAN: I canít conceive of what. The cable was not written you say
by the special group that handled [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Well, you know, youíve got here Ė letís see what are we doing
here? Weíre taking this and weíre leaving that.
ROMAN: What did you say again, the special group was within the Ė
NEWMAN: Oh you mean that cell WH3? Mexico.
ROMAN: I mean this was the group that was knowledgeable of all the
NEWMAN: Well, yes and we have an enormous amount of the cable traffic
that went both to Mexico City and back, and to JMWAVE and back, on Cuban
operations. Itís an enormous amount of material by the way and Iíve
spent months and months analyzing it, and I was a traffic analyst in
my day so I know how to take this information on tops and bottoms and
recover the internal structure of the organization and itís complete.
I have a huge chart of WH and of CI and of Soviet Russia division and
I have it all. Iím surprised that they left all this information for
anybody, itís possible to recover the entire diagram as we call it.
But the thing you have to do, you have to set this guy here
next to these two dates. Hereís your SAS interface, I believe they are
reading this, they know about this, they have to know about this. So
I believe youíre right, that somebody in SAS decided, for whatever their
reasons were, to do this thing. At least somebody there, if not perhaps
someone else. I donít know where else it goes but this, to me, is the
signature. These are the bookends, this brackets the back and forth
from Mexico City to headquarters and back. And itís cut and dry† that
weíre looking at somebody has made a decision about Oswaldís file here.
I am very reluctant, Iíll tell you, to interpret this at all because
I realize it was so significant. And any time you bump into something
like this I think one has to pull back from the urge to interpret and
be very disciplined about trying to get to the real truth of the matter.
ROMAN: Well, the obvious position which I really canít contemplate
would be that they thought that somehow whether they could make some
use of Oswald.
NEWMAN: Or his file, or what was known about it. In other words, it
doesnít have to be even you know James Bond, you know, Ďyou do something.í
Itís in the context of who knows about this guyís activities and if
we withhold this information and see what we find out, I mean it could
be as simple as that, I donít know what it is.
ROMAN: As you undoubtedly knew they were very keen on the need to know.
ROMAN:† [inaudible] one of the important things.
NEWMAN: Itís taking us into a very interesting arena though with this
need to know stuff on Oswald and Cuban operations at the time. This
is a very different story than I anticipated when I got into it. I did
not know or suspect that there would be this depth to Oswaldís file
in the agency† and this amount of interest.† I donít know what you call
it† but things are going bump in the night here, the guyís walking around
in the Cuban consulate down there at a very, very sensitive time.
ROMAN: I would think that there was definitely some operational reason
to withhold it, if it was not sheer administrative error but when you
see all the people who signed off on it. Ö
NEWMAN: Jane, can we, can I make a proposal to you that rather than
trying to understand everything all at once that you kind of step back
now and let you think about this and leave you a copy?
Iím serious. This is really for all the marbles, you know, for
all time here and it needs to be done slowly. Iíd like, for example,Ė
Iím sorry I donít have it with me, the Mexico City query, that really
needs to be set next to this so you can see the back and forth.
And I want to give you Helmsís reaction, by the way, to the Cuban
consulate problem and I want your advice on who we should talk to and
where if you were in our shoes looking at this who should we Ė I mean
you know the lay of the land in there pretty well. How would we test
for whatís going on here? Who can we talk to about this, do you think
would be helpful? Birch is beyond help right now.
ROMAN: Ray Rocca --
NEWMAN: Ray just died.
ROMAN: I went to his funeral.
NEWMAN: -- and he was wonderful. He was very helpful, yes extensively.
I had several interviews but I didnít know this at the time and, yeh,
he demystified a lot of things for me and some of these cryptonyms and
caveats and so on that are very easy to draw all sorts of weird conclusions
about them. He was a helpful person. But heís not with us, so thatís
no help now.
ROMAN: He was, as you know, the coordinator for the CI staff [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Whoís Stefan Roll? Stephen Roll.
ROMAN: Heís a very nice guy. I didnít know him all that well, I can
remember that he was on the CI staff.
NEWMAN: Well heís on these documents with you, I mean on this one,
he signed also on that [inaudible]
ROMAN: Which is my fault not to. He's on as [inaudible] I think Iíd
connect him with Russia Division, Soviet Division.
†NEWMAN: Maybe we should find him. Heís alive. And Scelso might
be somebody to talk to as well. Heís on there. Western hemisphere.
MORLEY: S-C-E-L-S-O. Jack Scelso.
NEWMAN: Heís very, very important to them in Cuban arrangements [inaudible]
Well at this time anyway.
