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Mission Possible

Peter Janney, in his excellent book, Mary's Mozaic, came to the conclusion that the CIA was responsible for the death of Mary Meyer. Murder most foul. In his astute observations, he concluded that the endeavor was carefully planned and executed with precision. A professional hit designed to look like a random murder. He compared the perps of Mary's demise to that of a highly trained team. He compared that team to the IMF of the 70's TV show, Mission Impossible. He believed that the operation was one of standard CIA procedure. He reasoned that the crime involved “Painstaking calculations and details that were involved in the extensive planning of professional assassinations.” Nothing was left to chance. Janney is not just a writer. His father was a CIA agent. Both he and his father knew Cord and Mary Meyer personally. He even suspects that his father was in on her demise.

The parallels to the murder of JFK are obvious. Both murders took place in a public place. The planners wanted to create the impression that they were random acts. Both Mary and JFK were in motion and slain when they entered a “kill zone”. Janney believed Mary had been under surveillance prior to her death. Most researchers believe that a surveillance team was monitoring the motorcade in Dallas. Both cases were “solved” almost immediately with the arrest of a patsy by local police.

Janney believed that the team consisted of at least five operatives, not including actual architects of the plan and monitors. The whole undertaking required Mission Impossible precision.

Did the CIA have these capabilities? Absolutely. They had been building such a force since at least 1954 in the coup against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Other coups were successful in Iran, Congo, the Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Brazil and Allende's Chile. The attempted Cuban coup was the first to fail. However, although it wasn't successful against Castro, evidence suggests that, in 1963, it's target was changed from Castro to JFK. To the CIA, the elimination of the president became essential, and if successful could possibly lead to a solution to the Cuban problem as well.

Did the CIA have a Mission Impossible Force? It did. It was called TSD, the Technical Services Division. Under the direction of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. “They could do almost anything, from preparing lethal poisons that left no trace, to creating undetectable disguises, articles of clothing etc., all on short notice”. No other entity on earth had resources like the CIA.

In my book, The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors, I used the real life exploits of CIA agents Antonio and Jonna Mendez as an example of the CIA's use of twins and disguises. In their book, Moscow Rules, they revealed some of the tricks of the spy trade that were used in Moscow during the cold war. The following excerpt describes an example of the use of “twins.” Jonna Mendez was chief of the “disguise” department in the CIA and was aware of the problem of KGB surveillance making it extremely difficult for CIA case officers to meet with their Russian agents to pass information. The solution involved the use of techniques used by Hollywood magicians to fool their audiences. is excerpt from Moscow Rules describes a device known as JIB6 that was engineered by OTS with the help of an unknown Los Angeles magician. The case officer involved was Bill Plunkert and his Soviet agent Adolph Tolkachev. Jonna Mendez described the operation as follows;

“The premise of the JIB revolved around the idea of creating a twin, something very common in the world of magic. Early on it was discovered that the KGB’s vehicular surveillance teams would usually stay back at a distance. This meant that when they were following the target they tended to count heads or look at silhouettes. A good illusionist always knows that a persons mind wants to tell itself a story; it tries to rationalize what it sees. In this case, the goal was to get the KGB to believe that the silhouette they were watching belonged to the target they were following, when in fact it didn’t. Of course, none of these technological advances would have amounted to much if our officers had been unable to get free from the embassy without being followed by the ever-present KGB surveillance teams. And to this effect, the Tolkachev operation owes a great debt of gratitude to the handful of legendary special effects wizards and magicians out in Hollywood who agreed to share their expertise with us. Not only did their knowledge allow our disguise program to accomplish the impossible, but it also allowed our officers to be more creative in their trade-craft. In the spirit of the great Hollywood magicians, we captured some of their techniques to use on our stage: the streets of Moscow. If Hollywood could make a person disappear in broad daylight, so could we. If magicians used twins to fool their audiences, so could we. In fact, we could not only make twins; we could make quadruplets – or as many clones as were needed. The idea of identity transfer, first used by Jack Downing, was a good example. We used it again with Tolkachev when his case officer left the embassy compound using an ID transfer disguise. When, while still in his car, he changed out of Western clothes and adopted the look of a working-class Russian, putting on a fur hat, eating a piece of raw garlic, and splashing some vodka on his jacket. He met with Tolkachev that evening. The latest counter-surveillance disguise tool was the 6 Jack-in-the-Box Oswald – Double Jeopardy 109 Jack-in-the-Box. The pop-up dummy, inaugurated when Bill Plunkert used it to meet with Tolkachev, was yet another example of the bag of tricks we had on the shelf for our operations officers’ use.”

