8 October 1994
VIDEO INTERVIEW OF
OCTOBER 8, 1994
RELEASE AND QUALIFICATION
In a written letter Gaeton Fonzi outlines the following
"I hereby grant ... permission to disseminate, distribute or
otherwise scatter about in whatever fashion they so chose,
be it by voice, video, electronic or laser beam means,
copies of the transcript, video and sound recordings which
resulted from the interview conducted with me on October 8,
1994, provided that, beyond costs of material and time, NO
COMMERCIAL gain be involved and further provided that such
distribution is not knowingly made to anyone or any
corporate entity who or which will further re-distribute for
profit." So dated Miami, FL October 17, 1994.
FORMAT OF INTERVIEW
Questions for the video interview were solicited through
many formats including CompuServe's JFK Forum, Internet,
Prodigy, personal request and other means. A total of
101 questions were submitted, grouped by subject where
possible, and submitted for review by Gaeton Fonzi prior to
the interview. Each question was given an arabic
numeral (1, 2, 3). Follow-up questions asked at the
time of the interview are designated by an arabic numeral
followed by a letter in small case (1.a, 2.b, 3.c)
Gaeton Fonzi denied answers to certain questions either
because the questions were not within his expertise, or
because the questions were argumentative and not within the
intention of the interview which is stated by Mr. Fonzi at
the onset of the video. (See video text for
"intention"). Questions not addressed were questions
26-47, 50-55, 57, 63, 83-92 and 94, and are not included in
the transcript since they are not part of the video.
NOTE: Any text in brackets [ ... ] is either a
scribner's note or an addition/clarification by Gaeton
Fonzi. Bracketed items are not part of the
video. Asterisks (*) were placed where words were
changed or deleted for grammatical errors and redundancy.
Gaeton Fonzi was born in Philadelphia on October 10,
1935. He was raised in West New York, New Jersey, and
was graduated with journalism honors from the University of
Pennsylvania in 1957. He served as an officer in the
U.S. Army Infantry and a Civil Affairs Reserve
Company. He worked briefly as a reporter with the
Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times and as an associate editor
with the Chilton Company.
In 1959, Fonzi joined Philadelphia magazine and was later
senior editor. Fonzi won the magazine's first national
journalism award and wrote more than 100 major feature
In 1972, Fonzi became editor of Miami magazine and senior
editor of its sister publication, Gold Coast in Fort
Lauderdale. In 1975, on the basis of articles he had
written on the subject while at Philadelphia magazine, Fonzi
was asked by U.S. Senator Richard Schweiker, then a member
of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to become a
staff investigator probing the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy. In 1977, Fonzi was invited to join
the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations as a staff
investigator. Later, as a special team director, he
wrote and edited a major appendix, Volume X, of the
Committee's Final Report. Subsequently, his article
for Washingtonian magazine, detailing the political
limitations of the Committee's investigation, received
national media coverage and earned the magazine record
readership. Fonzi has been a contributing editor of
Gold Coast and South Florida magazine, a feature writer for
New York's Avenue magazine and contributed to Penthouse,
Esquire and The New York Times Magazine.
He has worked on special investigative projects for the New
York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune involving the FBI's
use of criminal informants in political investigations.
Among the awards given Fonzi's articles are the Philadelphia
Business Club Award, the Philadelphia Bar Association Award,
two local Sigma Delta Chi Awards, a National Sigma Delta Chi
Award, four Florida Magazine Association Awards, a City
Regional Magazine Association Award, a Florida-Atlantic
University Enterprise Reporting Special Award and a
Washington Monthly Award. Fonzi has been a finalist in
Columbia's National Magazine Awards and has received the
William Allen White Investigative Journalism Award from the
University of Kansas. He has been a guest lecturer in
journalism at the University of Pennsylvania and the
University of Michigan.
Fonzi is the co-author of an article TIME magazine honored
in 1970 as one of the ten most significant press stories of
the decade. That article appeared in the book, The
Best Magazine Articles of 1968.
He is the author of Annenberg: A Biography of Power,
published in 1970 by Weybright & Talley in New York and
by Anthony Blond in London, and of The Last Investigation,
published by Thunder's Mouth Press in 1993 and, in trade
paperback, in 1994.
"Mr. Fonzi is married to Marie, his wife of 54 years ,
and they have four children, eight grandchildren, and two
FONZI: SELECTED REFERENCES
(For Gaeton Fonzi)
Covert Action Information Bulletin #12/81 pp37-8
DiEugenio, J. Destiny Betrayed. 1992 pp235 239
Duffy, J. Ricci, V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Furiati, C. ZR Rifle: The Plot to Kill Kennedy and Castro.
1994 pp144-6 150
Groden, R. Livingstone, H. High Treason. 1990 pp189 399
Lane, M. Plausible Denial. 1991 pp32-4
Marrs, J. Crossfire. 1990 pp521-4 526 530
Melanson, P. Spy Saga. 1990 pp181-2
Morrow, R. First Hand Knowledge. 1992 p295
Pell, E. The Big Chill. 1984 p174
Russell, D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 pp280-1 418 420
Summers, A. Conspiracy. 1989 pp506-7 518 535
Vanity Fair 11/93 p100
Vankin, J. Conspiracies, Cover-ups, and Crimes. 1991 p123
Village Voice 3/31/92 p39
BEGIN VIDEO INTERVIEW
Today is October 8, 1994 and Gaeton Fonzi is here to answer
some questions submitted to the Ft. Lauderdale JFK
Researcher Group. And he has given us permission to
take these answers and transcribe them and place them into
CompuServe and make them public record for anybody to read
and download, or whatever. Mr. Fonzi.
GF: Okay. We're doing this basically because I'd
like to be helpful in terms of helping the researchers who
are legitimately interested in getting my opinion or answers
in areas of the investigation that I was personally involved
*. There is enough confusion around today in terms of
people saying things or giving opinions of which they have
no foundation *. I'll answer those questions that I do
have some knowledge about, but I don't want to get
into any kind of argumentative position here in terms of
questions that are, in fact, just points of view or
arguments for a point of view. So we can take it from
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
1. When your book, The Last Investigation, reached the
bookstores last fall, your feelings seemed pessimistic that
there was going to be another investigation. Do you still
feel this way?
GF: Yes, I do feel that there will never be another
investigation. And though I feel that way, in the back
of my mind I'm hopeful that there might be. Of course,
there's always, again, the feeling that I just don't know
whether the government can conduct a legitimate
investigation, on the one hand. And on the other, I've
always felt that if a President of the United States really
wanted to find the truth, then really wanted a true
investigation, then perhaps there could be some control of
the institutions and agencies in order to achieve a true
cooperative arrangement with that investigation. Up to
now, through history, there hasn't been.
Addendum (not on video) to answer #1 by Gaeton Fonzi:
[I didn't quite clarify the basic dilemma here.
It revolves around this issue: Can the Government
honestly investigate itself? I believe it can if the
President can take control of every branch and agency of the
Government and get it to follow his orders. That would
take a President who would have to give the investigation
priority over political and, perhaps, even issues that would
be classified as pertaining to "national security." So
the bottom line question then becomes, can there ever be
such a President? I doubt it.]
2. Is there any difference in opinion on the above question
between you and those enthusiastic over the release of the
records? If so, what?
GF: Yeah. I think there are those
who...... And I'm enthusiastic about the release of
the records also. But I think there are
those that think that another investigation, another
government investigation would accomplish something..
Or would accomplish a conclusion to some extent that would
be closer to the truth. Again, to go back to what I
said before, it's difficult to, for me, to feel that the
government could investigate itself, fully and completely
without the total desire of a President who wanted to get at
3. If there are future obstacles to another investigation or
further release of records, what contemporary societal
institutions do you feel will put up the greatest amount of
GF: Well I'm not too sure what is meant by societal
institutions. Is that, are they the same as government
institutions? Societal institutions ... we're talking
3.a. Heritage Foundation?
GF: Yeah. Heritage Foundation, or institutions like
that. I don't really know. To answer that
question as best as I can, I just don't know.
4. In the 1994 November elections are there any candidates
that you feel could be either an asset or a detriment to
further investigative activities? Nationally or
GF: Well, I would hate to see Jeb Bush elected
President. But other than that, no, I don't know.