ROMAN: Well the whole Cuban operation per se was extremely closely
held to and I didnít personally know him. Well, in the position that
I was in, I was in the position to give out agency policy Ė and I mean
there were 20 government agencies [inaudible]. And we had had a number
of our agents assassinated by the Soviets at one point or another by
the [inaudible]. And whoever it was they said to me, ĎDoes the CIA assassinate
any of their agents?í And so I checked with Jim Angleton [inaudible]
to find out you know what the agency policy was. And I was told that
we do not fight fire with fire. We do not assassinate.
Well, there was Patrice Lumumba, of course. But I couldnít condone
that anyway because actually we didnít assassinate him although we supported
the group financially and otherwise. [inaudible] And it was the group
that actually did the assassination.
So I told him, believing this myself, that we did not. And then
just by sheer error [inaudible] somebody started talking to me about
assassinating Castro, plans to do it. And I was horrified and thought
ĎThis is the time Iím going to leave the agency" except I had to
hang around three more years so I could retire which I had to do, I
mean I had to have my pension.
So thatís how closely held things were. So as far as this Cuban hit,
I mean I knew about the Bay of Pigs. I learned that, you know, the United
States of America could not pull of this little invasion and it was
so closely held that it doesnít surprise me that they would mix [inaudible]Ė
NEWMAN: Well I think at this point, I just want to brainstorm for a
few minutes with you about general things.
ROMAN: Did you tell me, I keep interrupting, what Dick Helms Ö?
NEWMAN: Oh yes. I went through the same documents with him that I did
with you on the issue of when did the CIA know that Oswald had visited
the Cuban consulate in Mexico City. And his interpretation of the documents,
which is what they are, I mean they say whether he knew and heíd say
oh yes. And when I showed him what the position was he said ďWell we
were trying to cover our sources" Ė which is a rather startling
admission but frankly is a breath of fresh air to me. I donít really
care who killed Kennedy. I do, Iím curious intellectually but it doesnít
really resolve that issue one way or the other whether or not there
was some kind of operation involving Oswald. You could argue that, consistent
with both the Warren Commission adherents and detractors. So Iím not
really interested in that. Iím interested in the truth about Oswald
and his bosses, thatís what Iím focused on. Iím focused a work now,
writing about the internal record of Oswald. And I need to know the
truth and if the truth is that weíre protecting sources, and methods,
fine. And when Helms told me that I was pleasantly surprised. I already
suspected that but pleasantly surprised that an agency director or a
DCI. I should say, directorís not the same thing Ė
ROMAN: That he was protecting a source?
NEWMAN: That the story that we didnít know about his visits to the
Cuban consulate until after this big investigation was to protect our
sources inside the consulate. There could have only been two ways we
would have known.
ROMAN: I can we were probably tapping the phones.
NEWMAN: NSA or CIA Cuban sources but itís some sensitive source. And
we know that because theyíre freaking out all the time in these documents
that werenít even saying how sensitive the whole embassy situation,
Cuban hostage situation was.
Thatís okay to me. I donít get upset when the CIA person says, ďLook,
okay, we did it. We made up that story then for operational reasons
to protect sources and methods. That was 30 years ago." And as
long as weíre truthful today that means everythingís working today.
So thatís the important thing is what was really happening and trying
to sort out what was a cover story then† from the reality that weíre
allowed to know about today. Thereís a difference.
ROMAN: Well, may I give you an idea of how important this was to us?
And of course you know all about World War II and all the intercepts.
Churchill knew that the Germans were going to bomb Coventry, he didnít
tell anybody. He didnít tell the civilians to get in the shelters, he
didnít mention it because he didnít want to affect the deaths --[inaudible]
The Soviets, the Russians, the Soviets, they sacrificed Iím
not sure whether it was a regiment or a division but it was something
of tremendous Ė I mean we signed away our† name in blood before we were
informed of the fact that information as available and get the benefit
If Dick Helms says that Ö [inaudible]
NEWMAN: That tells me is to stop there.† I take that as: okay, we did
that, and we had a reason for that. He said,† "Itís not for me
to give away the secrets of the agency. And I said, fine, Iím not here
to try and get you to do that. "
But of course, the Review Board is going to have to know. That
is their job.
ROMAN: Well, they will ask Helms.†
NEWMAN: They will, at some point. Theyíll probably want to talk to
you as well along the way I would imagine when they see all these documents.
Thatís their role.
They have subpoena power too as well. But itís a narrower type
of subpoena power than previous investigations, because their venue
is really the record. Itís the Assassination Records Review Board. So
they wonít use that power unless itís used to illuminate the documentary
reccord. This is not a witch hunt or anything like that. Itís more they
can subpoena people if it can be reasonably expected to shed a light
on the documentary situation. Behind closed doors, even publicly, itís
really up to them.