If Janney is right, witnesses were manipulated into position to observe the murder and identify the patsy, Ray Crump, through the use of a disguised double. Janney surmised that “Specialized team from TSD had capability of transforming almost anyone into whatever was called for , including changing someone's race from white to black if necessary... Someone assigned with a radio to keep tabs on patsy”.

This could well have been the case in Dealey plaza. Monitoring of Oswald would have been necessary to assure he had no witnesses to his innocence. In both cases doubles and alternate patsies were in place in case things went wrong. In both cases there was likely more than one candidate for patsy.

The plans were brilliant. The attention to detail immaculate. In The Other Oswald, I posed my belief that James Jesus Angleton was the CIA's mastermind of plotting. Like a chess master he was always three moves ahead. Cold and calculating, he was the paranoid genius in the background. It was he who controlled Oswald from the very beginning, as early as 1959. It was likely he who masterminded the Mexico City intrigue that effectively neutralized the CIA and FBI after the assassination of JFK. It was he who covered his tracks by confiscating Win Scott's papers in Mexico City. He knew Mary and Cord Meyer intimately. He knew Ben Bradley and his wife Tony, Mary's sister. They were his neighbors in Georgetown. He stole and suppressed Mary's diary after her death.

The CIA's charter forbade domestic covert activities. But Angleton answered to no one. An internal CIA investigation, prompted by the 1970s Church Committee, verified the far-ranging power and influence that Angleton wielded during his long tenure as counter-intelligence Czar. The exposé revealed that Angleton planned infiltration of law enforcement and military organizations in other countries to be used to increase the influence of the United States. It also confirmed past rumors that it was Angleton who was in charge of the domestic spying activities of the CIA under Operation CHAOS. He also may have been running his own assassination teams as E. Howard Hunt suspected.

Angleton was a paranoid genius of counterintelligence. He was feared even by his superiors. He controlled key journalists and had assets inside the FBI. Dr. Bruno Uberti, a fellow OSS recruit, evaluated Angleton; “I considered him brilliant but a little strange.… I met a lot of important Americans from Donovan on down, but Angleton was the personality which impressed me the most. He made a terrific great impression. A very exceptional man. He had something more. He had a strange genius I would say – full of impossible ideas, colossal ideas. I would have liked to have been friends with him, but he never gave me a chance because he was so secretive.”

If, as Janney and many other's believe, Mary Pinchot Meyer's death was part of a cover up of the assassination of JFK, it would be logical that the same people responsible for Kennedy's death would be her assassins as well. E.Howard Hunt's death bed confession to his son, St. John, fingered Cord Meyer as being in on the plot. Although Cord and Mary were no longer together in 1963, Mary's indiscretion in her affair with the president surely angered him. Cord was placed very high in the CIA hierarchy. A powerful man. He was conveniently out of town at the time of Mary's death. He was friends and worked with James Jesus Angleton. It is known that Mary believed the Warren Report to be a cover up and suspected the CIA's hand in the assassination. She was keeping a diary that posed a threat to the Company. Angelton broke into her studio and stole it. Why do so unless it was a threat to him? Why steal Win Scott's papers unless exposing the Mexico City episode was a threat to him? It is a law of philosophy that every effect must have a cause. Cui Bono? It was reported that on his deathbed, when asked who he thought was responsible for his wife's death, Cord Meyer replied, “..the same people that killed Kennedy.”

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