5. What areas of future investigation do you feel deserve
more attention? If your answers include the questions
concerning David Atlee Phillips/Maurice Bishop and the
Silvia Odio/Leon Oswald one, I already know your feelings on
these. What areas, other than the above, do you feel deserve
GF: Well, * I have to concentrate on the areas that I
was involved with in terms of answering that question.
And it does include these two areas. And to some
extent Mexico City and the CIA.. But, as you are
probably aware, at the COPA Conference this weekend, there
will be individual researchers that have done a
tremendous amount of work in other areas that, I know
deserve further investigation. For instance,
there's a fellow out in Oklahoma who is coming up with some
pretty good information when he tells me about the
possibility of there being two Oswalds at the time [one of
the Oswalds] was supposed to [be] in the Marines, in the
early part of the fifties, mid part of the fifties.
And so far, the information he has shown me has been valid
in terms of the conflicting evidence. So there are
areas like that that individual researchers are working on,
that I think really should be looked into *.
Addendum (not on video) to answer #5 by Gaeton Fonzi:
[The fellow from Oklahoma to whom I'm referring is
John Armstrong. His presentation at the COPA
conference indicated he has evidence of an "Oswald" working
in New Orleans in the mid-1950s at a time when another
"Oswald" was in the Marines. I believe there are
individual researchers such as Armstrong who could point the
way to many areas of the JFK assassination which need more
6. Some people say that no connection between Oswald and
Banister has ever been incontrovertibly proven. What if
Banister knew who Oswald was but didn't know him personally?
Could this possibly change the direction of an
investigation? After all, Oswald was on New Orleans TV in
the summer of 1963. He may have been on at least one other
11 P.M. news television broadcast also. Guy Banister
couldn't have missed a "defector" and FPCC leafletter,
especially since he kept tabs on lesser radicals.
GF: Yeah. This is a confusing question and it's
also a question in an area that I'm not familiar with.
From what I recall though, Tony Summers, in his
investigation, came up with fairly good evidence that Oswald
was with Banister [according to the people Tony spoke] *.
6. a A follow up on that then. Do we know if any
of Banister's files have been recovered other than just an
index listing of what some of his files may have been.
GF: No, I [don't]. I don't have an answer for
that. I don't know.
6.b. You didn't handle the New Orleans Part?
GF: No, I didn't.
6.c. You were just the Miami?
GF: I was just in Miami. I went down to New
Orleans a couple of times. I had met Jim Garrison
prior to my joining the House Committee. Met him when
I was working with Schweiker and as a result of that I was
kind of the initial liaison with Garrison for the House
Committee. But then they, two separate investigators
were hired in New Orleans to handle that aspect of the
6.d. You don't know then or have any indication of
whatever happened to his files?
6.e. They could have just been thrown away or some
government agency grabbed them or what?
GF: I don't know.
6.f. You have no idea?
GF: I have no idea.
6.g. The state police, I understand. The state
police got some of his files through his brother and his
GF: Well there were two investigators. L. J.
Delsa and Bob Buras who were with the New Orleans Police
Department prior to their joining the Committee, who
might provide better information.
7. Have you ever run into any evidence of Guy Banister
conducting surveillance on Tampa FPCC chairman VT Lee?
GF: No I haven't, because again, * I wasn't involved
in that aspect of the investigation.
8. Accepting Veciana's story of seeing Bishop with Oswald,
how can you account for this violation of "basic
tradecraft"? Is it not possible that Veciana
>participated< in the meeting with Bishop and Oswald?
GF: Anything is possible. But as far as
violation of basic tradecraft goes, David Phillips had a
record of violating basic tradecraft. He left his
briefcase, I believe at one point, in a restaurant.
Almost got in trouble with that. So I have no problem
with violation of basic tradecrafts.
Addendum (not on video) to answer #8 by Gaeton Fonzi:
[As far as a lapse in "tradecraft" goes, let me add
the incident about which I have personal knowledge.
It's detailed in my book. That's when Phillips was
introduced to Veciana at the ARIO meeting in Reston. (At the
time it was still ARIO, not AFIO.) Veciana was
introduced by name to Phillips twice, once in the banquet
hall and once in the hallway. Phillips even asked that
it be repeated and then, when Veciana asked him, "Don't you
remember my name?" Phillips responded, "No." As
Veciana himself later pointed out, that was odd considering
that Veciana had been exceptionally well-known in
anti-Castro activity, being the founder, key fund-raiser and
spokesman for Alpha 66, the largest and most militant
anti-Castro group. It was odd because anti-Castro
activity was the heart and soul of Phillips' mission during
the period in question. It was impossible for Phillips
not to know or remember Veciana's name. Phillips had
simply been caught off-guard by Veciana's surprise
appearance at Reston and had a little "slip of
tradecraft." Phillips himself must have later realized
that because later, under oath during his Committee
testimony, he decided the only way he could rectify that
"slip of tradecraft" was to lie and say that Veciana was
never introduced to him by name at that encounter. I
urged Chief Counsel Bob Blakey to recommend Phillips be
charged with perjury, since we had three witnesses to that
Reston encounter: myself, Veciana and an aide from Senator
Schweiker's office. Blakey declined to take on the
9. Can you clarify the >exact< wording of Veciana's
previous statements about Bishop's request that Veciana
contact Guillermo Ruiz? Specifically, did Veciana's
early statements imply that Ruiz had no knowledge of Oswald
but would be asked to lie?
GF: Yes. As far as clarifying Veciana's exact
wording, I can't likely do that, especially off the top of
my head because these are things that we discussed so many
time. I discussed so many times with Veciana in terms
of getting additional details from things he was telling
me. But from what I recall now, Veciana said that
Bishop did come to him and said that he knew that his cousin
was involved with, was with Cuban intelligence in Mexico
City. And at that time there was a story going around
that Oswald had been seen with a man and a woman
somewhere. And the man's wife could speak very good
English and I think Ruiz' wife could speak very good
English. This is, again, off the top of head.
And Bishop said, "if you can get your cousin to say that he
was with Oswald, it would be worth a lot of money to
him." And Veciana said okay, he would try to get in
touch with him. Veciana made several attempts over the
next few months to get in touch with his cousin but was
unable to. I believe, and I don't recall the specifics
of this, but I believe Veciana told me, or I found out
later, that Ruiz rebuffed his attempts to contact him.
And so Veciana was never able to get in touch with him
. And when Bishop, in one of his later meetings with
Bishop, he told Bishop this. Bishop said, "well,
that's okay, forget about it." But to answer the
question as far as did Veciana's early statements imply that
Ruiz had no knowledge of Oswald but would be asked to
lie. Definitely. That's exactly what he
was asked, would be asked to do.
10. Veciana states that Bishop asked Veciana to contact Ruiz
and get Ruiz to state that Oswald was at the Cuban
Consulate; later, Bishop changed his mind and told
Veciana to forget it. This implies that Veciana had
some means of communication with Ruiz but had not yet
contacted Ruiz. Do you know if Veciana maintained
contact with Ruiz?
GF: Well again, this question was answered in what I
have just said, in terms of the previous question. * *
Bishop didn't ask Veciana to contact Ruiz and get Ruiz to
state that Oswald was at the Cuban Consulate. That's
not what he had asked him to do. And Bishop didn't
change his mind as far as telling Veciana to forget.
Veciana told Bishop that he hadn't been able to get in touch
with Ruiz. Veciana didn't have a means of
communication. That was the problem. He was
trying to establish a means of communication and was
11. Recently, Guillermo Ruiz stated that he translated for
Oswald at the Cuban Consulate. Do you know of
>any< corroborating evidence that Ruiz met with
Oswald? Does the statement by Ruiz contradict any previous
statements by Veciana?
GF: No it doesn't contradict anything that Veciana
said because Veciana didn't have any knowledge about
that. I'm familiar with Ruiz' statement about Oswald
at the Cuban Consulate. I have difficulty accepting
the Cuban reports at this point as I do with the reports of
the Russian intelligence as far as Oswald being there
because there is conflicting information in terms of where
Oswald was, when, in Mexico City. So, I...
There are too many areas left under-investigated in the
whole Mexico City business.
