26 April 1996 with Steve Bochan
[Interview focuses on the
The following conversation with Gaeton Fonzi took place in
Miami, Florida on 4/26/96. Present were Gaeton Fonzi,
Steve Bochan. Speakers are designated as follows: GF =
GW = G Winslow; SB = Steve Bochan, and some editing took
and/or eliminate repetition.
No questions or answers were discussed ahead of time and the
place as a casual conversation.
SB: Out of curiosity, and for the benefit of the people who
your book, THE LAST INVESTIGATION, can you describe how you
before the HSCA investigation, in the JFK assassination?
GF: Yes, I wrote about it in the book. I was working for
at the time and Arlen Specter happened to be a
Salandria was a local lawyer who wrote an article in The
about the Warren Commission Report, specifically about the
and the head hit, which was the area in which Arlen Specter
thinking that Salandria has to be some crackpot, telling
Warren Commission Report might be wrong. So I decided
for Philadelphia Magazine about this crackpot lawyer who
Commission might be wrong. And that's how I got
I interviewed Salandria and studied the Warren Commission
convinced that Salandria wasn't a crackpot and, then, after
and questioning Arlen Specter, I also became convinced that
Report was in fact, not the truth.
SB: What was it, in particular about Arlen Specter, that you
GF: His inability to explain the single bullet theory.
SB: I think he admitted to you, you mention it in the book I
there were some problems with it, or words to that effect,
GF: They had some problems with explaining how come there
was a hole in
back of his jacket and shirt, about 6 inches down from the
[On page 27 of THE LAST INVESTIGATION, Fonzi's encounter
is described as follows:]
The photographs of the shirt worn by the President shows a
hole in the
consistent with the one in the jacket, about
below the top of the collar and one-and-one-eighth inches to
the middle. The discrepancy is obvious.
The locations of both these holes are inconsistent with the
back of the right ear described in the Commission's autopsy
I'll never forget asking Specter about that as I sat in his
in Philadelphia. (It was about a year after he had returned
Commission job; he had recently been elected District
"Well," he said, "that difference is accounted for because
is waving his arm." He got up from his desk and
his explanation on me, pulling my arm up high over my
arm a few times," he said, "wave at the crowd." He was
me now, jabbing a finger into the base of my neck.
"Well, see, if
bullet goes in here, the jacket gets hunched up. If
you take this
right here and then you strip the coat down, it comes out at
A lower point?
"Well, not too much lower on your example, but the jacket
If the jacket were "hunched up," I asked, wouldn't there
have been two
as a result of the doubling over of the cloth?
"No, not necessarily. It ... it wouldn't be doubled
you sit in the car it could be doubled over at most any
point, but the
are that ... aaah ... that it gets ... that ... aaah ...
this ... this
about the way the jacket rides up. You sit back ...
sit back now
all right now ... if ... usually, as your jacket lies there,
is right up here, but if ... but if you have a bullet hit
here, which is where I had it, where your jacket sits ...
it's not ...
ordinarily doesn't crease that far back."
What about the shirt?
Was Specter saying there was no inconsistency between the
of the wound and the holes in the clothing?
"No, not at all. That gave us a lot of concern.
lined up the shirt ... after all, we lined up the shirt ...
in the shirt is right about, right about the knot of the
about here in the slit in the front ... "
But where did it go in the back?
"Well, the back hole, when the shirt is laid down, comes ...
I forget exactly where it came, but it certainly wasn't
to ... aah ... understand the ... aah ... the angle of
Was it lower? Was it lower than the slit in the front?
"Well, I think that ... that if you took the shirt without
being pulled up, that it would either have been in line or
"Perhaps. I ... I don't want to say because I don't
I got to take a look at that shirt."
SB: Supposedly that was the so-called "hunched up" jacket
shirt theory ...
GF: Yeah, so that's what got me interested, really.
I did a few articles for Philadelphia Magazine on the
The first one of course was on Arlen Specter.
And then when I moved down here, a friend of mine - a
had stopped in to see a friend of his who was Schweiker's
assistant. Schweiker was on the Church Committee at
the time and
convinced Church to set up a subcommittee on the Kennedy
Schweiker headed. (Gary Hart was co-chairman but he
interest in it.) And my friend and Schweiker's
about Schweiker's interest in the Kennedy assassination and
he was getting more interested in the relationship between
the CIA and
anti-Castro Cubans, while the Church Committee investigators
on the pro-Castro angle.
