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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Rob Reiner's Podcast Series, Part Two

Updated: Jun 13

One of the major problems of Rob Reiner's podcast series is that it accepts the stories of fabulists like Richard Case Nagell and Tosh Plumlee.

See also here for Plumlee.

Here is an excerpt from a transcript of Episode 4, The Patsy: (15:15)

Rob Reiner: And then there's Tosh Plumlee.

Soledad O'Brien: Tosh Plumlee worked for the US Army and military intelligence in the 1950s. In the 60s, he became a CIA operative. He was a mercenary pilot.

Tosh Plumlee: In 1959 was the beginning of Nags Head, North Carolina. That was propaganda training, special operations, illusionary warfare training. And the object there was training us to take over communication sites and spread propaganda.

Rob Reiner: Was that the first time you met Oswald?

Tosh Plumlee: Yeah, that's when I first run into Lee.

Rob Reiner: And at that point, you knew that you were an operative for the CIA.

Tosh Plumlee: I knew I was in Special Ops, but I wasn't sure. I knew something, something funny was going on. Of course, in those days, you got, you got to take into account that we figured whatever the government told us, and whatever military told us, whatever that was printed in a media was gospel truth.

Rob Reiner: Was Oswald part of that?

Tosh Plumlee: I was under the impression that Lee, he was an operative, and he was being trained for a specific operation. I was under the impression, at that point, that this man, this kid that I met my age, was part of the old original recruitment of young teenagers getting in trouble.

Dick Russell: Now, it wasn't only Plumlee who said this. Victor Marchetti, who was a CIA official, who then wrote a very well-known book in the 1970s that exposed a lot of things the CIA didn't want out.

Soledad O'Brien: The book is called The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. It refers to itself as "the first book the U.S. government ever went to court to censor before publication."

Rob Reiner: The program in North Carolina was designed to leave the impression that these young, troubled men had become communist sympathizers. To make them appear to be disenchanted with the American system.

Soledad O'Brien: Marchetti's book alleges that in 1959, the U.S. was struggling to get information out of the Soviet Union. So, they ran this operation out of Nags Head on about 40 young men.

Rob Reiner: The CIA was trying to gain an advantage against the Soviets. They wanted to have a group of young men, under their control, to be thought of as red. So, they cultivated these young men to look like legitimate communist sympathizers for potential use and covert operations. And Lee Harvey Oswald was there.

Tosh Plumlee: Primarily he was recruited, I think, at that point in time, to be a defector, disgruntled person, to go to Russia and I think that U-2 assignment was a cover in order to get him into Russia.

Was there a secret facility in Nags Head, North Carolina? Did the U.S. government have a program to turn troubled young men into communist sympathizers? Was Lee Harvey Oswald part of this program in North Carolina?

Location of Nags Head, North Carolina

There is no evidence for any of this.

So, where does all of this come from?

I searched Victor Marchetti's book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, and could find no reference to anything in Nags Head, North Carolina. However, Anthony Summers quoted Marchetti in his book, Conspiracy: (page 145)

At the time, in 1959, the United States was having real difficulty in acquiring information out of the Soviet Union; the technical systems we had, of course, not developed to the point that they are at today, and we were resorting to all sorts of activities. One of these activities was an ONI program which involved three dozen, maybe forty, young men who were made to appear disenchanted, poor American youths who had become turned off and wanted to see what communism was all about. They were sent into the Soviet Union, or into eastern Europe, with the specific intention that the Soviets would pick them up and "double" them if they suspected them of being US. agents. They are trained at various naval installations both here and abroad, but the operation was being run out of Nag's [sic] Head, NC.

The story gets better since Tosh Plumlee was not only at Nags Head, but he was there with Lee Harvey Oswald. Here is an excerpt from a Tosh Plumlee affidavit:

When I later learned that Oswald had been arrested as the lone assassin, I remembered having met him on a number of previous occasions which were connected with intelligence training matters, first at Illusionary Warfare Training in Nagshead [sic], North Carolina, then in Honolulu at a radar installation and at Oahu's Wheeler Air Force Base, then in Dallas at an Oak Cliff safe house on North Beckley Street run by Alpha 66's Hernandez group, who had worked out of Miami prior to the assassination.

The allegation that Oswald was stationed, for a period, at Nags Head, was investigated by the PBS Frontline team in the early 1990s.

Here is their report:

This is important -- Marchetti said that he based his statement on Nags Head on "speculation." Marchetti had no direct knowledge of such a program. Marchetti associated Nags Head and the "spy business" because a former CIA agent, Edwin Moore, had testified that he bought a hotel in Nags Head to use as a safe haven for Cuban defectors. A private detective said there was never a safe house there and did not know of any ONI activities in Nags Head.

Even the John Hurt angle is stretching it. Hurt lived in Raleigh, not Nags Head.

The whole John Hurt story doesn't make sense. He spent most of his life after World War II working as an insurance claims adjustor. There is no evidence of any "spook involvement" after World War II.

The memo notes that "Marchetti told me, however, that he has never had any specific knowledge that ONI operated a fake defector program. In the interview with Tony, he said, he was 'repeating what he was picking up from other journalists.'"

They also called Otto Otepka and he also did not know of any ONI fake defector program.

There is absolutely no evidence to support the allegation that Oswald was at a military training camp at Nags Head. Rob Reiner and Soledad O'Brien should have known better. Were there no fact checkers on their podcast?

Paul Hoch points out that the Office of Naval Intelligence files do exist. An Army intelligence file was destroyed, however.

Previous Relevant Blog Post

Flimsy evidence is cited that originated in Hustler Magazine.

Reiner believes the two-Oswald theory.

This blog post also covers the concluding episode of Reiner's podcast.


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