12. Fabian Escalante [Font] has asserted that Veciana
participated in the meeting between Bishop and Oswald and
that the purpose of the meeting was to develop a plan to
recruit Guillermo Ruiz when Oswald went to Mexico
City. Your reaction?
GF: I'm not familiar with Escalante's details
here. The whole Cuban report here seems to
be largely drawn from previously published materials, it
seems to me. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to
Escalante **. But as far as the details of that
specific report, I have no basis for evaluating it because
they didn't present any kind of foundation for what they
13. There is circumstantial evidence that there may have
been a parallel plot by some members of Alpha 66 (or that
Alpha 66 was being set up as a potential patsy). There
are strong historical ties between Alpha 66 and JURE, and
specifically ties between Alpha 66 and S. Odio. What
are the reasons that you would exclude the possibility that
Alpha 66 was "behind" the Odio incident?
GF: Well that's a reversed type of question in
terms of excluding the possibility that Alpha-66 was
behind the Odio incident. I've showed Silvia Odio an
awful lot of photographs of various people, including a
number of Alpha-66 people, and she did not identify
them. I'm not sure exactly what is meant by strong
historical ties between Alpha-66 and JURE. JURE was
founded by Manolo Ray and I'm not sure there was any strong
historical tie excepting some overlapping membership by a
few people. The initial reason that I went to see
Veciana was because someone had suggested the possibility of
Veciana himself having been one of the people who visited
Silvia Odio. But Silvia knew Veciana, knew what he
looked like and said that it wasn't him.
14. I'd like to know what he thinks about Lane's central
thesis in _Plausible Denial_. More specifically, does he
believe LHO's appearances at the embassies in Mexico were
fabricated and, if so, does he feel this shows he was being
GF: I think I mentioned before that I'm, I have a very
difficult time establishing any conclusions of my own line
as far as Oswald's activities in Mexico City because there
seems to be so much conflicting evidence in terms of
where he was, when. And including in the Cuban
Consulate. There are little details, as you may
remember in Dallas when the Russian KGB agent (Oleg
Nechiporenko). Nechiporenko said, of course it
was Oswald there, yet he described Oswald as wearing
something totally different than Oswald was wearing when he
left the Cuban Embassy to go to the Russian Embassy.
So there are all kinds of conflicts there that I can't
resolve yet. And, again, this is, I think, one
of the key areas that needs more investigation.
14.a. I just want to ask one thing. Do you
question whether it was even Oswald or not?
GF: I wouldn't discount the possibility that Oswald
was there, but there was also someone else there,
identifying himself as Oswald.
(NOTE: See attachment "A", Odio and Connell
[Attachment "A" was sent as part of the question and is not
part of this transcript. It consisted of photocopies
of published statements and testimony.]
15. What does Connell's earlier story say about Sylvia
Odio's credibility?. Have you questioned Odio about
Connell's claim? . Has Connell's story been investigated and
refuted beyond Odio's own denials?
GF: This is a question, as I think I mentioned
earlier, that I have, I think I have, specific answers to in
the files. And I haven't had a chance to review the
files. I talked to Connell and I'll tell you this now
off the top of my head. I spent an awful lot of time,
of course, with Silvia Odio, questioning and re-questioning
her. Not only myself, but other investigators and
attorneys for the Committee. And came to the
conclusion that she is totally credible. And not only
did I come to this conclusion, but the attorneys questioning
her and other investigators, and the Committee, said [so] in
it's report. Now as far as, again off the top of my
head, when I talked to Connell. I talked to her a few
times also. I had a difficult time getting her to
corroborate what was in the FBI reports, as far as what she
said earlier. And I have to admit that I was
suspicious of Connell in terms of her activities. I
mean, she was a volunteer for this Cuban refugee
agency. And her husband ** had an interesting job that
took him around the world, supposedly doing travel agency
business, travel consulting business. ** The relationship
between Silvia Odio and Connell deteriorated tremendously
prior to the Oswald [incident], what I call the Oswald
incident, as a result of Mrs. Connell specifically wanting
to infiltrate herself into Silvia Odio's total life.
Knowing what Silvia was doing every minute. That was
according to Silvia Odio herself. And that's why they
had a falling out. Mrs. Connell did not initially know
Silvia Odio, but was introduced to her by her sister Sarita
who had come to Dallas earlier and who Mrs. Connell had
befriended. I can say in answer to the question
specifically, that regardless of the contradictions
that * Mrs. Connell herself put forth in terms of Silvia
Odio's testimony. All the evidence that we came up
went towards Silvia Odio's credibility.
16. In your discussions with Mitchell Livingston
WerBell III, did he discuss any of the ultrasophisticated
assassination weapons he had developed for the CIA at
all? Anything that comes close to Livingstone's
reference to "ice bullets" used in Dealey Plaza?
GF: Mitch WerBell discussed almost [everything].
I spent almost a whole day with him up in his farm, as he
called it, in Georgia. His training ground for
guerrillas. And he covered almost everything. He
was half bombed. He had been coming off the wagon and
he covered almost everything in terms of questions that I
was interested in. I don't recall him saying anything
about an ice-bullet. Not at all.
16.a. An ice hatchet? A machete?
17. WerBell's association with Lucien Conein is
mentioned in the book, but nothing of any contact with
Lansdale. Did WerBell ever mention Lansdale or Conein
working with Lansdale, especially in Vietnam?
GF: I don't remember him mentioning Lansdale. We
didn't talk much about Vietnam from what I recall. He
may have mentioned Lansdale. I don't recall at this
point, but it wasn't an area that I was specifically
questioning him about.
18. In your book, you write that two pieces of
evidence in the case proves that there was a conspiracy:
"One demolishes the single-bullet theory: the locations of
the bullet holes in the back of Kennedy's jacket and shirt -
hard, tangible, measurable evidence - obliterate the
possibility of a bullet emerging from Kennedy's throat and
striking Governor Connally. Single-bullet-theory
author Arlen Specter conceded this was a worrisome
contradiction. The other substantiation came from
validating Sylvia Odio's report that Oswald, or someone who
resembled him (it matters not), appeared at her door in
Dallas with two associates, one of whom would link Oswald to
the notion of killing the President. That was a
deliberate act of connecting Oswald to the assassination
*before* the assassination. Beyond all the other
evidence indicating conspiracy, all the acoustic tests, the
autopsy evidence, the bullet trajectory theories and what
have you, even beyond all the other evidence of Oswald's
associations, the Odio incident absolutely cries
conspiracy. In fact, I have no hesitation in declaring
the Kennedy assassination a conspiracy based strictly on
Sylvia Odio's consistently credible testimony and, more
important, the fact that our investigation proved it true."
END OF QUOTE
How do you view Posner's technique on this subject vs. your
own? For example, it does not appear from the notes in
the back of his book that he interviewed her, relying
instead on her testimony to the WC, yet, he doesn't hesitate
to mention her emotional problems (p. 178), her divorce (p.
178) or that there isn't one piece of corroborating evidence
for her post-assassination claim that one of the men who
visited her was introduced as 'Leon Oswald' (p. 180).
Could he have interviewed her? Should he have
interviewed her? What >makes< her
credible, in your opinion?
GF: First of all, let me say at the start, that I view
Posner's book as a dishonest book. Posner called me
early on when he was beginning to work on the book. He
asked me about those areas of the investigation in which I
was involved. I told him briefly, gave him some
specifics. He said that they seemed very interesting
and very important and that he would have to come and talk
with me in detail about it. And I said he was welcome
to do that. This was way before I even began my
book. He said that he would do that and I never heard
from him again. As far as Posner's handling of Odio,
he never talked to Odio. The testimony and what he
does in his book in terms of building up a tremendous
emotional problem that she had by using an individual,
quoting an individual who Silvia Odio never met, who
happened to be a friend of her uncle's, I think. To
me, was, again, misleading and dishonest. As far as,
it isn't true, as this says, that there isn't one piece of
corroborating evidence for a post assassination claim
that one of the men who visited her was introduced as Leon
Oswald. That's simply not true because her sister was
at the apartment at that time. We got corroboration
from her sister. Could he have interviewed her?