Being that Schweiker's anti-Castro interest effort was
my friend Greg said, "Well, Gaeton's in Miami," and as a
result of that
got a call from Schweiker's man, Dave Newhall, a former
whom I had known. Newhall called me said he had a few
out in the Miami area and would I have the time to check
I said, "Sure, how long will it take?" and he said, "just a
SB: A couple of weeks?
GF: A couple of weeks turned into three years.
SB: One of the devices you use to both open and close the
very powerful, I thought, and probably very powerful for
those of us
have been to Dealey Plaza, was your description of your
went there. You stood in the middle of Elm Street and
with what happened there and, you wrote, "Right here ... is
where a man
... A man's life ended."
That's very dramatic and anyone who has been to Dealey Plaza
and I thought it was both moving and effective to begin and
Is that also what finally made you determined to go into
went there and stood in the middle of Elm Street,
of that crime?
GF: Well, no. I wrote that in the context of having
Committee. I went to Dealey Plaza back in the '60s
when I first
the article for Philadelphia Magazine, and I really didn't
have a full
of the whole Kennedy assassination at that point. But
a very moving thing to see.
But what really got to me is when I got there, and after
the Committee, having been in Washington, and having been
much of this bureaucratic charade, as it were, and then
Plaza and it made me think, 'My God what are we doing?
been doing in Washington playing with all these documents
And here they were getting ready to turn out a report that
was going to
the American people that we did a thorough and complete
I knew that wasn't the case.
It just made me realize that they forgot the basic point
here that a
was killed. A man was killed ...
SB: Some of your critics on the Internet and on CompuServe
to point out that you came into the investigation already
a conspiracy. In other words, they'll say, 'Well you know,
really an objective investigator - he had already made up
his mind that
was a conspiracy,' etc. A counter argument, of course,
himself was already determined to bring the Mafia into the
and of course, Earl Warren was determined to blame it all on
How would you react to that criticism that you had already
made up your
with regard to there being a conspiracy in the JFK
GF: It's true. I had already made up my mind years ago
of the investigation and as a result of the work I had
already done on
Kennedy assassination. Especially as a result of the
Arlen Specter; that the single bullet theory didn't hold
once that conclusion is reached, there is a conspiracy.
But, as an investigator involving areas that really had
nothing to do
whether or not there was a conspiracy - because we certainly
been conducting the investigation on the basis (like the
did) that Oswald alone did it. But as long as you don't
or deliberately attempt to manipulate your questioning or
it's really is irrelevant when you are interviewing people
digging up information.
The other point is that I had nothing to do with controlling
of the investigation: I mean that was Blakey's job.
And even at
point, I don't think the question of conspiracy or
here. If we were going to accept the Warren Commission
final word, there would have been no need for an
SB: Do you keep in contact with Blakey; do you talk to him
GF: (laughter) No, I haven't talked to ah, Bob Blakey
SB: Did you part on good terms?
GF: Yeah, basically I like the guy. You know, we just
of opinion I guess, when it comes to whether or not the
a full and complete investigation as the report claims it
I don't have any personal animosity towards Blakey or
SB: Getting into Silvia Odio, in the book, you relate how
were that they didn't ask her to testify, but, who's
that - was that Blakey who decided that the time was running
was running out, etc.? It almost sounded like the
Rankin saying that they were supposed to be closing doors,
GF: Yeah, it was Blakey's decision to spend the time in the
on organized crime. Now he will say, 'but, we put
record,' and that's true. But the impact that would
have had on
American public, I think, would have been tremendous.
And it was
decision to limit the public hearings to those areas that he
SB: How did Silvia Odio react to that? I remember you
gaining trust and confidence in you, the time that that took
and so forth, and then when she was finally ready ...
GF: Oh, yeah, she was terribly disillusioned, and
bitter. I mean,
she really had to psyche herself up into coming
and I spent a long afternoon convincing her that this is
should do; that the American people should know her story
for the first time. And on the basis of her trusting
'okay, I'll do it,' but she really didn't want to do it; she
was a very
person to begin with; she had arranged to take off work and
to take off work because she needed his support; and then
all of a
the rug is pulled out from under her. She was terribly
SB: Were you the one who had to tell her that it wasn't
going to happen?
GF: Oh yeah.
SB: That had to have been difficult, especially after
working with her,
GW: Why didn't they let her testify?
GF: Because they were going to continue the hearings; they
cut out the
element of the public hearings. She did testify, you
know, took a
But this involved the public hearings which was the public's
what the Committee was doing.
SB: She made a remark to you, and you used it in the book,
and she also
it back in '64, I believe, that the American people 'don't
know, that they don't really want to know the truth,' or
words to that
What do you think she meant by that?