I find the approach of ĎThis is secretí much better than a false
story that: ďOh we didnít know about it.í Or : ĎWe just werenít interested
Statements like that are no longer credible. Thereís a great
deal of interest in this man and apparently, at some very sensitive
moments, things were done with respect to his file.
And Iím content to stop at that and let the process of this
law and the documents take its course. Itís going to take us a while,
I think, to get over, first of all, are we going to see those cables
out of Mexico City. Until I see those cables, Iím afraid to guess just
exactly what ---
ROMAN: What cable havenít you seen?
NEWMAN: The October í63 cables about Ė remember the document I showed
you that mentioned the October í63 cables about his visits to the Cuban
consulate? Theyíre all classified.
ROMAN: Oh, you canít get access to them.
NEWMAN: There were 12. We have almost all of the cable traffic back
and forth but they are holding on to about a dozen and theyíre all from
Mexico City after Oswaldís visit there but before the assassination.
And in their place is a pink withdrawal sheet in the National Archives.
You canít even see the top and bottom. The whole cable has been withdrawn.
ROMAN: Well itís obviously protection of† sources.
NEWMAN: Exactly. And I think what weíre seeing here is some manifestations
of this problem. The cable to Mexico City. This whole story Ė thereís
another one about Kostikov. Kostikov is the guy that Oswald met down
there in the Soviet embassy. Koastikov was KGB Dept. 13. The Agency
position is that they didnít know that until after the assassination.
You see the problem with that is Ė itís in their their files.
So you see, Mexico City actually quoted his name in that first October
cable. He talked to Kostikov, said the cable, on 8 October. Well thatís
very very touchy that Kostikov, the Department 13, is right here in
this cable six weeks before the murder of John Kennedy. So the Agency
position is† well, we didnít know it until after twenty three November.
Then we took a closer look and found, oops, and guess what? We found
out on 23 November he was Department 13.} And I think we have the same
problem there of how we knew Kostikov, or knew about him. In fact, this
whole case about Oswald is littered with things like this. Even in the
Russian period,† I havenít had time to go into it with you today.
I donít know what else we can do at this moment about the story
other than to your recollection go over again, if you could. I would
really appreciate the chance to come back to double back with you after
youíve had time to sleep on this. This is a lot to take in all of a
sudden. Youíre welcome to any of these documents that you want.
Maybe in a month or so, I'll call you up when youíve had time
to mull this stuff over. Not as an authoritative explanation, mind you,
but as someone who fathoms a guess or two based upon your own window
ROMAN: Whatís this committee doing? According to [inaudible] they're
laying the thing to rest.
MORLEY: Their mission is to create a public body of documents for everybody
to see and to decide for themselves. And Iím with John, Iím totally
convinced thatís the way to go now. Thereís no need for more speculation.
The Cold War is over. This is history. Letís understand this episode
right. Letís look at the record. Talk to the people who know the record.
Letís not speculate. Letís not guess. Letís not concoct crazy theories.
Thereís way, way too much of that. And nobodyís interested in that any
more, thatís behind us. We can do some good.
ROMAN: But then they put out a movie like ďJFK.Ē I donít know whatís
in the movie. But I understand that [unintelligible phrase].
MORLEY: Yeah, itís a Hollywood picture. We want to get the record right.
NEWMAN:† Well, thatís why weíre here. I wasnít pushy, I was glad when
he found you. I had given up, frankly. If I canít find you, youíre pretty
well hidden. I wasnít able to, I tried. Jeffís pretty good. [Laughter
] He found you.
ROMAN: [to Morley] You should be with the FBI. [to Newman] But youíve
talked to Sam Papich.
NEWMAN: Not yet, Iím getting ready to talk to him. Others have. Iím
waiting. I have the benefit of most of the interviews heís given already.
I have a specific order. Iím focused on somebody else named Jim Hosty
in the FBI and them Iíll get Papich. But the liaison function of the
FBI† Iím going to save for the very end. Right now Iím working my way
through to the FBI bureaucracy.
ROMAN: Sam Papich was extremely knowledgeable.
NEWMAN: Yes, and heís said a lot of things already that have been very,
very helpful on the record.†
ROMAN: I don't know he would[inaudible]
NEWMAN: I donít have your phone number.
ROMAN: XXX-XXXX. [Phone number withheld to protect privacy.] [inaudible]
NEWMAN: Brannigan was one of the first people that shows up on Oswaldís
files, at the FBI, Ground Zero. Brannigan is writing memos, checking
out his story. And a guy by the name of Reddy, he just died. His wife
called me returning my messages named Joe Reddy and Brannigan were the
two guys who came up in his files early.
[END OF INTERVIEW]