I don't know, whether or not he could have interviewed
her. Should he have interviewed her? Of course
he should have interviewed her. And what makes her
credible, of course, is the fact that everything she says,
we got corroboration about. We got a corroboration in
terms of the details which are more important. And in
fact, even additional corroboration has come forward when a
priest, who we couldn't locate, a friend of hers,
specifically recalled her saying, talking about the visit
prior to the assassination. On a specific
evening. He pinpointed the evening closer than she had
before. So, as far as Posner goes, and his credibility
in the Odio area, I think it's dishonest.
19. David Sanchez Morales and David Atlee Phillips
were, as I understand it, associates? Did Morales
report to Phillips? Did Hunt report to Phillips?
Sturgis? Harvey? Barker? Was Phillips
running the show pretty much as far as the anti-Castro
activity went? Or was Helms? How, in your
opinion, was Phillips vis-a-vis Veciana and Alpha-66, able
to continue anti-Castro activity after Kennedy forbade it,
without sanctioned CIA approval?
GF: Well, that's a question * based on the assumption
that there's a huge paper chain of command that is strictly
adhered to by * CIA agents [at all times].
And there may be a huge paper chain of command somewhere in
the walls of Langley, but in the field, I don't believe it
[always] exists. I think, especially during this
period of time, you had a tremendous * "off the wall"
operations almost, you might call them, going on and they
involved individuals who had worked together in other
operations and in other areas. And who, on the basis
of their association, not on the basis of any chain of,
written chain of command, accomplished what they were trying
to accomplish. As far as CIA approval of anti-Castro
activity after Kennedy forbade it, the records indicate, and
newspaper reports even indicate, that these raids were in
fact made. And we have, the Committee, developed
information that these individual anti-Castro groups were,
in fact, controlled by their CIA handlers. I mean, we
know that from the evidence and testimony that we dug up
from former CIA people who worked out of JM/WAVE station.
19.a. Are you saying that Alpha-66 made raids and they
were verified by the Committee?
GF: Well, that was in the newspapers.
19.b. I know that was in the newspapers. But
Alpha-66 was set up solely as a money making operation for
another group and when it was found out that this had
occurred, Veciana took his Alpha 66, [name for
himself. He took the name and incorporated it under
the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as an
organization. And when Tony Cuesta, who had belonged
to Alpha-66 prior to this and kept using the name Alpha-66,
found out about it, he changed his [group] name to
Commandos-L. But in FBI documents, it shows that out
of the Puerto Rican office they've got Alpha-66,
Alpha-66 Incorporated, and then they have
Alpha-66/Commandos-L. Now, did the Committee ever get
down to figure out who was doing what? It sounded like
from the FBI documents that Alpha-66 didn't do anything and
that it was the Second National Front of Escambray that was
doing it [all the raids on Cuba].
GF: Well, again, I think you're getting into this
paperwork organization that probably didn't really exist in
the field. Because you have reports in the New
York times, for instance, with Veciana saying, in effect,
during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, " Alpha-66
conducted these raids into Havana Harbor." So, I think
what's happening is that these names and titles and unit
designations were being thrown out by whoever wanted to
throw them out.. Veciana was saying Alpha-66, and it
was Commandos-L, and Tony Cuesta was involved.
19.c. But Veciana also told the news media at a
conference, at a news conference in Washington, that he
over-exaggerated raids and actually stated raids that
Alpha-66 had [not] done. Intentionally he had said
that they had made raids that they had not done in order for
fund raising purposes. So did the Committee get into
verifying, whether......or wasn't that important that
Alpha-66 was doing it or some other group was doing it?
GF: No. Because Alpha-66, for instance, and we're
talking about specifically that period during the Cuban
Missile Crisis and the raids into Havana Harbor, that
Veciana claims, now we know that they weren't, and I think
that Veciana took credit for them, for Alpha-66.
Now whether Veciana later said that wasn't really Alpha 66,
I'm really not that familiar with that.
19.d. Well I think it was Menoyo's group. See, the
Menoyo group and Second Front. He [Eloy Gutierrez
Menoyo] was doing the raids and Alpha-66 was taking claim
for them, I think that was the way the scenario went.
GF: Yeah. Could have been, but as far as....the
bottom line is that Veciana was claiming that Bishop was the
one who suggested that they do these raids at this
time. And that's * what the Committee was interested
19.e. Now, taking it from here. Veciana
was making claims that Alpha-66 performed raids that some
other group was doing because he wanted to get funds through
Alpha-66 for this other group. Then he makes a
statement that he had intentionally deceived the news media
on what raids he had done. Now take that, and take the
fact, and a lot of people bring this up, and he is a
convicted drug felon. Now, can we believe anything he
says? Where is the credibility in this man? This
is a big, big problem with a lot of people. The
credibility of Veciana, especially because of the drug
GF: We're left with that impression of a convicted
drug felon as an image in our minds that has certain
connotations. And what is difficult to convey is, what
I think is the truth, that Veciana does not fit that image
at all. And having looked into the circumstances of
that specific case, Veciana's claim that he was set
up. He had never been involved in drugs before, and
how the discovery of drugs in a car that he rented came
about, and how it appeared that his claim for being set up
on it seems valid. That would require going into a
tremendous amount of detail. But when I first
approached Veciana I had all that skepticism about
that. I was an investigative reporter for twenty
years. I can't tell you how many ex-convicts I talked
to said they were innocent of the charges. People who
are sitting in jail saying "they framed me." So I had
a lot of experience dealing with people like that. And
I was ready to discount Veciana's story, on the basis of his
being an ex-convict. In fact, when I first contacted
him, he was still in Atlanta Federal Prison. And yet,
when I did the investigation into that, looked into the
background of his claims in terms of the case, I found that
there was some validity to them. And, again, Veciana
doesn't fit into that image of a drug-dealing felon in terms
of his philosophy, his family and how he's operated in the
past. There's absolutely no connection at all.
And so the basis of believing Veciana has to rest on two
things. One, this aura of believability - which can't
hold up on itself. And second, corroboration on as
much detail as possible. Or, failing corroboration,
catching him in discrepancies in details. And that's
what I tried to do, and could not do over the years of
working with him. Everything that he told me that I
could corroborate. And I mean corroborate by him being
where he was, or even, for instance..... Let me give
you a little anecdote. Little incident here. I
was sitting in Veciana's living room talking to him when he
was telling me about the incident where he got the final
payoff from Bishop. When Bishop decided that he
couldn't work with Veciana anymore. And they couldn't
work together. There had been a mistrust developing
and I think, just to go into a little sidetrack here, that
mistrust developed as a result of Veciana wanting to
continue to attempt to assassinate Castro and Bishop telling
him that further assassination plans had been called
off. And Veciana, without Bishop's knowledge, going
ahead and planning additional assassination attempts.
I think when Bishop discovered that, that's what caused the
19.f. That was the Chile incident?
GF No. That was after Chile.
Yeah. And so, as a result of that, Bishop
called Veciana and said he wanted to pay him for all the
years he worked with him. The arrangement had been
from the beginning, Veciana said, no, when we get rid of
Castro, then you pay. Because Veciana didn't think
that it would go on for all the years it did. He
thought it would be a short period of time. All
Veciana wanted was expenses. Some little expenses
along the way. But as it worked out, Veciana got a
specific amount of money, like $245,000, I think it
was. Or $253,000, I forget the figure now. And
he said Bishop called him up and told him to meet him at the
parking lot, the dog track. And he's telling me this
19.g. What dog track? Here in Miami?
GF: In Miami. The one right next to where
Veciana lives. Flagler?
19.h. Flagler Dog Track.
GF: Right. And as he's telling me this story, he
said it was ironic because the payment came on the 26th of
July. And his wife, Veciana's wife, who had been
paying absolutely no attention to us as she was cleaning the
house and taking care of the children, going back and forth
between the kitchen and the bedrooms and through the living
room as we were talking. Paying absolutely no
attention to us. And he mentions this, he mentions the
26th of July and she comes walking by at that point and he
stops here. And he says, "Remember that 26th of
July?" She says, "Huh? . "You know, 26th of
July, and the money." And she says "And when you got
the money?" And , you know, you'd have to believe that
was a setup not to be credible. I mean, that he
planned this, her walking by, and her being part of the
scheme to fool me. I find that hard to believe
in itself. So, things like those little incidents when
you're talking to people that give you a sense of
credibility. And that's what I mean in terms of
corroborating as much as I could in other details that
Veciana told me.