GF: I think from her own experience, how she felt
used. She was
approached by the FBI, and then by the Warren Commission and
House Assassination Committee, and all they kept telling her
she was a liar. And she was totally disgusted with the
to her testimony. She didn't come forward,
have never come forward. It was only as a result of
FBI about it...
Here, according to the transcript of my interview with her,
made public, by the way?
SB: The thing about Liebeler? Yes.
GF: (Reading from his transcript:)
She wonders why, after she was questioned by the FBI, they
to call her back. It wasn't until the middle of the
came to Dallas to question her.
She asked how candid she could be with me and I said I
wished she would
totally candid. She said she could say something but
could get in trouble because it would be only her word,
swear to it. She said she hasn't told this to anyone
except a Mr.
Phillips who came to talk to her about putting her on Dan
special television show. She refused to go on that
show but she
talk to Phillips. She said she told part of this story
but has never mentioned it to anyone else.
She said that after Liebeler questioned her for the second
(the first interrogation started at 9 a.m.; the second at
6:30 p.m.) he
her out to dinner. "That surprised me, but I was
afraid and I
We didn't go out alone. We went out with someone who
be Marina Oswald's lawyer. I don't remember his name,
from CBS knew. We went to the Sheraton to eat dinner.
there was something behind it and there was a kind of double
table between the lawyer and him. I wasn't sure they
wanted me to
the conversation or they wanted to convince me of something
to volunteer something. He (Liebeler) kept threatening
me with a
detector test also, even though he knew I was under
the time. But one thing he said, and this has always
said this to this other gentleman, I don't remember his
name, he said,
you know if we do find out that this is a conspiracy you
know that we
orders from Chief Justice Warren to cover this thing
Liebeler said that?) "Yes, sir, I could swear on
time, she said she thought that maybe it was a bait for her
the feeling that they thought she was hiding something more,
involved with other Cuban groups perhaps or that she knew
more than she
saying. "That was the feeling that I got by the time
me to dinner, that maybe if I had a few drinks and the
very casual, I would go ahead and volunteer information that
was hiding. I wasn't hiding anything. But what
me. I remember I had a Bloody Mary and thinking to
I'm not that drunk.' I had one Bloody Mary and that's
all I was
If it was for my sake that he was saying that, or if it was
they were playing with me, I don't know. That's when I
'Silvia, the time has come for you to keep quiet. They
know the truth.'"
"But that made me angry. Not only that, he invited me
to his room
to see some pictures. I did go, I went to his
to see how far a government investigator would go and what
to do to a witness. Of course nothing happened because
in my right senses. He showed me pictures, he made
I told him he was crazy. He even mentioned that they
had seen my
and that they even joked about it at the Warren Commission,
like what a pretty girl you are going to see, Jim, and
To me that was all so, I don't know,
anti-professional. I wasn't
to this sort of thing and I was expecting the highest
and I wasn't expecting any jokes in the investigation of the
of a president. So that's why I'm telling you why my
because I saw something I wasn't expecting to see. I
someone who was carrying on an investigation who was serious
somehow I had the feeling it was a game to them and that I
in this game."
SB: You make that point in the book, too, that she has not
this experience; she has not gone out on the lecture
wants nothing to do with it. And that probably
in your mind, didn't it? I mean, what was it about her that
that she was a credible person?
GF: It was nothing about her. It was just what she
said and the
of what she said by other people. I don't think anyone
anybody's credibility by how they feel about them.
been fooled many, many times. My life as an
basically, has allowed me to meet some of the nicest con men
I mean, you would never believe some of the things that they
So you don't judge people when you're doing this kind of an
by how you feel about them - you have to judge them by what
whether or not the basic elements of what they say can be
SB: You talked to Lucille Connell?
GF: It's pronounced "Kin-nell."
SB: She told a story that was basically at variance with
said. She basically mentioned a story, as did
of Odio attending several anti-Castro meetings with Oswald
Odio had told her this. Did she mention this to you as
GF: What Connell told me when I asked her about that was
remember telling the FBI that.
(Referring to his typed transcripts:)
Reading from my notes on my interview with Lucille Connell,
me about how the FBI first came to her. This is how
business first came out because Silvia herself had no
anyone about it. But of course, her sister Sarita knew
well as her younger sister Annie Odio.
So, Lucille Connell tells me, 'and I was talking to another
of a Mr. Insua, who is head of the Cuban Relief Committee
... ah, no, first I talked to Silvia's sister myself who
said that she knew Oswald, she called to tell me that Silvia
to a hospital when she heard that Kennedy was shot and that
She fell unconscious at her desk and that was the first
spell she had
quite a long time.'
