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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Chad Nagle and Dan Storper Lay an Egg

Updated: Apr 5

Headline from Variety after the 1929 stock market crash.

Chad Nagle and Dan Storper published an article this week on Jefferson Morley's Substack claiming that CIA records detailing contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald were destroyed:

short memo from the ARRB’s chief counsel refers to a “phone mail” from historian Michael Kurtz concerning CIA officer Hunter Leake, deputy chief of the agency’s New Orleans office in 1963.
Kurtz, a professor of history at Southeastern Louisiana University, is author of the 2006 book, “The JFK Assassination Debates: Lone Gunman versus Conspiracy.”
Leake was a key contact for assets of the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Service, which had (and has) offices in many U.S. cities.
The memo’s author writes: “We should get Leake records.” But in its final report, the ARRB never mentions any New Orleans-based CIA personnel.
What Kurtz wanted to tell the JFK Review Board in 1995 was this: Leake had told him the CIA destroyed evidence of contacts with Oswald within days of the president’s murder.

Nagle and Storper misrepresent what is in the ARRB memo. First, Kurtz told the ARRB that he got the information about Leake from Dale Oriole, and not from Leake. In addition, while the memo's author did write, "we should get Leake records," the memo was just quoting Kurtz:

The other problem with Nagle and Storper's article is their reliance on Michael Kurtz as a source. Over the years, Michael Kurtz has made a variety of claims in his books and articles that he has never backed up with any evidence, and many of which contradict each other. A fellow critic, Pat Speer, has written an article about Kurtz's credibility. Here is what Speer had to say about Kurtz's supposed interviews with Hunter Leake:

Throughout the JFK Assassination Debates Kurtz repeatedly relies on interviews with men such as Hunter Leake (a little-known CIA agent who'd been stationed in New Orleans), William George Gaudet, (an anti-communist operative in New Orleans), and Richard Helms (a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency). These men purportedly told Kurtz things they never told anyone else. Both Leake and Gaudet, for that matter, were supposedly interviewed in the 1980's, well before Kurtz's 1993 update of Crime of the Century.

And yet they were never mentioned in the book.

An overview of the information purportedly gained from Leake, for that matter, proves most illuminating.

Leake was purportedly interviewed over the telephone on 3-15-81. No other interview is listed. And yet, on page 158 of the JFK Assassination Debates Kurtz relates that "In several interviews...Leake stated that Oswald came to New Orleans in April 1963 because the CIA office there intended to use him for certain operations. His job at the Reilly Coffee Company merely served as a front for his actual role." And that is just the beginning. On page 162, Kurtz relates that "Leake stated that on the day of the assassination, he was ordered to collect all of the CIA's files on Oswald from the New Orleans office and transport them to the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia...They proved so voluminous that Leake had to rent a trailer to transport them to Langley...Leake later learned that many of these files were, in the term made infamous by John Ehrlichman during the Watergate crisis, 'deep-sixed.'" And that's not all. On page 178, Kurtz further reveals that "Leake told me that on one of his several visits to that city (New Orleans), Robert Kennedy ordered them (the CIA) to focus on 'getting rid of Castro' and specifically declared that he did not care how that objective was accomplished." It goes on. On pages 184-185, Kurtz reveals that Hunter Leake told him that Guy Banister worked for the CIA, and that he sometimes reported to...Hunter Leake.  

And that is just a sample of the things Leake purportedly told Kurtz, but no one else. On page 189, to continue, Kurtz claims "In reality, Lee Oswald had made several trips to Mexico City in 1963 to carry out missions for Guy Banister and Hunter Leake." His source? Hunter Leake, of course. But wait, there's more. On page 213, Kurtz puts the usual suspects in Kennedy's killing in the same New Orleans, naturally. He relates that "Hunter Leake recalled (mafia-fixer-heavily-involved-in-the-CIA's-assassination-plots-on-Castro Johnny) Roselli meeting with Guy Banister and David Ferrie in Banister's office on Camp Street."

It's perfect. A little too perfect. From what can be gathered, Hunter Leake was unknown to JFK assassination researchers until the late 1990's, when documents and testimony from the 1960's and 1970's were released that indicated he'd been a member of the CIA's Domestic Contact Service in New Orleans, and had frequent contacts with the man Jim Garrison ultimately brought charges against, Clay Shaw. With the release of The JFK Assassination Debates in 2006, Kurtz stepped up and said he'd interviewed Leake in 1981, and that Leake had told him just about everything. Wherever there is confusion in the record--Did Oswald work for the CIA? Did Robert Kennedy order Castro's assassination? Was there any connection between the CIA's assassination attempts on Castro and the activities of Banister and Ferrie in New Orleans?--Leake pops up in Kurtz's book to show us the way. It's incredible. Nearly as incredible as Kurtz's supposedly sitting on this stuff for 25 years.