Addendum (not on video) to answer 19h by Gaeton Fonzi:
[I don't think I made myself clear here in terms of
Veciana's wife spontaneously corroborating his receiving the
briefcase of money on July 26 and that she did so under
circumstances which couldn't possibly have been
pre-arranged. That's my point here in terms of judging
Veciana's overall credibility.]
20. In your opinion, is [David Sanchez] Morales' drunken
admission of complicity in the assassination credible?
GF: What I find credible were the people who told me
that's what he said. And these were the people that
had no connection to the work that Morales was involved
with. Who were very close friends of
Morales. And who had very legitimate
backgrounds. One was a Harvard Law School
graduate. So on that basis, yeah. I find that
what was told to me about what Morales said, credible.
20.a. Was Morales a close friend of Phillips?
GF: He was a working associate of Phillips down
through the years. Phillips mentions him in his book.
20.b. At JM/WAVE? Were they working
GF: I'm sure they were working together. Well,
Morales was the executive officer of JM/WAVE and Phillips
didn't really work out of JM/WAVE, he had his own little
thing going. He used people. But what we were
able to develop, and Morales' work in Latin American
operations where Phillips was the boss, puts him and
Phillips together very closely.
20.c. So Shackley then, came under Phillips in the
chain of command?
GF: No. I don't think...Well, at one
point, it was in the time period of the JM/WAVE, I don't
[think] that's true because I think Phillips was involved in
psychological warfare and counter-intelligence before he got
into specifically head of Cuban counter-intelligence.
And so I think he had operations going. For instance,
we were talking to an individual who was one of the agents
working out of the JM/WAVE station. One of those who
supervised an anti-Castro group. And if they got into
certain areas of operation in psychological warfare, for
instance, well then they would coordinate with
Phillips. Phillips would be like the expert.
Meanwhile Phillips had his own blue operations going..
I'm not sure exactly how, you know, the chain of command
went [or there were a chain of command]. It was more
like calling on, I got the impression, calling on fields of
expertise that were employed.
21. Any plans to make a mini-series out of THE LAST
INVESTIGATION similar to the A & E INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS
series? The book read like a murder and suspense
mystery thriller and was, IMO, extremely well done and might
translate well to video format.
GF: Well, I think that's awful nice. And if
anyone has, * [no one has suggested that before].
21.a. Well, can we say that this is the first in a
GF: No. (laughter)
22. Was there any investigation in LHO's travels to New
Orleans during his leave periods while stationed in
Mississippi? If so, were any further connections with
David Ferrie revealed?
GF: I'm not familiar with that area at all. I
can't answer that question.
23. Do you know of any LHO activities in Atlanta, GA? (Other
than just changing planes.)
GF: No, I don't know.
24. Gerald Posner's book "Case Closed" came out around the
time the National Archives started releasing the first group
of JFK assassination files under the President John F.
Kennedy Assassination records Collection Act. Posner was
highly regarded by the media, but to the best of our
knowledge did not see any of the newly released files. Of
these records, some of which you have seen, what if any
shows Posner's insufficient knowledge of the case?
GF: Well again, I think I answered [that] before [in
terms of] my own relationship with those areas of the
investigation which Posner mentioned in his book. As
far as other areas, I'm aware of individual researchers who
are extremely knowledgeable in certain areas who find
Posner's conclusions and his handling of the evidence
24.a. Have you read his book?
24.b. You call it dishonest. Do you think
GF: Oh yeah. I have to believe on the basis of
my own experience with Posner, that it was
intentional. As he said, he was going to come down and
talk to me about that area of the investigation that I was
involved with. And when I read what he had written
without doing that, without getting the details I had.
I offered him access to my files. He never showed
up. And so when he did that, I could come to no other
conclusion that he deliberately distorted those areas
because they would have run against the thesis of this book.
24.c. Do you have any opinion what ends he could have
been doing this for? Other than to maybe sell books?
GF: Other than selling books? Well that's a
pretty good end in itself. I think he would consider
that a pretty good end in itself.
24.d. Have you read CASE OPENED?
GF: No, I haven't read Weisberg's book. You
know, I'm really not that interested in critiquing
Posner. It just infuriates [me] that the major media
paid so much attention to him without knowing anything about
what he was writing. And I think we could spend an
awful lot of time, waste a lot of time, discrediting Posner.
24.e. I wrote in my notes here that to even ask
questions in regards to him is giving him credibility.
GF: And I think that's a good point.
25. DO YOU HAVE SOME HARD CORE ANSWERS TO A DIRECT
CONNECTION BETWEEN MAURICE BISHOP & DAVID ATLEE
PHILLIPS. I'm talking PROOF - NOT OPINIONS.
GF: I can only say that whoever asked that, [should]
read my book. And look at the chain of circumstantial
evidence, you can call it, but nevertheless evidence that
Maurice Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. Including
testimony from former CIA agents who recalled Phillips using
the name of Maurice Bishop.
[Questions 26-47 not answered by Gaeton Fonzi.]
48. On the same page (50), you also wrote George
de Mohrenschildt was a "CIA intelligence asset." What
do you mean by an intelligence asset?
GF: In the case of George de Mohrenschildt, he
provided information to the CIA. And that's in the
records. That's in de Mohrenschildt's own
records. It's in the CIA records, as a matter of fact.
48.a. And that's your definition of an intelligence
GF: In terms of George de Mohrenschildt, yes.
49. On page 54 you discuss what Clare Boothe Luce told
to Sen. Schweiker, including quotes. Where does one
find the record on this including the quotes you use?
Is there any available corroboration for the story she is
alleged to have told? Where is it found?
GF: The, all that documentation regarding Clare Boothe
Luce and Senator Schweiker is in Schweiker's records.
It's in Schweiker's, or one of his assistant's, reports to
me in terms of her conversations with Schweiker. Our
conversations with Clare Boothe Luce, when I was on the
House Committee, should be in the House Committee's
records. Everything in terms of our contacts with
Clare Boothe Luce and our efforts to corroborate her story
by talking to individuals who were involved with her in the
story are all in the House Committee records or memorandums
that I wrote for Schweiker when I was working with Schweiker
on the Kennedy Subcommittee of the Church Committee.
And I think most of those Schweiker documents were turned
over to the House Committee. So they should be all in
their records. In addition to which, I
[Questions 50-55 not answered by Gaeton Fonzi.]
56. Have "Angel" and "Leopoldo" been identified?
Recently, Cuba released a statement indicating its belief
that they are, in fact, the Novo brothers, Guillermo &
Whoever. Has anyone taken pictures of the Novo
brothers to the Odio sisters to see if there is a positive
ID? Also, I understand that the AARC has quite a
collection of anti-Castro Cuban materials. Has anyone
ever made a decent attempt to take a bunch of old photos of
the anti-Castro Cubans to see if the Odio sisters can
identify Angel and Leopoldo? I imagine
that the G-2 would have a nice collection of photos. Has
anyone ever approached Cuba to see why it feels that Angel
& Leopoldo are the Novo brothers?
GF: We, the House Committee, got together a huge thick
photo album of individuals including many we thought might
be possibilities of Angel and Leopoldo. And of course
we ran them all by Silvia Odio. I ran dozens of photos
by her when I was still, before I joined the House
Committee, when I was still with Schweiker. I don't
know whether Silvia Odio had been specifically shown photos
of the Novo brothers recently. But....and I don't
recall whether I asked her about it in one of my more recent
conversations with her. In my mind, I dismissed the
Novo brothers as far as that Odio connection. I may be
dismissing it because I did ask her about it, or I may be
dismissing it because the Novo brothers were fairly well
known and their photos had been in the paper. And
Silvia Odio would have said something to me when I spoke
with her. It would have been like, "oh, by the way
Gaeton, I just remembered, it was the Novo
brothers...". I mean, because they were well known
characters in town. It's a good question about the
G-2, Castro's G-2, having a nice collection of photos. And
I'm sure they do. And, as a matter of fact, something
was being set up prior to all this recent confusion with the
immigration policy. Something was being set up in
terms of getting that information. And, hopefully,
56.a. The last contact you had with Silvia, does she
feel that she would be able, if she had pictures from
that era, that she would be able to identify the photographs
of the people who visited her?