'Now I didn't intend to report anything to the FBI.
And it came
quite accidentally. I was speaking on the telephone
with a friend
mine, who is a secretary in a law office (Pick). We
had both had
television on and I saw Ruby shoot Oswald. And she
said, "Oh my
Ruby was in our office last week and had power of attorney
I asked her what the name of the law office was and the name
and she said she gave all that to the FBI. She said,
'I'd just as
not get involved.'
I tell her: 'I don't have that report, but I suppose I could
She said, 'I was rather surprised that they didn't seem to
as I thought that was rather pertinent information. Ruby had
of attorney drawn for his sister before.'
'Later that evening, I was talking to Mr. Insua's daughter,
Marcella. But she's married now, and Mr. Insua is
told her what my friend had said about Ruby. That
Spanish to some American children, and in her class was the
son of one
the FBI of Dallas. The son went home and told his
father, and his
called her (Connell) and she was quite upset as she had
given it as an
He called the teacher, rather, I'm sorry.' (This is
'She had given it as an example to translate into
Spanish. So she
me and asked me if she could tell the FBI when she got home,
'I said of course.'
'So, in about a half an hour, the FBI was knocking on my
were two men and I told them everything I told you.'
She had another comment on the FBI. She said,
'Frankly, I was not
with these two FBI investigators. They were rather new
I think. They were not very smart, in my opinion, and
I did more
of them than they did of me. They made no notes at the
they wrote down after they left, I'm not sure would be 100%
SB: Interesting. So, let's see if I've got this
a friend who works in a law firm in Dallas, who said that
Ruby came in
a week before killing Oswald to draw up a document, a legal
give power of attorney to his sister. That about sum
SB: And the FBI had this?
GF: That's what she told the FBI.
SB: If what she is saying is true, that the FBI took no
notes, this is
they're saying Connell said ...
GF: By the way, this is how, when she was talking to the
brought up the Odio story. The FBI, according to her,
her about Odio at all. They approached her about
this is what she had told her friend, the school
teacher. This is
to Lucille, right.
SB: And the FBI supposedly has the name of her friend?
GF: Yeah ...
SB: This is the way WC Investigator Griffin wrote to WC
after interviewing C. L. Connell, on Monday, April 13,
according to this memo which never directly quotes Connell,
that Connell reported to him that Odio told her that she had
at several anti-Castro rallies.
As I say, he never directly quotes Connell as saying that,
but, do you
how far apart that is from what you've just told me?
GF: Yeah. Well, Odio denied that also to the
FBI report, I have it here and I'm reading it now, where she
denied ever having told Mrs. Connell that Lee Harvey Oswald
to small groups of Cuban refugees in Dallas.
SB: The point that I like to make on this, is that first of
ever happened, there has been no witness that has ever come
saw Odio and Oswald present at ANY anti-Castro rallies - and
there would have been somebody that would have seen
a shred of evidence to prove that and I almost thought at
one time that
was a red herring put out there, but by whom?
Dr. Einspruch thought, at least according to WC Investigator
that he had heard Silvia tell him that she had known Oswald
had seen Oswald at several anti-Castro rallies, but then of
time you interviewed Dr. Einspruch, that wasn't the
case. So I
there seems to be a red herring and I'm just trying to
figure out who
that red herring out there.
GF: Yeah, that's true. There's so much conflicting
yet people who supposedly provided this information, denied
You know, so, somehow this gets into the FBI reports.
it get in there - that's a good question.
SB: This bothers me because of course, in the La Fontaine
jumped on this, on this confusion, this red herring, and
that 'of course Odio is fabricating this whole thing,' 'of
Oswald at these anti-Castro rallies,' 'that was an outburst
otherwise how could both Connell and Einspruch have relayed
unless Odio had really said that?'
And it is an interesting argument to make until you say,
the proof of these so-called anti-Castro rallies where both
were present? Who saw them at these meetings? Where's
Of course there is none.
And yet the La Fontaines use this in their book in Chapter
9, "It Takes
Woman to Know," as a concrete example of Odio telling these
and Einspruch. And it just tends to confuse things
But they use this to support their theory that Odio had
Oswald episode about visiting her at her front door ... what
was that she had known Oswald all along.
Any reaction to that, to they're using this confusion to
GF: Well, I think it's exactly what you're saying: they're
it to make their point. But to me, they're building
down. And I don't know why they're doing it. The
this doesn't make any sense. And the whole implication
assassination came off as a result of the DRE being upset
pulled back support for their new invasion, just a couple
assassination, and all of a sudden the assassination comes
a couple of weeks of planning? I really have to
re-read the book,
because it's not very clearly written; it's loaded I
believe, with a
GW: "Gordo" Salvat?