Speer notes the dates of Kurtz's supposed interviews with a variety of people. One "interview" of Hunter Leake occurred on March 15, 1981. Speer comments:

By 1982, Kurtz had supposedly already interviewed both Robert Canada and Hunter Leake, two of the most revelatory interviews ever conducted, or at least claimed to have been conducted, regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And yet these interviews were not only not mentioned in Kurtz's 1982 book based on the "most exhaustive research carried out to date on John Kennedy's murder", they were not mentioned in a blurb put out by his publisher pushing the greatness of his research. No interviews, in fact, are mentioned anywhere in the blurb. Hmmm... Which seems more likely? That Kurtz's publisher forgot to add in that "Oh yeah, by the way, the good professor has been conducting his own investigation into the assassination, and has conducted some interviews that will change the way we look at Kennedy's autopsy and Oswald's possible connections to the CIA"? Or that Kurtz kept these interviews a secret from his own publisher? Or that, by golly, these interviews were never actually conducted?

Speer also notes that on page 246 of The JFK Assassination Debates, Kurtz lists the subjects of his interviews, and assures: "Notes, tapes, and transcripts of all interviews will be deposited at a later date in the John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection, Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, Linus A. Sims Memorial Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana. Interviews were conducted in person, and by telephone, e-mail, and letter."

Here is the link to Kurtz's papers and there is no mention of Hunter Leake anywhere.

And Kurtz also interviewed many people who were actually dead. Here are the dates of his supposed interviews and the date of their death:

3-18-84 Jesse Curry (DOD 6-22-80, age 66)

7-17-85 William George Gaudet (DOD 1-19-81, age 72)

11-12-85 William Hawk Daniels (DOD 1-22-83, age 68)

6-6-86 William Hawk Daniels (DOD 1-22-83, age 68)

9-14-86 Abe Fortas (DOD 4-5-82, age 71)

9-16-86 Leon Jaworski (DOD 12-9-82, age 77)

8-23-87 Manuel Artime (DOD 11-18-77, age 45)

The rest of the Nagle/Storper article is full of allegations that I have previously debunked on this blog.

  1. Oswald and 544 Camp Street

It's nice to see that finally conspiracy theorists have admitted that Oswald did not stamp 544 Camp Street on his handouts. He only stamped that address on a few Corliss Lamont pamphlets. I wonder if Nagle and Storper would now also admit that Oliver Stone used a fake handout in his film JFK and in his documentary series, JFK: Destiny Betrayed.

Conspiracy theorist Paul Bleau featured a fake Oswald handbill in a podcast.

An analysis of the handbill used in Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK: Destiny Betrayed.

An examination of where the fake handbill came from.

A look at James DiEugenio's use of the fake handbill.

Jefferson Morley is the latest researcher to use a fake Oswald handbill.

Why did Oswald stamp 544 Camp Street on a few pamphlets? Perhaps he saw the "for rent" signs outside the building and for a few days thought it might make a good office for his Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Perhaps he saw the address on some old CRC pamphlets that were in Carlos Bringuier's store and thought that using the address on his pamphlets would piss off Bringuier.

2. Guy Banister and Lee Harvey Oswald

Nagle and Storper make the claim that Guy Banister was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald by several witnesses. None of them have any credibility.

Here are some other relevant links on Guy Banister:

Banister's mental health was in decline in 1964.

Guy Banister's office was at 531 Lafayette and his office was not connected to the office at 544 Camp Street.

Guy Banister couldn't pay his rent in 1964 and was evicted.

Some pictures of Camp and Lafayette streets.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, makes the claim that Guy Banister gave Lee Harvey Oswald an office at 544 Camp Street in New Orleans.

Roberts was interviewed by Garrison's office in 1967 and she said nothing about seeing Oswald in Banister's office.

Mary Brengel worked for Banister for a few months, and she also did not see Oswald in the office.

Joseph Newbrough, who worked for Banister, told PBS Frontline that Banister's office was not connected to 544 Camp Street.

Jack Martin loved to tell stories. He said nothing about Oswald being in Banister's office when he blabbing to the FBI and the Secret Service in 1963 and 1964.

Garrison told the HSCA some ridiculous stories about Banister.

The film JFK explanation is not right.

Jim Garrison interviewed Jack Martin in his office on December 14, 1966. Here is a link to a tape recording of that interview and a transcript. Martin talks about seeing Oswald in Banister's office with Sergio Arcacha Smith. But there are problems with his story.

3. Carlos Bringuier

Nagle and Storper seem upset that Carlos Bringuier's ties to the CIA were not disclosed to the Warren Commission. But he was only a domestic contact of the CIA during the Garrison investigation, and thus, there was nothing to disclose to the Warren Commission.

And Carlos Bringuier in his book Crime Without Punishment, denies that he received any money from the DRE in Miami: (page 425)

I was just a Delegate in New Orleans of the DRE. I was not receiving instructions or orders from the CIA, I never received any money from the CIA, if others in the DRE at the Miami office were receiving money from the CIA that was not my case. I was working very hard as a salesman as comanager of "Casa Roca" to bring food for my family, I never received any money from the Miami DRE office or any other office of the DRE, on the contrary my delegation was sending small amounts of money to Miami headquarters. That is the historical truth.