GF: That's a good question now because she has seen so
many photographs that, and this is only my personal opinion,
that I'm not sure there still exists an image in her mind of
Angel and Leopoldo. There is, obviously some certain
specific characteristics that she's been consistent in
repeating over the years. But, as I said, she's seen
so many photos that there might be an element of confusion
in her mind at this point.
Addendum (not on video) to answer #56a by Gaeton Fonzi:
[I don't mean to imply here that Silvia Odio couldn't
identify photos of Angel or Leopoldo if she were shown
them. I am suggesting that she might not be able to be
definite if she were now shown photos of individuals who
only bore a resemblance to those men, whereas if the FBI had
immediately shown her photos at the time she would have been
able to eliminate look-a-likes.]
[Question 57 not answered by Gaeton Fonzi.]
58. What agencies do you feel have records which need to be
GF: That again is a good question. The usual
agencies. The usual suspects, of course, but the
question raises another, I think interesting, point.
And that is there are many areas that the House committee,
for instance, didn't get into. Individuals that they
never got around to requesting documents on. And who
may not be now sitting in the FBI and CIA files under
Kennedy Assassination headings. But I think a good
place to start, in terms of records in any of the agencies,
are specific and valid records of the agents and officers
involved in the time and places that, we in the Kennedy
assassination research, define. And I think that that's
where a plan could be formulated from.
58.a. Did the Committee get into US Customs records at
GF: I don't know.
58.b. You know about the neutrality team they had down
here and all these anti-Castro things....Is that a valid JFK
GF: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.
I think we should have. And I know we did try to get
the records of certain individuals, like [Cesar] Diosdado
for example and were not successful.
58.c. They wouldn't give them to you?
GF: I think we probably asked too late at some
point. And [Cesar] Diosdado wouldn't talk to us.
58.d. Did you talk to [Steve] Czukas?
GF: Yeah. Many times.
58.e. Did he have anything interesting to say?
GF: Yeah, about a lot of different things.
58.f. Yeah. So that story about him putting
Lorenz up in the Miami Springs Villa is true?
59. Would the release of all the U.S. Customs records
pertaining to weapons and Neutrality violations be of use to
JFK researchers? If so, in what way will these records
shed any light on the investigation?
GF: Well, I think specifically they would reveal names
of people involved in that time and place. And would
serve as a basis for additional investigation.
60. Do you see the door closing on the release of records
under the JFK act? What might trigger the closure?
GF: I'm not sure. I'm not sure exactly what that
question means. The door is not open all the
way, by any means, so far. Yet. And again, what
would trigger the closure from what it appears now is simply
funding. If they don't get the funding to keep that
Committee, that operation going, it will close it down.
60.a. For your information, there was a notice the
other day that the JFK Review Board was asking for
suggestions as to the definition of a JFK record. And
that, I think, goes back to Question #59, would the US
Customs records pertaining to the neutrality violations - -
would that be, in your estimation, would that come under the
definition of a JFK assassination record?
GF: I would definitely think so because I think what
should come under the definition of a JFK record would be
all the records of every government agency involved in that,
the specific time and places connected to the Kennedy
assassination. And that includes New Orleans, Dallas,
and where ever Oswald might have been. And where ever
any possible individual might have been who had some
connection to anyone in the previously developed records of
both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee.
60.b. Was there any great evidence ever uncovered that
Oswald ever came to Miami?
GF: No. I found absolutely no story that panned
out as far as Oswald ever being in Miami.
60.c. Did you check on the newspaper articles in the
GF: Yeah. We checked on the articles [including
those written by] Jim Buchanan. And they all trace
back somehow to invalid sources. [Note: Jim Buchanan
was a good friend of Frank Sturgis]
61. Are there any other individuals that were not mentioned
in your book who are important players in the JFK
GF: Well, there are probably dozens that other
researchers would consider important players. As I
said, I didn't get in to all the other areas of the
investigation. And I dealt with only those in which I
was, had some experience.
62. What other areas of investigation still need to be
explored or verified?
GF: I think this is redundant and what I just said in
terms of the areas that are yet, unexplored,
62.a. Do you think that there are any records that in
the past, when requested, have been claimed to have been
routinely destroyed? Do you think there is a
possibility of those records, or a copy of those records,
ever becoming available?
GF: I do think there is a possibility that
copies of such records [exist]. There's a whole
military intelligence area. The records had supposedly
been destroyed. ** The Committee * didn't pursue
the possibility that there may be duplicates somewhere.
[Question 63 not answered by Gaeton Fonzi.]
64. What was del Valle's association with the
underworld? What do you have to back up any
GF: I don't specifically recall what
documentation I have, if any, regarding del Valle.
This was an area of the investigation , again, in which I
wasn't directly involved. I did some research on del
Valle. Gordon Winslow did a tremendous amount of
research on del Valle. But the information that I had
was that there was a connection between del Valle and some
65. How valid is Cuba's claims that del Valle was one of the
GF: I don't know the answer to that question.
But they haven't presented any kind of specific evidence to
back it up.
66. Can Tony Cuesta have had any information on the
GF: Could he have had any information? He may
have had information about individuals and what they were
doing when, at some point. I don't know what specific
information he would have had. I didn't have the
opportunity to question him.
67. Was Cuesta involved in assassination attempts against
GF: Again, I don't specifically know. I think he
claimed that he was involved in a few attempts to
67.a. That recent ZR-RIFLE book that came out by
Furiati on the Cuban documentary. I think that's, they
claim that that was an assassination attempt. That
landing was. That's when he got blinded.
No comment made by Gaeton Fonzi.
68. Do you believe Carlos Prio committed suicide?
GF: All the evidence seems to indicate that he
did. And I don't have any evidence indicating that he
69. Do you believe de Mohrenschildt committed suicide?
GF: Yeah. I believe de Mohrenschildt
70. Do you think that de Mohrenschildt committed suicide
because you were going to see him? What was your reaction
upon hearing of his suicide?
GF: Yeah. Again, this is my opinion. At
the time de Mohrenschildt committed suicide, there were a
number of things taking place, and a number of specific
factors that put a lot of pressure on him. The House
Committee was getting started again. He was being
asked, I believe, to begin another role in his relationship
to the assassination and his testimony before the Warren
Commission. He was taken, just before he committed
suicide, he was taken to Belgium by a foreign
journalist. He was, I believe he felt he was, being
set up. He was supposed to have a meeting with a KGB
official, I believe, but he ran away. He came back to
Florida. He believed he was being set up to make it
appear that there was a link between him and the KGB.
And then obviously a link between Oswald and the KGB because
of his link to the KGB. And then, Epstein shows
up. And once again, spends a whole afternoon with him
at a hotel in Palm Beach. And, I think, he's under a
lot of pressure. He comes back home and his daughter
hands him my card. I had been there in the morning and
I told his daughter that I wanted to talk to him and that I
would be back in touch. He puts the card in his shirt
pocket and goes upstairs and blows his head off. And
so, I think you have a whole series of linkages
there. He hadn't been a well man, mentally. Just
months prior to that he had been treated for mental
problems. So I think the linkage is there in terms of
the pressures being put on him. And I do believe he
committed suicide. I don't think there's enough
evidence to indicate that he didn't.
70.a. What was your reaction at the time?
GF: Well, I heard it second hand. As a matter of
fact, after I came back from Palm Beach county that
afternoon, and was going to get back in touch with him, I
got a call from a friend who was working for a tv station in
Dallas who had heard that de Mohrenschildt had committed
suicide. And I was shocked. I hung up the phone
and immediately got a call from the US State attorney in
Palm Beach, who was at de Mohrenschildt's house. And
who had found my card in his pocket and who had told me de
Mohrenschildt had committed suicide. And so, I
immediately rushed up there to find out exactly what
70.b. How did that affect your investigation at that
GF: Well, I can tell you how it should have affected
our investigation. It should have had a tremendous
impact on the House Committee investigation. We should
have inundated Palm Beach County with investigators. We
should have gone off in every single direction with a
crew of investigators. Unfortunately, that very
evening, the Committee was in a fight for it's life.