GF: Yeah, that's the point of the book.
GW: That the DRE killed Kennedy?
SB: That, and the gun-running operation that they and Silvia
involved with, yeah, and Odio knows more about the plot than
GF: And Odio's real affiliation is with the DRE, they say,
and not with
GW: (laughs) I haven't bought the book yet. I'll
until it goes on discount, now... (laughter)
The DRE, ha! The only one on the payroll there was
GF: Funny, how they used all these big fat guys like
Hemming, El Gordo,
involved with the assassination ... if they were all on the
GW: They were on the grassy knoll. (laughter)
SB: We're getting a little off track, here. (more laughter)
I'm going to read you page 28 of Dr. Einspruch's sworn
and, I believe it's Jim McDonald, am I right?
SB: Okay, where you two deposed Dr. Einspruch and this tends
whole theory of Oswald and Odio attending several
out of the water.
Q. Did you think that Angelo who came to her door was
Or was it your feeling or thinking then that perhaps this
A. No. I don't think it was something that she had
But I retained just my own, you know, personal doubt, like I
this moment, that a mistake could have been made with a one
experience that she had with him under those circumstances.
Now if she had said that she had seen him a couple of times,
feel stronger about it.
SB: That tends to blow that whole thing right out of the
SB: He had doubts who Silvia really saw was Oswald because
that was the
time she ever saw him - so how could she have seen him at
GF: Yeah. Einspruch was an important confirmation of
Because Einspruch confirmed that she had told him about the
men to her apartment before the assassination. And to
valid evidence from an exceptionally credible source.
And of course, Annie Odio confirmed the visit.
So we have the visit. Now what the La Fontaines are
trying to say
that the visit never took place, is that right?
SB: Yes, that she's confusing it with a previous visit ...
GF: With Cisneros? But Cisneros' visit was back in
GF: So, Silvia is making a six month leap here?
GF: To me, it's a disservice to the research
community. It really
to raise these kind of strawmen issues. And why? For
the sake of
SB: What was your impression of Dr. Einspruch, basically,
him in '78?
GF: Well basically, as I said, from what he was saying, he
He hadn't seen Odio in years. In fact, we had a
between them, a three-way conversation actually, with Odio
before we took the deposition, and they had not spoken with
13 years. Both Jim McDonald and I listened to the
the consent and knowledge of both parties I might mention,
questioned Einspruch briefly during the course of the
SB: Initially of course, he was very supportive of her
and then toward the end of the deposition, he started
talking of "fish
and "perhaps the story has grown in time," etc. There
that on the one hand, he's vouching for her credibility and
truthfulness all along, and then on the other hand, he seems
"well ... maybe things didn't exactly happen that way, maybe
grown in time," -- what was your reaction to that?
GF: Well, I think you've just got to go to the basic, the
whether or not three men visited her before the
or not that was confirmed by him. The elements of her
are something else again, you know, was it or was it not
know, to me, it's irrelevant whether it was Oswald or not.
If just three men had visited her and none of them resembled
none of them was introduced to her as Oswald, and that fact
by her sister Annie who was there, well then it would be a
But, she said one of them looked like Oswald; Annie Odio
she first saw Oswald - before she talked to Silvia that day
she said, "I've seen that guy before, I've seen that guy
It was bothering her until she walked into Silvia's hospital
Silvia: "Silvia, I've seen that guy before," and Silvia
you remember, he came to our house?"
And that's when Annie Odio said, "Yes, that was him."
So, you know, in order to dismiss Silvia Odio, we have to
talk about a
conspiracy between Silvia and her sister, her other sister
Connell and Einspruch, all working together to manufacture
Oswald being there.
SB: One of the objections, too, that people who support
Posner and the
version use against Odio is, that there is no corroboration
call, that allegedly took place the next day or two after
the visit to
apartment. We only have Silvia's word on that.
How do you
to that; is that a legitimate criticism to raise? I
mean, I don't
how you corroborate a phone call unless you're listening-in
GF: Yeah. I don't know whether it's relevant,
or not she received the telephone call, whether that is
in fact, someone who was identified to her as Leon Oswald
her sister, did visit her, to me it's not an important piece
SB: Did the La Fontaines contact you when they were writing
GF: Yeah, Mary La Fontaine had called me up a number of
times, but it
over the last couple of years I guess, about a number of
SB: Yes, they write flattering things about you in earlier
parts of the
... talking about your wittiness
GF: I think they're good investigators, I did, I think
as far as newspaper work goes. And they did uncover, I
of really interesting information ...
