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Interview With Gaeton Fonzi
8 October 1994

OCTOBER 8, 1994


In a written letter Gaeton Fonzi outlines the following distribution requirements.

"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.


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.


Biographical Data

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 articles.

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.


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. 1992 p186
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


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 there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 the truth.

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 resistance?

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 about?

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 locally?

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 looking into?

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 investigation.]

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 investigation.

6.d.  You don't know then or have any indication of whatever happened to his files?

GF:  No.

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 wife.

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 CIA.

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 unsuccessful. **.

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 said.

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 set up.

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 testimony)

[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?

GF:  (Laughter).

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."


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 in.

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 thing.

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 split.

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 story.

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 together?

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 series?

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 absolutely ludicrous.

24.a.  Have you read his book?

GF:  Sure.

24.b.  You call it dishonest.  Do you think intentionally so?

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.


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 asset?

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  have.......

[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, those photos.

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 released?

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 all?

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 record?

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.  Sturgis, Lorenz.

58.f.  Yeah.  So that story about him putting Lorenz up in the Miami Springs Villa is true?

GF: Yes.

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 Sun Sentinel?

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 assassination?

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, under-investigated.

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 connection?

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 drug traffic.

65. How valid is Cuba's claims that del Valle was one of the shooters?

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 assassination?

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 Castro?

GF:  Again, I don't specifically know.  I think he claimed that he was involved in a few attempts to assassinate Castro.

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 did [not].

69. Do you believe de Mohrenschildt committed suicide?

GF:   Yeah.  I believe de Mohrenschildt committed suicide.

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 happened.

70.b.  How did that affect your investigation at that point?

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 of JFK?

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 the Washingtonian?

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 being insufficient..

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 for that.

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 name is.

76.a. Dolan.

GF: Dolan.  And that [Ted] Shackley..  [Richard] Helms, was it?

76.b.  Helms wasn't there.

GF:  [William] Colby?

76.c.  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 track.

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 JM/WAVE?  How?

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 Swan.

80.  What part did Jorge Mas Canosa have in the death of Rolando Masferrer?

GF:  I have absolutely no knowledge of anything to do with that.

81.  Did Orlando Bosch have any ties to the intelligence community at any time?  What were these connections?

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 Florida.

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 unsupported opinion?

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 caravan.

95.a.  How many cars were there in that?

GF:  Eventually?  Originally?

95.b.  Eventually.

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 his motivations?

[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 for/against her?

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 investigative reports.

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 being Crozier.

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 Phillips himself.

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 did?

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 CIA files.

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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