And no one paid any attention to my desperate calls for help
when I called the Committee because the Committee was about
to be expunged. And it was only as a result
of.........well, the result of two things that the Committee
was able to [be] re-funded. And that was Sprague's
resignation, a sacrifice on his part because he was
absolutely right what he wanted to do. And the second
was de Mohrenschildt's suicide, which got a lot of play in
the papers about the Kennedy assassination. And that's
why the Committee, the next day, got enough votes to be
re-funded and continue for it's designated two year life.
Addendum (not on video) to answer 70b by Gaeton Fonzi:
[I don't want to give the impression here that the
Committee did no investigation of DeM's death. A
couple of investigators with homicide experience did later
come down to Florida to review the medical examiner's
report, but we did no independent investigation of the
circumstances surrounding his death. That's mainly
because of the state of flux and confusion in Washington in
the days and weeks following DeM's death. In terms of
DeM's relationship to Oswald and the JFK assassination, that
was later handled by attorney Surrell Brady, whose report is
in the Committee's volumes. I don't know if she ever
interviewed Epstein but I would guess that she did. I
had no opportunity to question Epstein immediately after
DeM's death because he quickly left town.]
71. What roll, if any, did WerBell have in the assassination
GF: Well, we certainly looked into that and wasn't
really able to develop very much. We got, initially,
when I was working for Schweiker, we got reports from
someone who was close to WerBell who indicated that there
was a link. Werbell had perhaps some knowledge.
And we spent an awful lot of time with WerBell and looking
into his connections and associations. And because
they were so convoluted and so, in many cases, so very, very
deep, involved in covert operations, we weren't really able
to come up with anything in terms of any kind of
linkages. Though, in my interview with him, at one
point he said he received a call from Ruby. Incoming,
as he said. And then refused to get specific about
exactly what that call was. But he was half bombed
when I was talking to him. And it may have been
something that either he made up, or he slipped. And I
thought it was interesting.
Addendum (not on video) to answer 71 by Gaeton Fonzi:
[I don't mean to give the impression I didn't attempt
to follow up on WerBell's reference to Ruby. At the
time, however, it was difficult to get WerBell to respond
coherently to questions I asked, either because he was
getting drunker or, more likely, pretending he was getting
drunker. He simply became evasive and mumbled more
when I repeatedly tried to pin him down to details, so it's
still difficult to decide whether his reference to Ruby was
a true slip or an attempt to add a touch of disinformation.]
71.a. There's been some new material, speaking of Ruby
making connections down here. That Ruby also had
contact with Rolando Masferrer? Have you ever heard of
any such thing?
GF: No, I've never heard of it.
72. Did David Atlee Phillips ever recruit Frank Sturgis at
any time for any job? If Yes what job or use was
Sturgis to Phillips?
GF: I've got no indication that Phillips ever worked
with Sturgis. And knowing this, what sticks in my
mind, whenever I would bring up Phillips' name to Sturgis,
Sturgis would go ballistic in terms of how much he hated
Phillips. Absolutely wild in terms of his reaction to
anything, any mention of David Phillips at all. He
[said he] "hated the son-of-a-bitch". And the reason
he said he hated him was because Phillips claimed that
Sturgis never had anything to do at all with the CIA.
And that made me suspicious about that connection.
Veciana said that at one point, Maurice Bishop asked him to
sit, or go to a meeting, monitor an operation that Sturgis
was involved in called Cellula Fantasma. And Veciana
did and reported back to Bishop about what was
happening. I believe it was a ..... there are
all kinds of reports now exactly what it was. When I
asked Sturgis about it, I think he told me it was ** a
leaflet dropping mission. * There were indications
that it may have been something other than that also.
But that's the only connection I could come up with between
Phillips and Sturgis.
73. Could you give us a brief scenario of the law suit that
David Atlee Phillips brought against you for your article in
GF: Sure. ** David Phillips sued me, the editor, the
publisher and the magazine for $70 million each for the
article. And he brought the lawsuit in Federal Court
in Virginia and in Maryland State Court. And it was
immediately thrown out of Federal Court because there
was no foundation for it. But it did reach the Supreme
Court, what is in effect the Supreme Court in Maryland, it
has another name. And, the judge ruled that there was
absolutely no basis for a libel action on Phillips'
part. I mean, he actually rendered his decision on the
substance of Phillips' contentions. It wasn't a
technicality. It was opinion rendered on the substance
that Phillips wasn't libeled in the article..
73.a. Was that because he was a public figure?
GF: No, it wasn't because he was a public figure.
73.b. Did the lower courts throw it out because he was
a public figure?
GF: No. The lower courts, from what I recall,
the lower courts didn't throw it out as a result of his
being a public figure. I think the judge eventually
ruled, and I do recall the specifics of the Supreme Court
ruling, that everything that was in the article was backed
up. It was no accusations or specifics in the article
that wasn't documented in the article.
73.c. But Phillips wrote in the article for the
National Journalistic Review, or something like that, that
he was declared a public figure. How did that come
up? How does that come up? How does he say that?
GF: He says it.
73.d. I know that he says it. What was it in
your case that he was ruled a public figure?
GF: I don't recall that. I don't recall....
73.e. Or was it in the Donald Freed case?
GF: In my opinion, it might have been in the Freed
case. I don't recall. I don't know. But I
recall specifically the ruling of the Supreme Court in
Maryland that Phillips had no basis for his contentions of
libel. It wasn't the fact that he was a public figure.
73.f. Now he claims that he didn't have any money to
go further. I don't know how, in the suit. Maybe
I'm asking a legal question here.
GF: He may not have had any money to go further in the
Federal suit because it was dropped afterwards. ** But he
went all the way to the Supreme Court in Maryland.
73.g. In Maryland. But he was evidently going to
go higher but he, the organization he started called
Challenge Inc. was the one that was feeding him the
money. Is that a correct statement?
GF: That's the assumption I got. But I can't
imagine any of the resources of the retired CIA officials
73.h. Me either.
74. Do you think the Assoc. Of Retired Intelligence Officers
had anything to do with coaxing David Atlee Phillips into
bringing suit? Did they help him? What do you
have to back up your claim?
GF: No. I think David Atlee Phillips coaxed the
Association of Retired Intelligence Officers to support
him. And I think that's why he set up this Challenge
group specifically to support him in his suit.
Although he said, of course, it was to support all these
other lawsuits also. Did they help him?
Yeah. I think there's documentation that they, in
fact, helped him. There's certainly documentation that
he was asking for funds for the suit.
74.a. Yeah. And in that letter that he asked for
funds, he said that for, I think, legal reasons, or
something else, that Challenge, which appeared on the
letterhead, could not be associated with the Association of
Retired Intelligence Officers. Do you remember reading
that? There was some reason why the two of them could
not be together. They had to be a separate group?
GF: No I don't. The only thing I assume is that
the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers may have
been a tax-exempt organization and couldn't use the funding
75. Is there an effort on the part of the Association of
Retired Intelligence Officers to use the courts to silence
critics? Why? When did it start? What have
they done to counteract the JFK conspiracy theories?
GF: I don't have the answers to any of the
questions. All I know is that they were, in fact,
active in the suit that David Phillips brought against me
and the Washingtonian, unsuccessfully.
76. Can you comment on the following message that Gary
Aguilar posted to 12 individuals by CompuServe e-mail?
He states, "Have you heard any of these interesting rumors
going around that at least 3 former high ranking members of
the CIA, nationally well known individuals, have expressed
"concern" about COPA? I've heard such things and I
find them fascinating. What on earth could they be
worried about? Who better than they knows that a lone
nut did it?"
GF: All I know is what I heard from Gary Aguilar
himself and someone else who was talking to Gus Russo, who
told, from what I gather, individuals that the luncheon was
arranged by this fellow Ed, Ned [Dolan]. Whatever his
GF: Dolan. And that [Ted] Shackley.. [Richard]
Helms, was it?
76.b. Helms wasn't there.
GF: [William] Colby?
GF: No. Colby didn't show up. One of them didn't
show up because they were .....
76.d. Dr. Artwohl. Russo. But Russo has
stated that that wasn't the intention of the meeting anyway.
GF: Oh, no. This is all second hand information
76.e. Yeah. Well, that's what everybody's
getting. I just thought you might have an inside
GF: No. No inside track.
76.f. No back channel either?
GF: No. Except for what Gary Aguilar told me.
77. Is there a concerted effort today on the part of
any group or government agency to quiet the conspiracy
rumors? Why? Who are these forces? What tactics
do they utilize?