SB: Did they want to talk to you about Odio when they spoke
GF: I don't remember specifically having any lengthy
Silvia Odio, but, I might have, I don't recall.
SB: In retrospect now, after all this time, have you kept in
with Silvia Odio? Do you ever talk to her?
GF: Yes for specific reasons I've contacted her.
SB: How is she doing?
GF: She's been ill recently, but she's fine now, I believe.
SB: I wonder if she'd have a reaction to the La Fontaine's
they portrayed her?
GF: I haven't asked her about it. But I probably will.
SB: Apparently Mary La Fontaine called her and talked to her
in the Washington Area, but they basically just include that
at the back of the book as a reference to part of the
Any comment at all on what was going on between Father
MacChann and the
between Connell and Odio, and a lot of that of course in
talk about such things, but, did you, in your investigation
of that, the rivalry between Connell and Odio? And
what was your
GF: Well my take was that there was a close relationship
MacChann and between Connell and MacChann, and that was the
bitterness toward Silvia.
MacChann had a lot of problems, so ...
MacChann was quite a ladies man, from what I gather.
SB: Yeah, they describe him in the book as, back in those
star handsome, a 29 year old very desirable man, that the
throwing themselves at his feet. And, a, Connell at
that time was
her fifties, Odio was only 26 and very beautiful woman, and
Mary La Fontaine that THAT was the reason for the
two former friends, as they were both very interested in
GF: I don't remember what Connell told me, she talks about
she said he had personal problems himself that 'I tried to
SB: He eventually left the priesthood, didn't he?
GF: I believe so. Yes, she says, 'after a few months
MacChann disappeared. Ironically, I ran into him in a
New Orleans. He had left the church. I heard he
a mental health association. Last I heard, he had
SB: This is Connell?
GF: Connell told me that in '77-'78.
SB: Wow, I wonder what Connell was doing in New Orleans...
GF: Yeah. (laughing)
SB: In your opinion then, you haven't changed one iota on
You still believe she's credible, you still believe her
GF: It's not a matter of my believing it, I think it's a
matter of the
The fact that there were three men who showed up at her door
and that one of them was introduced to her as Oswald.
most important thing: BEFORE THE ASSASSINATION.
SB: Yes, I believe in your book, you state that based on
you're convinced that there was a conspiracy.
GF: Sure. Because the opposite of that is the Warren
of Oswald as a lone nut. Without any associations,
in any kind of strategic, pre-assassination misinformation
SB: Let's talk about Maurice Bishop. We have our
as you know ...
GF: I really don't keep up with it, you know. Every
I go in there and check my mail. After spending time
working on a
in front of a computer most of the day, the last place I
want to be ...
SB: I understand. A lot of people want to know
if there is
that you've found since the investigation, that convinces
you even more
of the identity of Maurice Bishop?
GF: Yes, as a matter of fact, I was just down in Cuba in
on a piece for Esquire, on Castro assassination attempts,
time with General Escalante, the former Chief of
former head of State Security. I was given a guided
tour, as it
of some of the places that were involved in Castro
including Veciana's - the one that Veciana organized in
October of '61.
From his files, it took place in a building from across the
the old palace. That apartment was used as a CIA safe
before Veciana's mother-in-law leased it. And,
Phillips was seen
in and out of it. He provided a number of other
as David Atlee Phillips, and Phillips as Bishop.
GF: There's no doubt in the Cuban Intelligence records that
SB: Interesting, even in interviewing someone you named "Ron
he corroborated that, didn't he? Am I mis-phrasing it?
GF: Yeah, he said basically that he remembered Phillips
using the name
Interesting point about that because, after my article came
out and I
using "Ron Cross" to cover-up Crosier's name, Phillips went
and I think he gave a press interview to someone. And
you couldn't believe what this fellow Crosier had said
because he had
a drunk, an alcoholic, which he admitted to us and I include
But I found it interesting that Phillips revealed his real
In violation, I would think, of CIA protocol at least.
SB: Wasn't McCone's initial reaction was that he was also
then he quickly changed his story?
GF: Yeah, a couple of the investigators had interviewed
McCone and he
he remembered "Bishop" being used by one of the CIA people,
Committee got a letter from the CIA liaison saying that they
McCone's statement, and that he said that he was mistaken.
SB: Do you think it's possible that Veciana was wrong about
he relayed the story to you about meeting Bishop in Dallas
talking to Oswald? Could he have actually seen them in
GF: Rather than September?