4. Clay Shaw

Once again, Clay Shaw is accused of being a "contract agent" for the CIA. The document used to prove this allegation says he was a "contract source," which is not a term used by the CIA. Clay Shaw was only a contact source for the CIA, and nothing more.

Here are a couple of relevant links:

Shaw was just a contact source from 1948 - 1956.

Shaw had good reasons to deny an association to the CIA.

It's time for Oliver Stone to admit he made a big mistake in making Clay Shaw the villain in his movie JFK.

Shaw couldn't escape from suspicion.

5. David Ferrie

Nagle and Storper make the claim that Ferrie was a CIA contract agent. Their main sources are Michael Kurtz (see above) and Victor Marchetti.

The Marchetti allegation probably comes from Anthony Summers' 1998 book, The Kennedy Conspiracy?:

In his later 2013 book, Not in Your Lifetime, Summers did not include the Marchetti allegation. Summers listed a variety of stuff that he had eliminated from his book in a JFK newsgroup post:

The emphasis on Ferrie has changed, retaining Ferrie's early association with Oswald in the Civil Air Patrol but reducing the suggestion of his involvement at the time of the assassination. This because of the excellent, focused research on Ferrie by David Blackburst - who has worked just that seam over recent years, demolishing much of the shaky stuff propagated since the Garrison circus.

Stephen Roy, aka Blackburst, is acknowledged as the expert on David Ferrie. He found no evidence that Ferrie was associated with the CIA. In fact, David Ferrie stopped his anti-Castro activity in October 1961 because he was so focused on morals charges and the losing of his job at Eastern Airlines.

In addition, Victor Marchetti is not reliable. He has weaved all sorts of stories that just aren't true.

Miami Herald, February 2, 1985

And, of course, there are no CIA documents that reference David Ferrie as a contract agent, in fact, just the opposite:

Nagle and Storper also claim that Ferrie knew Oswald. This is also not true.

And Ferrie did not commit suicide. He died of natural causes. Yes, there were two notes found in his apartment, but they were not suicide notes. Ferrie was very ill at the time, and he thought he was dying.

6. Joan Mellen

Surely, Nagle and Storper must realize that Joan Mellen is an unreliable commentator on the Garrison investigation. She actually believed Thomas Beckham - an incredible con man - was involved in the assassination. Even James DiEugenio had issues with her book.

I could write a lot more about this article, I strongly urge Nagle and Storper to read my book, On the Trail of Delusion -- Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser.


Robert Reynolds emailed me with some additional information on the CIA office in New Orleans:

The NO field office material was sent to Langley through regular channels, monthly, weekly, or even more frequently when DCS was relying on NO for news clippings. DCD then passed these reports onto Paul Hartman in CI, who had a standing request for Garrison news. CI and DCD occasionally sent queries to NO, and these were answered, often by Ray or Leake, via regular channels as well. Filing cabinets full of material that was never sent to DC or Langley until years later are simply fantasy.
Field offices (or lowly resident agencies in the early days, like Dallas, for example, are not stations and do not conduct projects or operations. They engage in intelligence collection. (The Foreign Resource Division is a different story.)  They are not big places. One source I found says 10 people under direct supervision of the office head in NO. 

Previous Relevant Blog Posts on Jefferson Morley

Only one word is redacted in Harvey's deposition.

There are no redactions in the Operation Northwoods document.

Kilgallen had nothing to tell.

An underwhelming interview of Marina Oswald.

Morley often repeats stories and changes their meanings.

Chad Nagle claims there was an assassination plot against JFK in Chicago in November 1963. One problem: There is no evidence of such a plot.

A response to Morley's Substack post alleging that I am a CIA apologist.

Morley thinks there are two redacted memos on CIA reorganization, but there is only one.

A rebuttal to Morley's response to my post Was Bill Harvey in Dallas in November of 1963?

There is no credible evidence Harvey was in Dallas in November of 1963.

Morley repeats the claim that Dulles was at a CIA training center during the weekend of the JFK assassination. He wasn't.

Morley's claims about Efron are all wrong.

Morley responded to my article "The Truth about Operation Northwoods." Here is my reply.

W. Tracy Parnell is one of the best JFK assassination researchers out there. Here is his look at Jefferson Morley with several important articles.

Operation Northwoods can only understood as being part of the Kennedys' war against Cuba and Operation Mongoose.

And a response from me.

There is no evidence that Dr. West petitioned the court to examine Jack Ruby before his trial.

There is absolutely no evidence that Dr. Louis Jolyon West interfered with Jack Ruby's case.

The phrase 'who shot John' does not refer to the JFK assassination.

Jefferson Morley used a fake Oswald handbill in his press conference for the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

An examination of redactions in the JFK collection of documents.


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