GF: This gets in to too much speculation in terms of
government agencies quieting the conspiracy rumors.
Again, going back to the previous question. I think
what we've got to keep in mind here, in terms of hard fact,
is that the government agencies historically have not been
cooperative to investigations regarding the Kennedy
assassination. And there's no reason under this
democratic form of government that they have, that they
shouldn't be. But their reason that they haven't been
can either be interpreted willfully avoiding cooperation
because of guilty knowledge or willfully avoiding
cooperation to preserve, for self preservation
reasons. And reasons that go to the preservation that
any bureaucracy feels it has to have in order to protect
it's own boundaries, as it were.
78. What was the relationship between David Atlee
Phillips and Townley?
GF: What we do know is that Townley knew, I mean
Phillips knew the Townley family. And from what,
from the individuals I've spoken with who are intimately
involved in that investigation, and this investigation, of
course, goes back to, we're talking about the Letelier
assassination. There was a relationship between
Phillips and Townley. You're not going to find it on
any document. But, again, this is sources who
were involved with the investigation.
79. Was Jorge Mas Canosa associated in any way with
GF: Jorge Mas Canosa said, in a written response to
questions asked him in regard to an article I was writing
for Esquire magazine at the time, that he did work for Radio
80. What part did Jorge Mas Canosa have in the death
of Rolando Masferrer?
GF: I have absolutely no knowledge of anything to do
81. Did Orlando Bosch have any ties to the
intelligence community at any time? What were these
GF: I think that he did. And my feeling is based
on associations with individuals who were CIA assets or
agents. What comes to mind specifically is Luis
Posada, who is a CIA agent. And [Bosch] is involved
with Posada in the Cubana Airlines bombing. But Bosch
himself, said that he was running a, at one point, a camp
that the CIA was supporting in South Miami, I mean South
82. On page 118, you wrote: "In his memo [to
Schweiker] Paul Hoch wondered why Veciana's attempt against
Castro was not mentioned in the Church report. He
pointed out that although CIA claimed its ventures with the
Mafia were suspended at that time, Hoch noted that there was
an earlier directive still in effect---NSAM 100---which
ordered a contingency plan drawn up for Castro's
`removal'." What is the purpose of this as neither
CIA, nor apparently the Mafia, had anything to do with Alpha
66, Veciana's organization? It was solely a free lance
operation. You give special emphasis to Hoch
comments. Did Hoch provide ANY documentation to the
committee to support his memo, or is it simply an
GF: I'm not too sure what he means. What he's
referring to in terms of Hoch's opinion. Hoch's
opinion seems to indicate that there was a contingency plan
drawn for Castro's removal and Alpha 66 may have been
involved in it, despite the fact that the CIA claimed that
it's ventures with the Mafia were suspended. Veciana's
attempt against Castro may not have been mentioned in the
Church report but it certainly was mentioned in the report
Castro gave to McGovern at the time, as far as the list of
Cuban intelligence information regarding attempts on
Castro's life. It was mentioned there and Veciana was
specifically mentioned. The point here, what is the
purpose of this is neither the CIA nor apparently the
Mafia had anything to do with Alpha-66. Well certainly
the, you know, one of the points of my whole book is the
relationship between the CIA and Alpha-66 through Maurice
Bishop or David Phillips.
[Questions 83-92 not answered by Gaeton Fonzi.]
93. Identify FABIOLA and tell us what you really
think! Can you identify her?
GF: *Yes, I can. I do have her name and
address. I just don't think it would be worth doing in
terms of her own security.
93.a. She's still alive then?
GF: Yes, as far as I know.
[Question 94 not answered by Gaeton Fonzi.]
95. Why did you discount Marita Lorenz's experiences
based on a personal anecdotal incident that had absolutely
nothing to do with the activities she described in Florida
pre-November 1963 and in Dallas during November 1963?
If she was so unbelievable, why was her testimony taken in
executive session and not published in the reports?
GF: First of all, executive sessions were determined
by one of two things. Whether or not the Committee
itself felt that the information that was being provided by
the witness might endanger the witness' life, or be
made prematurely public so as to hamper any additional
investigation. Or at the request of the
individual. I think that the decision to take Marita
Lorenz' testimony in executive session was to avoid
giving her the publicity, I believe, she was after and why
she went through this whole scenario of getting herself all
this newspaper publicity in order to get the Committee to
call her. I had been telling the Committee, really,
that it wasn't necessary to call Marita Lorenz as a witness
because of the discrepancies in the stories she was
telling. And the fact that she kept changing her
stories. And why I discounted her experiences,
although I think there's some validity to her earlier
reports of exactly what she was doing here in Miami working
with anti-Castro people. As far as the connection to
the Kennedy assassination, I discounted that on far more
than what's described here as a personal anecdotal
incident. It was discounted as a result of specific
information we developed and, regarding the individuals she
said were involved. And we couldn't find any proof
that they were in that caravan * going to Dallas. And
she kept changing the names and number of people in the
95.a. How many cars were there in that?
GF: Eventually? Originally?
GF: Eventually, I think two or three
cars. I don't recall. Originally there was one.
96. Why didn't you find Antonio Veciana's changing
stories (especially the cat and mouse Phillips/Bishop
scenario, the cocaine bust) a reflection on his ability to
accurately recall incidents in his relationships and also
[This had been gone over in question number 19.e and was
deemed redundant during the interview]
97. Frank Sturgis appeared on CNBC on the 20th
anniversary of the Watergate break-in. When a caller
asked about Marita Lorenz, he nearly flipped his lid.
How do you consider him to be an impartial character witness
GF: That's hard to consider Frank to be a, having been
an impartial character witness for anybody. But I
document, in my book, the relationship between Sturgis and
Marita Lorenz. And how it developed. What it
was. And what it eventually became. I think that
even though it appeared on the surface that they had a
tremendous falling out at the end, I have my doubts about
that. I think the scenario, as I described in my book,
and as I state in my book, had some covert
implications. And Frank Sturgis was wonderful in
developing such scenarios.
98. How can I get in touch with your
fellow-investigator Al Gonzales? I'd like to write to
him to confirm that, per THE LAST INVESTIGATION, pg.433,
former CIA officer code-named Ron Cross, told him that he
knew David Atlee Phillips and that he knew Phillips used the
pseudonym, Maurice Bishop.
GF: I don't think I'd be free to give out Al Gonzales'
home address at this point. That would be an invasion
of his privacy. But the House Select Committee
investigative reports should be available, or should be soon
made available. And whatever Crozier told Al Gonzales
and what he told me and Al Gonzales is documented in those
98.a. You said Crozier.
GF: In the initial article. Interesting.
I'm glad you brought that up. In the initial article
that I wrote about this ex-CIA man, I disguised his name as
Ron Cross. And I think the Committee disguised his
name as Ron Cross. And subsequently, it was David
Phillips, himself, who revealed Ron Cross' real name as
98.b. How do you spell that?
GF: C-R-O-Z-I-E-R. And he revealed it publicly.
98.c. In what forum?
GF: In a response, I'm trying to recall now. It
was a response or a debate with Tony Summers or in some
document or publication. He specifically revealed who
Cross really was. And he denigrated Cross by saying
well, you can't believe this guy, he was an alcoholic.
And the interesting thing was, Cross, in fact, did tell us,
people will be saying: don't believe that guy, because he
was an alcoholic. And he said, "I was an
alcoholic." But he was totally recovered when we
talked to him. He was a member of AA. And, but
the real name of Ron Cross was made public only by David
98.d. You mean, he disclosed the name of a CIA agent?
GF: Exactly. Exactly what he did.
98.e. Was that before the law was in effect?
Then he was doing the exact same thing [as Phillip] Agee
GF: Exactly the same thing.
99. Do we have any documentation concerning the
infiltration of Garrison's investigation by the CIA?
GF: I was told that by researchers who had access to
99.a. So you claim that it is in a file somewhere in
the CIA files that they had people?
GF: That's what I was told.
100. Did Jimmy Hoffa ever testify before the Church
Committee or was he ever asked to?
GF: I don't know.
101. William Sullivan?
GF: The Church Committee? It sounds familiar,
but I don't recall.
END OF INTERVIEW
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