GF: No, Veciana wasn't specific, wasn't definite, in his
what I recall now. I just don't recall him being very
But again, when you're dealing with FBI records and reports,
with potential conflicting evidence at times. I know
with the Agency's contacts with Veciana himself, there were
SB: Another bone of contention between the conspiracy set
set is that you believe Veciana, a convicted drug
fall-back position of those who believe in the "official
assassination on places like CompuServe is, that, why should
Veciana says? Is that fair?
GF: When you say Veciana was in jail for drug trafficking,
have an image of Veciana as a sinister drug dealer.
I've reviewed the case - that particular case. Veciana
any other association with drugs. No drugs were found
He was convicted on the testimony of a former business
Rico. And an associate of his business partner -
And, the details of the case, it wasn't even Veciana's car -
it was a
car. The details of the case, seemed to confirm
that he was set-up. But Veciana, it's difficult to
being involved in any kind of drug trafficking, given his
SB: How did you reconcile, in your own mind, when you had
in Reston at that luncheon, with Veciana meeting face to
Atlee Phillips? That Veciana basically could not
as Maurice Bishop?
GF: WOULD NOT identify him.
SB: Okay, pardon me, that he would not identify Phillips as
GF: At the time I was terribly confused, because I sat there
long period of time watching him and watching Phillips
shaking, avoiding Veciana's eyes while Veciana was staring
at him from
the table. Phillips was re-lighting cigarettes, and
in the hallway, where he was a terribly shaken man, so much
so to the
that when we asked him didn't he remember Veciana's name, he
In fact, he asked Veciana again, 'what did you say your name
'Veciana. You don't know me?'
And he said, 'no.'
Now the fact that Phillips himself, obviously had to explain
his testimony before the committee: how could the head of
operations not know the head of the largest anti-Castro
How could he not know the name of the head of that
Phillips testified, before the Committee, under sworn
was not introduced to Veciana by name. When in fact,
was there and, later, when I checked with him after Phillips
asked him, Do you remember when I introduced you to
and he said, 'oh sure, you remember I asked him don't you
know me, my
And I was there and another Schweiker assistant was
there. So we
corroboration that Phillips was lying.
But Phillips had to cover up his gut reaction to Veciana
why he denied knowing his name - he was so shaken by the
It was an interesting experience, and at the end of it,
walking out of
I was confused, and I asked Veciana, "Isn't he Bishop?"
And Veciana didn't answer right away, didn't say "no,"
said, "He knows."
I remember walking back to the car, during this discussion,
knows? What do you mean, 'he knows'?"
And I said, "He knows WHAT?"
I asked, "You mean he knows who Bishop is?"
And he said, "yeah."
So it was a very interesting experience, and at the time I
until I figured it out.
SB: And naturally, that's what some people who don't believe
that Veciana didn't identify Phillips as Bishop outright.
GF: Yeah, and another interesting thing, before the Reston
up a photo of Phillips that had appeared in a magazine
took Veciana down to the library to look at this photograph
I remember him just staring at it, for a long, long time,
page and turning back, and I was involved with someone else
else with another Veciana associate who had told us about
in a photograph in some magazine standing along the parade
which we could never find, but while I was doing this I kept
at the table where Veciana was and saw Veciana just staring
of Phillips, although all he kept telling me was "It's
You know you would think that if it wasn't in fact Bishop,
said, 'no this isn't him,' and he would've moved right
on. But he
at that picture for a long, long time.
SB: You know, that whole Mexico City thing, another
what is your take on them never officially being able to
come up with a
of Oswald down there going in and out of the Cuban Consulate
explaining that the cameras weren't working, and so forth?
GF: The whole Mexico City thing, to me, still remains a
of the major issues is, well, if the CIA had a photograph of
into the Cuban or Soviet embassies while he was down there,
think they'd want to produce them, quickly, right away for
GF: And yet, it's hard to believe that no photos were taken,
talking about what, how many instances and possibilities
into and out of an embassy, 10? 5?
How many entrances were there, and how many times combined,
did he walk
and out of there, the Cuban and Russian embassies? 10?
And yet not one photograph turns up.
The whole Mexico City area is an area that needs a lot more
SB: Did you read John Newman's book, OSWALD AND THE CIA ?
SB: What did you think about the way he handled the Mexico
He came up with a couple of new things in the Mexico City
GF: Yeah. But I just don't have enough personal
in that area to draw any kind of permanent conclusion about
it, and I
really delved into Mexico City, as much as much I would
SB: Did Ed Lopez work for you?
GF: No. Ed was a researcher on team three, and I
of the investigators stationed outside headquarters, as it
of the investigators were assigned to specific teams.
down here in Miami involved anti-Castro Cubans, pro-Castro
CIA - all were all very active down here - so I worked with
and the anti-Castro team. Eddie was a researcher on the
and I worked with him, as well as researchers on other teams
SB: If I remember right, one of his basic contentions was
being impersonated in Mexico City. I wonder if it ever
him that Oswald may have been impersonated *WHILE* he was in
Did he ever have any conversations with you about that?
GF: He might have, I don't recall the specifics of it
SB: That's the issue that John Newman raises. Another
that came out was that Win Scott apparently played a tape of
attorney Slawson in April or May of 1964 - yet - the CIA has
that those tapes are routinely destroyed after 6-12
this be if Scott played this taped intercept of Oswald
allegedly were made? What in the world are they hiding
City - I mean, if Oswald is this lone nut, why all the games
versions of what happened in Mexico City?
GF: Yeah one of the questions also, the fact that the
much confirmed by not only Slawson but also by Coleman, I
SB: Yes, you're right.
GF: ... and I think Tony Summers also talked to a CIA man
that these tapes do exist, and also photos, for Slawson and
And yet, as late as the mid '70s, when the Assassination
getting going, when Dick Sprague was still the Chief
Phillips testified under oath, that the tapes had been
I can't figure out why Phillips, who had to have known that
not destroyed, why he testified under oath that the tapes
had in fact
destroyed, as late as the mid '70s. Unless, it's the
to Congressional Committees means absolutely nothing to the
SB: Well, it didn't seem to mean anything to Helms, right?
GW: He wasn't convicted of that! (laughter)
SB: You're right, I keep forgetting that.
Some final few questions for you from some of the people on
One of the posters who just finished reading your book
wanted to know
in the intervening years, you had discovered or learned
that strange person, David Morales.
GF: Yeah, what intrigues me most about him is how he's
out there in Arizona under a tombstone that says, "Sgt.
And yet he was obviously a very, very important and
officer in the Agency.
I think Morales needs a lot more looking into, his
background and his
and his involvement with David Phillips. We
that he was involved with Phillips in the Chilean operation
He came away with a lot of money.
GW: Do you have that address he lived at in Coral Gables?
GF: Yeah, it's right here ... (laughter)
SB: Isn't that how you got into his book Gordon, by asking
he was visiting down here in Miami, about Morales?
GW: It wasn't a leading question, either. I didn't ask
him if he
who David Morales was or anything - I asked him who was your
at JM/WAVE? And he said, "David Morales."
SB: Any final thoughts?
GF: What bothers me about this whole area is the layer upon
piled on top of each other. Part of the Committee's
to not conduct a real investigation. But at this
point, I think
only way to conduct a real investigation of the Kennedy
by taking an arbitrary approach. What Blakey wanted to
as many bases as possible, so that if someone were to say,
you look into this?' he could say, "yes, we looked into
that, and we
into that," when instead he should have said, "Nah, we
didn't look into
that's bullshit, it would have been a waste of our time,
I think you have to make arbitrary decisions to do an
today. You really have to make arbitrary decisions and
decisions you have to err on the side of what could likely
you'll never be sure about - but you have to go after those
But if you eliminate the bullshit areas, I think it's still
an authentic investigation.
Or else you're going to end up with an investigation, as
that's unending in terms of funding, and in time.
And at the time that Sprague was there - we're talking 20
years ago -
would have still been possible. But now, 20 years has
two decades of crap being piled on what all the previous
GW: Could this be done in the private sector? Does the
to be involved?
GF: Ahhh, that's a good question. Can the government
investigation of the government?
GW: No, I mean can a group of private citizens do this
of subpoena? Can they do that? Is it possible?
GF: Maybe you could do it - how would you do it? "You
ZE TRUTH!" How would you do it? (laughter)
GW: Well, yes, you could say, "We have some questions and -
happen, you know." (laughter)
How important was the Garrison investigation?
GF: Well, something was happening in New Orleans.
SB: Didn't it scare you or shock you when you went to talk
and he ended up blowing his own head off before you could
I mean didn't you think to yourself, 'oh....shit.'
GF: Yeah, especially the way I heard about it - I heard
about it by way
GW: Why is it everybody you go to see, winds up dead?
like that was happening ....
GF: It was! Yes, let's see there's Artime, Prio,
SB: Do you think we're ever going to know the answers?
GF: I think we already know the answers. We just don't
SB: Thank you for your time and kindness by putting up with
GF: You're welcome. Anytime.
End of Page
Cuban Information Archives. All Rights Reserved.